A ray of warm light filtered into the dark room as the door creaked open, and the figure on the table thrashed. A man walked in, shutting the door gently behind him, clad in the elegant clothes of the aristocracy, sandy blonde hair combed into a neat parting.
There was blood on the floor.
“How is it today?” he said, leaning over the table and peering at the restrained figure. It struggled against the heavy leather restraints, craning its neck so as not to maintain eye contact with the man. He reached a soft hand out, gripping it firmly around the mouth, and tried to wrench it back.
“Look at me.”
The pale skin was slippery under his fingers, and it was difficult to get a good grip. He reached out blindly with the other hand and grasped an implement.
“Look at me!” he yelled, driving the twisted piece of iron into the creature’s arm. It mewled, and the resistance in its neck faded. The man pulled the creature’s head round to regard it better. He could see his own face reflected in many wide eyes. It looked sad. Afraid.
“Good,” he thought.
He released it, and its head slumped onto the table with a dull thud. He crossed over to the far table, and picked up a vial. Holding it in his left hand, he returned to the tableside, and took a deep breath.
The sound of his open hand against the slippery skin reverberated around the room, a harsh, metallic echo. It sounded seven more times, accompanied by more mewling from the figure, then stopped. The man leant over the restrained creature’s face, holding the vial to its dripping eyes. When he was finished, there was a thin layer of liquid in the vial. He stoppered it, and placed it in a rack.
Exhaling, he straightened his shirt and crossed to the door. The figure let out a groan, and he turned his head sharply. He crossed back to the table, stared into its wet, black eyes, then bent one of its fingers back sharply until there was a snapping noise.
It let out a slow, mournful cry, and the man smiled.