The Breaking Point


isis_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title The Breaking Point
Synopsis Zachery makes time for one last patient visit in his old 'office'…
Date July 13, 2019

Dirty Pool Pub: Back Room - Zachery’s Apartment

Entering this space from the pub almost feels like stepping into a different building entirely, though the unapologetically barebones concrete floor remains a throughline. The room is separated from the pub by an extraordinarily thick layer of white drywall, which extends several inches past the doorway. Entering, it gives off the impression of of a smallish doctor's office, if a doctor's office could be very, very tired.

A ceiling light bathes a hard steel and teal operating table in the middle of the room in cold, fluorescent light. It is the newest looking thing in here; Everything else seems to have taken a beating at some point, even if it does look, generally, spotless. A long, grey leather couch stands in the far end of the room, next to a stainless (but not scratchless) countertop with a large, embedded sink. Four white metal cabinets, all of different build and make, stand sandwiching a small fridge that drones a quiet thrum out into the rest of the room. A small, portable radio stands atop it, its even smaller LCD display showing the time.

With no windows to open, and only a small vent up over a bathroom door for airflow, the smell in here is overwhelmingly one of bleach and disinfectant.

The room is sparse. Sparser than before. There is a hollow, echoed quality…


Isis hasn’t moved from the doorway. She hasn’t even managed to close it behind her. Funny… she sounded so sure about this when they spoke before. Now she seems barely capable drumming up enough bravado for the slightest hint of sarcasm. The little redhead stands with her arms crossed over her chest, each palm resting on the opposite shoulder with her nails digging into her flesh till little red crescents off irritation promise later bruising.

Her line of sight is stuck on the operating table. She sees nothing else.

Zachery’s hushed voice makes the weight of alcohol on it all the more obvious:

“I have a proposition for you.”

"You'd be surprised what a few years in a prison cell will do to your perception of 'homely'," Zachery stands with his back to Isis, near the counter, pouring whiskey from an expensive looking bottle which has a card dangling from a thin elastic cord around its neck. Upon it, a written apology, which disappears into a trash can along with the bottle as soon as he's emptied it.

He turns to face Isis with a glass in each hand, one held close to his chest, the other offered out to his guest as he rounds that table and puts himself squarely between it and her. "At least there's privacy, here." And how very pleased he looks about this very fact, chest puffed out and head high, the offered glass wiggled in her line of sight. "Relax."

When Zach turns about, she flinches a half pace backward that nearly becomes several more. Tension lines Isis’s little jaw and she visibly forces herself to roll her head on her neck from one side to the other and back again. It shows no benefit.

One by one her fingers pry cold and rigid from her shoulder to reach out and take the offered glass. “I-…” Her sneers as her voice cracks and instead tips up the glass to empty it swiftly. “I wasn’t kidding….”

Her gaze won’t stay on him. Instead, her hazel gaze keeps sweeping back to the room around him - probing every nook. She is every bit the skittish prey searching for the predator that she doesn’t want to find. Her nails screeeeech on the glass before she holds it back out to him. With a little kick of a black knee-high boot, the door swings shut behind her.

No new predator volunteers itself, not even when the door shuts with a heavy ca-click, leaving the lively din from the world outside to drop suddenly further away than Isis might anticipate.

Oh, the wonders of sound-insulation.

"There you go," says Zachery, taking the glass from her and turning to meander slowly back toward the counter. In contrast to his guest, there's a certain excited energy to the way he sets the glass down in the sink, fingertips around the rim. Subdued, but still present in the snappiness of motions here and there.

After setting down his own drink, he jabs an elbow into a soap dispenser on the wall, and starts washing his hands - thoroughly, and halfway up to his elbow, bit of a habit. Over his shoulder, he continues chipperly, "If it helps, which it probably won't, know that I've never made a mistake with these things. Not once. Not to get blue, but," a newly emerging grin pulls to one side in a way that suggests he'd really rather not be amused by the end of his sentence, but is anyway, "it's in and out. Easy as that. Surely you're familiar."

Each time his hands disappear from sight only to reappear empty there’s a hiccup of her breath - a subtle little catch while her eyes, now more gold then hazel, search him. It takes an extra moment before his words actually reach any sort of processing unit in her brain and a little spirit manages to grace her pallid features as a tentative smirk. “In and out. Restraints. Mysterious men. Yeah, that adds up.”

The comic relief gives her just enough strength to make it to the operating table. She pulls her rump up and looks all the smaller for the way her slender legs dangle, set swinging by nervously twitching boots. She braces her hands on either side of the table as her brows start to knit nearer, her breaths forced and shaking. Again she watches his hands. “For science?”

Then the shaking starts. Every seen a chihuahua shiver? It’s kinda like that only…

Nope, it’s exactly like that.

”Do you have to inject it, though? I’m… afraid of needles.”

"You have no reason to be, so long as you keep still. If two-year-olds can do it, so can you.”

"Tell me about what you're going to do." Zachery's voice, meanwhile, is level and calm in the very way his movements are not. After getting a prepared handful of supplies from a cupboard's almost empty shelves, he's watching Isis in turn, though while his eye is on her midriff, he is unlikely to be looking at it.

