One Chance
Cutscene: One Chance
IC Details

The Punisher interrogates his Hellraiser captive.

IC Date: January 01, 2019
IC Location: Hell's Kitchen, NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted: 02 Jan 2019 00:26
Rating & Warnings: R for language and torture
Associated Plots

Frank aches, but he's used to that, and he only has a limited time to take advantage of the orgy of illegal fireworks going off over and around the city. He zip-ties the Hellraiser and hauls him off through allesy painted in stark light and dark by brilliant overhead explosions. The city is celebrating the end of a year filled with explosions, demons, and more, and it's cutting out all the stops.

The Punisher and his prey end up in a half-built apartment building, insulated from the sound and fury of the celebration outside by concrete walls and Tyvek'ed windows. A rough search of the man reveals an impressive array of weapons, including ground-down demon-bone shivs. These all go in a pile well out of reach of the Hellraiser. Zip-tying the Hellraiser's wrists and ankles to a heavy workbench, the Punisher presses down on one slashed arm with his boot, looking to wake the other man with a burst of pain. "Wake up, shitbird. It's time for you to start talkin'."

The body of the Hellraiser is heavy, but not as heavy as he could have been had he been in full demon bones. The skull was left behind on the rooftop, exposing the human beneath the grotesque arrangement of harvested and stripped bones. He's late-twenties — maybe early-thirties — with a dark crown of hair, pale skin that is scarred and scraped, and one of his blue eyes encircled by a bruise. He is mostly unconscious — drifting in and out — while Frank zipties him.

The press to the wound incites a low, hoarse scream from the man, shocking him awake as his nerves cry out and prompt a sudden slam of adrenaline. His throat chokes on the noise, and he's trying to squirm futilely back from the Punisher. "What the fuck, what the fuck," he gasps, and he gives a hard pull on the ties, almost wrenching his shoulder.

The Punisher leans hard on the wounded arm when the Hellraiser tries to squirm away. "Knock it off, asshole." He draws the Ka-Bar that has already tasted the other man's blood, shifting it idly in his hand from point-up to point-down and back with easy motions. "There's three ways this can go." The statement is slow, thoughtful. "There's the quick, easy way. There's the slow, easy way. And then there's the slow, hard way." Letting up the weight on the Hellraiser's arm, he offers a release of the pain, "So let's start easy and see if we have to go from there. Were you at Pier 60? At Jennings' Party?"

There's nowhere to go, and the arrival of Frank's Ka-Bar is enough to send the Hellraiser back just enough to his back is set into the workbench with nowhere else to go. He's looking at the knife without a single flicker of his gaze at the Punisher as Castle lays out his options. They are left vague, and prompting, but this guy has seen enough of the streets to know better than to ask for more information — to quest to understand what makes it slow, or hard, or easy. Instead, he decides that the question is the most important. He can answer that one. In fact, he kind of spits his answer angrily, "Wasn't us. We didn't hit that damn party. No one in our crew did that shit. We didn't need to."

"Bullshit," is the Punisher's immediate response. "You keep lying to me, and I'm going to start cutting." He leans in then, grabbing the man's sleeve and running the sharp blade along it, parting the cloth from the cuff up to the slash at the man's triceps. The motion bares the Hellraiser's arm to the New Year's morning cold, and more importantly, to the Ka-Bar. "You assholes are totally obsessed with all that demon shit. Bones, and whatever bullshit was making people Hulk out." He's heard enough by now to have heard that part of the story. "I don't care if it's that blue shit or magic or whatever. Whatever it is, you're still here with me." The knife is twisted in his hands to gleam in the halogen work lights that turn the room nearly to daylight. "So." Scorn and disbelief colors the next words, "If it wasn't you shitbirds, who was it?"

"It wasn't us," the Hellraiser shouts, almost screaming the words as Frank Castle starts in with his Ka-Bar. It should perhaps please Frank that he has such a reputation. He's trying to wrench away his arm, which is probably a more dangerous reaction, threatening to get nicked by the knife edge. His sharp eyes lift up to Frank, and his face is contorted with a baleful grimace. "These streets are ours, and Jennings knew it! He wasn't about to make any moves on us, why the fuck would we attack him?" The mention of the Hulking out has him almost laughing — a delirious little note of giggling. "We don't do magic, we protect the streets against shit like that." Ohhhh-kay. "Those motherfuckers who attacked the party? Not us."

