There was blood on the floor, A lot of blood. Jack didn’t know how much. But he knew it was all his. He struggled for air as strong hands held him down. He didn’t want to scream but years of evolution of the human race sometimes override what a person wants. Right now Jack wanted air. He screamed, muffled by the thick plastic sheet held tightly across his face. No matter how hard he struggled against the three men and his restraints he couldn’t move, let alone get loose. His mind raced. His heart pounded. His chest heaved uncontrollably and to no avail. An eternity passed.
But he knew he wasn’t going to die. Why would the plan change now? This had been going on for…how long? It felt like days. The small part of his rational mind left still working told him it was most likely the better part of a day. Torture tended to warp the mind as well as the body. Jack knew his body would last longer than his mind.
Just then the plastic came off. His lungs fought frantically to grab air. The room spun again as he tried frantically to put together any scraps of a plan. But there was no point. He might as well be on the moon. The only people who knew where he was were his Hoffmann team and they were also…detained.
He opened his eyes and tried again. Same dark room in the Hoffmann house basement. Built for keeping arcane and dangerous things away from prying eyes, supernatural and mundane. Same three thugs as before.
The only consolation he had were the bruises he had inflicted on them as they strapped him down. It was woefully inadequate.
“We can do this forever, Jack,” the voice came from across the room. Knowing you we will probably have to. Just keep in mind that we can. It doesn’t get old and you’ll tire much faster than we will."
That fucking voice. Jack had never wanted to hurt someone as badly as he wanted to hurt Thorn. He wanted to strangle him. Underwater. While he punched him into oblivion. He didn’t want to kill him. Well, yes he did. Truth be told he probably couldn’t stop himself if he had the chance. But more than anything he wanted Thorn to hurt. If he knew that could happen he’d gladly stay in this chair until he died. But that wasn’t going to happen. Most likely he would hold out as long as they could and then he would either die or…something.
What Thorn wanted was to take over Hoffmann. Somehow he had managed to surprise Anna and had been lying in wait for them at the house. They had been cornered and captured. In Jack’s case he had been tased twice. Normally that would only mean biding their time to create a plan and get out and away. But Thorn had seen to that, too. He had kidnapped people close to all of them. If they didn’t comply then those loved ones would be harmed. Who knows where he had them. He was smart. You had to give them that. Escape only meant a death sentence for a loved one.
The perfect trap.
“Why do you fight, Jack?” Thorn continued. “You can’t win. I know that never stops you. You don’t ever think like that. The odds don’t matter to Jack Cooper. Superman always fights to the end.”
Jack was staring at the ceiling as he gasped for breath. Thorn’s face came in to view and he strained against the straps holding him down. He wanted to smash that face out the back of Thorn’s head. Thorn noticed and looked amused.
“I have to hand it to you, Jack. You certainly can fight. You’re not going to win, though. You’re the soldier at the Alamo. You can put up a resistance but in the end you can’t win. But unlike those men he needlessly lost their lives you will not be remembered as a hero. You see, no one will know. If you do what I want your friends will see you as weaker than they thought. If you don’t…well then, they’ll just know you’re dead.”
Jack let that all sink in. There had to be a way to beat Thorn. Something, somewhere had to go his way. But he knew Thorn was right. There was no way to win. So this is where he was going to die. In this dark basement strapped to a chair, fighting until he gave out. That was all he had and he began to steel himself for it.
“Letting you die would certainly inspire your team. I am not sure how or to what. I have taken careful measures to make sure they will comply. You can understand that, right Jack?” He laughed to himself. “Look who I am talking to. Thinking was never your strong suit. Suffice it to say I have taken great pains to outmaneuver you all. So I won’t take any chances. You dying is a wild card I can’t allow, regardless of the outcome.”
He leaned in close to Jack, inches from his face. Jack gritted his teeth and growled. His jaw exploded in pain again from the strain. Thorn smiled, bemused.
“That’s got to be difficult. You really want to hurt me don’t you? So close and yet so far. No, Jack. You’re not going to die here. You’re going to live. And you’re going to do what I want or innocent people will have very bad things happen to them. I don’t want to kill you. I am not going to break you. I am going to empty you and fill you with a new purpose. You are a weapon. I will use your skills to their full extent.”
There it was. That’s where Thorn had messed up. He wanted Jack alive. That’s where Jack would beat him. He would take the punishment as long as he could. Now it was a matter of limiting the casualties.
“You can try,” Jack growled back.
Again Thorn smiled. He straightened himself and looked to his men.
“Bring her in,” he said. Then he looked to Jack. “It’s much easier than you think, Jack. I know you’ll hold out as long as you can. It doesn’t matter who I say I will harm or kill. You will ride that ship to the bottom of the ocean. You will convince yourself that somehow you are winning. Even if I tell you I’ll kill your whole team. Oh, I’ve thought about it. But you’ll see that as a win. The Big Bad Wolf didn’t get you to do his bidding. You took the weapons out of his hands.”
He began to slow clap.