Medieval Torture - 9/14

The editors of Writer's Digest provide a weekly Writing Prompt to get your writing going.
Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:07 am

Medieval Torture - 9/14

Postby Brian » Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:10 am

Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:07 am

Medieval Torture - 9/14

Postby Brian » Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:10 am

You wake up chained to the wall of a medieval torture room. The torture devices are laid out on a table in front of you. Write this scene.

You can post your response (750 words or fewer) here.

Master Sergeant
Posts: 343
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 8:25 am

RE: Medieval Torture - 9/14

Postby Neets » Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:17 am

Dank putrid smell of rot, I'm almost used to it now. Scratching, scurrying noises in the
dark, but I have no doubt that the rat colony established in this place of horror is
hundreds of thousands of rat generations old.

I'm not done crying, I know that the torture will start soon. The devices set to destruct me
are set out, and soon they are coming to use them on me.

They know me too well. They know what haunts my experiences in this world. They will be here

It starts with the auditory assault, blasted through speakers set on the floor, pointed
directly at me. "Mandy" by Barry Manilow. After that, it's that one song, "Hey, did you
happen to see, the most beautiful girl in the world" Then, it's "Take the Ribbon from Your
Hair", my brain is infested, the earworms and their intention of inducing me to madness

Now they've brought my family as well. My son proceeds to scrunch and un-scrunch a plastic
water bottle for an hour and a half, all the while asking me why I can't afford to lend him
a lousy ten bucks.

Next, another recording, of my husband chewing gum, full volume, followed by two hours of
his snoring.

My head is pounding, and sweat is pouring from my brow.

Next, I am forced to consume cold runny eggs with ketchup followed by warm flat coca-cola.

My torturers know me so well, that they know this will induce nausea, and a bucket is placed
under my location on the wall.

My torturers, all former employees of the DMV, are getting a big kick out of their success.
I'm then forced to chew aluminum foil while someone does an impressive job with their
fingernails and a chalkboard. I'm near breaking.

All this in preparation for the ultimate device, collected from the back of my closet. The
boxes are piled up and I instantly recognize them. Five years worth of bank statements and
checkbook registers that need to be balanced.

They win.
"Please, I'll do it, just please let me go."
The end is not pretty, I've been locked inside the Barney the Dinosaur suit for almost two
years now, performing my prehistoric tail off. I told them they need not have tortured me
so, to which they replied, "That's not torture honey, it's preparation!"

Private E-1
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:47 am

Re: Medieval Torture - 9/14

Postby BK2 » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:38 am

I like

User avatar
Private E-2
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:02 pm

Re: Medieval Torture - 9/14

Postby sns3guppy » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:27 am

In this hall of death, I couldn’t be more bewildered. How I got here I may never know, but of this much I’m certain; I may die of laughter or boredom before I peg out.

Before me is a table, long, cold, square. Its dull sheen, stainless and chilled, reflects only minimally the rawness of bare light above. On that lifeless table the instruments of my doom are neatly aligned. I am chained, cuffed, to a stone wall, soft with moss, dripping from some unseen spring. My underwear is soaked, down to my socks. My shoes are long since gone.

On table rest the five devices that I might expect from a cleaning closet, or perhaps an anteroom in a surgeons office. But not here, not like this. A feather duster; a can opener; a clothes iron; a bag of cat food, and a glass pitcher of some dark, red fluid. These send my imagination in wild circles. What could they be for, and why me? I seek escape, but find none. Silence echoes from darkened unseen corners of this room. My feet are cold.

I rack my brain, I must think, but cannot. There must be a starting place, but where? What happened last? Who brought me to this place? I recall nothing after her, our drink, that what? Wine? No, sweeter, more bouquet. Water? No, redness: it’s that pitcher. My last sip from that nectar, that Cool Aid. I remember now, in bits. Fragments return, the softness of her eyes, the upturned corners of her mouth, her knee in my groin. Oh, I hurt. It still hurts. She hit me in the groin. What a strange way to toast. Cool Aid for a toast, for what was it? A toast, she said. Make up for her anger, because I didn’t get the cat food? That’s right, now I do remember.