Fear often provides the ring of truth. Still crouched down over the Hellraiser, the Punisher rests his forearms on his thighs, the Ka-Bar now idly held in his right hand, unneeded at the moment. "No need to scream, Boney. Ain't nobody who can hear you and me." Still, the fear-driven claims cause the Punisher to reexamine his view of the situation, and he taps the flat of the Ka-Bar's blade against the nail of his opposing thumb, thinking for a moment. "Then who did it? Who else beat you to so many demon-bones?" It's a little disturbing to the Punisher how easy the term 'demon-bones' comes off his lips. "Who're the ones you're protecting the streets from?"

"I don't know, man," the Hellraiser chokes out, still trying to put space between him and Frank despite the impossibility of it. There's nowhere to go, no means of escape. His mouth tightens, jaw working together as his teeth grind against one another. "There'd been plenty of demon remains around the city. And it isn't like we were keeping track, or trademarked the shit out of it." There's some fear-induced quip there — the sarcastic and dry humor a defense mechanism against sudden death. "But all I'm saying is that it wasn't us. Those motherfuckers may have been wearing our bones, but they crossed lines we wouldn't. You got me?" Because news of dismemberment, ritualized mutilations… that's not the Hellraisers' M.O., not by a longshot. Then the last question has the Hellraiser flashing his teeth. "Against the fucking weird… how much more shit is this city going to have to take?" Gangers with good intentions? Not likely, but…

This is not what the Punisher expected. He was expecting to learn whether this man had been at the massacre where his family had been hurt, to decide then if he made the list or not. To learn other names to add to the list. Instead he's dealing with a man he… understands? Appreciates? The scowl settles deep into Frank's brow, and he hefts the knife again, casually flipping it so that the blade lays along his forearm. It's a look of confusion and thought, but it might easily be taken as a scowl of anger — he has that sort of face. "So you had a deal with Jennings. You don't make a big fucking noise and he keeps the cops off you?"

The scowl sets the Hellraiser's jaw tight, and he holds a steady look at the Punisher. Maybe this is some way to keep his would-be courage going — a hopeful uptick of survival. When the vet hits the reason right on the head, the older ganger scowls slightly. "More or less," he says in a rough voice that suggests that he's not going to spill everything. "Those fucking weirdos at Jennings' shindig had nothing to do with us." The Hellraiser might sing a good song about protection and all that, but it isn't entirely in keeping with recent news on these guys. They kill people, regularly, and go head-to-head with gangs — not in some valiant hope to keep crime down, but to keep crime theirs. Don't get suckered in, Castle.

Frank can feel the courage returning to his quarry, and he gives the man a forearm shiver to the temple, to remind him exactly what's at stake without wetting the blade once more. "More, or less?" Shifting his weight forward, he plants his knee on the wounded man's arm again, "Even if you weren't at Pier 60, you ain't innocent, shithead. You're just like every other cockroach out here. So you're going to tell me everything I want to know, or you're going to end up squashed."

The slam of Frank's elbow to his temple causes stars to flash across his eyes. He grunts, hanging loosely by the zipties for a moment as if unconscious. When he looks up again, his head lulls slightly against the brace of the worktable. He squints up at Frank through the blear of the hit, eyes unfocused and blinking several times at the looming sight of the Punisher. He flashes a weary smile, shaking his head a bit. "You've not asked me anything I haven't answered, shithead… so what the fuck do you want to know? It wasn't us. It was someone else. What else do you fucking want to know?"

The spitfire defiance causes the Punisher to lower the blade of his knife to the Hellraiser's thigh, slashing slowly across the front. "You think you've got power here, do you?" The pull of the knife is just hard enough to cut into muscle without severing anything critical, the sort of wound that bleeds and causes a limp, but doesn't cripple or cause bleeding out. "How much did Jennings know?" He waits a heartbeat, and then he brings the knife up in both hands, balancing the back of the blade on his left index finger as he holds the grip in the fingers of his right hand. "You've got a choice, asshole. I can make this long and painful. Real long and painful. Or you can tell me everything you want to know, and then you can walk yourself to the nearest precinct while I watch, and tell them everything they want to know about everything but me."

