Title: Untitled Scene 001
Summary: My favorite murderess tortures an innocent woman for science. And fun, probably.
Series: Kate and Doyle
Characters: Kate Bennett, Doyle Thomas, Christina Knight; guest appearance by Inspector Abberline
Rating: M? I’m really bad at judging what’s appropriate for other people and what isn’t.
Status: One shot.
Length: 5 pages; 3,531 words
Genre: Umm… Horror, I guess. Really bad at this one, too. Sorry.
Other Notes/Warnings: I was feeling really morbid and angry when I wrote this, so at points, it could possibly be considered pretty graphic. There’s bondage and torture, not in a sexual way, but a literal way. I don’t really get very descriptive with things because I know my readers have imaginations, so there’s a fine line with this one.
She finally woke up and had absolutely no idea where she was. She couldn’t see. She could only hear silence. There was nothing tangible for her to grasp save the rough-hewn rope binding her wrists together, but even that exceeded her reach.
She lay on the ground, she knew that. And her arms were stretched above her head, lashed to a wooden pillar. She was barefoot and could feel the shocking cold of the stone ground beneath her. The flagstones bit into her shoulders and hips whenever she tried to move.
She was terrified.
She tried to remember what happened to her before waking.
She was walking down a London street—Harley Street, she thought; she vaguely remembered having spoken to that private detective, the handsome one. She hadn’t gone more than twenty paces from his front steps before she felt a hand snake around her, pressing a handkerchief against her mouth. The oddest smell she ever knew passed through her olfactory senses and…
She woke, finding herself blindfolded and tied to a pillar in what she could only assume was someone’s cellar.
A door opened in the distance behind her, creaking ominously as it did. The click of boot heels told her someone descended the stairs with light steps, shutting the door behind them. The footsteps approached her steadily, surely, slowly, until her visitor stood over her, the gentle breeze created by several yards of fabric sweeping across the floor floating by her face.
Her visitor was female.
Or a male trying to confuse her.
The female knelt beside her, great folds of fabric piling themselves in gentle mounds around her and against her arms. She could feel the soft scratch of lace and could hear the rustle of taffeta. Steady hands, the same temperature as ice, brushed over her face, reaching for the cloth around her eyes, removing it swiftly in one motion.
The dim lamplight blinded her momentarily and she blinked rapidly to focus her sight. When her vision cleared, she saw her visitor was indeed female. And incredibly beautiful.
She had long, dark hair, piled and pinned up fashionably in gentle curls. Her dark green eyes stood out against the paleness of her ivory skin. It wasn’t the color of the female’s eyes that caught her attention, though. It was the cold, unfeeling cruelty they held. This woman was very familiar to her, but she could not recall where she had seen her before.
“Miss Knight,” she said, her voice as cruel as her eyes. “You will not remember this night in your waking life. But you will recall it most vividly in your nightmares.”
“Who—who are you?” Miss Knight asked in a timid whisper.
“My name is of little consequence,” the woman replied, standing. She moved away from Miss Knight and the captive took the time to examine the room in which she found herself.
It was indeed a cellar. With flagstone flooring and wooden posts scattered about, supporting the building above them. There was little in the room, save three wooden tables, all beautifully and carefully made, all laden with what seemed to be a large chemistry set. Miss Knight couldn’t tell for certain from her position on the ground. There was one table, the one closest to her, that seemed empty, but for all Miss Knight could see, there could have been any number of shorter objects strewn across its tabletop.
“Please, let me go,” Miss Knight said. “I have no money, I have nothing of value. I am useless to you. Please. Let me go.”
The woman crossed to the table that appeared empty. “Everyone has something of value that they possess,” she said, sorting through the objects on the table. They clinked against each other metallically. “Whether they are aware of it or not.” She picked up a small bladed knife and crossed back to Miss Knight. “You see, Miss Knight, I deal in information. Not money. There is something in your head that I need and until you tell me exactly what I want to know, this entire ordeal will be terrifying and painful for you.”
Miss Knight kept her eyes on the knife and swallowed. “What do you wish to know?” she asked.
A sly smile crept to the woman’s lips. “You don’t get off quite that easily,” she said, her voice quiet. “My neighbor is investigating a case at the moment and he felt the need to speak to you most earnestly. I need to know why. What was he looking for in you? You have, quite literally, nothing to do with his case.”
