ANIMAL


His gaze wildly flickered from the devilish grin decorating the man's face to the thick stick covered in blood spatters he was holding. Booth gritted his teeth, already mentally screaming out in pain. For the last three days and nights the dark-skinned man had kept him company; he and his various torture devices he kept hidden in the shadows of the hut. Booth's body had made acquaintance with the heavy piece of wood several times. Splinters had dug into the top layers of his skin while the uneven surface of the club had left dozens of irregular dents behind.

The blood smeared all over the blunt weapon matched the blood trickling out of the numerous cuts and bruises spread across his body. Even in the dimly lit place he could see how badly beaten he was. There was almost nothing left of the man he used to be.

It was impossible to say what hurt more; his torso from constantly being hit and stabbed, or his hands from fighting against the restraints that were keeping him chained to the ground. The rope had grated enough times over his wrists to rip out the thin hairs on his arms and to slowly work a thin layer of skin away, making his hands feel like they were being flayed.

Booth nearly howled in pain when the stick landed on his rib cage in short mean blows. There was nothing to soften the blows since all of his clothes, except for whatever was left of his underwear and trousers, had been stripped away. He managed to contain his cries just in time. But the next time the club crashed down, a grunt escaped him because one of his ribs made a suspicious cracking sound. He fought once more against his restraints at the sight of his torturer smugly smiling down on him. The last thing Booth wanted was to make that creep happy. Unfortunately his exclamation had given the brute enough fulfilment to encourage him to continue his vicious torture.

The only thing he could do was trying to get as far away as possible from the stabs of hurt coursing through his muscles and gut. He arched his back in an attempt to avoid the wooden extension of his torturer, but ended up being punished for his move. The man he had begun calling "the Beast" took a firm hold of his club and struck him right in the stomach, without a doubt causing more internal bleeding.

The pungent smell of sweat penetrated his nostrils covered in blood crusts. Treating a prisoner to a fierce beating was an intense task that ate away one's energy and made him sweat like a pig. Perspiration dripped down the brute's chest and landed on Booth's body, also covered in sweat, just not from exertion, but from pain. The salt sinking into his open wounds made him twist around. It burned into his skin and mixed with the irony smell of his blood and the indefinable stench of mud, clay and rotting hay.

Booth had trouble wrapping his mind around the fact that in a span of three days, at least he believed it was only three, his body had been reduced to a messy pulp, only held together by bloody patches of skin. He was certain none of his organs were where they used to be, or at least were supposed to be. It felt like everything was shaken upside down; like he was turned inside out. In the short periods of time the Beast left him alone, he entertained his mind with images of his liver swimming around between his lungs. His bitter sense of humour was the only thing that kept him from going insane.

The expression on the face of his torturer had gone from devilish to sour when he had discovered Booth didn't make a sound, not even the smallest peep, at receiving the attacks. The Beast had run his stick over his prisoner's body non-stop, minutes in a row, even once for one hour long, but he hadn't got the slightest reaction except for brutal jerks of Booth's body. He had even switched tactics a couple of times, but had still ended up empty-handed. Continuously beating the crap out of the soldier hadn't got him any further, nor had shifting between driving the end of his stick in Booth's sides and hitting the man's limbs. Now that he had found Booth's weak spot, his ribs, the man's lips curled into a diabolic smile. He lifted his stick high above his head and resumed his thrashing on his prisoner's rib cage.

In the beginning Booth had tried to distance himself from the monotonous sound of his skin being flattened under the wooden surface of the stick. The slaps bouncing off the clay walls of the hut had sickened him, but he had been able to pretend it was only a rough massage he was getting. He had succeeded at drawing a different image in his mind, like he had been taught at army training. It had made it possible for him to endure this torment.

Things were different now that the Beast was mercilessly splitting his ribs in two, one by one.

Booth's legs flew up in the air, but didn't get any further than an inch away from the ground. The same rough rope that was skinning his wrist was wrapped around his ankles to keep him from kicking his torturer. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut as he felt himself near the point of explosion. A day ago he had given up on creating a distance between himself and his horrific situation. Instead of denying what was happening, and trying to maintain his sanity, he had allowed the pain to reach his brain.

Every blow was embedded in his memory; every time that stick kissed his skin was edged in his mind. The Beast's face, his smug grin and the scar underneath his left eye, was burned on his retina. He would never forget that man's features. They were imprinted on the soul that was slowly being crushed and grinded to dust. All Booth needed to see now was the same face after he had got a chance to repay the man's demonical beating.