Such a pleasant day; crisp, springtime. Leaves threatened to adorn trees, and the sky held promise of an early thaw. My duties done, my day off assured, she hit me with the list. It was a simple thing, a short drive to the corner store and back, so easy to put off. She left the list and left me, and went about her day, as I went about mine. I think I slept, I don’t remember. I must have awakened when she returned, her car in the drive. My car, really, yet she uses it as we are one, lovers, and friends.

She entered; the list still in my hand, undone. I remember the list, now. Get cat food. Feed the cat. Iron your Sunday clothes. Please, please, please, please, dust the blinds. The ones too high for her to reach. I remember well, now. “Do these things for me,” she said, “and I will love you forever. Do them not,” she said, “and I will chain you to a wall and be gone.”

The house is silent now, my basement cold. I hear no footsteps, no car in the drive. The heater is off. My toes are numb. The feather duster mocks me; “Such a simple thing you had to do,” it says. "Use me, or lose me. Now, you lose." I lose. What I wouldn’t sacrifice to revel in the pleasurable clank of the last turn on a tin of cat food, or the melodious clink of kitty biscuits in a bowl. What evil possessed me from doing her bid? Would it have killed me to iron those clothes? I hate Cool Aid. I really do. Now I savor the bitter aftertaste.

I am here. She is gone, and me without my shoes, to die alone in the wet of my own dark basement. These rings, these chains, they once promised forbidden fun, but now hold me fast. I’m a prisoner of my own failing, I can blame only myself. I wonder sullenly what those cat biscuits might taste like with a little raspberry punch. My stomach gnaws and calls helplessly to me. If only I had my shoes.

There they are. Far out of reach, they may as well be in another country, but they’re mine, and I see them. Worn, red and white with mismatched laces, nameless sneakers with a worn heel and toe, but they’re mine. Now I’m happy. I may die alone in a dungeon, to which I hold title and deed, but I will die with my shoes, and I can take comfort. At least they’re not wet.

Master Sergeant
Posts: 343
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 8:25 am

Re: Medieval Torture - 9/14

Postby Neets » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:03 pm

Thanks BK2!

sns3guppy, that is the funniest (in an extremely painful way) avatar I've ever seen. LOL

Great story, wimmens is trouble as my hubby says...

Private E-1
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:35 pm

RE: Medieval Torture - 9/14

Postby garyw » Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:13 pm

I awaken to thirst, and pain. Shackles bind my wrists and ankles to a cold, damp stone wall. I can almost stand, I can almost extend my arms. Almost, but not quite.

Tantalizingly beyond reach is a table; upon the table lies a key to my chains. I cannot reach the table, but I can reach a jigsaw blade that suddenly clatters at my feet. I am being presented with a choice, I see. I am bound in such a way that to gain my freedom I must saw off one hand and one foot--either side.

An echoing voice informs me that I can slowly starve to death, or I can cut off my own limbs and enjoy a few moments of freedom before I quickly bleed to death.

What to do, what to do.

Kelsea Cayman
Private E-1
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:45 pm

RE: Medieval Torture - 9/14

Postby Kelsea Cayman » Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:48 pm

I woke up from the best dream I’ve ever had in my life. Back on the estate, sitting around a table with my wife and kids… nothing too out-of-the-ordinary… but when you wake up and remember that you’re in chains, possibly awaiting your death… well, it’s quite nice. I may never see Elizabeth again, or my sons Wesley and Darion, or my new-born daughter Catherine. The last thing I may see is this very room.

