A/N: Wohoo, a new story from me :) I really need something to get my mind away from my horrible school right now. English Linguistics - EW! Now, I should mention that this story will feature really nasty things, most likely some gore. Chill, it'll be an awesome ride. Beta read by the lovely LT! Thanks babe, and good luck in the big city!
The first thing he registered was the sound. The slow, whooshing, almost lazy sound sweeping by his ears. He tried to place it, but no source possible came to mind. Apart from the whooshing noise and the occasional creak and crack, it was completely silent around him.
Hotch winced and frowned. His head was pounding like crazy and he almost felt nauseous. Trying bravely to clear his muddled mind, he lifted his arm to rub his eyes. It felt like a slab of meat, at least 50 pounds and almost impossible to maneuver. Rubbing his stinging eyes, Hotch was finally able to focus his gaze. Only there was nothing to focus on.
Turning his throbbing head to the side, he realized that he was lying on his back on the floor in a practically barren room. The walls were tattered and cracked, and the floor was wooden and cold. With a grunt, Hotch rolled over onto his side and raised his upper body onto his elbow and under arm. Looking around, he tried to orient himself.
Where the hell am I?
The back of his head was pulsating and felt hot as fire. Hotch raised his free hand to hold his head, and as he withdrew it he realized he was injured, as his fingers were stained with bright red blood. Pushing the pain aside, he wiped the blood off on his dress trousers and sat up.
Bit by bit his memory cleared up and he began to remember what had happened earlier. The scene was played back vividly before his eyes.
He had just arrived outside his apartment building and parked his car in his spot. Walking from the car, he thought about how tired he was after spending a week in Utah and how good that glass of scotch would taste; the glass he would pour himself about thirty seconds after locking the door behind him. After that, he'd call for Chinese take-out and collapse on the couch in front of the TV. National Geographic's Channel was airing a "Forensic Detectives"-marathon tonight.
Digging in his jacket pocket for the clicker to his front door, he made a humming sound, almost resembling a few notes from a song heard long ago. It lasted only a second or so, but was still there. Somewhere in the distance, a fire truck was blasting its sirens.
The strike to the back of his head came from absolutely out of nowhere, taking Hotch by complete surprise. He was sent to his knees, a bolt of white pain flashing through his head. Dropping both his clicker and his briefcase, the agent fumbled for his firearm, but time was too short. Another blow to his head sent him reeling over the concrete. He scrambled dizzily to get control of the situation, but his vision was blurred and his legs refused to obey him. A third strike hammered him to the pavement, and as he lay on his back, aimlessly wailing his arms for protection, one last blow to his head made the world go black.
Hotch pushed himself off the floor and up to his feet. The burning jolt of pain shooting through his head made him wince slightly, but it was over as soon as it started, and he could look around. There was nothing in the room except a wooden door in one of the walls. There wasn't even a window, only brown, tattered walls with fading, dirty wallpaper that was falling off in shreds. The floor was covered in dirt and dust, most of which had attached itself to Hotch's trousers and shirt. His jacket was missing.
A single light bulb hung from a cord on the ceiling, swinging slightly. At least there's air, he thought as he saw the bulb moving.
Steering his steps towards the door, he twisted the door knob. Naturally, nothing happened. To be honest, the experienced agent would have been more surprised if the door had indeed swung open. Whoever put him in here did it for a reason.
Looking around the walls, he tried to locate the source of the air flow, but nothing stood out. He began knocking the wall next to the door. Tap tap. Solid.
"Hello?" he called out to no one in particular. "Is there anyone there?"
Now he noticed the smell. It smelled of mold, wet dirt and old wood. It was definitely an old house, wherever it was, and hadn't been used in a long time.
Suddenly, a loud, distorted voice boomed through the room, making Hotch jump ever so slightly.
"Good morning, Agent Hotchner."
It was followed by a few moments of silence before Hotch responded. "Who are you?"
"That is not of any importance. What is important is that you are here. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time."
"And where is 'here'?" Hotch knew he would gain very little by letting his rage and frustration out. He had to keep calm and collected to find out more about the person holding him here.
"You always were full of questions. But enough now. There is something you need to do. As a matter of fact, that is the reason you are here."
Hotch scanned the room to spot the source of the booming voice. He finally found it. Neatly imbedded in the stained ceiling was a black speaker, the size of a CD.
"If you want to get out of this room, Agent Hotchner, you have to play a little game with me."
A sharp twist in Hotch's stomach sent a wave of anger induced nausea through his gut. He swallowed it back. "I don't play games."
"I do recommend that you reconsider that. It's rather important that you leave this room. You see, there's someone on the other side of the door who would much like to meet you."
Hotch stood silent.
"Talk to the man."
"Who am I supposed to…?" He started but didn't get to finish before a new, undistorted voice sounded through the speaker. This voice was much more insecure. Hotch's heart took a leap into his throat when he recognized the voice.
