Medieval Torture

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.

Post your response (500 words or less) in the comments below.

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  1. kathleenmagner

    When she woke, Bess found her right eye stuck closed. Searching the torch-lit room, she wished her left hadn’t opened either.

    Firelight gleamed on bladed tools peering at her from their rack hung upon the stone, tools she suspected had never tilled soil or tended a harvest.

    Wedged into the mortar drooped manacles, ropes, and hooks, each ready to clasp, noose, or heft the next throat or wrist falling into their clutches. Rust, she hoped, or more likely dried blood stained the metal and the frayed hemp, while the stench of piss and excrement rose off the floor, all of it lasting evidence of those they’d once held.

    Adjoining sconces flanked an oaken door, their half-used tapers dripping. In a hearth, embers died. The smoke and inferior paraffin greased the air and streaked the walls with black as if the stones cried ink.

    Shuddering, Bess turned away, her thick mass of hair cushioning her from the smooth slab where she lay. She tried feeling for her right eye, to determine if it had been swollen or simply scorched, but leather lashes looped through rungs trapped her hand. Another pair pinned her bared feet at the ankles.

    The realization of her imprisonment worked with the stony chill, piercing her nightdress and pebbling her flesh. Holding fast to the straps, she searched for a clear memory, one to explain by who and how she’d been put in such a state. A face appeared in her mind’s eye, and a sooty stench blending with horse musk and perfume clung to her next ragged breath.

    Footsteps neared, halting her recollection of fire and betrayal, and Bess squinted at the door. Locks unbolted. A rod slung out of a hasp. Hinges moaned and the bottom edge scraped against the floor. A familiar cologne wound across the threshold, reminding her of her Manor’s last night.

    Harlow strode through, carrying a torch like the ones he and his posse had brought along with their steeds, swords, armor, arrows, and spears. A dark shadow pulled the door closed behind him, making the flames he carried flicker and leaving them alone.

    Bess worked her tongue, the taste of ash stoking her ire. “You burned my home.”

    “Of course I did.”

    The clang of chainmail and the slap of a sword joined him until Harlow halted his saunter and slid his torch into a holder above the bellows. He jangled and thudded again when approaching her side where he folded his arms over a midnight tunic adorned with a silver starburst and cinched by his weighted belt. Ringed fingers rested on silken sleeves, each as immaculate as the smile curving his lips and the lines denoting the passing years etched onto his elongated face.

    “I had to be sure your boy wasn’t hiding.”

    Bess scowled with her one good eye. “I told you he wasn’t there.”

    “You’re a mother cat, Bessany Crewe, and I hear they’ll do anything to keep their kittens safe.”

    … Click here to read the rest and feel free to leave a comment.