Beneath the Lair, beneath the prison, there is a Pit.
Those who are brought here have gained, in some manner, the tyrant’s displeasure. Whether they failed Her, or assailed Her, their fate is the same.
The wise among them have prepared for this contingency. With Ultra gifts, or implanted explosives, with poisons or brute circumstance they take their own lives. Their corpses are thrown in anyway.
Those less wise, or simply less fortunate, experience one of several horrific fates.
The beings who have information that the Regime has interest in find themselves dangled above the Pit, the height adjusted as their defiance transforms into anguish. Once they cooperate they may be taken above, if further use can be made of them.
The beings who are to become the Regime’s agents undergo a deeper conditioning, dipping in and out of the danger zone in an attempt to associate the concepts shouted at them from the operators with the unsupportable agony. It is a clumsy and imprecise process, and many perish. Those who do not become, in theory, living time bombs, their souls primed to take any action in order to avert whatever their trigger condition is.
Occasionally there are people from whom nothing is desired. Enemies or disappointments of Her, they are simply tossed into the Pit. The world believes that there is no more painful end than this.
But maybe the world is wrong.
Few thoughts have ever been spared for the plight of Torturer herself. Her real name forgotten. Her gentle nature utterly abused and entirely debased. She languishes in the Pit’s depths, the only voices which reach her the screaming confessions of those above. The only light which reaches her the brief glimpses of torchlight as another soul is made to suffer her presence. The only sustenance she can discover is uncooked human flesh.
She was a doctor, once. She woke from the Process to find the world about her stricken down, and stumbled forth only to find she carried death with her.
She has tried to die. Many times. But her Ultra flesh is tough beyond reason. Starvation pains her, but it does no lasting damage. She tortures herself, thinking that if she can only last another week, surely she will not awake. She strikes herself, but her gift gives her no strength, nothing to allow her to damage a being fortified by such a mighty gift. She screams insults and curses at Her, desperate to provoke the thin skinned fiend into a summary execution, but no one listens to the howls from the depths.
Decades have passed in this way.
Recently, however, she has experienced something new.
No new people have been cast into the depths. Months have passed, if her hunger can be trusted, since last the Regime saw fit to use her. Has she been forgotten?
She knows that she is not so lucky. But she cannot stop herself from hoping.
Finally, the door opens again. She tenses, awaiting the scream and the thump. She hates that her mouth is already alive with saliva, hates the part of herself that is already figuring out how long the meat can be made to last.
The thump comes, but with no scream to accompany it. And far lighter than a corpse.
Torturer knows every inch of her abode. In a hurried second she is beneath the door, the door which has NOT closed.
Her hand closes over a coil of rope.
It is the triumph of her lifetime, the supreme effort of this wretched soul’s will, that she releases it instantly, and sinks back down onto the floor.
To climb would put her gift in motion, might bring other beings into its radius. It would be sin without compare.
Resolutely, she sits on her hands, in the worst place in the world.