Monster

As Wayne scuttled off to talk to the warden, I began to cautiously edge my way around the still snarling Vengeance. The marks from the electrowhips showed up livid red against his skin and he kept shaking his head, as if to ward off some biting insect. I sat down opposite him, brows furrowed and biting my lip worriedly. Whatever Wayne wanted to talk to the warden about, I knew it would not bode well for me. Particularly if his plan involved Vengeance. As good a fighter as I knew I was, I wouldn't stand a chance. If he displayed the same agression towards me as he had to Wayne then I'd be dead in seconds.

That reminded me, why had Vengeance been so hell-bent on getting to Wayne? It wasn't as if they'd met before... had they? Was there something going on here I didn't know about?

Well, I thought, only one way to find out.

Cautiously, I moved forward and crouched a few feet away from Vengeance, making sure I was well out of striking range. He looked up, eyes blurred and out of focus. When he recognised me he huffed and looked away again. I took a deep breath and asked cautiously:

"Vengeance, what was all that business with Wayne about? Why did you try to kill him like that?"

Vengeance growled, "That man is evil. Never has one man caused so many bad things to happen. If I ever get my hands on him... I won't let do that to me again."

Again? What did he mean, again? I leaned forwards, curiosity getting the better of my fear: "What happened? What did he do to you?"

Vengeance looked up at me, eyes burning with hatred, "You have no idea what that man is capable of. You have no idea what he can do to people, what he has done to people. I've been in this hellhole long enough to see just sort of beast he is. They think I am the monster, they are wrong. The only monster within these walls is Jeremy Wayne."

My mind was reeling. What was Vengeance saying? This was important, I knew it  instinctively. If Vengeane knew Wayne, then it was clear that there was something more going on than a simple want for revenge. Pushing back my fear, I crept closer to Vengeance, not caring if I was within strike range.

"Tell me what happened," I said, keeping my voice low, "What has he done to you Vengeance?"

Vengeance sighed, a sudden flash of sadness crossing his face. He raised his head and looked at me, the tip of his horn inches from my own forehead.

"I've been in here for as long as I can remember. The first thing I remember is waking up alone in the dark, terrified and screaming for help. Then they came. They came with the blades and whips and beat me until I was on the point of death. Every day was the same, they would come and flay me to within an inch of my life, force me to fight until I scarcely had the strength to breathe. No matter how I begged them to stop, to end this torture, they never listened. I wanted to die. I knew nothing but endless pain, fear and hatred for those who were doing these things to me. I couldn't have been more than a child, but all I knew in my life was pain and terror and hatred."

Vengeance paused, as if even speaking of this ordeal was weakening him. "And all the time, he was there. Watching and laughing at my feeble attempts to fight back. He used to taunt me, saying I was a worthless monster who didn't deserve to live. Ever since those days I have never hated any man more than him. Sometimes, when I was alone and half-dead from the beatings, I would whisper to myself, swearing revenge for all he had done to me. I swore I would not rest until I had torn him into a thousand bloody pieces with my bare hands."

He stopped, his head dropping into his hands, the bruises livid on his flanks. I gaped at him, thoughts nothing but a jumbled mass of horror filled images.

"Who was he?" I whispered, but I already knew the answer. Some cold feeling gripped me, telling me the answer before the question was even out of my mouth.

Vengeance met my gaze, brimstone eyes like a pair of emotionless voids of hate:

"Jeremy Wayne."

The End

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