no_sin_but: (for where we are is hell)
[personal profile] no_sin_but
He knows this nightmare.

Shackles on his ankles, his wrists (rubs against the scar on his left, but what's he to do?), two guards with their hands on his elbows and it's Newgate Prison. The stink of it, human misery and filth and dirty hands reaching out between the bars in the flickering light of torches. Down this hallway, turn right, down the stairs and shoved into a room. Large room. Interrogation room. He doesn't need to look to know what (oh, so creative, those torturers, so imaginative) is here. A man by the fireplace, dark head bowed and poking at the glowing ashes. Marlowe lifts his head, rolls his shoulders back and keeps his back straight as Thomas Kyd looks (dead grey ill dead dead dead) up. He pushes his hair back with broken fingers and smiles that crooked toothed smile of his.

"Lookin' good, my dear," he says in a lazy drawl.

"Go to hell."

"Kit, Kit...."

"I believe I was quite clear. Go. To. Hell."

Thomas gets to his feet, fluid grace shattered. Tall man, thinner than he (was) should be, he's still larger then Marlowe ever was and those bright blue eyes are too bright, too cheerful, too cold. He walks across the room, poker still in hand. Marlowe keeps his chin up. He only blinks once.

"Kit," Thomas says, soft and intimate as the lover he used to be, "I already am."

"Really? I thought I was in Newgate."

"Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed In one self place," but it's not Thomas saying it. It's a girl, sixteen if she's a day, pushing back the hood of her cloak. Pretty girl, all flyaway blonde hair and (he had never slit her throat. He'd have rememebered, and they would have said, and he never had so why is she talking with blood running down and staining her dress?) her father's gentle, dreamy brown eyes.

Marlowe swallows, shuts his eye. " - for where we are is hell, And where hell is there must we ever be," he finishes, soft voice a rasp.

"Yes," Judith Shakespeare says, "exactly. So, let us call this place hell, for it is where you put us."

"I did nothing of the sort!"

"No?" She asks as if her heart is breaking. "You did. Oh, Skeres. Marlowe. You killed me, you did. Took me from my life and now I can never go back and I remember, oh oh but I do, I remember your voice and the dagger to my throat and-" Judith breaks off, blood welling up in her eyes and spilling down her blue-white cheeks.

"Because of you, they arrested me, Kit. Tortured me," Thomas says in the silence.

Marlowe glares at Thomas and he can't help but move his hands. The chains rattle, and he doesn't give a fuck.

"You lied."

"I wanted the pain to stop."

"They tortured you and they broke you and you lied. You ruined-"

Judith grabs his right hand and he can't fight her. She stares at him with her father's gentle, broken eyes and he can't look away.

"Did you think that your sins wouldn't return, Christopher?" She asks, taking the knife from her belt. "Did you think that they wouldn't haunt you, know you, come back and hurt you?"

"Did you think," Thomas asks lazily, "that you could escape?"

"Thomas...Tom..."

The other playwright just smiles in reply and Marlowe's staring at him so hard that he doesn't feel the first cut. He feels the blood, and he feels the second cut (as if he has the plague, a creeping icy horror which spreads throughout his body), but he never feels the first.

She's cutting his fingers.

Marlowe looks down and she's cutting his fingers. Starting from the littlest one and working her tidy way along, Judith is slicing his fingers. Not off, but

If you tear (rupture) or cut (sever) the tendon anywhere along its routeā€”at the wrist, in the palm of the hand, or along the finger, you may be unable to bend your finger. If you injure the the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon, you may still be able to bend the finger, but not completely, and bending the finger will be painful.

this is worse. He jerks his head up but he can't speak. His mouth is open but if he speaks he'll scream and he'll never stop and

Most often the flexor tendons are damaged by a cut. Because the nerves to the fingers are also very close to the tendons, a cut may damage them as well, resulting in a feeling of numbness on one or both sides of the finger.

he can't feel his fingers. He can't bend them and he can't feel them and he doesn't even notice that the shackles are gone. Marlowe stumbles back against the door, cradling his right hand in his left and staring at his fingers in disbelieving horror.

Tendons are stretched tightly as they connect the muscle to the bone.

They are completely straight.

If the tendon tears, the end connected to the muscle will be pulled back in toward the palm.

