This is the original, unedited version of the first part of chapter 5 of Hell’s Dodo. It contains graphic detail of the death by torture of my coworker, Wesley Taylor, who begged and bothered me to put him in one of my books, thus earning himself a “redshirting.”
This selection was deemed too intense for the finished manuscript by my editor. I had been waffling about whether to include it or not ever since I wrote it. It was just one of those scenes I had to get out of my head.
The Horrible Fate of Wesley Taylor
Later aboard the Incubus as it headed back out to sea, Viktor had Wesley Taylor stripped and tied spread-eagle, suspended in the air between the mainmast and the mizzen. Pulleys attached to the two masts allowed adjustments on the tension of the lines binding his wrists and ankles.
As per the captain’s orders, the crewmen responsible for the rig had the lines as taut as they would go without actually dislocating the prisoner’s hips or shoulders.
Belladonna inspected the rig before she nodded her approval. She was still naked. Normally, Viktor would chide her about that, but he understood that what she was going to do to Taylor would ruin any clothing she wore.
“Make it as excruciating as possible, pet, but make him last at least one day before you end his misery,” Viktor instructed.
“Brandee, no, please!” Taylor pled. “I’ll pay anything you ask.”
“You were sailing under Chad Harris, man. You don’t have any money.” Viktor laughed then sobered. “No; you tried to take my life. The price is your own.”
“May I have him now?” Belle asked.
The siren smiled and walked around behind her victim. Taylor turned his head, nervous that he couldn’t see her.
“What are you going to do?” The question died as he screamed. The siren used the stinger cells in her fingertips to draw patterns slowly on his back. Welts and blisters boiled up behind where she touched. Once she finished with the back, she poured a bucket of seawater over it. This had the double effect of reviving him before he could pass out and of setting the chemical burns. She then set out to decorate his arms and legs in a similar fashion.
This went on for hours, until she had burned patterns onto his entire body. The crew had gone about their usual business as if nothing was going on and they hadn’t heard the screams. Viktor had used his blood link to the crew to block the torture of Taylor from their minds. It had taken an extra dose of the rum tainted with the vampire’s blood as well as the draining of a fresh victim for Viktor to maintain the block.
Only he, Hezekiah, the siren, and Taylor himself were aware of the torture. Mr. Grimm had decided to tend to something down in the ballast holds. The screams were muffled there. Viktor didn’t hold it against him. He knew the man wasn’t queasy, but what the siren was doing and about to do to Taylor would make any man cringe.
Viktor stayed to watch; he had ordered the torture, after all. He hadn’t expected this particular level of savagery; but he felt obliged to see it out. It was the stuff of nightmares.
“You surprise me, pet,” he said during one of the breaks Belle took to allow the victim to revive. “I half expected you to skin him.”
“I was in a creative mood. He was ugly; I decided to make him pretty.” She shrugged; the gesture reminded him that she was a creature nothing close to human despite her appearance. “This takes longer than skinning and hurts worse.”
“What do you plan now that he’s covered with burns? Are you going to fill in the blank spaces?”
“No; I left them blank for a reason. They mark the most sensitive areas. Now that he is tattooed, he needs to be pierced.” To emphasize her point, she slowly extended a single talon.
“Oh God, please no,” Taylor croaked hoarsely. “Just kill me now and be done with it.”
Belladonna returned to her victim with a sweet smile. “God has nothing to do with this, human. The Captain said I am to make your torment last until this sunset. That is what I intend to do. You’ve made it through the night and half the day. Just think of it as something to look forward to.”
She traced the very tip of her talon around one of his nipples, which were unmarked. The node tightened from the stimulation. Taylor whimpered.
“I am in the mood for an appetizer, however,” she said. Ever so slowly, she pushed the talon into the aureole until it came out the other side. When she withdrew, blood welled up and began seeping down from the wounds.
The pain obviously wasn’t as bad as Taylor must have expected. He gasped at the sensation of her mouth over his abused nipple as she licked the blood from the wound. He even moaned in unexpected pleasure.
Belle rolled her amber eyes up to his face and bit down hard, neatly severing the node.
“Gah! You bitch!”
After she’d given his other nipple the same treatment, she loosened a rope to give her better access to one of his hands. She slowly inserted her talon into the webbing between each finger up through the meat of his hand until she hit the wrist; then she ate his fingers and the thumb one knuckle at a time.
She tightened the rope and repeated the process with his other hand and then his feet. After that, she drove her talon into each joint. Moving it with the precision her sonar afforded, she neatly severed tendons and ligaments while sparing blood vessels. The incisions were a dull footnote to the pain Taylor experienced as his muscles constricted into tight knots after being cut free of their moorings. His screams almost made it past the barrier Viktor was keeping around the minds of his crew.
Finally, sunset drew near.
“I saved the best for last,” Belle told Viktor. “After this, I will take him over the side and finish him.”
“Very well, pet. I have to admit I am amazed he survived this far.”
Taylor was weeping and shaking his head as she approached him again. He was unable to struggle. She reached down and grasped his manhood gently. She used no sting and had retracted her talon. As she stroked him, his body responded involuntarily. Once she had him full hard, she traced the head with a delicate touch. As she reached the small slit, she grasped his shaft firmly with her other hand and slowly extended one talon into his urethra up the full length of him.
His eyes bugged and his chest seemed almost paralyzed. He couldn’t draw breath to scream.
She flicked her finger and split him wide open, spraying blood all over her.
He passed out.