A to Z 2017: SHOCK THERAPY

The lights dimmed and flickered, but even as the living room blinked into darkness there was a constant glow emanating at its center. Shadows danced on the wall in erratic patterns.

"I... I don't... know...," the young man stuttered through clenched teeth.

"Shh... Let's not repeat ourselves for the umpteenth time," Jericho warned, "you know how much that upsets me." His voice was crackly in the dry, static-filled air. He hovered over his prey, white and blue pulsing tendrils stretching from his outstretched hands. The electric parasites entwined the half-naked man he was questioning, penetrating and boring his skin. They were an extension of his being.

"I don't..." The man began to convulse, eyes bulging. Surges of electricity hummed through his body, sharp whip-like snaps intermittently filled the room.

The waves of electricity coursing through his victim were channeled through the sparking threads jutting from Jericho's hands and body. The two of them were connected, one feeding the other. He could control the intensity, control how the current flowed through the man. He leaned in closer.

"We both know you're lying. And I've come a long way just to be lied to." He clenched his left fist, triggering more writhing. "We also both know you're never going to tell me what I want to know. What I came here for." Jericho contemplated one last attempt at coercing through increasing the level of amplification, but he believed what he said. "I guess I understand, even if I've never felt such loyalty to anyone but myself."

He reigned in his ability, the lights in the apartment springing back to life. The young man he was torturing crumpled in the chair he was in, heaving as he took in raspy gulps of air. Feeling he wasn't in any danger, no longer needing to incapacitate his new toy, Jericho admired his progress. He was successfully drawing power from his immediate environment and controlling how it flowed both through him and how it was manipulated. There had been no wild sparks and random bursts of flailing energy. He understood, however, that he was likely only able to do so because he was restricting himself. During moments of the session, when the interrogation became more extreme, he could feel the inclination to be consumed.

What he planned to do next would be even more severe, and it blurred in his mind whether it was necessary or simply desire. The man he had hunted down, knew almost nothing about, was reduced to sobbing whimpers. Without the charged current assaulting him any longer, beads of sweat sprang forth, glistening across the man's dark skin, highlighting his physique. He was thankful for the victim's health, it had allowed him to exert himself more freely. What beauty the man had worked for, or been God-given, was about to be undone.

"You want to know a secret?" He half expected a response with how chatty they had been earlier in the evening. "Ever since I've been blessed with this power, I've had persistent migraines. Ones that really cloud the mind, makes it hard to think. The only thing the soothes the pain has been accessing my gift. The more I use it, the more strength I focus into it, the more relief I feel. I don't know if it just acts as a distraction or what, but it certainly encourages me to use it. And who am I to deny doing so?"

Once again arced wisps began to curl around his fingers and pulse up his arms. With an open hand he forced connected bolts to leap forth from his fingertips, tethering the man to himself. Before initiating a charge, he added, "That stuff I just divulged to you was pretty personal, makes me feel weak. You wouldn't mind taking that to the grave, would you?" The man mumbled something, taking Jericho back by surprise. "Is there something you'd like to say?"

The man lolled his head back. His eyes and cheeks wet. "You..." Ragged heaving interrupted. "You're one ugly son-of-a..."

Jericho pumped a sudden eruption of electricity into the man, jolting him upright and causing more violent seizures. He tapped back into the power grid, lights pulsing and then dying, leaving the two of them to bask in his glow. He sought power from beyond the apartment, harnessing as much as he could, while still maintaining some semblance of control.

With a grimace, Jericho licked at the man's tears with swaths of miniature bolts causing them to sizzle on contact, denying him his release.

"Do you want to know another secret?" Jericho manipulated the current. The man stopped thrashing and was stuck in a ridged, upright position. He leaned in close, almost pressing his lips against the victim's ear. "I'm going to get messy. And just for wasting my time, when I'm finished, not a goddamn soul is going to recognize you."

Jericho opened the floodgates of his siphoned energy and let himself loose control.

Thanks for reading! What did you think about the piece? Any constructive criticism is welcomed!