It scares me, of course, looking around at this room. All of these things that I’ve never seen in my life—not even been able to imagine. They could be plenty of things, but the gut feeling I’m getting leads me to the most obvious of answers—torture devices. I would be a good candidate to capture, considering my brother was a traitor to our king, working within his walls yet selling his secrets in the back alleys, but I cut off my relation to him the second I knew. In fact, I was the one to turn him in. My one mistake was to give him warning, and telling him to run. Maybe if I didn’t do this I would be eating with my family at home… I don’t even know what time of day it is, considering I was knocked unconscious before being dragged in, and now there’s no sources into the outside, other than one door on the far side. One door I can’t reach, thanks to these shackles.

My little brother… always the trouble maker, and yet I always took the hit. One time, when he was seven and I was ten, he broke a family heirloom. Father was so angry… it was a stained glass picture, which was more expensive than we were worth. I knew what would happen to my brother when Father found out, so before I had time to think—to apply his consequence to myself—I took some of the shards and ran to Father, saying it was my doing. The first hit hurt more than anything, and the ones that followed only got worse. And there were other times too… too many to count, actually, when I took the hit for something my brother did. As I got older and smarter, I still took the blame occasionally... making it so that every time I didn’t take the blame, my brother would hold a grudge. He was spoiled, and I fed into that. I took his pain, and he only caused me more… Maybe that was a good thing though. The tolerance it must have built will help me now, as they torture me into giving information I don’t have.

But even if I had the information, could I give it? Would I tell our brutal king where my little brother is if I knew? Knowing what would happen, and that I’d be subject to sit back and let him take the blame for once? It would probably not change. I’d be in the same place I am now, looking at these torture devices… just hoping for my death to come quickly. Maybe I’m too nice—too forgiving. Maybe I’m the reason he thought he’d get away with betraying the king. I must be. I let him get away with everything! How is he supposed to learn anything at all when he’s never been taught? Never felt the consequences themselves?

Now at least I know I won’t be bitter. If I ever get out of here… All I can do it hope that my family will be well taken care of. I don’t even want to get into the idea that they may be captured too, tortured as I’m about to be.

When the door on the far end of the room opens and a few guards step through I hang my head, just as I did with my father years ago. This is my doing. This is my punishment.

Private E-1
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:18 pm

RE: Medieval Torture - 9/14

Postby sconway » Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:21 pm

This is my first ever writing exercise/prompt so be kind. :o)

His throbbing right temple coaxed him awake and he slowly opened his eyes to find that a bleary haze covered his brain like the piece of gauzy cloth he’d seen draped over the cheese in a shop days earlier. He tried to raise his head as it bobbed like a broken tree limb in the wind, pulling on his unyielding neck muscles. He failed. He instinctively reached to soothe the pain point above his eye, only to have his hand cruelly snapped back by the icy metal chain gripping his arm. Drake mumbled in a confused anger and tried a third time to command his body. He managed to open his eyes, easing into consciousness, as he reached his arm out again. This time, eyes focused, he realized he was shackled. Drake pulled against the chains and it hurt. He took a deep breath and it stung. Every muscle in his typically powerful body warned him of his dangerous situation at the simplest attempt to move.

Then it hit him, like a sudden summer storm. The sour stench of the place instantly summoned a painful memory that never fully left his heart. He’d been here before. 5 years earlier, having been captured after surviving the attack that killed his father, brother, and best friend, he’d been chained to this same wall by the king’s order. Now, in the cold, darkness he could feel the damp air graze his skin like a taunting ghost. He shivered and it hurt.

