Pleasant is a relative thing, Sarah thought as James closed the door behind them and began to light torches about the room. It was more pleasant only because it lacked the bodies and the smell of the hall behind them.
“This is my work space.”
Wholawski smiled at Sarah as his arm swept in a grand gesture about the room. The torch light gleamed off shiny implements of torture. Some Sarah recognized, like the rack, and others she couldn't fathome a use for, like the giant hose clamp.
“It’s clean,” Sarah said at last, realizing Wholawski was waiting for a response.
“Of course it is clean,” he chuckled. “Dirty equipment makes the prisoners fall ill and they do not last nearly as long. I learned that early in my career.”
“Career?” Sarah had not expected him to use such a modern word.
“Oh yes, how else do you think a bastard of Vervell and Azure could rise to such power?”
“Not through your charms, for sure,” Sarah snorted.
“Ah,” he smiled, “when Verzure is untied once more and I sit upon the throne in Verdas, you shall see the charm that I possess.”
“Right,” Sarah drawled softly to herself.
“Come let me show you some of my favorites.”
Wholawski wrapped an arm about her shoulder and steered her to where many implements lay upon the table.
“Normally,” he explained, “minor infractions can be dealt with by whipping or using the stock and pillory in the courtyard. But for repeat offenders I like to start off with the thumbscrew. If that doesn’t work they get the pilliwinks.” he tapped the hand sized version of the thumbscrew. “And if they still insist on being a nuisance they get the bone crusher.”
The bone crusher looked big enough to hold a leg. Wide eyed, Sarah plastered on a smile and thanked the Gods that was no dried blood on them. Wholawski guided her over to an iron cage that looked vaguely human shaped, where it leaned against a barrel that was at least six feet tall.
“Now,” he smiled, “when it comes to gathering information, I like the coffin.” Wholawski patted the metal frame. “It is a good way to keep a person immobile. I have two that hang into the moat, and one into the lake behind. This one I like to use with the barrels.”
“The barrels?” Sarah asked without thinking, unsure how a barrel was used for torture.
“Oh yes. I can fill them with frigid water from the lake,” he gestured to spigots that protruded from the back wall, “or rats.”
“Rats?” Sarah muffled her voice with a hand realizing she was letting him get to her.
“Oh yes,” his eyes gleamed, “my rats.”
Leading her across the room, he stopped in front of a table with a cloth over it. Wholawski whipped off the cover to reveal cages of rats. The moment light hit their eyes they began hissing and scrabbling to get free.
“They are fed flesh most every night,” he grinned, “and they’ve learned to prefer it.”
Sarah shuddered as his hand passed over the cages, causing a flurry of activity upward. The General flicked the cover back over them and soon they were quiet again.
“I leave that sort of torture to those I have no more use for. Pity I never did get to use it on Phoenix.”
“What did you use on Phoenix?” The words were out before she could sensor herself. Sarah couldn’t bear to look at the man. Jason never spoke of his time here, not that she blamed him. Swallowing she hardened herself to hear what Wholawski had to say.
“Of course he was only Scout Sergeant de Borguez then, but he was stubborn.” The General moved to the center of the room. “The rack was employed first upon his second and then upon him. The pair of them made interesting subjects you know. Neither stretching,” Whoalwski patted the rack, “nor compressing them,” he patted the giant hose clamp, “gave me any information. They literally glared at each other the whole time. Quite amusing, actually.”
Sarah desperately hoped her emotions weren’t showing when he swung around to study her.
“He sat upon the spiked throne for a while, a thousand pricks upon his body, yet not a word. His second was a bit more vocal on that one, mostly groaning.”
The throne, with its tiny nails, sat upon a metal basin. Leather straps dangled from the the chair that Sarah presumed were used to strap a person in so the nails would bite into their body from head to toe. Swallowing and reapplying her smile she watched as the General considered a few other objects.
“Yes, I did put them both in barrels of water. Not in the coffin though. They had to swim to keep their heads above water, as drops dripped upon them all throughout the day. I was hoping one of them would perish.” He sighed. “I was very annoyed with them by then, but before I could try the rats, they vanished; down the drain.”
Wholawski’s eyes bored into the door they had entered through, a scowl upon his face.
“When I found the man who had helped him and his men, I had him drawn and quartered outside the fortress and left him there as a warning.”
Sarah’s plastered smile faded. Her mind ran a mile a minute as she realized how deranged and sadistic the man was. All this stuff was real. It wasn’t a movie set, or a museum display. Everything here was used to inflict pain upon people and what was worse, he enjoyed doing so.
He deserves to die, Sarah thought as color drained from her face. I thought the five men who raped me were bad. They’re nothing compared to Wholawski. Nothing...