Nick Carter Excerpts — Deadly Doubles,

Nick Carter #119, Deadly Doubles,
Ace Books 0441141633, 1978
A hand reached in and yanked open the door. Rough hands were pulling me from the car. The mob was engulfing me. Off-balance, I felt myself being dragged backwards, stumbling, tripping, out of control in a maelstrom of violence. Then pain. Then darkness.

I awoke to the stench of sweat and the sight of dripping armpits and a pair of immense, swarthy breasts bobbling unappetizingly before me.
A dirty thumb plucked at one of my eyelids. My vision was filled with the hairy upper lip of a woman, and then her lips parted in what must have been a smile of satisfaction. To me, they revealed only a set of crooked yellow teeth .
The head moved away. I was conscious now of a windowless room with white walls. I was seated, naked, in a wooden chair. My arms and legs were bound to the chair with stout rope that bit into my wrists and ankles. Specks dotted the walls. At first I thought I was seeing spots, and then I realized that what I was seeing were splashes of dried blood.
The bobbling breasts and the armpits sprouting wet black hair crossed my vision again.
I closed my eyes again.
A hand slashed across my face, snapping my head back and to the side.
My eyes flew open .
Again I saw the yellow teeth and the sadistic smile. The woman had the face of a ferret on the body of a pig.
“Come, my pet,” she said. “Come play with Janeen Khasib.”
I closed my eyes again and shook my head to clear it. Again the heavy hand slashed across my face.
“Come, sweet,” the fat woman’s deep voice said. “Come play with Janeen.”
I opened my eyes again. It was no dream. The ferret-faced woman with the porcine body was still standing there. She was naked to the waist. Her pen­dulous breasts, their dark inverted nipples puckered inside circlets of wiry black hair, bobbled like enorm­ous sausages with her every movement. A lush growth of hair, oily with the constant dripping of her sweat, jutted from under each arm.
I closed my eyes again.
And again her left hand shot out and slashed across my face.
She broke off momentarily. She was peering over my shoulder, down between my thighs.
Her voice grew angry. “You do not respond to Janeen,’ she said. “You are like the others, it seems. How sad. How sad that one so handsome as you should not love Janeen.”.
She moved in front of me. Her eyes were slightly,. glazed. “But perhaps you are shy,” she said.”1 will give you one more chance. Come, my pet, say it: ‘You are beautiful, Janeen.’”
I turned my head away.
She must have sensed the movement. “Filth!”she shrieked. “Filth! You spurn Janeen. Now you will know my wrath.”
“`You do not wish Janeen?” she said.
Her left hand reached down and gripped my sex. I stared at her.
She moved closer and, cupping her left hand under my chin, pulled my face up until my eyes locked on hers.
“Say it, Mr. Carter. Say, `Janeen is beautiful.’ “
I was drenched in the foul odor of her sweat and her fetid breath. I closed my eyes again. Whatever drug they had given me, it was still in my body, tugging me back toward unconsciousness.
Her hand slashed across my face. I snapped to wake­fulness.
She covered my mouth with hers, grinding her lips into mine. One of her breasts slithered like a wet blad­der over my bare skin.
She broke away and walked behind me. She put her fleshy arms around me. Looking down, I was con­fronted by a hideous vista of hairy arms, bloated fin­gers, and dirt-rimmed nails playing over my body.
Her mouth moved close to my ear. “Say it, Mr. Carter,” she whispered from behind me. “Say: ‘You are lovely, Janeen Khasib.
Footsteps sounded behind me, and then a man ap­peared. Janeen looked at him from lowered eyes in a grotesque parody of some provocative flirt.
“For God’s sake, Janeen, all I asked you to do was guard him.”
“I’m sorry, Muhammad,” she said.
“Give me the scalpel, Janeen.
She laid it gently in his upturned palm. She said softly, “Will you give him back, Muhammad, when you are finished with him? Like with the others?”
“Yes, Janeen,” he said.
I shuddered despite the heat of the room.
This time you shall pay for your crimes. And the world will know of it.”
He reached down and grabbed me by the hair. “Know of it! Know of it! Know of it!” he shrieked. . His hand darted out and slapped me across the face.
“I knew you would pretend to be innocent—at least at first. But in time you will decide differently. You will make a confession. And why will you make a confession? Because if you confess, we will give you a treat. And do you know what the treat is?”
“Tell me,” I said.
“The treat is death,” he said. “Yes, the time will come with us when you will look upon death as a treat. And you have my word—we will give it to you if you confess.”
