“Why?” You asked.
“To kill you,” he replied. “You thought otherwise?”
No. You wanted to know why. Whatever purpose this brought him was insignificant compared to what lay ahead of you. It took a truly vile person to do this to another human being, but perhaps that was the answer- he wasn’t human at all.
“Make it quick,” was all you said. You fought against the dread that choked your voice but it still raged through your head like hell.
He held up his knife and your breath hitched. He was examining it- the smears of blood and the imperfections at the edges.
“The rest of them abandoned you.”
“It’s difficult… to catch all of you.”
With this gesture you knew it was over. The opportunity for understanding had never existed. What he sought was complete control, and nothing could change that.
You closed your eyes and repeated a verse under your breath.
“God-fearer, are we?”
You continued, faltering, unsuccessfully trying to drown out the world around you.
“I know those lines," he said. "You only say them back to me because you're afraid of retribution.”
“No,” you replied, harshly, now that you were ready. “You should be afraid.”
He laughed. It was a coarse and unpleasant sound. “They never have the opportunity to lecture me before I silence them. You’re lucky.”
His fist collided with your stomach and you keeled onto the floor, gagging. You inexplicably began thinking about how distant the ground always felt. Getting pulled down to it was like being startled out of a dream.
“I remember how you took apart my traps. You should have left them alone if you wanted to live.” His fingers dug into your collar and pulled you upright. Vertigo overwhelmed your senses, waves of nausea churning at your insides.
“So they could live,” you gasped.
His frustration was apparent. That he could let those three escape, and that this one had helped them.
“You believe your efforts were worth it?” His palm on your chest pulled you closer. “Then you should be ready to die.”
The cleaver was at your throat. You froze, trembling in place, daring to live another moment.
“You’re a fucking monster,” you whispered, gathering from a sudden wellspring of courage. “Do it. Do it and burn in hell."
He pulled you backwards- flush against his body. His thighs caged around yours and the heavy cloth in the cradle of his hips pressed tight against you.
“We’re all human here,” he breathed into your ear. You could feel his voice on your neck as it resonated through the mask. “And what I am capable of doing to you is entirely human.”
Your pupils darkened at the sudden thought of this man hunched over you, performing unspeakable acts. He would not grant you a swift execution. That would be mercy. The urge to preserve your life and the urge to escape from pain were at war in your mind and you had no further choice in the matter.
“Whatever you do to me,” you rasped, his face so unbearably close to yours- “I swear it'll-”
He rutted his hips forward. A taunt. You would have fallen over onto your face had his arms not been holding you tightly.
“Dig your own grave. The more you speak, the harder I wish to split you in half.”
“It makes no difference.” You refused to lay powerless, words spilling out of your mouth without pretense.
Gripping your waist he shoved you against the wall and lifted your thighs over his elbows. Your back arched against the concrete, and looking forwards you were met with his heaving chest- he was tall enough to rest his forehead above you and gaze down at your navel like a butcher at a pig’s. “Then you should have come to me earlier.”
He used this horrible facsimile of intimacy to mock you. The Trapper was possessive, because he so meticulously understood his prey that he always wished to master them completely. When the herd left behind one of their own to appease a lion, its meat tasted much less sweet than that of its betrayers, and your agency was an insult to him in the same way. To kill you now would leave him with bitter disappointment.
You felt the calluses on his hand press hard against your inner thigh. The way he clenched the flesh there in appreciation made you grit your teeth- you needed to suppress any noise. You knew this man would find too much sadistic enjoyment in your cries and you doubted you could last much longer.
Well, his breath swarming your neck did nothing to stop you from reaching that point. The sheer heat of his presence was enough. He was a living being of flesh with furious intent, entirely unlike the cold indifference of death.
You heard gears winding and metal creaking. Before you could register what it meant, the teeth of the trap had snapped hard around your wrist.
You screamed. The pain was utterly hysterical. Everything except your mangled arm was overtaken by warmth as your mind fell into a world of blindness.
"My snares typically reach the legs," he said as he wrapped a chain around it. "Though I have little control over which part of you falls into them. Now that I have the option-" He tugged, looping the whole thing through- "I've chosen the hand."
You couldn't hear a damn word. You could hear nothing.
"You've done all your dirty work with these hands, repairing your machines and disassembling mine." He observed what lay in the jaws: a mess of skin and bone. The tendons that composed your fingers were torn beyond repair. "You must value them greatly to do your tricks."
His words were clinical but his voice betrayed him. It shook with feverish excitement.
He dragged you across the room, up to the hook, and he threw the chain over it.
You were left dangling by your wrist. Not as a sacrifice but as a hanging trophy, buzzkill, a plaything. He held your waist and wedged his knee between your legs so he could lean in, and when his cock moved inside of you he cursed, ever so softly.
The initial agony subsided over time. Now it turned into the steady drone of a sharp ache. It wasn't the pain that frightened you most, it was the feeling of numbness, the feeling of losing consciousness, the occasional cry for help that would erupt in some part of your body and then fade away in confusion. He was surprisingly steady for such an erratic talker. With every connection of his hips against yours it simultaneously jarred your open wound and sent a tremor of pleasure up your spine- they clashed with each other so well that it felt as though you were being torn apart at the center.
It didn't last long. He grasped you and nearly crushed you with an embrace as he finished, panting harder than he ever had from hunting you in the arena.
With a harsh tug he loosened the chain.
And so you came falling to the ground- except he'd caught you before you could crash.
Careful not to further aggravate the maimed flesh, he removed the trap from your wrist and tore strips of cloth off your body to staunch it. He was no healer. But you'd live. With crucial arteries at risk within that arm, you'd otherwise be dead within minutes of the running you'd soon undertake.
You were brought back to the gates. They were wide open. That's how close you were to escaping. Surely a final joke at your expense before slaughtering you. The last thing you'd see before oblivion.
He lowered you onto your feet and you stumbled away from him, wide-eyed, a brutalized and frightened creature. He began to leave. When he realized you hadn't moved, he turned to look back at you.
"Go," he said.
You stared back at him in complete disbelief. The coldness of the wind outside gave you a most unwelcome clarity.
"Did I not tell you to go? Did I fuck your legs into disrepair?" Although one was already carved onto his mask, you could sense a far more genuine grin from behind it. "I specifically crippled a hand and nothing else. Move or I'll slit your throat."
You didn't need to be told twice. You fled, clutching your wounds, the reality of the situation sinking deeper into your mind with every passing step.
The Trapper watched as you disappeared into the fog and out of his sight. For the first time, he'd willingly let his quarry go. Ridiculous. But the temptation to make you suffer was something he'd never indulged in before. He was a ruthless killer, an efficient one, the reward of his art was a corpse and nothing more. Once he captured his prey they were as good as dead.
And yet you were not as good as dead.
The scars he'd left on you were far better appreciated alive.
The very nature of his being was this. The cat and mouse he played was an insidious game. He rarely saw the moment his snares sprung into motion, and this was much the same. The effects of his torture would keep you churning on restless nights and grip your waking moments like a vice.
Duty be damned. You were worth every last one of them that escaped his grasp.