Characters: T-Bag, Michael (Dark)
Rating: PG-13 (for subject matter)
Summary: T-Bag's toys never lasted, and the good ones were hard to find.
Missed the first T-Bag story?
T-Bag needed a new toy.
The last one had broken itself before he’d even finished training it. His toys didn’t last nearly long enough, and it seemed he was always having to find replacements.
Now, his most recent one, Cherry, had not been one of his better specimens. He preferred them willing, like Maytag, when they were so much less work. Or scared, the way The Pretty was when he first came to Fox River and T- Bag had hoped to bring him on board. “Scared” was definitely more fun, so much more intense and satisfying.
Cherry had been neither. He was sullen, moody, never giving enough of himself up—not through passion or terror. And he’d quit playing so damned early. Foolish boy—they’d barely gotten started. And it wasn’t like Cherry had never enjoyed it, T-Bag had seen to that. There’d been tears, of course, but a climax doesn’t lie. T-Bag could testify to the success of his techniques on that score. Not that the little punk had ever been the least bit grateful. It was like starting over every damn time, the intimidation and wooing, and more times than not he’d have to get the knife out. No, Cherry had not been a fast learner. The whole Cherry experience had been all too brief and frustrating, truth be told.
T-Bag had seen his next opportunity not long after that, a swaggering little wise-ass with a truly bizarre way of talking and acting. He could have cured him of that, taught him to know who he was and respect that, and not be drifting off into that Negro-speak he kept imitating. T-Bag could see right into that boy, see what he was made of. There was weakness under all that noise, right there waiting. It would have been pure pleasure breaking that boy apart and bringing it out into the open, where he could poke at it and twist it and feed upon it.
But then The Pretty had to go interfering and spoil his chances of all that. T-Bag’s battered knee bore witness to what he’d given up, and it near made him sick having to be polite to that “Tweener” boy and kowtow to his insults.
But he was caught now, having to toe the line enough to stay in on the escape. He didn’t plan on keeping that up any longer than was strictly necessary, and he was already entertaining the possibilities of how he would make The Pretty pay when they were finally on the outside. There was always a chance, an unguarded moment, when you knew where to look. Theodore Bagwell had spent entire lifetimes knowing that moment when he saw it, whether it was a girl straying into an alley, a child wandering away from its Mama, or a man who thought he was in the clear and had started thinking in terms of relief instead of vigilance.
When you lived for torture and destruction, and you were devious and quick, it was all in the thrill of the hunt.
Too many had underestimated him over the years, and he’d learned to turn that to his advantage. It was a mistake that most had found far too costly. After all, a smart man doesn’t allow second chances.
So it might have to be quick, when the time came. Quick had its own sharp pleasures, certainly.
But he hoped it would be slow. He had unexplored territory he wanted to venture through, things he’d dreamed of doing. Those tattoos formed a kind of inspiration, spoke their own language to the artistry of the kill. A corona of bite marks haloing the angel on Michael’s stomach—that had a certain appeal. Razor-thin lines cut along the edges of the arches would bead up and create a stained-glass effect—adding depth to those complicated pictures. And he could take his time slicing and scraping along The Pretty’s arm to turn the Diamond and Heart cards red.
All of these would bring more beauty to the moment. But none would rival the shaking, the tears, and that heady underlying scent of fear. If he could get The Pretty alone and incapacitated—and heaven knew, T-Bag had years of practice behind him—he would let his knives dance over that slender form. He would taste the color he brought out on Michael’s skin, taste the terror on his lips, and coax his defeat out of him as he breached him and rode him and drove his body to betray itself.
That victory would be sweet.
It might not happen that way, but it was a dream he enjoyed returning to, slipping into it and sliding it around his mind with relish. No one could ever say that Theodore Bagwell didn’t have an appreciation for the finer things. And this dream, delicious and deadly, took a little bit of the sting out of that damaged knee.
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