He Loves Me Not - Part II

     “He loves me,” Pandemic says cheerfully, as she peels off a nail from the finger of the screaming man strapped naked to the worktable. “He loves me not,” she chants, tearing loose another one.

     “Pandemic!” Desolation shouts. “Stop screwing around!”

     “I’m almost done,” Pandemic replies with a lilt of excited anticipation. “I want to see how this comes out. He loves me,” she says, ripping a third nail free as a long string of bloody skin dangles from its edge and the man’s screams turn to pitiful sobs. She studies the nail and strip of skin before dropping it to the dirty cement floor of the empty warehouse.

     “Please stop!” he begs through a veil of sweat, mucus and tears.

     “He loves me not,” Pandemic continues, ignoring his pleas.

     “So, we’re not getting paid for this one?” Hellbound asks, having to raise her voice over the man’s please for release.

     “I told you we’re doing this one pro bono,” Eradication answers.

     “I thought we were getting paid to be private dicks,” Hellbound says.

     “I know you are, but what am I?” Keening says out of juvenile habit.

     “So, we’re not eating tonight?” Desolation asks.

     “I didn’t say that,” Eradication replies, licking her lips as she watches the suffering of the man they have strapped down.

     “He loves me,” Pandemic repeats, lifting another nail free before moving on to the other side of the table to be closer to his other hand.

     “Please!” the man begs again.

     “Stop your bawling!” Keening snarls, giving him a hard slap to the face.

     “I didn’t do anything!” he wails.

     “Bullshit!” Keening replies, grabbing his nailess thumb and bending it in an unnatural angle, until the joint dislocates with a muted pop and the man screams again.

     “He loves me not,” Pandemic says, her lips forming a slight pout. With every not, she sounds more disappointed.

     “You know what you did!” Eradication hisses.

     “I didn’t do it,” the man says for the hundredth time.

     “No!” she replies. “They couldn’t prove it! There’s a big fucking difference.”

     “He…” Pandemic begins.

     “Wait! Please! Just wait!” the man pleads, causing Pandemic to pause. “They couldn’t prove it because I didn’t do it! Please! I could never have done those things. I have a little girl of my own!”

     “You’re not helping your case,” Eradication replies, nodding to Pandemic.

     “He loves me,” she says gleefully, folding back another nail and tearing it free.

     “Can we get on with this?” Hellbound asks. “I’m getting hungry.”

     “But you don’t have any proof I did anything!” the man screams. “You can’t do this to me!”

     “He loves me not,” Pandemic says, ignoring the conversations around her and focusing on the remaining nails.

     “That’s where you’re wrong, fucker,” Eradication says, leaning over to whisper tenderly in the man’s ear. “We can do whatever we want to you… and we will,” she says, as she brushes his sweat soaked hair from his eyes.

     “What are we waiting for?” Keening asks. “It’s cold and drafty in here!”

     “Quit your whining!” Desolation snaps.

     “Fuck you!” Keening replies.

     “Bitch! I will come over there and kick your…” Desolation begins.

     “He loves me!” Pandemic shouts, holding up a single nail to show the others.

     “Hey,” Hellbound says to her, pointing to the man’s one, remaining fingernail.

     “God damn it!” Pandemic says, as Hellbound and Keening begin to snicker. “Wait! I know!” Pandemic says, grabbing a heavy set of wire-cutters from the small assortment of hand tools they have spread out near the worktable. As the pedophile screams in terror, she casually snips off his little finger. “He still loves me,” she says, proudly holding up the dripping finger before popping the severed digit into her mouth, the small bones crunching under her powerful jaws. “Now you can eat the lying bastard,” she says around a mouthful of pinky-finger.

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