“How do you know that?” Miss Knight asked, glancing from the knife to the woman. She thought back quickly to what she spoke to the detective about. It seemed so mundane to her, but he was insistent on perusing her knowledge of a variety of subjects. It didn’t make any sense to her.
The woman leaned close to Miss Knight’s face, a small shower of curls cascading down onto her cheek. “Because, Miss Knight,” she said, her voice barely perceptible against the silence of the cellar. “He is investigating me, though he may not know it yet.” She gently ran a finger down Miss Knight’s cheek, rustling her curls, mocking her. “I need to know what he asked you so I may know what your purpose is in all of this.”
“We spoke of nothing important, I assure you!” Miss Knight insisted.
“Your assurances do you no good.”
In one swift, calculated motion, the small knife ripped through the fabric of Miss Knight’s bodice, exposing her corset. In two more precise movements, the fabric of her sleeves was cut through and the dress was then pulled away, completely ruined and useless. Miss Knight lay there, shivering in fright, wearing just her undergarments. The knife flashed again and the cording keeping her bustle in place was ruined and the object cast aside, coming to rest on the blue dress. She squirmed in discomfort as the woman slowly dragged the knife down her right arm, tracing a line from her wrist to her elbow, then continued up to her shoulder. The blade, it seemed, was so sharp that though Miss Knight only felt pressure, a thin line of blood appeared on her arm, following the knife’s movements.
Seemingly satisfied with the thin, though sufficiently bleeding cut in Miss Knight’s arm, the woman stood and returned to the table, where she deposited the knife. And took up what seemed to be a salt pot. And a lemon half. She returned to Miss Knight silently, knelt, and overturned the salt pot above the opening she had created in her arm. Salt sprinkled out of the small pot and onto Miss Knight’s arm and into the wound. She cried out in pain. Until the woman squeezed the lemon half over it and the yellow-tinted liquid hit the slit flesh. Miss Knight screamed in agony. Rolling her eyes, the woman took Miss Knight’s jaw in one hand, opened her mouth and placed the lemon half between her teeth, pushing her tongue into her throat, gagging her, and quieting her sounds of pain.
“If that hurt,” the woman said, a scolding tone to her voice, “the remainder of tonight will be rather unpleasant for you. I promise.” She looked like she wished to smile at the prospect of causing Miss Knight pain. “Lemons and salt are child’s play to me.”
Miss Knight’s gaze darted around the cellar, looking for an exit or a window, something to reassure her that someone would find her eventually and remove her from this woman’s possession. “There is no way out,” the woman said, catching the darting nature of her captive’s eyes. “Save the door behind you. And there are no windows. This room is entirely sound proof. You’re not going to be rescued. No one will hear you scream.”
The woman chuckled quietly as she returned to the table. She picked up two devices and crossed back to Miss Knight’s side. The first device, which appeared to be a slotted sphere on the end of a handle, she set aside on the ground beside her. The second, two spiked wooden blocks attached to each other with large iron bolts, she balanced on her knee while she pulled Miss Knight’s petticoats up to expose her drawers-covered legs. The woman took her left leg and lifted it enough to slide the device over her foot.
But Miss Knight didn’t wish to be part of this cruel game any longer. She wrestled her leg out of the woman’s grasp, cutting her foot against the device’s spikes. “None of that,” the woman said firmly. She took up the first device, the one she set aside, and flicked it toward Miss Knight’s injured arm. The bleeding wound was still burning from the salt and lemon juice, but that pain was coupled with the sensation of thousands of insects crawling up and down her arm, biting her and tearing her flesh as the contents of the device, a purple liquid of some sort, fell upon her. She screamed in agony once again.
She was distracted enough for the woman to slide the wooden device up her leg to rest just above her knee. While Miss Knight screamed in pain, the sound muffled by the lemon half still lodged in her mouth, the woman turned the bolts evenly together, tightening the thing. The spikes cut into Miss Knight’s leg, tearing her drawers, tearing her flesh, drawing blood, which quickly stained the white fabric of her drawers red.
Miss Knight screamed louder, at a higher pitch.
The woman stood and, taking the slotted sphere with her, walked away from Miss Knight and leaned against one of the tables, her arms folded, and watched Miss Knight bleed and scream.
After several minutes, Miss Knight could no longer feel the pain in her arm or in her leg. Each limb had gone slightly numb and her voice silenced itself, her breathing heavy as she tried to inhale around the fruit in her mouth.
