He lay a small plate on the table, presenting me with a piece of cake and stepped back from the table. The cake was decadent in appearance, all frivolous in adornment and pomp. The colors were richly contrasting with one another and against the monochromatic backdrop of the plate. Into my field of vision slid a small fork, silvered and filigreed. I looked up at my host across from me and he waved his hand in the air. “Your choice is simple,” he said. “You will choose either this cake, and join my men…or you will die.” His pause was filled by a feminine brush at his mouth with the corner of his napkin.

I looked back down at the cake and weighed my choices. The fork, too small to be used offensively, the absence of a knife on the table, the guard behind my host…all the possible options for attack flew through my mind. Also on my mind was the very real hunger I was feeling right now, having been in the cell for close to a week, by my calculations, with only water. He wanted me alive, but weak, the bastard. I picked up the fork and clenched it in my fist. I lay my other fist on the table on the opposite side of the cake-filled entrapment.

So hungry, so very hungry.

I could feel his smile. That reptilian smile of his. With a yell, I raised my hand in the air and drove the tines of the fork down into my leg, piercing my clothing and skin but missing any major arteries. The sudden fiery pain in my leg drove all hunger from my mind. The guard began to react when I raised my arm but stopped in shock when the fork came down on my own leg. I began laughing through the pain, laughing that he hadn’t beaten me…not yet. He ordered the guards to drag me back to my cell. I screamed at him with madness, fury, and pain, and in truth, he looked startled at the lengths he was now realizing I might go to. I had bought myself time. How long, was anybody’s guess but the choice was now off the table once again.

So…I win this round.

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