Chapter 77: Deliverance

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Lex spent what felt like an eternity feeling her tears dripping off her jawline, and the occasional drop of blood falling from her fingers. The enormity of what she'd done, as well as what happened to her felt like it would weigh her down enough to crush her, so Lex just focused on evening out her breathing again as she stared at her spot on the wall.

She realized she must have zoned out, since the next thing she remembered was a quiet voice calling to her in semi-darkness.

"Lex, wake up," she heard, and cast her eyes around, trying to see who'd come into the room, but it remained dimly lit as usual after no one had been moving around in it for a while. After some time, she turned her eyes to Art's still form, however, realizing that she'd recognized the voice.

"Art?" she whispered, straining her eyes to look at where they'd leaned him up against a filing cabinet a few feet away.

Blinking a few times, Lex tried to get a better look at Art, but she couldn't see any difference from how he'd appeared before, and didn't see him moving.

"Lex, we're coming," his voice called out again, with just enough volume for her to hear.

"No!" she cried, or tried to. Her voice came out cracked and low, something she could hardly hear herself. "Tell them not to come. There's no way out of here."

She strained her ears for minutes afterwards, only half expecting an answer, and got none. Maybe I'm starting to lose my mind she thought, and allowed her eyes to close, willing herself somewhere else, wishing she could fly away.

Lex woke up sometime later to the sound of something ripping, but could only move the one forearm that had been left free after the last session. She realized she'd raised it in front of her, the sole thing between her and Mengele, who stood pulling a length of duct tape from the roll. He wore what looked like shooting headphones, but Lex didn't have time to get out a word before he slapped the piece of tape over her mouth and smoothed it over her cheeks. Just to be sure, she guessed, he put another couple of pieces on her before he removed the headphones.

"Are you awake now?" he asked her as he leaned in close to her face.

She met his eyes, which looked crazed, and flicked her gaze downwards. He sported a length of gauze over his neck, and she raised an eyebrow as she spotted the edge of another piece taped to his chest as it peeked over the neckline of his shirt.

"I bet you think you're pretty fucking clever," he said, his face still inches from hers. "That won't save you, here. It doesn't matter how smart you are, we'll get you in the end. You seem like a real tough case, and that's good. Tough cases mean tough methods. I think I'll start by breaking every bone in your hands. I'm the last person who's ever going to look at them and find them beautiful, believe me. Besides, you don't need your hands to talk."

He continued mumbling, sounding like he was trying to convince himself of his plan, and Lex felt her stomach fall. She looked down at her hand and felt tears spring from her eyes again. I want to live, she reminded herself. No matter what, I want to live.

As she watched, he picked up a hammer. She tried to evade him, but he grabbed her hand and pulled it closer to him. "Just stay still, bitch," he muttered as he held her hand so that only the tip of her index finger sat over the edge of the table. Lex slammed her eyes shut and tried not to cry out as she felt the impact. The cracking sound made her stomach lurch, but her nausea seemed limited as to what it could accomplish on an empty stomach.

Lex could feel tears running down her face again and she tried to rein in her breathing as the pain seemed to obliterate everything else. The room faded away due to the bright, white sparks in her vision, but flared up again as Mengele grabbed her hand to examine it.

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