WARNING: disturbing imagery, deals with torture
Disclaimer: not my characters, but my story
Distribution: Do not post elsewhere without permission. Ask, I may say yes.
Feedback: welcome and appreciated.
"My friends," and his voice was genuinely kind, "this is the creature which you've been told about. Thanks to discontinued military research into demon-kind, he is restrained by a microchip which renders him unable to harm humans..."
The apparently incensed demon took this opportune moment to lunge towards one of the men in the arc. The man, stocky, bald, and trucker-tanned, froze and blanched. Before the vampire's fangs came within a foot of their target, he was reeling back, clutching his head, and howling in wounded rage. The man's face broke into a smile that quickly turned smug.
"...As you can see," Mitchell finished, amusement in his tone. "The room has been outfitted with the tools you may need. Biting the subject, although apt, is strongly discouraged, as the animating pathogen in vampires is blood borne. Wooden implements and blades larger than six inches have been banned to prevent accidental staking or beheading. Fire is also fatal to vampires, and while the use of flames is permitted, should fatal immolation appear imminent, sprinklers will activate and the session will terminate immediately.
"Please remember that the continuing existence of this specimen allows the Institute to provide therapy to others in your situations. Also that final death would end the creature's suffering.
"Staff is on hand to provide any necessary assistance with restraint or sedation. Despite its chip, the creature is supernaturally strong and may resist. Rest assured he cannot do you harm, regardless. You may begin."
"I have something I'd like to do," a young woman named Chris spoke out. She'd been tentative at first, uttering mild epithets, kicking half-heartedly, and weeping, but a determined gleam had come into her eyes, and she'd applauded and sworn a blue streak in celebration when Isaac had branded the beast with a poker.
The rest of the group waited for her. "You know what happened to my sister. The police said she'd been... violated, before she died. I'd like... I'd like to do the same to this. See how he likes it."
In another room, among other people, among these people had the creature curled about himself on the floor at their feet been human, this suggestion would have been met with shock and reprobation. Here, grim smiles and nods were her answer.
None of the men wanted to defile themselves by carrying out the act personally, and anyway, Chris had suggested it, and she lacked the necessary equipment to do so. Anybody else stepping in would have been rude, and this group had bonded in solidarity over their shared losses. The racks and shelves along the wall were inspected, a billy club was found to be appropriate, and was promptly put to use by Chris, then the others. "Go on, fuck the filthy little faggot," the trucker muttered. The demon's true face melted away to its human mask, and it cried.
The session concluded and the clients gone, Mitchell departed the booth and entered the room. The vampire was limp and bloodied on the floor, his eyes rolled back with whites showing, his face crusted with dried tears, his neck turned at an unnatural angle. Mitchell cleared his throat.
The head lolled towards him and the eyes closed fully. After a moment they opened again.
"It was a bad one," Mitch commented blandly. He knew that to fuss or show sympathy would provoke derision and anger. Spike had transferred a female session supervisor who'd wept on his behalf.
Spike's blink indicated assent. With visible difficulty, he commented, "Not as bad as those Cleveland wankers. They were a bloodthirsty lot. Made good use of my signature railroad spikes." For all his attempted nonchalance, he was shaking.
The ritual pleasantries having been observed, Mitch covered the vampire in a wool blanket to provide a modicum of modesty, then hauled him to his feet. Only under the most extreme circumstances would Spike allow himself to be carried; even then, he might insist on being left on the floor. One never knew. Supporting most of his weight, Mitch brought the battered man out of his hell chamber and into the recovery room. Once there, he aided him to sit, gingerly, upon a hospital-style mattress, and set about warming the blood Spike would need to heal. All this was done in silence.
"Does it help?" Spike asked, softly. Mitchell turned, surprised; usually, by this time, Spike would be staring into nothing cataloging horrors he'd committed, or else be half unconscious on the verge of coma-like sleep. This time, his eyes were bright, focused, his expression fragile.
"Does it... does it help them, do you think?"
Mitchell thought about the Institute's official answer. That only those most afflicted by vampire attacks, least able to move on or function, came to them at all. That only the minority of those carefully screened and profiled to be most likely to benefit from this violent therapy were invited to participate. That the experience of confronting, and usually violently attacking, a monster like those that had caused their devastating trauma and loss was both cathartic and empowering. And he thought about this most unlikely volunteer, who played neutered, who played remorseless, who'd offered this service out of the frantic guilt of his reborn soul.
"It doesn't fix anything," Mitch said. This vampire hated courteous pretense. "It doesn't give them their wives and husbands and children back." Spike's gaze dropped, and his head fell in a half-nod. "But," Mitch qualified, "They walk out of here, and they're not victims anymore. They're not so scared. They could spend years in talk therapy and not get what you give them in one day."
Another nod. Never one for niceties, Spike after a session rarely replied unless it was necessary. The microwave beep-beep-beeeeped, and Mitchell handed over the warmed blood. Spike gulped it down in spaced, matter-of-fact swallows, then returned the mug, and lay down facing away from Mitchell.
The vampire was different from others he'd encountered in his life, Mitch had long since ceased to doubt. Spike never slept better than after his punishment. Mitchell regarded the pale, bruised back for a moment, before killing the light and shutting the door.