Slice. The sound and feel exhilarated her. She stuck her fingers inside the wound she had just created and felt the soft warmth, the different structures, so easily squished between her fingers. She pulled her hand out, and took a whiff of the blood that dripped down her arm. Metallic. Picking up her scalpel again, she made another cut. This time in the leg. She stuck her clean hand in and felt around. The muscles were dense, and the tendons and ligaments felt like smooth fat guitar strings. She strummed, imagining an eerie music filling the room. She reached her hand through the muscle and grabbed the bone. It felt royal and majestic. The responsibility that this bone had, to support the rest of the body. If she were the bone, she would definitely snap under the pressure. She giggled. That was funny. She pulled her hand out and wiped it on the cloth she had at her side. She reached both hands into the abdomen again. She grabbed what she thought were the intestines, remembering that her 4th grade science teacher telling her that human intestines were on average 23 feet long. “Why not measure for myself?” she thought. She began to pull them out, and with her scalpel, she detached them from the stomach. She pulled the organ out, slowly and steadily and then cut the bottom end from his body. She was so glad she was wearing earplugs. She didn’t want to even think about the screams that were filling the room. Hopefully he wasn’t dead, because what’s the fun in torturing something that isn’t alive anymore? She looked at his face. Clips kept his eyes open, but they had rolled back into his head. He wasn’t watching anymore. Maybe he lost interest. She slapped him on his right cheek, and his eyes rolled back and looked at her in utter fear as she picked up the scalpel again. She couldn’t understand why his intestinal tract, which she had draped on hooks around the room, didn’t fascinate him. She ran her blade along his hairline. Blood poured down the sides of his face. She put the scalpel down and quickly examined her fingernails. “They’re sharp enough,” she thought with a smile. She put them into the deep cut on his forehead and began to pull the skin off his face. He gripped the armrests to which his arms were duct taped, his face tesned, and his mouth opened. “Screaming again,” she thought, “such a wuss!” As she pulled the skin off his face, she saw his skull emerge. It was bloody and sticky, and the skin was soft and leathery in her hands. She kept tugging, and they eyelids were pulled off. His eyeballs were huge! She never realized how much of the eye was covered by skin. She kept pulling and the skin slowly separated from the bridge of his nose. The cartilage had a very strange texture. She played with the nasal septum, which was slippery in her fingers. His facial muscles were sinewy, pulled tightly along his skull. His teeth were stained red with blood, but she noticed that he had a very nice bite, each top molar perfectly aligned with the bottom teeth. She let go of his skin, which flopped playfully over his chin, and felt his teeth. She ran her fingers over the rises and falls of his gums and teeth, and then grabbed a pair of pliers. She slowly wrenched his teeth out of his mouth, one by one, and dropped them into a metal basin filled with water and dish soap. She rinsed the blood form his mouth, which was now completely empty with the exception of his tongue. She was going to save that for later. She returned to the skin that hung over his chin and kept pulling. Within a few minutes, she had completely exposed his face, and the skin hung loosely around his neck. Humans look really funny without skin or teeth. She giggled, and then picked up the scalpel again. Slice. Slice. She cut a neat circle in each eyeball, tracing the outline of the irises. The vitreous and aqueous humors poured down his check muscles. They reminded her of raw egg whites, clear and viscous. All of a sudden, she was overcome with boredom. She had done everything she wanted to, so she cut his arms free from the duct tape, shoved him out of the seat onto the tarp she had spread out on the floor, and rolled him up. She dragged hum up the stairs and out to her backyard, and threw him into her combustion furnace. Time to find a new friend.
Finally, a new subject. New ideas, new plans. “Start with the toes this time,” she thought. He was wild. She had to use nearly two rolls of duct tape to restrain him. His arms were taped to the armrest, his torso to the back of the chair, and his legs to each leg support. She had a cloth in his mouth, tied around the headrest. He looked like a horse chomping on the bit. He even had a bite that looked very horse-like. Not as nice as the last guy’s teeth. She decided she wasn’t going to pull them out this time. Not worth saving. She untied his booth. First the left, then the right. She pulled them off, and then removed his socks. The smell was offensive, so she quickly grabbed her garden shears and cut off his pinky toe. He was probably screaming, but she couldn’t hear. She picked up his toe and examined it. Then she placed it in his lap and untied the cloth from the headrest. He immediately closed his mouth and sat watching her. She picked up his toe in one had, and held onto his nose with the other. He struggled against her, but eventually opened his mouth to take a breath. In that moment, she quickly shoved his toe into the back of his mouth. He tried to spit it out, but she was faster. She slammed his mouth closed and firmly held his lips together. Although it took a few minutes, she eventually saw him take a big gulp. She let go of his lips and looked inside his mouth. No toe to be found. She quickly cut off the other nine and then chopped off his fingers. He seemed to be screaming while she was cutting off his toes, but when she started on the fingers, he simply watched in awe. “Probably in shock,” she thought. She’d seen it before. They’re in so much pain that they seem to stop feeling it.
That amazed her.
Fingers gone, toes gone. “Maybe the ears?” she wondered. She pulled the left one away from his head and began to saw at the cartilage with her scalpel. She then did the same and stapled his ears onto the wall, next to the other rotting treasures from past subjects.
“Vaaahhh-gohhh?” he asked.
She saw his mouth moving, but she couldn’t hear. She pulled out an ear plug. “You said something? Generally, I do not allow my subjects to speak,” she deadpanned.
“Vaaahhh-gooohh?” he asked again. The cloth in his mouth made it impossible to speak, but he raised his eyebrows, hoping she would understand.
“Ohh! Van Gogh! What a fascinating idea! Kudos!” she said as she fitted the earplug back into her ear.
He tried to smile, slightly restrained by the cloth. She couldn’t help but think about how odd this as. They never tried to speak to her, other than to beg for her lives, which only fueled her desire to torture them.
But there was something different about him. Ever since he made that horrendous joke and smiled with his awful bite, she felt bad about cutting off his fingers and toes. There wouldn’t be any way for him to do the most basic activities most humans took for granted. She sat down and the scalpel slipped from her hand. He simply watched. She leaned forward and put her head between her knees, trying to keep from passing out. All of a sudden, she vomited all over the tarp she intended for his dismembered body.
This feeling was new to her. Remorse? Regret? Guilt? She tried to pick up the scalpel again, but her fingers were shaking. She tried to stand up and walk over to her victim… subject, not victim, but her knees were too weak. She couldn’t bring herself to torture him anymore. Why? Why not? He only spoke. But maybe that was it. He spoke, so he was no longer a thing. He was no longer beneath her. They were equals.