“Are you quite finished with that unnecessary display?” the woman asked, an eyebrow arched impatiently. Miss Knight nodded carefully, tears coursing down the sides of her face, wetting her hair at her temples. “Good.” The woman walked back to her side and nudged the device on Miss Knight’s leg with the toe of her boot. Pain shot through her body and Miss Knight hissed in response, keeping her voice silent. “Screaming does you no good. No one can hear you to rescue you and it simply wastes your energy and strength. You’ll need both in order to survive.”
The woman knelt beside Miss Knight and looked at her directly. “If I remove the lemon,” she said, “will you promise not to scream? It gives me a headache and then I can’t work properly.” Miss Knight nodded carefully again. She opened her mouth a little wider so the woman could easily remove the offending fruit. Suddenly able to breathe properly, Miss Knight coughed and gagged on the smell of blood permeating the air. The woman gently brushed the hair from Miss Knight’s face and murmured, “Slowly. Breathe slowly. Don’t overdo it or you’ll choke.”
“Why do you do this?” Miss Knight asked, her voice hoarse and quiet.
The woman shrugged. “It amuses me,” she replied. “And you have not yet told me what I wish to know. You’ve spent the time screaming.” She tossed the lemon aside. “Now, I’ve been very patient with you through all this, Miss Knight. What did you speak to my neighbor about?”
“Nothing, I swear,” she said, aware that the pain in her leg was returning. It was beginning to throb. “He asked me about my family.”
“Who is your family?”
“We are no one important,” Miss Knight insisted. “My sister runs a halfway house for misused women.”
“I expect you’ll need to reside there for a few months following this,” the woman commented lightly, standing and walking once again to her table. She deposited the slotted sphere and took up a hypodermic syringe. She took it to the chemistry set that had been silently bubbling for the duration of Miss Knight’s time in the cellar. Without a word, she took a glass beaker off a flame from the set, swirled the grey-green liquid twice, then plunged the needle of the syringe into it, pulling out the plunger and sucking it into the syringe.
“What is that?”
“Nothing so pleasant as you’ve already experienced,” she told Miss Knight. She lightly tapped the needle until a few drops of the liquid were flicked from it. As she crossed back to Miss Knight’s side, she continued to explain, “I’ve spent the last several years in research. Chemical, mostly. But I occasionally venture into botany, which is the study of plants. And when I do, I tend to find chemicals within the plants that react with other chemicals of a different nature in a manner that is useful to me.”
The woman knelt beside Miss Knight’s hands at the pillar. “This is useful to me,” she said, taking Miss Knight’s left wrist in hand and, with careful precision, she thrust the syringe’s needle under her skin and into a vein. Miss Knight gasped in pain. “Come now,” the woman scolded. “The needle is hardly anything to worry about.” Then, without warning, she pressed down on the plunger and injected the liquid into Miss Knight’s vein.
Within moments, a rash appeared on Miss Knight’s wrist. She rubbed against the rope in an attempt to alleviate the itching. But nothing helped. Miss Knight was in extreme discomfort. Her leg throbbed, her arm burned and now her wrist itched.
But her discomfort was focused on for only a moment before the convulsions began. Her entire body jerked and spasmed with them. The woman quickly moved away from her and watched until the convulsions ceased and Miss Knight was left, barely conscious. She was aware of the woman walking to the table yet again, then returning with a handful of hypodermic syringe needles that had been separated from their syringes. She only had an instant to wonder at the purpose of the needles before one was forced underneath the nail of her right forefinger.
Then, with a space of time in between them, each fingernail received its own needle. This was excruciatingly painful, but Miss Knight held her scream within her throat, only allowing a high pitched squeak to emit itself. It wasn’t until she felt the burning, stinging pain under her fingernails did she make a sound more than a simple squeak. When the pain under her fingernails was felt, her voice issued through her throat in a wailing, sobbing cry.
“Indian curry,” the woman explained. “It is the single most spicy dish I have ever had the pleasure of consuming. I had the thought that perhaps I could insert it into hollow needles and use it to inflict pain upon others. If the curry had burned my tongue and throat, imagine the pain it could cause underneath the fingernails.” She paused and looked at Miss Knight, who still sobbed. “Of course, you don’t have to imagine, do you?” She shrugged and walked to the table once more.
Miss Knight continued to cry. The woman rolled her eyes again, sighed and covered Miss Knight’s mouth with a handkerchief pulled from her sleeve. She held the handkerchief in place until the sobbing quieted. “What else did you speak to him about?” the woman demanded. “He couldn’t possibly care about your family. They don’t have any influence on anything to do with me. What else did you tell him?”