"Why did-" Marlowe starts, looking up only it's not the same room as before. This room is colder and strange, with scorchmarks on the walls. This room is empty except for him. For a long moment he just lets his head fall back against the door, breath harsh in his throat and tears running down his face.

She crippled him

Just a moment, though, for he is still alive, still alive and that's...That's what you do. You pick yourself up and you keep going and the doorknob is slippery in his bloody left hand and it takes too fucking long to open.

But he does, and Marlowe stumbles into a hallway. It's like the room, empty and marred by a past fire. Right or left, right or left right or left and what is that sound?

A scream, his mind supplies even as it screams don't go there don't open the door don't don't don't-

Marlowe's first thought is that Anne is dead. His beautiful sister with her brown hair strewn all over the pillow and her arm outstretched and her mouth agape and her black eyes filmed over and staring straight at him.

Her neck is swollen and blistered with the signs of plague, and he (immune, he could walk through a sickroom of the dying and never catch it) can't help but recoil.

It's Dorothy who is screaming.

Door, Door, Door with her wicked smile and she'd been the only one who could keep up with him. Door, the youngest of them all and she's writhing on the blood-and-pus stained bed, tearing her throat apart as she screams and screams in agony. Door...

Marlowe backs away, turns to run only he stumbles to avoid hitting...

Jane.

She stands there, small and young, so young. So dead. But she's standing there, with her hair lank and her dark eyes blank and huge in her round face. She doesn't seem to be noticing the growing pool of blood (her nightgown is soaked in it) from between her legs.

"Kit, you need to see Maggie."

Marlowe takes a step back, shaking his head.

"No, I don-"

"Kit, you need to see her. We've been waiting for you to come back. We love you. Our clever big brother, made us so proud and we've been waiting for you to come back. You said you would."

He's starting to feel faint from bloodloss, but it doesn't seem polite to mention it in the present company. He just stares at his sister, helplessly.

"Janey..."

"You promised. You're not a liar, are you, Kit? You wouldn't lie to us. Wouldn't hurt us. But we were waiting for you and all these bad things happened and," Jane (Marlowe) Moore stops, face started to crumple. "We waited," she says, accusingly. "We waited and waited and oh God."

"Jane?"

"...have you seen him?"

"Wh-who?"

"My son. I know he's going to be beautiful, but they wouldn't let me see him and now I can't find him. Kit, I have to...I have to find him."

"Janey, he's fine. He's twenty now. John took care of him - Jane! Come back! JANE!" But she's running down the hallway, running and slipping in her own blood. Marlowe watches her go, cradling his crippled hand. He'd lied. He'd lied to her to keep her there, for her baby had died only a day after her.

Kit, you need to see Maggie

Dorothy is still screaming, although the sound has long since sounded human.

You promised.

And oh God, oh God he doesn't want to see

You wouldn't lie to us. Wouldn't hurt us.

and he turns around and shoulders the door back open.

Past Anne dead on the bed, buboes swelling her neck, her armpits, and someone had tried to lance them (she'd died as her body went into shock), past Door writhing in agony and screaming as her movements make the pain worse, past the empty bed at the end of the room and there's Margaret. Maggie. Kneeling on the floor and moaning.

She's slamming her head against the wall.

Marlowe knows why, even as he falls his knees and reaches out for her. She's slamming her head again and again and again (the sound is wet) to try and make the headache go. He's seen it before. He's seen men run through the streets, frothing at the mouth before they collapsed. He's seen the plague victims rave and howl with madness, and he's seen them smashing their faces into walls until it kills them just because the headache is more than they can stand.

Maggie... and he doesn't know if he's actually said it or not but he pulls her away, trying to get his right hand to work because she's...she's

Maggie


dead.

No one could survive like that. Her forehead has cracked, shattered, her nose broken against her face and her eyes have been ripped bloody by shards of bone. She moans again and pulls away from him, pulls away to keep slamming her head into the wall and he lets her.

Even her blood had been infected with the plague; it'd been more yellow than red.

Marlowe lets her go and just sits there, hands useless in his lap. Jane's gone Anne's dead Dorothy's screaming and Margaret...

(we waited and waited)

He's in a room with three of his sisters, and no one to hear him cry.

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May 2008

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