Author's Note: This is the infamous hook scene from Sherlock Holmes' 2, Game of Shadows. Holmes's thoughts are in italics.
Pain is only the physical manifestation of an unpleasant sensation that the mind has not learned to adequately accommodate. It need not be catered to, it need not be excruciating, it must be ignored and managed. I will not not give him the satisfaction of gratifying him with so much as a flinch.
"A telegram was sent from here…" Moriarty's voice was a deceptively languid purr as he watched Holmes for any betraying flinch of unease.
Holmes fought the urge to shiver under the weight of that benign gaze as he forced his hands to still.
He could not show fear. He could not show anything revealing. He exhaled, slowly, and drew another breath.
Compartmentalize this terror into the safer realm of intellectual detachment. Do not reveal anything. Do not ponder the unknown, or what this man may do to you. Focus, Holmes. Find a distraction.
Mercifully, Moriarty helped Holmes' need for a distraction by resuming his brutal questioning.
"The telegram..Who was it sent to?" Holmes stared up at Moriarty with an indignant squint before bypassing the question completely.
"My horror at your crimes ,is matched only by my admiration at the skill it took to achieve them."
A perfectly glorious and stupid answer, Holmes. This groping for answers is far beneath me, damn it!
Warily, Holmes peered at Moriarty.
The man made a very convincing show of indifferently shuffling through the pile of papers. Holmes noted with growing unease the way Moriarty's fingers trembled and curled with the urge to strangle.
Moriarty inhaled a long, steadying breath. Pale eyes rising, and narrowing in scrutiny, Moriarty's pen glided across one of the pages with far too much deliberation.
"Who was it sent to?"
Moriarty leveled his gaze to Holmes, his inquiry a mockery of kind regard.
Holmes swallowed hard, noting the way that Moriarty's knuckles flickered white, how he hunched like an animal ready to pounce.
This man means to do me violence of some sort. I can't avoid it. All I can do is cause enough of a distraction to prevent him from inquiring about the original matter.
"You used the bombs to create a crisis in Europe; nation against nation. Under various…suitor names you bought, schemed or murdered your way into numerous industries…assuring that none of it could be traced to you. Cotton. Steel. Now arms and chemical weaponry. All to be shipped to Europe in less than a week. Everything from bullets to bandages."
Moriarty smirked at the brutal recitation of his crimes, perversely amused, as Holmes indignantly spluttered.
"Now, you own the supply."
Holmes paused in awed disgust, to stare at the wan light from the world outside. Moriarty's cruelty was unsettling as it was meticulous. To use intelligence for such disgusting gain made Holmes physically ill.
" You intend to create the demand."
Holmes breathed out with a shake of his head, "A world for all."
Moriarty regarded Holmes with a placid serenity, laced with contemplation. The silence between them was only broken by the tap of Moriarty's pen against the papers, and Holmes' pensive fidgeting that he could not halt.
Moriarty's chuckle sounded like fragmenting glass as he rose slowly and leisurely peered at the vacant world, only illuminated by the stars and the gaslight.
"You are…familiar with Shubert's work?"
Holmes squinted uneasily at the odd turn in the conversation. Moriarty had only asked a harmless question, and yet the venom was nearly dripping from his words.
Giving Holmes a remarkably patient smile, Moriarty hitched a shoulder, elegantly.
"The trout is perhaps my favorite. A fisherman grows weary of trying to catch an elusive fish. So he muddies the water; confuses the fish."
The veneer of deceptive pleasantry was fraying with each word like a noose. Holmes could not stop the shiver as Moriarty lowered his voice into a whisper.
"It doesn't realize until too late that it has swum into a trap."
Holmes only had time to notice the silver flicker of metal gliding forth in the wan light, the elegant curl of the hook, how it rose like a brittle star from the dark around them, and how it burned, and clawed through his flesh.
Burning, wrenching fire through his side as he numbly stared at the hook impaled through his skin. The thing splintered his rib, tore through the muscle and came to imbed itself just below his shoulder.
Awareness fractured, words broke down into a scream. Breathing was agony, the world suddenly dissolved into nothing but visceral instinct as Holmes futilely writhed against the hook.
And suddenly the ground was wrenched away from his feet. Holmes found himself dangling from the hook like that damnable trout.
Holmes clawed at the hook, recoiled at the hot wet that reddened his fingers and made the metal so hard to grip. The torpor that crashed over his awareness like a tidal wave was rapidly dragging him under.
From below, he heard the shards of a cackle as somebody cruelly hoisted the rope higher. Holmes swallowed back the vomit and the scream as he clutched at the hook.
Leverage. I need some sort of leverage to support the bulk of my weight, or else I'll keep sliding on this hook. I can only go downward, I can only dangle, there's nothing preventing my body weight from dragging me down and letting this hook embed itself more. I've probably pierced a lung. The chances are very high that I'll simply hemorrhage to death and expire by drowning in my own blood.
Blearily, Holmes heard the odd scratch of a phonograph's needle, the quiet rumble of a record, and suddenly, the flood of beautiful music that could barely mask his scream.
Die Forelle, by Shubert. Holmes noted, numbly.
One of the men gripped him, tilted him, and swung him high. Holmes groaned as he was swayed in time to the music, spinning, lurching, and dying. The blood loss must have been reeking havoc with his cognition. The swaying almost felt like dancing through the veil of trauma and agony that was now a dull ache.
Holmes recoiled to hear Moriarty's voice slither and blend in perfect harmony with the song.
Moriarty gently nudged Holmes out of the way and sent him whirling. Holmes cringed against the hook, helpless.
The ancient phonograph lurched onward as the music cheerily continued. Holmes slumped against the hook, nearly unconscious and barely breathing.
Holmes twitched at the unfamiliar hands snaking up his injured side, and coming to rest over the wound. He felt the heavy weight of the hands curling against his ribs, and the savage yank downward as the hook tore through his flesh a few more inches. Holmes kicked out frantically, but his boot heels only scraped empty air. The strangled ache in his side crumbled into renewed pain as he heaved broken ribs in the attempt to breathe.
The scream only came out a choked plea.
Moriarty gave him another smirk as he disdainfully gestured for the man holding the rope to let go.
And all Holmes knew was that he was falling. The world gave way, as he instinctively flung his arms out to stop the plummet.
Broken ribs and skin collided with the solid floor. Pain flooded outwards from his shredded side, and burbled up in the scarlet puddle beneath him.
Holmes curled after he collapsed, panting and staring at the ceiling without seeing it at all. He felt the cold metal radiating through his very bones as the hook shifted.
Holmes heard the annoyed sigh, the footsteps falling as Moriarty shook his head and stood over him.
Noting Holmes' agony with an irritated huff, he quietly resumed the brutal questioning.
"Let's try this again, shall we? To whom did you send the telegram?"
He paused with a scowl. Holmes heaved out a groan, quivering with the effort to draw breath.
"To…" The word was a choked lurch, as Holmes shut his eyes, surrendering to the lure of unconsciousness at last.