Dean Winchester is in hell and every moment that he's there, he feels part of himself slipping away. He's determined not to become a monster; a demon, but as every day passes, he looses more and more of his humanity. What will it take to finally break him?
The days -- at least I think they were days ... there was no concept of day here, only pain and no pain -- were blending together. Everything I wanted to forget was being burned into my memory and all the things I wanted to remember, I couldn't. Even when I'd close my eyes and try, they were just like shadows; fleeting things in the corners of my eyes. I would try to look, dart my eyes, but they'd disappear. They weren't real and as much as I called out, yelled out, screamed out -- nothing could make them real.
Steel wasn't a figment of my imagination, though. It was cold and it was sharp and it cut into me. It tore me open so that I could feel the blood on my skin, slick and wet. Hot. I could smell it when it dripped down my face and onto my lips. I could taste it. Every instrument that he used, I could remember; how long it was, how sharp it was, where he slid it into my skin and carved me. He would cut me until I was nothing left, not human any more, just a pile of meat and then he would smile and I would be myself and he would start all over. The pain would blend and flow together so that sometimes it seemed like I never knew anything but hurt. I knew that I had once lived a life where hurt was fleeting and would bite angrily when new, but fade away to nothing. Here, though, pain locked its jaws around my throat and tore at me, trying to make me scream. He would urge me to scream, that bastard. He would tell me that he would put me back in my cell if I would just scream. He longed to hear it, I think. It was like some kind of drug to him.
I remember him looking at me, tipping his head to one side as he contemplated where to stick his goddamned knife next. He would trace it over my skin, following the line of my muscles. When he first started doing this, I would flinch. It was completely out of instinct; trying to pull my body away from the razor sharpness, and he would laugh at me. His mouth would open in a grin like a slick of oil on a puddle, the expression sliding across his face but never quite making it up to his eyes. And then he would start to cut.
When he was finished, he'd always make me the same offer. He'd say that I could get down off the rack, never feel the sting of his knives again, if I would just pick up a weapon and turn it on another soul. He tempted me with this, dangled my freedom from pain like a carrot in front of my face. And every day I would tell him to stick his knives up his ass. With every ounce of strength and every breath, I would tell him to go fuck himself. He would laugh and pull me down from wall and send me back to my cell to wait for the next session. And when the door of my prison closed, I would lay there and I would cry because that's what I felt like I should do. I cried to keep myself human because each day I felt a little of that humanity slip away from me.
I would feel the tears slipping down my cheeks and I would fall to the ground, kneeling beside the small bench that I used for sleeping. My hands clutched at my hair and I remember speaking. "God," my voice choked, barely understandable through the thick sounds of my sobs. "God, help me -- I can't take this. I can't..." But what good did it do? I never prayed when I was upstairs, why should it matter if I started now. The problem was, I didn't know what else to do. I didn't know how to keep from turning into exactly what the butcher wanted me to be. Every small hope, even the vague ones, had to be kept alive and close. Talking to God was just one of those pinpricks of light that made a tiny dent in the dark.
Every day I would pray; pray for strength, pray for forgiveness, pray for mercy. I would pray to stay human. I remember praying silently while I was up on the rack; I thought that my pain would reach up and give strength to what I wanted. But I think I was fooling myself because the pain never stopped through divine intervention. The pain only stopped when the butcher decided he'd had enough. He was the only one who could take my hurt away. In my fevered mind, in the throes of an agony that I'd never experienced before, I realized that I should be praying to him. I opened my eyes and stared at him. He was smiling as he selected a knife from the table and ran his eyes over the blade. I could see he was thinking about how I'd fight to keep my cries of pain silent. He loved watching me tremble and shake; he loved waiting for me to say the words that he wanted to hear. I think the anticipation was part of the game for him, that sick bastard.
And that's how the days blended into one another. Each one was the same mix of pain and fear and blood. The same offer flowing off his lips, the same promise of freedom if I'd just do what he wanted me to do and carve some of my own anger onto another soul.
But I couldn't. I just -- I couldn't.