"When you get there. To your goal." When his attention snaps back up to her face again, there's something a little warmer to his expression, unreserved and affable. The grin has slowly been exchanged for a smile, his tone of voice lifting to take on a curiously inviting sort of quality. Maybe it's pity. Or empathy. Maybe he knows the pains of being on the patient's side and hates it, too. "What will that be like?"

Zachery’s probing gaze pulls the curtain on the mysterious entangled web that links mental and physical distress so messily together. Whatever fears Isis has are manifesting as true panic, wreaking havoc on her tangible body - blood has begun to divert from her slender limbs in the body’s drive to preserve it all in her core, most important organs. Her heart rate is uncontrolled. Her heart murmur becomes painfully obvious amidst the helter-skelter pitter-patter.

“I almost can’t imagine…” But the distraction of hope, the reassurance that comes with a simple, level tone that is not placating but truly understanding - these seem to sooth the edges of the chaos clawing viciously over her person. She lays back, cold limbs making it a jagged, graceless process until her hair is spayed out like a puddle of silken fire behind her. Her eyes stare blank and wide at the ceiling now.

“Not look over my shoulder when I buy milk.” … “Cross the street without seeing my bloody self on the pavement, clawing out desperately for help in five different varieties.” … “Maybe I’ll even go skydiving.” … “But, mostly… I’ll fall asleep without starting awake twenty times when my breathing slows. I’ll close my eyes without being afraid not to wake up…”

Watching her laying back, Zachery's head dips. An errant thought knits his brow, before it's smoothed out with a sharp inhale a few beats after. "I was thinking more… where will you live? I used to have quite a nice apartment, with a maid, believe it or not, but I've always thought living somewhere more remote would be nice. Imagine it. Close your eyes?" A request, but routinely succinct, and there's hardly any room to argue, since he immediately adds, "Arms out, parallel, by your sides like you're trying to get a nice tan. Where are you?"

The fistful of supplies is slipped, as quietly as he is able, onto a cabinet within arm's reach, before he starts to make his way toward the foot end of the operating table. Still calm, collected.

“Oh.” If she had enough blood supply to spare she might blush from embarrassment, but as it is she simply looks pallid and clammy. The cold sweat has begin to make her hair stringy in what’s quickly become a disheveled nest beneath her with the way she occasionally twitches to try and spy on Zachery’s position. She moves her arms as instructed and she closes her eyes with a full-faced scrunch.

Another deep, quivering breath. “I’m on a mountain top.” The tight, wrinkled expression ebbs gently away, her eyes still closed. “In Tennessee.” A pause. “The fog hides most of the valley, but that’s irrelevant. The sun’s about to rise…”

Her left hand twitches and a tear falls from the corner of one eye, barely noticeable as it makes a hurried dive back into the hairline above a pierced ear.

Almost as soon as Isis closes her eyes, Zachery cants his head, and his expression relaxes into a more neutral state. His fingers twitch at his sides, as he proceeds to reach underneath the table, to nimbly unlatch something that's been tucked just out of sight.

"Is it the sort of place you'd invite friends over to see?" One, two, a pair of leather straps finds itself around her left ankle, then her right. With only the tiniest clink of metal they're pulled taut and the loops are secured, but not so tight as to be felt past the barest amount of weight. Tight enough, however, for her boots to catch on, should she try and lift them past.

The shift in tone from friendly to something a little more flat is gradual, but starting to lean more toward the latter when Zachery adds, "People you trust?"

”I’ll have to restrain you.”

”Like I haven’t heard that one before.” … “But, yes, I suppose that’s for the best.”


She’s not oblivious to what’s going on outside her ‘happy place’, but clearly she’s trying to be.

The restraints have an unusual effect for now. One slender leg gives a testing pull - slow, gentle, measured - until she can feel the sure secure fastening limit her movement. She takes a deep breath, releasing it just as slowly. “Everyone should see it,” Isis’s alto voice is more subdued. “But, not everyone should know the importance of it…”

Slow steps on undressed concrete floor take Zachery to the right side of the table. Again, he reaches down. "Everyone?" The word leaves him with audible confusion.

After he unfolds the new set of restraints, he wraps the fingers of one hand lightly around her arm to move it just so, and slips the straps into position. This time, they're tighter. Not tight enough to squeeze, but certainly for her hand to no longer be able to leave the teal fabric it's resting on.

Finally, a smirk creeps back onto Zachery's face, as he lifts his gaze to watch Isis'. "I assume that means I'm invited too. Would I know?"

To touch her skin inspires an instant woozy sensation. Her head pivots against the operating table, chin raised high as she grits her teeth and reels back in control of her ability. “Fuck. Sorry.” It’s more a growl and admonishment than an apology, but let’s consider the circumstances.

Isis’s face has resumed that crinkled effect, fighting to keep her eyes closed and her thoughts on topic. “Yes, everyone - You’re in so many places at once: North Carolina and Tennessee. You’re in the clouds, but still on the ground. The sky’s on fire with the sunrise, but the fog is like a ghostly sea on Earth….” Her head rocks side to side on the tabletop as she shakes it gently. “I… don’t want to tell you. Do I have to tell you?” A strange question, to be sure and stranger still for it’s lack of bite. To the close-eyed, tiny, bound figure on the table, the question seems entirely apt.

