He didn’t feel pain. That caught him by surprise.
“Let’s party downtown tonight!” Barry almost bounced on his toes. He had always been one for exuberance. Dave liked to tease him about it, drawing comparisons between his actions and those of a 13-year-old girl. “It’ll be off the hook! C’mon, I got us the hookup at Club 7”
“I don’t know, Barry.” Dave frowned. “What’s so great about a nightclub?”
“The chicks, Dave. You won’t believe what they wear.”
As the knife pierced his stomach, all he really felt was an icy shock, a hint of much more horrible pain to come but for the moment his body had taken over, adrenalin pumping as he tried to get away. Of course, being held from behind as he was, he had nothing to do but scream in frustration and rage at his tormentors.
“Isn’t this awesome?” Barry shouted over the music.
“What?” Dave leaned closer to him.
“I said, isn’t this awesome?”
“I guess so. My chest cage is rattling!”
“I know, the bass line is sick!”
Dave shook his head. “I’m gonna go get a drink.”
The knife pierced his skin again. This time, the shock wasn’t as forgiving. He grunted as he felt the knife piercing his lung, coughing as the torn muscles struggled to bring in the life-giving air he so desperately needed.
“Hey baby, you havin’ a good time tonight?”
Dave looked over at the owner of the voice. A tall brunette stared back at him. Her hair fell in cascading curls, framing a face that had to be slathered in makeup for the effect to come off as well as it did. She wore a blue dress that seemed little more than a pillowcase – bare shoulders and arms, with encased breasts protruding enticingly between them. The dress came just barely over the hips, long expanses of leg flesh flashing beneath. She oozed sex, and Dave swallowed.
“It’s going ok, I guess.” He’d never been very good at talking to women.
It came again and again. Each thrust of the knife accompanied by a growing sense of pain. No longer a cold shock, each wound was a white-hot searing sore, leaking vital fluids and draining the life force from his body.
“So you want to get out of here, lover?”
Dave was stumbling – he’d had a few too many. “Uhh, yeah, sure. That sounds great!”
“Great! I have a few friends here, mind if I gather them up? We can all leave together.”
The word ‘friend’ tickled at Dave’s consciousness. “I, uh, I…”
The woman leaned close, her breath hot on his ear as she whispered. “Trust me, we’ll make it worth your time. My friends can be very… grateful.” She licked his ear, nibbling on the earlobe before backing away. He felt her hand lower, too, exploring in a very familiar way. The entire sequence got Dave’s blood flowing.
“Ok, let’s go.”
He could feel the slick wetness as his wounds wept, tears of cardinal saturating his clothing. He was free now, no longer restrained as his captors took off down the street, but he had no energy left. His energy was also leaking through the gaping rents in his skin, his organs shutting down as the amount of damage registered.
“Yeah! Hit him again!”
Her right hand collided with his face, and Dave fell. He looked around him, but he was surrounded by painted toenails and spiked heels. He tried to fight his way to his feet, but the blows continued to rain down, keeping him near the ground despite his best effort.
He sputtered, trying to get a word out, an apology, something to stop the beating, but every time he tried to speak another kick took the wind from him. He coughed and sputtered, seeing red spots on the ground before him and realizing his nose was broken.
“Pick him up, ladies.”
Two pairs of hands roughly grabbed him by the arms and pulled him up. His shoulders screamed in protest, but after the beating he wasn’t able to do much more than sag weakly between the two women holding him. One of them fished his wallet out of his back pocket and tossed it to the woman in the blue dress. In the evening light he saw the marks interrupting the expanse of skin – the strange marks inside her elbows spoke of some kind of addiction.
“$200, not too bad. This should do quite nicely.” Laughing, she kicked Dave in the crotch. He tried to double over, to curl into a ball around the pain, but the women holding his arms wouldn’t let him.
That was when he saw the knife the woman took from her purse.
Heartbeat slowing, he lay himself down to die.