The woman had to wait a full five minutes before Miss Knight’s sobs subsided enough for her to speak. “He asked me about my sister’s relationship with Inspector Abberline of Scotland Yard,” she said, tears running quickly into her hair.
“And what is her relationship to the Inspector?”
“They are engaged to be married.”
“Again, nothing to do with me. What else?”
“He asked about my cousins!”
“Who are they?”
“The Cassidys and the Bennetts!”
The woman walked quickly away from Miss Knight. “The Cassidys?” she repeated. “Tell me about them.”
“He wanted to know about my cousin Ciara Cassidy,” Miss Knight explained. “She’s been causing trouble in America. There’s rumors that she’s been killed, but no one’s seen her body so there’s no real confirmation that she really is dead or not.”
“And the Bennetts?”
“I’ve never met them,” Miss Knight said. “My sister has. There’s five sisters. Cora, Mary, Laura, Kathryn, and Alice. There’s some suspicion that Kathryn’s been up to no good in London. She hasn’t been seen in nearly six years.”
The woman watched Miss Knight as she took shuddering breaths and bled over her cellar floor. “Thank you,” she said finally. She took another syringe from within the folds of her dress and injected Miss Knight’s leg with its contents. After a moment, Miss Knight’s eyes fluttered shut and her breathing became shallow and even. “You’ve been very helpful.”
The cellar door opened. The woman looked up to see her neighbor standing in the doorway at the top of the stairs. He said nothing until he reached the bottom step. “What do you plan to do with her?” he asked, gesturing to the sleeping woman on the floor, still lashed to the pillar.
“I had thought much on it really,” the woman replied, taking a towel from her table and wiping the chemicals and poisons from her hands. “To be honest, I didn’t expect her to survive this long.”
Her neighbor slowly crossed the cellar, his hands shoved in his pockets. “If you let her go, she’ll go directly to Abberline and he’ll arrest you,” he told her.
“I know, dear.”
“The entire point of this was to prove the human spirit was stronger than previously imagined,” he reminded her. “And you’ve done that. She survived six hours with you. If you’re arrested, your research will come to a complete standstill.”
She turned to look up directly into his brown eyes. “Are you encouraging me to kill her?” she asked bluntly. He didn’t respond. “I never thought I’d live to see the day.”
“Kate,” he said, taking her hand in his. “You’ve just spent the better part of six hours torturing information out of your cousin. It would be a kindness to kill her. If she discovers who you are, she will go completely mad.”
Kathryn Bennett, for that was the woman’s name, tilted her head and regarded him for a moment, thinking quickly. “There is that rash religious murders Abberline is investigating,” she said thoughtfully. “I could deposit her somewhere and manipulate the scene to appear as one of those.”
He nodded. “I’ll assist you,” he said. “What do you need me to do?”
“Wait until I need you to move her,” she said, picking up her knife again.
The next night, Miss Knight’s body was discovered in the Grand Hotel, tied to the bed frame. Her eyes had been removed, her body had been further destroyed, the flesh of her chest torn open, and a large crucifix had been lodged tightly into her mouth, her jaw broken and tracks of blood dried down the side of her face. The bed was saturated with blood.
Abberline stood over the corpse, his expression grim, when Doyle Thomas entered the hotel room. He turned at the sound of the consulting detective’s footsteps. “Thomas,” he said, nodding to his colleague.
“Fred,” Thomas said in his own greeting. “Your fiancée’s sister?”
“Yes,” the Inspector said dully. “This is Christina.” He sighed and rubbed his face. “What am I going to tell Emily?”
“I’ve often found the truth works best,” Thomas offered.
The was a pause in which Abberline nodded. “Have you any ideas about this one?” he asked.
Thomas crouched beside the bed to examine the corpse. “Only that the culprit of such a horrific crime is a mentally unstable individual,” Thomas said. “There is nothing on the body to offer a clue as to their identity.” He stood and shook Abberline’s hand. “Good luck, Inspector.” Then he left.
Outside the hotel, a cab waited for Thomas. He entered and sat, shutting the door, before rapping his knuckles on the trap in the roof. The cab left the hotel with a lurch and the detective looked at his companion. “He doesn’t suspect you,” he said.
Kate moved from her seat to the one directly next to him on the opposite bench. “Thank you,” she said quietly.