The grey-suited man grinned inhumanly and placed a cigarette in his mouth. There was a hollow click as he flicked the blowtorch on – and absolutely nothing happened.

“Bugger all,” he muttered, patting down his pants, presumably in search of a more conventional incendiary instrument.

Leon Blasingame, currently naked, trembling, and handcuffed to and seated in a none-too-comfortable folding chair, was unimpressed. All for the best, he thought. The gesture would have been too over-the-top to be taken seriously anyway.

This was the most complex thought Leon had had in days, and the fact that he’d managed to put it together was a point of momentary pride for him. In a former life, he’d been a professor of philosophy, and most comfortable when thinking complex thoughts. For four days and five nights, however, he hadn’t had much of a thought beyond wishing for death.

Grey Suit’s cigarette was now lit. Leon wondered when that had happened. The other man leaned over him.

“Now then … shall we do this?”

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