3 Devon McCormack
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“God pours out love upon al with a lavish hand — but He reserves
vengeance for His very own.”
- Mark Twain
“Epicurus's old questions are stil unanswered: Is He (God) wil ing to
prevent evil, but not able? then He is impotent. Is He able, but not
wil ing? then He is malevolent. Is He both able and wil ing? then
- David Hume
"Distrust al in whom the impulse to punish is powerful."
- Friedrich Nietzsche
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“Fuck.”Kinzer’s eyes flitted as he came to.
A haze of white and gray came into focus. The floor and
wal s of whatever room he was in were concrete, bare. White
sunlight poured through a smal window with chain-link fencing
dril ed across it.
The sunlight hit Kinzer’s naked body, sprawled across a
sheetless mattress. His ankles were wrapped in chains, tied around the end of the mattress. His wrists were bound to an iron-barred bedpost.
Across a landscape of finely curved pecs and abs, bruises and
welts spoilt what was nearly a perfect physique. His face swel ed with black and blue. His lip was sliced open. The taste of iron fil ed his mouth.
Conscious as he was, he still couldn’t make sense of where
he was or how he’d ended up there.
“Glad to see you came to.”
From a side door, a man with a naked scalp, framed in
stringy, white hairs, stepped toward the bed. His face was speckled with liver spots. He wore a pair oval-shaped glasses.
“I was a little worried that you wouldn’t pul through. And if
that had been the case, I would have been very concerned. You cost me a pretty penny.”
“Who the fuck are you?” Kinzer asked, his biceps pushing
veins forward as he struggled with the chains.
“Jerry’s the name. I hear you go by Kinzer. Doesn’t make
much difference. You’l go by a lot of different names here. Right now, Jason seems to be popular. But you look like a Brock or a
Rocky. I hope you’re okay with dominating. I guess with a cock like that, you should be used to it.”
“You just gonna keep me chained?”
“For now. Don’t want to give you the opportunity to try a
first escape. It’s a common problem, as you can imagine.”
Jerry fondled the mattress.
“I’l be sending one of my guards down here to take you to
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the bathroom, where you’l be able to wash and clean off. Then,
you’l be taken to the common room to eat something. Considering the beating you’ve taken, I imagine that you’re famished.”
Kinzer couldn’t have cared less about what Jerry was talking
about. He only had one thing on his mind.
“Where the fuck am I?” he asked.
“That’s not going to be important,” Jerry replied. “You
could be anywhere in the world and your duties will stil be the same. Now, once you’re finished eating, one of my guards will set you up in living quarters.”
“How gracious,” Kinzer said facetiously.
“As long as you’re here, I control your fate. I control how
you are used. How you are abused. I control how much fucking you can handle. I control how good of shape you’re in. That said, I
recommend you be as courteous as possible to me. Obedience is
very important to me. If you don’t obey, you will be punished.”
With that, Jerry slipped out the same door he’d come from.
Kinzer tried to contemplate his current predicament. He
figured he should be trying to plan an escape or at least contemplate what this Jerry guy had in store for him. But his mind was
preoccupied with a flood of memories that rushed through his mind in an instant.
“Oh, Kinzer,” Veylo had said as he stood over him, a bloody
sword in hand. “You think you’re suffering now?”
Kinzer lay on the ground, bloody, naked, covered in black
feathers...his feathers. He cried out in agony.
Veylo pressed the end of his sword against Kinzer’s bruised
cheek. “When I’m done with you, you’l know what it real y means to
Kinzer imagined that Veylo had thought this would be a
great punishment, but he doubted he’d realized that stripping him of everything and torturing him a thousand times over could not
have hurt worse than losing his dear Janka.
Someone ratted us out
, he thought.
It was the only logical explanation. Someone must have told
Veylo that he and Janka were spies. Someone on the inside. Veylo was The Leader of The Raze, a secret organization comprised mostly of fal ens. The Raze was charged with assisting The Almighty in
bringing about the end of the world. For the past year, Kinzer and Janka, al ies of The Leader, had been working to infiltrate The Raze and keep The Leader' informed of the group's plans—in hopes of
preventing The Almighty from gaining any serious ground in His
Kinzer wasn't sure who had exposed he and his lover, but
regardless of the
, al The Leader's al ies were now potential y at risk of being revealed. He had to get out of this shithole and warn them. But how was he going to find them?
