February 23, 2005

He was shaking. He didn't want to be, but he didn't seem to have a choice. Distantly, he was ashamed for reacting so, but... Was it the shock at almost dying? Or perhaps the greater shock of not dying? Or was it the anticipated shock of having his finger cut off without any bloody anesthesia?

Distantly, he understood the reasons behind this. Distantly, he was even grateful to these people for what they were doing. However, if he were being executed, he would not be sitting here waiting for the agony of having his finger cut off!

He jerked against the woman's hold again, dimly shaking his head. He watched the men moving around him, saw them gathering things - and it was as if everything was sharpened into focus around him. He could hear everything, could see everything, could feel everything...

"Please - please, there must be another way! Please!"

She pressed his shoulder and he squeezed his eyes shut.

She wasn't going to listen to him - none of them were. He was going to die - no he wasn't...

His thoughts were spinning out of control and he couldn't follow them, could only feel her taking his hand out of the ice and hear one of the men spreading things out on the table behind him. He wished he weren't such a coward, wished that he could calm down - could help these strangers that were helping him, but... He also wished they had simply brained him when he walked in the door and taken the finger while he was out.

"We've got nine minutes left."

Some part of him was pointing and laughing at him - mocking his terror in the face of his salvation. Certainly, he would do the same to anyone else - asking for an exemption himself would be hypocritical. Not that he cared. His eyes followed the pruning shears the smaller man held, and he started shaking impossibly harder. Was he shaking apart yet? Perhaps if they waited a few moments then they could pick his finger up from the pieces.

"Keep him quiet."

Her grip was steel around his wrist, and he pulled against her. It was useless - it was stupid - but he wanted to protect it.

A finger or a life? Immense agony or silence? There was a deadline - he wouldn't have been...toyed with. But this!

"Please!" He didn't know what he was asking for anymore. For a reprieve? For a kindness? For mercy? For them to get this over with?

"Bite this - bite this!"

He gladly clamped his teeth shut on the cloth she pressed into his mouth. He couldn't speak - could barely breathe... He struggled as he felt her hands leave his, as she came around to stand before him; but other hands grabbed his and he was held in place.

"You got him?"

He couldn't help looking back when the shears disappeared from his immediate vision.

He wasn't an idiot, and he could turn in place. He knew they were behind him, and he knew exactly what they were to be used for.

And he could feel. The ice had numbed his hand - but he could still feel pressure. He could feel his throat tightening as the blades of the shears were placed around his finger, and he would have given anything to stop it. Now he was doubly glad for the cloth - he would almost rather die of a merciful gunshot then face what fate had fallen upon him. Or what fate he had literally walked into.

"Look at me."

Her hand was on her shoulder. Was it holding him still or pulling him free? He didn't want to look at her - couldn't meet her face.

He could never trust women again. Every drink, every moment after this... A pretty face would be the herald of agony. He couldn't - he couldn't...

"Look at me."

He could barely breathe, could not believe that he had shaken apart into a hundred pieces. Or was it two hundred? He couldn't remember - children had more bones.

"Look at me!"

It was too much. He couldn't take it - he couldn't survive this. This was cruel. It couldn't save his life - it was too much...

Her hand was rubbing his shoulder and he finally looked forward at her. Please, please - something else. Anything else!

"Look at me." She nodded to the man holding the shears, and he couldn't shut his eyes - couldn't take his eyes from hers.

There were many words that he felt adequately described the...feeling. But none came to mind. All that was there was an all-consuming fire.

It was simply his finger! One finger!

He screamed.

He screamed and he screamed and then he was on the floor and when did he die and go to Hell? He was suffocating, drowning in pain...

The cloth fell from his mouth and he was able to breathe in air again. To scream again.

Someone stood over him, and he cowered away - ashamed and completely uncaring. Someone hurt him, something still hurt him and he didn't care what they wanted they could leave him alone...

A hand grabbed his and he finally blinked his eyes open, struggling to breathe - he could breathe! Wasn't that enough? - as another cloth was pressed over his hand to stop the bleeding. His other hand - the uninjured one? It didn't hurt as much now... - was lifted and wrapped back around the pain; and he clamped his mouth shut to swallow his screams.

He was pressed down to the ground again, and he pulled away from the man towering above him. He couldn't quite remember who they were - what they were. Why were they here? Why didn't anyone help him? He tried to pull away, and he was pressed back down.

"What are you people doing?"

The pain was fading again, retreating from every part of his body. He could breathe again, could think. His hands loosened, and another hand wrapped around the cloth, pressing it down. He jerked away.

"Don't move."

A hand pressed his head down - held his head still - and he felt his lungs freeze as another wave of pain swept through him. Distantly, he could feel that hand rubbing again on his shoulder and he forced himself to relax - to try to help these people, to obey.

He could feel - could see? Everything was out of focus... - them dabbing and pouring something on his forehead, and it was cold.

Everything else burned or disappeared, but his head was cold.

He panicked when he felt the ice poured over him. His hand was gone - taken away - could they not let him die before taking any more? Faintly, he heard them tell him not to move again, and he shivered.

What were they doing? Why couldn't they just kill him?

He heard the click of a camera, and he could hear them speaking amongst themselves.

Perhaps now they would. Perhaps he had been enough for now - there had been a deadline, hadn't there been?

There was something humourous about that sentence.

Someone paused as they walked past him, and he gladly fell into blackness.

Let them have the mercy of killing him before he woke up again.

AN: This is the scene from Alias 4x08 "Echoes". Specifically when the protagonists have to fake Sebastian Roché's character's death and have to bring proof of his death. (I didn't watch the episode nor the series – just Roché. 3-15-2016