The slice across his thigh causes the Hellraiser to bites back a noise of pain, trying to keep it as a grimace. It isn't successful, but he sure tries. He looks up after a moment, his eyes burning with rage and fear. "Know about what?" His voice gets a bit more high pitched, a bit more squealing. "I don't know what the fuck you're asking!" His fingers tighten hard into his own hands, and his whole body just wants to recoil. But he tries to keep that instinct at bay.

The Punisher's hand tightens on the hilt of the knife, and he digs his left thumb into the newly-made cut on the Hellraiser's thigh, anger flashing in his eyes and twisting up his face. "Were you working with Jennings directly, or was he just dealing with other shit?"

The Hellraiser screams out in sharp, hoarse agony at the pressure at his wound. His teeth set together in a creaking tightness, and he looks up into the angry eyes of the Punisher. He kicks out again, his whole body arching and twisting away from the threatening knife. "Look, man… I wasn't working with Jennings at all." He knows that's not the question, but he gets it out of the way regardless. "I don't know the details, man. I just know that Jennings were keeping the cops from poking around too much in the street politics, alright? We didn't attack the cops, they were going to leave us alone, alright?"

The Punisher nods slowly, "So nothin' direct. Okay." He looses the hand on the man's thigh, wiping off the blood from his hand on the man's pants, and then cleaning his knife there as well. "You gave me what I asked. So you've got two choices. You turn yourself in to the cops, tell them whatever they want to know about everything but me, and put yourself straight. Or you become part of the building." There's a brief glance to a cement mixer a dozen paces away. Looking back and leaning close, he reaches out to grasp the Hellraiser's collar, twisting it tight. He lifts up one finger alongside the gleaming blade of his Ka-Bar, right in the man's line of sight, "You get one chance. This ain't just your chance though." There's a pause for weight, "You fuck this up, I come for you to finish the job. And none of your friends get second chances. Ever."

The threat from the Punisher is met with a shocking look at the man's face. He had expected death to be at the end of it, but now the Punisher is giving him a choice — a choice he's not sure how he can make, or if it is even genuine. His throat bobbles slightly, and then he nods slightly. "Alright, man. Alright. I'll go to the cops." His gaze can't help but follow the movement of his finger along the blade, the way the threat is clear. He looks up after a heartbeat toward the dark-haired vet. "You won't hear nothing from me again, alright?"

Frank's lips draw back from his teeth in what might charitably be called a smile. "Don't worry, I'll walk you most of the way. Because you ain't talkin' to any of your friends on the way. And I better hear from you again. I better hear that you're singin' like a bird." The knife drops down between the man's ankles, and parts the zip-tie there. An additional zip-tie goes around the man's wrist so that he can cut the one binding him to the workbench. "Nothing about me," Maybe he actually listened to some of what Foggy said, "everything about what you and your friends are doin'. You think of leavin' somethin' else out, just remember that I don't even gotta be within a klick of you to end you. Or your friends."

The release of his ankles causes the man's legs to twitch — a fearful movement to get far away from the Punisher with the knife. Then his wrists are free, and he twists his hand around them wearily. The former Hellraiser doesn't look up, instead focusing on his own limbs as Frank issues that last threat. He nods, then holding up his hands in surrender. "Alright, alright… I heard you. Okay? I heard you."

Frank tucks the knife away then, reaching down to haul the other man up and shove him toward the doorway, "Time to get movin', shitbird. Don't make me regret this." His heavy brows are drawn down by a thoughtful frown. Why the fuck am I letting this guy go? He's going to disappear into the system. He'll be back out in a month. And anyone he kills when he gets back out is on me. Frank's lips press together, and he draws in a slow breath, then lets it out. But he's not on the list. He's a cockroach, but he isn't . Give Babs and Luke's way a chance. One chance. Just one.

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