Drake wasn’t sure how many hours or days had passed when he next woke. But as he looked up to the far corner of his hell he saw a miniscule opening in the stone wall. A soft ray of warmth and hope streamed through the window like a gentle woman tending his wounds. He examined his surroundings and immediately noticed the heavy wooden table 4 feet in front of him, littered with an assortment of devices designed to punish him as never before. He arched his back to relieve the pain of the stone wall piercing his skin and he wondered how he had ended up here again. Where were his men, his warrior brothers? He struggled to focus and was rewarded with only the tiniest bits and images. The swords, the spiked iron ball mace, the glint of silver from the metal hatchets… the spray of blood and cries of a hardened soldier as he watched his friend of 20 years plummet to the cold, unforgiving ground. He refocused his energy, trying to envision the scene, to understand how he could be here when he recalled them near victory. When the images reappeared in his tattered brain, he saw his friend Caldwell fall, felt his fists clench around his sword, and braced against the sudden rage that overcame his body. He grabbed Caldwell’s sword with is free hand and immediately turned to his friend’s attacker. He thrust both swords into the air, screamed with a God’s fury, and charged the killer, reaching his target in five strides. With one swift, expert swipe of his Caldwell’s sword and a plunging of his own sword into the tiny opening under the arm, Drake sent his opponent to hell. He ripped the metal helmet from the killer’s face…. and fell to his knees as his soul was sucked from his very existence. Drake looked with anguish and disbelief into the eyes of his oldest son.

Private E-1
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:58 pm

RE: Medieval Torture - 9/14

Postby ssumppg » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:28 pm

And now for something completely different. :emoticon:

 *Note: This is me with my powers from the fantasy book I'm writing. Hazathrax is the main bad guy of said book, and Turo is the only character from the book who knows that I'm the author & that he's a character in a book.


I may be able to alter reality with a single thought, but I can still be scared out of my wits.

Several thoughts race through my head as I stare at the torture devices spread out on the table in front of me: first of all, those things look awesome! I mean, these are the creepy, scary-looking, high-octane nightmare-fuel-igniting rusty old pieces of wood and metal that you usually only read about in textbooks or stumble across while browsing the internet. Second, there’s a nice breeze in the room. I’m glad to be fully clothed. And ooh, look! There’s like, torches lighting up the walls and everything! I love fire, the way it just flickers and dances all mysteriously and stuff. Not to mention the cool stone castle tower that I’m apparently locked up in-


I’m chained to a castle wall. There’s a bunch of awesome-yet-scarier-than-a-triple-decker-death-sandwich-(with an extra slice of agonizing pain)-torture devices on a table not four feet in front of me. And the tower is lit with torches.


I scan the area (i.e. the entire galaxy) for Hazathrax. Nothing. Okay, that’s good…

I check the inside of the shackles around my wrists and ankles for any special coating that might, for some bizarre reason, negate my powers (which is pretty much impossible given the nature of my powers, but you can never be too careful, right?). There’s nothing. Which is, odd, actually because, well… I mean, how did I even get here?

I let my wrists and ankles pass through the shackles as if I were a ghost, then stare curiously at the torture devices. Yup, there’s the pear, head crusher, heretic’s fork, knee splitter, crocodile shears, cat’s paw… Ooh, look over there in the corner! It’s an iron maiden!

I skip up to the infamous real-life chokey. It’s open. I resist the urge to step inside, but I do poke my head in. I shudder as I realize that people actually died in this thing. I step back, looking up at this thing’s “face”. Hmm… looks like she has a halo. Or a very wacky hairdo. But I think it’s meant as a halo. Which is pretty ironic, since this is probably the most demonic, evil-lookin’ thing I have ever seen.

I go back to the table and pick up the cat’s paw. I rake the air a few times (while making kitty noises, of course), then test the points’ sharpness. Not all that impressive… but then again, I’m used to Cutco, so I might be biased. And I don’t think they had high-carbon surgical stainless steel back th-

“The heck??

I turn to see a shirtless Turo chained to the wall, right where I had just been. “Oh hi!” I say, waving the hand that’s holding the cat’s paw.

He freezes. His eyes quickly scan the room. The blood drains from his face. “Sarah,” he says, his voice faltering. “I know you like to torture your characters, but… I think this is going just a little too far.”


Return to Writing Prompts and Challenges

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests