Warning: Body horror, violence, gore, non-con/dub-con situations, and torture.

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To this day, Kieren still has so many questions not yet answered. He didn't mean the existential questions either like, why are we here? What are our purpose? His questions were a lot more simple and could probably be answered eventually.

Like, why do we blink? The whole point of blinking was to clean the eye and wipe away any foreign debris. He was dead. He didn't produce tears, he didn't produce saliva or any other bodily fluid. So why blink? When he asked that question back at the compound, he got laughed at by the others.

There were other questions that flittered through Kieren's head he has never said out loud. Why didn't he smell? Why can he register pressure but not actual touch?

"Ooh... aren't you a pretty one?"

This man was paler than Kieren was, if that physically possible. However, this man was alive. The way he practically salivated at the sight of Kieren was enough to tell. He was also immensely tall, bald, and had shoulders like a truck. It was actually a pretty ludicrous sight to see, considering he was as thin and bony as Kieren was.

"I like the pretty ones," the man repeated. He went to the side, grabbing a pair of blue latex gloves from a box. He snapped them on. "They scream the loudest."

The metal seat Kieren was strapped down to was clearly well-used. There were small indentations in the arm rests, especially around where his fingers sat. How many were strapped here, digging their nails in complete horror? Even the leather straps bounding his arms and legs were stained black with ancient blood.

"I'm a PDS sufferer," Kieren tried to say calmly. He wanted to scream, wanted to run. How could he feel like he was about to hyperventilate if his lungs and heart weren't working? "I can't feel pain."

"I know," said the man. "It makes things a lot more interesting."

There were tools on a moveable tray sitting right next to Kieren. Surgical tools. Scalpels, hand saws, small scissors, pliers, one of those tiny mirrors dentists used. There was a basin, pins, and a beaker with its measurements printed on the side. The rest of the tools were all pointy instruments Kieren did not recognize.

"What are you, then?" Kieren asked. His head wasn't strapped down, allowing him to move, and yet he couldn't keep his eyes off the tray. "A doctor with a fetish? A serial killer?"

The man smiled at the second option. Oh, fuck. "My name is Alfred."

Don't say it, don't say it, don't say it. "Like Batman?"

Alfred sighed. "Yes," he groaned, rolling his eyes. "Like Batman. Now don't you dare make that joke again or else I'm going to remove your tongue."

While such a thing wouldn't hurt Kieren or kill him, he still needed his tongue to talk. "How many people have you killed?"

Kieren didn't know where he was. The room was spacious, nearly pure white in its walls. The floor was clean though there were drains sitting directly underneath him. For the blood, his brain supplied darkly. If he can keep this psycho talking, maybe he could stall long enough for a rescue. That was assuming someone noticed him missing. He didn't even know how long he's been gone.

"More than you have," Alfred said. "I do have thank you though. I was nearly caught, but due to the Rising, you lot ate the lead detective on my case."

That was one consequence Kieren had not thought about during this whole time. So many places were burnt down, so many important documents destroyed. A few prisons opened their gates at the height of the panic to at least give the inmates a chance to escape. How many killers and rapists got away free?

"Hey," Alfred said suddenly, slapping Kieren's face lightly. "Don't drift away. We've barely started."

"Oh yeah? What are you going to do?" Kieren said with false bravado. "Kill me again? I can't feel pain. What part of that are you not getting?"

Alfred drew back, unimpressed. He stared at the boy for a long second, contemplating-

He suddenly reached behind him, grabbed a thick knife off the trey table, swung it forward, and hacked off Kieren's pinkie in a single hard strike.

Kieren cried out in alarm, sounding more like an animal than a human being. There was no pain, no blood, but the mere sight of his severed finger haunted him. "Oh god," he wailed, curling in the rest of his digits. "Oh god, oh fuck..."

"Like I said," Alfred said, sweeping the finger off to the side, throwing it on the floor. "It makes things more interesting."