"Hotch? Hotch, what's going on? I can't…augh!"
The voice was abruptly interrupted by what sounded like a punch and a yelp, and the distorted voice returned.
"So, Agent Hotchner. Will you play my game now?"
Hotch gritted his teeth. "I will not play your game, and if you hurt him I swear to God I will…"
"You'll what?" the voice interrupted. "You can't even get out of the room. I can pretty much do whatever the hell I want."
There was silence for a moment before it was pierced by a blood curdling scream. Hotch took a few rapid steps towards the speaker. "No! Stop!" The scream repeated itself after a second, and it was too much for Hotch to bear. "Alright! Alright, I'll play!"
The scream morphed into a groan, then a small moan and finally a whimper before dying out completely. A metallic clang was heard in the background before the demonically distorted voice once again was heard from the speaker.
"A wise choice made by a wise man."
"Leave him alone."
"Won't lay a hand on him, as long as you do as I say."
Hotch didn't trust the person on the other end of the microphone further than he could spit. But right now, he didn't have a choice. He also hoped that by cooperating moderately with the UnSub, he could gain more knowledge about him. Being here alone told him more than enough about the UnSub to know that he should not play the cocky federal agent. That would hurt both him and his subordinate. "What is it that I'm supposed to do?" His voice never faltered.
"Play the game, Agent Hotchner. Find the key to the door, and you are free to leave. It's somewhere on you."
Hotch instinctively put his hands in his trouser pockets, finding them empty. The shirt pocket on this chest was also empty, as were the back pockets of his dress pants. He patted the shirt and the pants, dug his toes around in his shoes, but there was nothing. He looked up at the speaker, nearly burning it up with one single glance.
There was a short chuckle.
"Did I say on you? I meant in you."
Momentarily stunned, Hotch stared at the ceiling. "What?"
"The key is somewhere in you. Good luck finding it. I'll talk to you again, should you manage to exit the room. Toodles, Agent Hotchner!"
Hotch's brain quickly analyzed the situation and the options he had. The list was quickly narrowed down to two. Option one was to do as the deranged psychopath told him. Option two was much more attractive at the moment.
He took a few steps away from the door, then charged at it, shoulder first. The impact was hard, but the door didn't budge. Repeating the procedure, he charged at the door, but once again it didn't give way the least. After a few tries, he had to give up. His shoulder felt like it was shattering, and the door stood as if bolted.
Thinking about what the UnSub had said, the gears in his head started turning. It all felt very familiar somehow.
Where the hell could he possibly have put a key 'in' me? He thought, unconsciously putting his hand on his stomach. There are only so many places that things can be inserted.
He shuddered at the thought of having a foreign object involuntarily put into his body.
He couldn't have made me eat it. That's impossible. Could he have…no…
A disturbing thought flew through Hotch's mind. There were only so many places a key could be inserted. And he had already excluded one. The one remaining was not an attractive place to go digging for hidden treasures.
Hotch's head was still throbbing and he covered his face with his hands, rubbing his eyes with his fingers. He ran his fingers through his hair, trying to figure out what to do. Everything was beyond confusing. He winced as he accidently grazed his wound with his hand, and jerked his hand away.
A second later, he reached back up to the open wound, a thoughtful twinkle in his eye.
There are only so many places…
Letting his fingers run over the jagged edges of the wound, they became warm and sticky with blood. Almost instantly, he found something that was out of the ordinary. Under his skin, about half an inch from the wound's edge, there was a thin, hard rise. It was painful to even touch it.
It felt like a key, and it was buried under his skin.
"In" my body. You sick bastard.
Hotch began prodding at the key, trying to push it towards the open wounds. It slid along under the skin, cutting and shredding everything in its way. He groaned, screwing his eyes shut and clenching his jaw. It took him almost a full minute of excruciating agony to get the key close enough to the wound for him to actually make physical contact with the metal.
Stopping momentarily, he drew deep breaths. He felt his legs beginning to wobble and his fingers were trembling terribly. Hotch had to lean on the wall to be able to continue. With one last gathering of strength, he reached up with both hands behind his head. With one hand, he strenuously dug a finger under the torn skin and lifted it as far as he could. With the other, he eventually managed to coerce the cursed key out from under the flap. Grunts and groans, almost animal like noises, escaped him as he fought the piercing pain. Over and over he lost his grip on the key as it was covered in blood and his fingers were full out shaking. Finally, he had the key between his fingers and could let go of everything else. With one last groan, he brought his hands down and looked at the key in his hand.
When I get a hold of this guy… He thought, balling his fist around the bloodied key.
Leaning against the wall to regain composure, Hotch drew some deep breaths, bringing oxygen to his brain. Soon, he was clear enough to move again.
He hurried towards the door, bringing the key up to the lock. With a quick twist and a sharp click, it was opened. Hotch pulled on the knob and almost tearing the door open. Once it opened, he stopped short, letting go of the knob.
He stood face to face with a solid brick wall.