Zachery's own shoulders come up with the sudden movement, but his smirk stays. As if to hide the sound, he follows it immediately with a sidestep to start moving to the other side of the table as Isis continues explaining.

On his way, he carefully and quietly swipes the supplies from the cabinet, and pockets them.

When she quietens, and he speaks up again, it's gentler, if only just. "Not if you don't feel like it. I may figure you out in time, yet." Not a threat, so much as composed banter. "I'm going to touch your arm again." He reaches, this time to lightly drag a palm across the inside of Isis' arm while his other hand unfurls the straps at the table's side.

There’s no jarring or discomfort this time - just smooth flesh, pale with a few cinnamon freckles of various sizes. “It’s heaven and it’s hell as much as I can comprehend such a thing in this life… It’s where it all broke. Really broke.” And then her lips are sealed. Tight, if the thin line made from her pale lips is anything to go by.

For the first time since he's entered the room, Zachery seems… doubtful. His attention drifts slowly from the straps he's fastening around that second wrist, to his own hands, to Isis' face. "I'm… ah -" His eyebrows lower over blue and white both, and when he casts his gaze back to her arm again, renewed focus drags his voice slightly lower. "I'm just going to check these one more time." The last restraint goes tight, a notch more so than the one before.

As he pulls away toward her legs again, he reaches to tug, a few times, at the ends of the straps around her boots with one hand, while his other carefully retrieves a small, thin syringe from his pocket. The plastic cap is worked off of the needle blindly at his side, and it drops down by his feet as he comes to a halt by her other side again. "I was going to ask you if you were happy, there. But I realize that this might now be a strange question."

“Check them? Are you getting off on this or trying to make it wor-…” Worse? What could possibly make it worse? Maybe opening one’s eyes and finding a man looming next to you with the exposed, gleaming tip of a tiny death needle.

“Ohhhhhhoooo.” It bleeds away into a cry very much like a feral yowl. “Fuck!” Her head slams back into the table with a resounding thud at the same time her legs kick, trying to gain purchase of her heels and fling herself up. The result is her hips bucking up and aside, aiming roll away from Zachery.

“No-no-nononono. Mm-mm. Mmm.” Words? What’re words. There’s nothing so coherent as all that. There’s just whimpers and grunts before a blubbered, “No-I-can’t. I can’t. Pleeeeaaaase.” It’s all one big wail and eventually she must try to come up for air. AiR! WherE is ThE AIR!? The effort is a pathetic wheeze through her closing windpipe.

The first query, unfinished as it was, is not dignified with an answer. Zachery does not much look like he's enjoying this, but at the same time… beyond his eye darting to catch Isis' face and the sudden filling of his lungs to maximum capacity, there is probably less of a response to this thrashing than there should be.

In fact, he looks almost… bored. Unimpressed. Head angling to one side and his muscles relaxing as he breathes out, calmly thumbing the syringe into position between index and middle finger. He waits for a moment and then, over whine and wheeze, says in an entirely ill-placed but tranquil fashion, "I thought I'd have more trouble with this. But I think, for all the times I've been in similar positions of powerlessness… I've never begged."

With that, he leans forward to push, all at once, an elbow and a good amount of weight down into Isis' sternum, while his other hand settles instantly against her restrained wrist, and pushes needle against skin a fraction of a second before he jams his palm against the plunger, sending its contents into her bloodstream.

If only she'd kept her eyes closed. This would have been a lot easier.

Sharp pressure on the sternum - that’s a thing to try and rouse unconcious people. Someone get this vindictive doctor a medical book: Isis is not unconscious. Not yet.

Between the pressure on her chest and the talonous grip that fear has claimed about her throat, she is silent. Dead silent. Only the rattle of the restraints answers Zachery’s bitter jibe. Insider her own flesh, Isis’s consciousness rails against its natural confines, now a prison, but finds no fleshy contact bridge over which to hurl itself to safety. Pop. Her skin doesn’t really make that sound, but it might as well for the way she turns paler still and pivots her head away. There’s a silent, convulsing heave of her body as the plunger bottoms out in the syringe.

And then Quiet.

”Where did you get-…?”

”I took it from work. They were doing some testing and-… Are you in or not?”

"As I said. Relax."

Against the backdrop of his subject, Zachery both sounds and looks that much calmer, like he's done this a hundred times before. His expression is one of utter focus, breath held, hands steady. After he slowly withdraws the syringe, the weight on Isis' chest lets up, and he immediately turns his back on her. The syringe is raised up in order to inspect the needle - slightly bent - with a sneer.

When he remembers to exhale again, he does so with a shudder before his breath stabilises on the next inhale. His eye stays on that bent needle, as his head dips.

The disapproval in his voice is palpable, even if Isis cannot see it on his face. "… Didn't even prep you properly. Poor form."

”Fine. When the time comes, no matter what I say… ignore me.”.

"Don't I always?"

”I fucking mean it. When I lose my shit. Just remember: I want this.”

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License