He felt the anger seeping in. It crept up his legs, crawled through his gut, and went straight for his heart. It whirled around, and slid through his veins, until it had reached every part of his body, except for his brain. His limbs trembled under the rage that was coursing through every fibre of his being. A sadistic grimace pulled at the corners of his chapped lips and his vision blurred the more his emotions increased. He was barely able to suppress them. Now was not the time to let go of the wrath that was building inside of him.

The brute's self-satisfied smile faded as he watched his victim's body go numb. With Booth no longer fighting against his torment, it wasn't nearly as much fun anymore.

While Booth feigned to have passed out from the last round of ruthless whacking, another dark-skinned man clad in clothes smelling of dirt and death entered the shadowy hut. He exchanged a word or two in a foreign language with the Beast. Then he gestured at Booth's motionless body. Through his eyelashes Booth saw them approach, the Beast still clutching his club while the newcomer held a knife. To his astonishment they didn't drive the cold blade between his ribs, but instead used it to cut the ropes holding his legs down. Two more curt slides of the knife across the rough ropes later, Booth was no longer bound to the muddy ground. Still he kept perfectly quiet.

The two men each grabbed an arm and began turning him around. Booth quickly understood that they were flipping him onto his stomach so that the Beast could start on his back. If he really had been unconscious, he would have let them. If he hadn't cared about his safety anymore, or if he hadn't had this rage bottled up, he wouldn't have resisted.

Unfortunately for his capturers, Booth chose this moment to let out the caged beast pacing around inside of him.

The man that had last joined them let out a yelp before he fell dead to the ground, his own knife sticking out of his chest. One hand cradling his cracked ribs, Booth spun around. His eyes glittered dangerously as he approached the man that had put him through hell in the last seventy-eight hours. His torturer didn't even blink. He only grinned broadly when Booth landed his balled fist on his face. The Beast returned the blow and sent the soldier staggering backwards. Booth, never one to back down, launched another attack on him. A left hook, a right one, a blow that made the Beast's chin fly upwards, and the man still didn't go down.

Booth fell to his knees when the brute swung his club around, making full contact with his back. Every ragged breath he took was like razor-sharp needles being driven in his gut. His face scrunched up as he tried to gather all the energy he had left. The bloody taste invading his mouth awakened something inside of him. The shadows surrounding them filled his eyes, turning them impossibly dark with fury.

He felt it, the rage. Fed by the endless harassing and the smugness of his torturer, it had been building inside of him. The darker side of him was now spinning out of control. His inner savage animal jumped out of his cage and lunged for the Beast's throat. They both fell to the ground, rolled around in the dirt, exchanging punches and kicks. Booth hardly felt the man's knees smashing into his already badly hurt body. He was solely focussed on returning the beating he had received.

At some point Booth got a hold of the man's wooden weapon. With a strength he didn't know he still possessed, he took a heavy swing at the Beast's face. The man grunted in pain and didn't move for about two seconds, giving Booth enough time to pin him down. The life was slowly being squeezed out of him as Booth pushed the man's club down on his throat.

Their roles were reversed now. The torturer had become the captive while the former victim was now in charge.

Booth revelled in seeing the Beast squirm around under his death grip. He didn't feel the man's legs banging into his back, nor was he aware of his hands trying to push the stick away. To no avail it turned out. The man's futile attempts at fighting for his life resulted in Booth putting his entire weight onto the weapon. All the Beast could do was staring up at the man who was going to be the death of him. His eyes bugged out, and a choked noise left his throat, as the last ounces of life were being forced out of him.

"Not like this," Booth grunted, his voice no more than a growl.

He got up and witnessed the Beast feel for his throat, relieved for maybe one second. Then coldness settled in his eyes, showing a determination to overpower his prisoner again.

Booth patiently waited until the man had raised himself up on his arms before lifting his weapon high above his head and bringing it down again, putting all the misery he had gone through in the primitive cry he uttered. The Beast's skull was smashed to pieces with his own implement of torture, thereby ending his life and Booth's nightmare.

---°---

The FBI-agent opened his eyes as he felt Brennan wrap her hands around his. He tilted his head, meeting her intense gaze, trying to determine whether she was horrified, or appalled, by the memories he had just shared with her. Deciding that she wasn't, he drew in a shaky breath.

"That was the first time I killed a human being with my bare hands."


Well, what did you think? Different from my usual writing? Good, that's what it's supposed to be! Shout out to A2B (from the Boneyard) for sending me the Animal-video. As you can see, the muse got a little carried away with it. For those of you who are wondering by what song this one-shot is inspired, it's Animal I Have Become by Three Days Grace.

Thanks jemb for test-reading this. You are a darling!