Huddled in a corner, the man didn’t know how long he had been here. He sobbed softly and ran his hands over his many wounds, futilely trying to trace their many lines over his dirty skin. The fetid conditions in his cell had clearly not been kind to his body; the man’s teeth were starting to fall out and some of his toes had taken on a distinct green hue. Rats ran along the edges of the room, sniffing at the air like miniature dogs. They quickly locked onto the scent of rotting meat and glared at the man hungrily. They waited for him to show any sign of weakness, to fall asleep, or to outright die. How many times they had played this game before, the man didn’t know.

            A noise at the door startled the man and sent the rats scurrying into the darkness. He looked fearfully at the entrance as a massive frame pushed the heavy door aside and entered the dank room. He wore a greasy apron and had a wicked looking cleaver clutched in his meaty fingers as he observed his quarry. A second, smaller man stepped gingerly into the room beside him and also looked at the dirty man huddled in the corner.

“How much for this one?” the second man casually asked the first.

“50 an hour. An extra 500 if he dies during that time.” Came the gruff reply.

            Shaking his head in disgust, the second man left the room leaving the cleaver wielding man alone with the victim in the corner. Laughing softly, the man with the cleaver waddled his massive girth out the door without a backwards glance. The man in the corner was once again left alone with the rats, and he continued sobbing.

            He didn’t know how long he had been in this dank room, or how long the man with the apron had tormented him. He didn’t even remember his own name. But what the man in the corner did remember, and quite vividly, was every moment of torture, every scream for mercy, and every rich man who had shuffled through that very door to appraise him like a side of beef. He didn’t remember anything about his former life or who he was, they had taken it all away from him. They had replaced his life and his love with fear, consumed him with it, but the man was beyond that now. He learned.

 He learned all he could in this dank hell hole, and he grew to hate the man with the apron. He hated him with every fiber of his being, he hated him until he could do nothing except cower in his cell and think of what this man had taken from him. The man in the corner had finally reached his breaking point; he hated the man with the apron more than his desire to live.

The End

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