Muse-eum of Torture

Prompt Day #183: What items would you find in the wing of a museum gallery featuring a “Cruelty Exhibition”? Give us a tour, or surprise the night watchman.

Hey Guys…Guess what? We’ve reached the HALF WAY POINT! I have written one half of the 365 prompts. And yeah, some were stinkers, some were short little poems, I’ve had fun and written some crazy stuff that I would never have imagined myself writing. I’ve learned and tried different style techniques including todays 2nd person point of view, which I don’t think I have done before. I know some of the stories lately have been a little bland and I know it, it’s tough to keep up with it every day, holidays included. Days when work was crazy (like today) or calls kept me up all night, I didn’t have a lot of creative sparks to work with, but I made a commitment and so good, bad, or ugly, I keep going. I like this one alright though. Let me know what you think. And feel free to congratulate me on this momentous occasion. 50% complete!

Muse-eum of Torture

                You’re an adrenaline junky. You love the way thrills fill your chest amplifying your heartbeat like a deep bass boom. So if anyone saw you standing here, waiting in line for a museum exhibition, they would think you mad. But you don’t care what they think. When you heard about this particular interactive exhibit, you knew you had to be first in line. In fact, you wonder if you just might be the only person ever to camp out in the parking lot just to be the first person into a museum.

This is different. This is an interactive, virtual reality exhibit entitled “Cruelty: The History of Torture, Abuse, and Human Depravity”. The ticketholder will have the opportunity to be completely immersed in a particular time period and experience the torture associated with it as far as possible without actually being injured. You’ve brought your journal so you can record your feelings after each encounter.

You are the first one in but are disappointed to learn that you will have to wait until the appropriate number for a tour group amasses before you will be permitted entrance into the exhibit. You’re shaking uncontrollably and it’s difficult to hide the fact that you are sexually aroused by the anticipation of barbaric torture.

When the waiting itself has become its own form of sadism, you are invited inside. The exhibits are spread out in a semicircle before you separated by time period. Each tableau contains the most grisly methods of abuse for that time and at least one from each period is set up to be interactive. Your masochistic cold weather campout is rewarded when you are offered your choice of any virtual reality, 4D ordeal.

Does it really matter which you choose first, you won’t be leaving until you’ve had firsthand experience with each and every one. You are drawn though to the Ancient Persians’ Scaphism punishment. You read that it is a slow, excruciating way to die. The idea of it gives you goosebumps. The docent helps you into the specially designed canoe. You are swaddled in a wired suit and your entire head is placed within a virtual reality helmet. The docent then describes the torture to the crowd of voyeurs who have gathered to watch you squirm.

“After submerging their victims in a water-filled rowboat with only their heads, hands and feet exposed, the Persians force fed the unfortunate soul a mixture of milk and honey which caused diarrhea. Submerged in a cesspool, they covered the exposed body parts with more milk and honey.”

You can smell the stink of the water, see and hear flies begin to buzz about you. Even though you know it’s not real, you find yourself flicking your head about trying to shoo them away.

“The smell of the water and the sweetness of the concoction brings all sorts of flying insects who swarm the victim, eventually laying their eggs on the body and in the water.”

The feeling of being submerged in a cool water is so real in this suit that your teeth chatter, but you try hard to keep your mouth closed against the mass of insects waiting to gain entry. As it is, the formication is unbearable. You want to call this off, tell them you no longer wish to participate, but then what would you write in your journal? That you can’t handle a little discomfort? That you can dish it out but you can’t take it?

“As the eggs hatch, they find their way to the now putrid body simmering in its own excrement but still very much alive. They begin to feed. Burrowing through soft, rotting flesh. Wriggling in and out of the holes they’ve chewed in the tissues.”

The sensation was stronger, more forceful now. You focus on your breathing and chant silently within your head It isn’t real, it isn’t real, it isn’t real.

                You try out the iron maiden next. A quicker demise for sure, even the period of anticipation is shortened. In your magic helmet, you see the spikes swinging towards you and as the door (of the very real metal coffin) shut, firm blasts of air hit you and you jump and cry out in surprise. You are embarrassed by your show of weakness, but otherwise unimpressed with the mundane device.

Stoning is a bore; the guillotine and the electric chair are a little more your current style, and that isn’t why you’ve come. You want different, exciting, and unique. Before moving on you do take a moment to log your feelings as well as the observations of others’ experiences in this immersion exhibit. Ultimately, it is a small, simple medieval torture that takes your breath away. Such a simple concept yet so deliciously terrifying. One that torments and slows the dying process but is not as sickening and drawn out as the sewer boat trick.

The Rat Torture, even the mock version you tried was utterly horrid. With your vision helmet you see yourself lying on the hard slab of a table, your stomach exposed. A rat is placed in a bowl with is then turned onto the skin of your abdomen, thereby trapping the rat inside. In the interactive 4D version, you can feel the pressure of the bowl, feel the rat’s tiny claws tic-tic-ticking as it paces the perimeter of its skin and clay prison. Then, the spot where you feel the bowl and rat starts to become hot. With your specialized visor, you see them holding a torch up to the bowl. Now the rat is in a frenzy and the clawing begins to hurt, then sting and burn. For you, in your very safe real world, the torture goes no further, but the victims endured searing pain as the rat bites and claws its way through the skin. It is frantic to escape the heat. After all 98.6 is cool in comparison to the heat of a clay pot on a fire. Soon the rat has burrowed its way fully into the belly where now the pain becomes visceral, a twisting, aching, nauseous pain that is so much worse.

Yes, what a crazy, wild way to go. You fill three journal pages with your thoughts, emotions, pulse, and the reactions of the other tour group members. On the fourth page you sketch out a diagram and make a shopping list. This trip has turned out to be most educational and enlightening. You’ve been wanting some fresh ideas. Stabbing, slashing, strangling is so passé.