February 2nd, 2004

Mask

Bathtub

There were four of them in the bathtub, so as not to make a bigger mess than there was already. The bathtub was obviously not native to its setting inside the abandoned subway mens room, and the only indication that it could be used for bathing was a shower head hanging from a rope suspended above the tub, a green outdoor hose snaking from a the mouth of a sink faucet to the ceiling.

It was one of those old, clawfoot bathtubs, and there was rust on the outer curving rim. The once white tub had brown smears and smatters on it, sometimes a swirling stain and other times a perfect liquid circle solidified onto the ceramic.

"Fuck you!" yelled the man pressed to the bottom of the tub. Behind him a vile thing in a grey suit was holding his arms aloft, and had its legs wrapped around his torso. Standing on his legs was a hideous creature in a stylish v-neck pinstripe pants-suit. At the end of the tub, next to his feet, burned flesh was flaking off a blackened face and bright blue eyes stared at him unblinking.

"Language." said the creature in the pinstripe suit. "Just tell us what we want to know, and we'll send you back to your masters."

The man sneered.

"I won't tell you shit, you fucking bitch."

The creature shook its hideous head and looked past him.

"Quinn, hold him tightly." She turned behind her, and something like a smile, or a baring of teeth wove across her face, her lips cracking and peeling. "Sam?"

The burned creature never took its eyes off his face as it kneeled in the tub and removed one of his shoes, and peeled off his knee high business socks. It stroked the bottom of his feet with the lightest ashen touch, and reached behind the tub, picking up a red brick. It stroked the brick against the top of his foot, and then grabbed four of his toes, pulling them away from his big toe. It raised the brick and brought it down, smashing his big toe between the ceramic tub and the mottled brick.

The man screamed, loud and high.

The pinstripe suit leaned down and stroked his head.

"There, there." It said, patting his hair. "Just tell us what we want to know, and you can keep the rest of your little toes."