Characters: Ianto, mentions Tosh and Lisa.
Warnings: Grim thoughts of blood and death.
Summary: Captured and bound by the cannibals, Ianto waits to be killed.
Word Count: 1021
Written For: My genprompt_bingo square I Walk Through The Valley Of Death.
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Hands tied behind his back, filthy gag in his mouth and an equally soiled hood over his head, Ianto kneels on the cold flagstones of the farmhouse kitchen floor. He’s helpless, terrified, and absolutely certain he’s going to die. Worse, he knows that after he’s dead, these people, if they can even be called that, will eat him.
His only consolation is that Tosh got away, and he hopes she was able to evade pursuit long enough to find Jack and the others. As scared as he is, he’d be okay with dying if only he could know the rest of the team will survive. Maybe if they do they can end the cannibals’ reign of terror and nobody else will ever have to suffer at their hands.
Deep at the back of his mind, his subconscious wonders if perhaps he deserves this fate. Not just because he survived Canary Wharf when so many others lost their lives, but because he couldn’t save Lisa. Or perhaps because he foolishly tried to save her at all after she was already beyond help, risking the whole of humanity by protecting and caring for the monster that had taken over her body. He was so blind to the truth, and two people died because he just didn’t want to see what was right in front of him. Guilt has been weighing him down since that night, the burden almost too heavy to bear. Maybe this is his penance.
When he was young, back before his mam got sick and his tad started drinking, they used to go to church every Sunday. That was so very long ago though; he’s seen so much horror since then that he isn’t sure he believes in God any more, and even if there is a God, He probably doesn’t believe in Ianto Jones. Why would He? After all his lying, cheating, deceiving, and getting people killed, Ianto wouldn’t blame God, if He does exist, for turning His back on him.
Nevertheless, Psalm 23 sneaks into Ianto’s mind as he kneels there, effectively blinded, and barely able to breathe through the stench of blood and death that fills this kitchen turned abattoir. ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.’
He skips the verse about the table, unable to envision anything but the blood-smeared, solid wooden butcher’s block looming beside him, a tangible presence even though he can no longer see it. Under present circumstances he’d rather not even think about anything to do with food; not when his captors have made it so clear to him that they see him as nothing more than meat, so he picks up again with verse six: ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.’
He very much doubts that he has days, or even hours left, but the familiar words of the Psalm are something to focus on, a distraction from the mind-numbing terror he’s feeling. What comfort they provide is small, but better than nothing, and he clings to it, reciting the words over and over in his head as he waits to feel the blade of a knife against his throat. He almost wishes they’d hurry up, because when that finally happens, he’ll know for certain that death is closing in on him after what feels like an eternity of waiting.
He’s not sure his nerves will take much more, they’re stretched to breaking point as it is; it’s a miracle he hasn’t already snapped. Or maybe he has and just hasn’t realised it yet. Between his current situation and the flashbacks to Canary Wharf, sanity is fighting a losing battle.
Over and over again, the smell of blood and raw meat filling his senses keeps dragging him right back to London, and that horrific day almost a year ago when the corridors of Torchwood Tower were filled with row upon row of conversion units, like some nightmare version of a factory production line. He remembers all too clearly the whining and hissing, grinding and clanking of the machines as they stripped away the humanity of people he’d worked alongside, others he barely knew, and those he’d never met. Torchwood One was a big organisation before it fell; it was impossible to know everyone there, even by sight. Above it all he can still hear their cries for help and screams of agony, sounds that haunt his dreams at night, waking him in a cold sweat from what little sleep he gets.
He begins his recitation again, forcing his mind back to the words and away from the visions inside his head. ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.’ But it’s not true, because he is afraid and there’s no escape; he’s trapped between reality and memories, both equally hideous, and how can this even be happening? Cannibals in rural Wales, it sounds ludicrous, might even be laughable under other circumstances, a bad joke on a drunken night out. He wishes he could believe it’s just another nightmare born of PTSD, but he knows it’s not. It’s all too real, and he’s going to die soon, right here in this disgusting room. He’ll be bled to death and then butchered like an animal, nothing more than a piece of meat to feed the sick appetites of the villagers.
He knows all this with a dull certainty; there’s no room left for hope, and yet… Even as he waits, shivering, for his inevitable death, part of him wishing these monsters would hurry up and get it over with so that he can let go of the fear and find peace at last, free from the memories that haunt him, one clear thought overrides everything else.
Losing Lisa, he’d thought he would welcome death, but he was wrong. With the end so close now, he finds that he desperately wants to live.