The man gasped as the guards forced him into a kneeling position. He was no doubt rupturing some recent injury of his. The thought was just the tiniest bit divine and brought a calculating smirk to The Skull's thin lips. Of course, on the inside he was grinning and cackling like the madman he was but he only rarely let that part show. As the man looked up The Skull, or Johann as next to no one called him, transformed the smirk into a warm paternal smile with practiced ease. He stood leisurely and skirted his hard wood desk.
"Gentlemen," he said lightly, addressing the two black-garbed sentries. "Why don't who take a break, maybe grab a coffee, I would like a word alone with the private." The guards looked at each other and nodded then left the room through separate doors, locking one but leaving the other slightly ajar. After all, one man would soon be leaving but not two. Johann stood patiently waiting until they had disappeared before squatting down next to the private. "What's your name son?" He inquired kindly.
"P-Peter sir." The young soldier stammered. The Skull slowly cocked his head to one side, studying the prisoners profile as if he were a rare bird. Johann was, of course, a larger bird, probably a hawk that was marking the small rare bird for future consumption.
"Well Peter I'm afraid I've been hearing some troubling news." His voice sounded like that of a disapproving parent. "It seems you were caught corresponding with the Americans." The soldier gulped but was on edge enough to remain silent. The Skull's eyes narrowed, the rare bird becoming a kind of bedraggled hen in his mind. He reached out slowly and cupped the man's jaw with one of his black-gloved hands. The soldier stiffened, shying away from his touch but Johann caught the other side of his face and gently turned his head to face him. The private's frightened brown eyes stared into ones that were manipulating and ice-blue.
It was an amusing tactic, making a prisoner feel uncomfortable and then oddly relaxed and the sadistic side of The Skull, which was most if not all of him, was immensely enjoying the man's reaction.
"Peter is this true?" He coaxed, sliding one of his hands onto the man's left shoulder in the hope that he would feel a bit more at ease. It worked.
"Y-yes." The Skull's smile broadened, his eyes lighting up.
"There was that so hard?" The private shook his head hesitantly. "Now Peter," Johann continued, "If you would just answer a few of my questions I might be able to get you off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist." The soldier nodded slowly. "First of all, who is this 'Captain America' fellow whom I have been hearing so very much about?" The soldier's eyes widened in dismay, the brown irises flashing.
"I-I have no idea." He stuttered, making his lie extremely obvious by glancing down and to the left, avoiding eye contact. Johann's eyes narrowed ever so slightly, the ice within them darkening. He sighed although he did not regret what had to be done in the least. The hand on the man's shoulder slipped easily around his throat and The Skull squeezed, crushing the windpipe with a surprising amount of strength.
"I'm not going to ask again Peter." He said calmly. He stood slowly as he did so, lifting the private several inches of the ground. Johann paid no attention to the man's squirming and choked noises.
"His name is… Steve Rogers!" The private managed to gasp. The pressure on his neck lessened somewhat. "He was… the… subject of Askin's experiment." The Skull stopped strangling him altogether but kept his hand wrapped around the soldier's throat nonetheless. "He's some sort of super soldier now. That's all I know I swear!" Johann studied him coldly for a moment but even he had to admit that he knew nothing else. With a dissatisfied sigh he released his hold on the private's neck and he dropped to the floor still gasping. No doubt the strangulation would leave many bruises. Johann wasn't going to give them time to develop.
He made his way to the door but stopped before leaving entirely. He reached into one of his pockets and withdrew a long, nickel-plated cigarette holder and a match. He deftly placed the first between his lips before striking the match on the doorframe. He lit the end of the cigar watching the smoke curl up towards the ceiling. He took a long, tired drag and, half-turning so he could see the soldier still lying on the floor, he exhaled. A huge, black cloud billowed from between his parted lips, filling the room almost immediately. The man gasped but his breathy was cut off. Johann smirked again.
The private's skin began to shrivel and take on a hideous red discoloration. His hair went limp and began to fall out in large clumps. His eyes sunk back in his skull. When the soldier's first agonized scream reached his ears Johann couldn't help himself. He grinned insanely, flashing startlingly white teeth. He turned around lifting his mask off of its hook by the door and donned it. Then, most of his face obscured, the now very aptly named Red Skull stepped through the door, locking it behind him.