The Leader's emissaries were intentional y divided and kept
uninformed as to each other's whereabouts to protect their
identities...in case something like this occurred. Theoretical y, each had a contact that they could alert if they were outed.
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Unfortunately, Janka had been Kinzer's contact—the only one who
could have warned the others. With Janka dead, he was without
connection to the other members of The Leader's al ies. He was
going to have to find someone who could get news to the other
members of The Leader's al ies.
, he thought.
Dedrus had been a friend and al y during the war between
Heaven and Hel . He was a member of The Leader's al ies that
Kinzer believed he could trust—especial y now that he knew one of their own had surely been the one to reveal Janka and Kinzer's true al egiances. Dedrus would be able to track down others and warn
them before they, too, were tortured by The Raze for more
But how was he going to get out of this place?
It wasn't going to be easy. Since Veylo had clipped his wings
before placing him in whatever illegal trafficking operation this Jerry guy was running, he was weak. He wasn't anymore powerful than a
mortal. But if he didn't find a way out, the other Leader's alies were dead, and The Almighty would be that much closer to bringing
about the destruction of al mankind.
“One, two, three, four...”
Lift, pansy. Lift or you’l be stuck here for the rest of your
Kid pushed the barbel up and lowered it as he took out
160lbs of anger on his muscle-bound body.
He was the youngest guy in the workout room, hence his
Lift, you stupid fuck!
Mirrors lined the wal s. Benches, medicine bal s, mats,
racks, and weights were arranged between two rows of support
beams. Guarding one of the doors to the workout room, Marzo, a
beefy man with a wal -eye, folded his arms and stared forward (and to the side) blankly, as if trying to dissociate from boredom. He was rumored to have been not-so-honorably discharged from the army.
At the door on the other side of the room, Clive, a twig of a man,
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with stringy arms and a gaunt face, who appeared to be the
posterboy for an anti-Meth ad campaign, stared at his feet as he kicked the door frame.
Jerry stepped between a tray of dumbbel s and a column
near the wal . A pot-bel ied boy, nearly half his size, who couldn’t have been much older than Kid, walked alongside him. He
scribbled frantical y in a pocket-sized notebook as Jerry whispered something into his ear. Jerry had a stern, most-serious glare frozen on his spotty face. He and the pot-bel ied scribe, who the boys knew as Robb, eyed a few guys doing sit-ups on mats on one side of the room. The Brazilians, as they were cal ed. They were gorgeous,
muscle-bound guys, who’d been lured to Jerry's under the pretense of working in adult films. Whoever had duped them sure had made
a pretty penny off their asses. They were top-of-the-line, except that they could hardly speak any English. Although, they seemed to be getting pretty good with
or a combination of the two.
One of the Brazilians did crunches, sweat sliding from his
mountainous chest into the sharp hills that swel ed across his
abdomen. A patch of fat couldn’t have been found anywhere on his tight body. Of everyone in the workout room, he was by far the
prettiest, with flawless caramel skin and blue eyes that glistened in under the fluorescent lights.
“Robb, keep our blue-eyed beauty on a high-protein diet.
He needs more muscle. And get him on the bench press at least
three times a week. I want a chest on him. Those abs are only gonna get him so far.”
Jerry and Robb approached Kid, mid-bench-press, breathing
heavily as his biceps, shoulders, and pecs contracted with his violent movements.
Jerry’s serious glare transformed into a pleasant, even
“How’s it goin’, Kid?” he asked.
Kid pumped away, sweat rushing like water through a
canyon between his pecs.
“Mmmm...That’s good. Real good. Just keep right on with
what you’re doing.”
Kid knew he was one of Jerry’s favorites. Not because he was
particularly attractive or lucrative, but because he was obedient.
Obedience meant almost as much to Jerry as money, so Kid's
adherence to his rigid, oppressive rules, made him one of the few recipients to Jerry's generosity—a decent meal and an occasional used book. Rare as they came, Kid would savor the books. Without access to TV or radio, they were the only opportunity that al owed him a moment of escape—to leave this cruel and most unjust world behind. He kept them al in a stack under his cot in his closet of a room. Over the years, he'd col ected novels by Shel ey, Conrad,
Hawthorne, and Golding. Every night, before lights out, he'd fish one out and devour it page by page, imaging that he was somewhere else—anywhere else. He didn't care that the protagonists were