The Origin of the Phrase

Jakoby awoke to a dimly lit room. Naked rope chewed on his wrists, threatening to gnaw right down to the bone.

“So,” came a cold voice, oiling its way across the room, “Victor Jakoby.”

Jakoby said nothing.

“We have subjected you to some of our most . . . thorough procedures to no avail. I’m beginning to think we just might have to kill you and just get done with it.”

“Then do it,” Jakoby spat. “It’d be better for me anyway.”

“Truthful, but the fact remains that we don’t have the information we need. You’ve forced us to do something we rarely resort to. Golgotha, bring it out.” The man gestured to the shadows, where a stone-faced woman emerged, presenting a small shapeless thing covered by a sheet.

The man whipped it off. Jakoby shrieked in mortal terror.

“No! No, God, get it away from me!”

The man let himself savor a smile. “Yes, Mr. Jakoby. Like I said—not used often—but the Dickens gets its job done every time.”

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