The air is thick with the scent of blood, clogging your nasal passages, weighing you down, because it's your blood. It tastes metallic in your mouth. You can feel it run through your fingers.
The unknown torturer laughs, An icy, cruel laugh, an EVIL laugh, and shivers run up and down your spine.
You brace yourself, waiting.
You can hear other screams coming from down a hall, you presume. You can't tell.
The air is thick with a heavy reddish colored smoke. You can't see anything.
The pain strikes again, with renewed force, and you scream. You've forgotten everything, your name, your age, who you love, why you're here. There is only pain, rising and falling in volume, ripping your mind to pieces, driving you into insanity. You can't move. You're paralyzed by pain. You think it can't get any worse and then it does. You can't breathe. And then it's gone.
You throw up, but manage to direct the puke over the side of the thin metal bed you lay on. You never hear the splatter of it against the ground.
Annabeth. The name gives you hope, though you don't know why. It's accompanied by glints of gray and gold, the smell of ripe strawberries, the cool gentle pressure of a hand entwined with yours. You miss Annabeth.
You are…you panic for a moment. You can't remember your own name. Percy. Percy Jackson.
Names give you comfort. They're memories of another life, a life without pain. Days have slipped into weeks, you don't even know how long you've been here. The pain strikes again, and you gag up bile.
The table you're laying on is slippery with blood.
You whimper pathetically.
You can't take much more of this. Already you're slipping away on a bed of clouds. Only the horrible metallic taste in your throat, and the heavy, pounding hotness in your bones keep you grounded. You struggle to name the feeling, because you've never felt it before. Normally, you feel anger, but then you let it go. Now you feel hate. Deep, agonizing hate. A fire burning in the core of yourself. Nothing your torturer can do will put out this flame. The bonfire is too far gone. You're almost grateful. It's what's keeping you alive.
Your throat is parched, dry and your lips are cracked and bleeding. You swallow painfully, and blood runs down your throat. Thick, heavy, choking blood. You cough, and your throat explodes into pain.
Your mind is spinning. You're floating away, no matter how hard you try to hold on. You're too weak. You can barely move. Your will is failing.
Your vision goes black.
Sometime later, you wake up.
Your torturer laughs and presses something against your side. You scream, so loud your voice gives out. The pain is nothing like you've ever felt before. It's so much worse. You're too weak to struggle.
You just lie there, sobbing in silent agony, only there are no tears. You're too dehydrated for tears.
You're so hot.
A voice breaks through the hazy smoke. "Percy? Percy, is that you?"
Yes it is! Has someone come to rescue you?
Your torturer snarls, presses the rod up closer to your body.
You roll your head blindly toward the voice, foggily searching for a face, a name for that voice. The mist clears, and you catch a glimpse of a mane of shaggy black hair, deathly white skin, midnight eyes.
The eyes lock on yours, green on black, and you try to convey everything in a single glance. The eyes widen in horror, and the face vanishes. The mist swirls back around your eyes, and as you close them in despair, a single tear squeezes itself through your lashes.
The face has brought back memories. They swirl behind your closed eyelids. Nothing this torturer can do will take these people away from you. Grover, with his acne and scraggly brown beard, baseball cap to hide his horns, baggy shirt and goat legs; Annabeth, with her long, curly sunshine yellow hair, grey eyes, dagger, and wide smile, tanned in the sun; Piper, with her brown choppy hair, and kaleidoscope eyes; Jason, with his straight gold hair, blue eyes, and purple shirt; Leo, his brown curly hair matted with oil; Hazel, smiling at you; Frank, baby eyes crinkled in a wide grin; Chiron in his wheelchair; Thalia, with her blue eyes, black hair, and rebel attitude; Clarisse, Travis and Connor, Mr. D, Nico, Poseidon. Rachel Elizabeth Dare. Your mom.
A smile shines on your face as you revel in the first happy moment in what feels like months.
Your torturer screams, and lashes you with an iron hot whip. You cringe, and the images shatter like a broken mirror.
You desperately grasp one, hold it tightly. Annabeth. You keep looking at her, but her image starts to fade. You're drinking her in, but your memory is fading and you can't remember what her voice sounded like, or what kind of sneakers she wore, or the cute look on her face when she fought you. The feel of her lips on yours.
You panic, strike out, and your torturer grasps your arm, and crushes it between his iron fingers. You cry out, but your voice is gone.
You gasp in silence, like a fish out of water. That's what you are. A fish out of water.
Your consciousness swims away on the river of time.
You come to again sometime later.
Something is changing, you can taste it. The air is hurried, tense. There's more bustle in the hallway. There's a small breeze. Air. Stale air, but moving air. You focus on it.
Your torturer seems angry today.
Welts line up like broken soldiers across your bare chest. More blood spills. You bite your tongue so hard it bleeds, too.
A whisper echoes through the chamber. It brings with it the sound of hope. Hours later, you're brought out of a head injury daze by a bright light, flashing in the dark a long way off. Another one. Another. Fireflies, you think dazedly. Beautiful fireflies. But then one pierces the darkness of your room and you squish your eyes tightly shut, and turn your head away. It's too light.
When the red fades from your eyes, you squint at the person standing (floating?) there. They're tall and thin, with salt and pepper hair and laugh lines on their face. You don't know who this man is. Maybe someone else come to hurt you.
The torturer screams with rage. It hurts your ears. You whimper. You must look pathetic.
"Hermes!" The voice says. "You won't get away with this!" The voice is like a cold dagger.
A red hot iron is placed on your chest. Your skin begins to smoke.
"Enough!" Hermes says.
The air turns dark and cold. Suddenly there are the sounds of fighting, grunts and yells and the sickening sound of a punch meeting it's mark. There is a explosion of gold, and all goes still.
Someone is standing over you, you can sense it.
"Percy?" The voice is gruff, but gentle. Nothing like your torturers voice.
You want to open your eyes, to thank Hermes, but you can't.
The torturer's last act was to throw a spear into your stomach. You're blacking out from the sheer pain of it.
"Oh, gods." He's noticed the spear point.
He swiftly cuts away the shackles, and slides his arm under your shoulder blades. Your broken shoulder blades. You gasp. You think he can feel the shattered bones shifting under his arm, but he grits his teeth and puts his other hand under your knees and pulls you up. You yell in pain. You can feel the broken bones shifting, and it's more than you can handle.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Apollo will heal you, I promise."
You're slipping away on a dark current. This is worse than the river Styx. A thousand times worse.
"No, Percy, no!" You can feel your heart rate slowing, you're floating away, Charon is there, standing beside you, asking for money.
The door is closing, you're letting it close, this is what you want, there's no pain anymore, ANNABETH. You turn around, groping desperately at the doors, and they open. You step through, back into pain, back into the light, back to Annabeth.