“Well,” I said, “it all sounds very promising, Muhammad.”
He slammed the back of his hand across my lips. I tasted blood.
“I like to be called General by the enemies of the Arab people,” he said.
“Janeen, go get the equipment.”
“Yes, Muhammad,” she said.
She returned in a moment, dragging a small table. Laid out on it were a few batteries, some thin wire, a box of matches and a cigar, a few pairs of pliers, a couple of hypodermic syringes—a sort of beginner’s torture kit. And in the middle of it all, a tape recorder.
Janeen retreated to a corner of the room, crossed her arms over the misshapen sausages of her breasts, licked her lips, and waited.
Muhammad perched on the edge of the table. “Let us begin, Mr. Carter.” He switched on the tape re­corder. He put a match to the cigar and sucked it into glowing life. I strained my wrists against the ropes binding me to the chair. Whoever had tied me had done a good job.
Muhammad put the end of the cigar to the tip of one of the pieces of wire and blew. It glowed red, then white.
“Tell me how it began,” he said.
“How what began?”
He touched the glowing wire to the inside of my thigh. There were the odor of seared flesh, a rising wisp of smoke, a charred dot, and an agonizing spear of pain. My straining body brought the ropes chafing deeply into my wrists and ankles.
Muhammad smiled at me. “Please, Mr. Carter,” he said. “Do not play us for fools. We know everything.”
“Splendid,” I said. “I’m sorry I can’t make the same statement.”
Muhammad sucked again on the cigar and set the thin wire to glowing. This time he raked it along my thigh, leaving a trail of blistered flesh. He was begin­ning to make the repulsive Janeen seem angelic.
“I suppose there are even more sophisticated de­vices,” Muhammad mused. “Perhaps someday, when the Pan-Arab Protective Society is more firmly estab­lished as the defender of our people, we shall have them. But I will always prefer these little wires. So tiny. So easy to insert in interesting places.”
It was ironic. I thought of the many times I had withheld secrets under duress. And now, even if I wanted to tell this megalomaniacal sadist something, there was nowhere to begin. What did he want? And why?
“I do not wish to prolong your agony, Mr. Carter,” he said.
I wanted to kill him. My body convulsed against the ropes. It was futile.
Muhammad Sham-al-Nassim flicked the wire across my face.
“You miserable bastard,” I said.
Muhammad chuckled. “Poor Mr. Carter.
Muhammad had picked up the cigar again and flicked off the ash. He was blowing on the tip, his breath fanning the tobacco into a brilliant orange glow. Once again, he held one of the thin wires to the end of the cigar.
“I have nothing to confess to you. And if you have any plans for me, you’d better get on with them., I’m sick of your talk and your cheap torture.”
“What is that American slogan?” Muhammed asked. “Ah, yes: ‘Have it your way.’ So be it, Mr. Carter—have it your way.
“So come, let us be about our business. I am going to apply various instruments to your body, Mr. Carter. I will not bother to bargain further with you. This is not the marketplace. I will apply the instruments. And when you are ready, simply begin to talk. The tape recorder is running. Confess. And then, as I promised, you will be allowed to die.”
And so—with evident pleasure, he began, moving up from the soles of my feet with his array of primitive devices. In a corner of the room, her mouth slightly agape, her tiny eyes feasting on my agony, Janeen Khasib stood, waiting like a hyena for my ravaged carcass to become her prey. Muhammad smiled and hummed as he went about his work.
He was above the knees, working his way toward my crotch, when I awoke the second time from blessed unconsciousness. The first blackout had been brief; the second, longer. It was only a matter of time before I passed over into a special realm that knew no pain at all. Muhammad was an amateur. He would overdo it. He would overplay his hand. He would release me from all pain. I would be dead before the hideous Janeen could play out her fantasies on my mutilated body.
I closed my eyes and tried to blot out the sight of him and the sense of what he was doing. I sent one thought through my mind in rhythmic pulses: “Say nothing…say nothing…say nothing.”
In the room, all was silent save for the occasional whir of Muhammad’s battery, the hiss of burning flesh, the occasional shuffling of Janeen’s booted feet as she shifted her position, and the rasp of her excited breath as it erupted from under her pendulous breasts, through her throat, and over her sharp yellow teeth.
And then, through the haze of pain that engulfed me, I heard a muffled noise. My eyes flickered open. “Yes,” I heard her say, “He’s very much alive.”

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