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"If you puke, it'll be the last thing you'll ever taste," he promised. She tried to keep her eyes unfocused, knowing that if she looked away from the pile of writhing maggots in front of her she'd get another shock, or worse. Her captor had a taser in his right hand and a clump of her hair in his left. Burns from the taser's probes, some old and faded and others still bright pink, covered her upper arms. Lately he'd been aiming the taser at the fresh marks. If she was lucky sometimes she passed out from the pain.

The growling of her stomach seemed to fill the basement. The windows had been pasted over with thick black parchment decades ago, but through the peeling edges the rising sun peeked in for a couple of hours each day. Assuming she hadn't slept through any sunrises, it had been four days since her last meal. Her captor had assured her the maggots were merely masking what once was food. If she could manage to push aside the bugs, she might be able to pretend whatever rotting substance lain in front of her was edible. She took one last shuddering breath and reached forward.

Having her captor hold her hair back and stroke her head as she puked up the mixture of dead larvae and rotting meat almost made her more sick than eating the "meal." His saccharine, almost caring murmurs were nearly too much to bear. If they didn't make her want to kick him in the jaw she would have been tempted to curl up next to him and sob. Even still, she knew she was fucked.

"That's too bad. I really thought you could handle it." His voiced dripped with faux-pity. "Don't say I didn't warn you."

He pulled a knife from a sheath laced to the inside of his boot.

She screamed.

Later, she wished she kept her mouth shut. Eventually, after the stump where her tongue had attached to the rest of her healed over, she grew glad he'd cut out the muscle. Mould and vomit wasn't exactly an appetising flavour combination, and the instant her tongue was severed from her body the only sensation left from it was the stomach acid burning her throat. Still, if she ever managed to escape this hellhole she'd probably miss tasting her meals.