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Madame Cruelle

Certain types of people can withstand spectacular amounts of punishment without sustaining any permanent damage, which makes Madam Cruelle’s job easy to the point of boredom.

The little bald man currently paying for her services wears only handcuffs, a hunting cap, and an array of steel-toothed bear traps; she wears the bunny-ear headband on which he insists. His face is soot-blackened and he’s missing teeth. It’s the same thing every week, she reflects, and yet he’s always eager to start again.

“Have you been bad?” she asks, almost disinterested.

Vewy bad,” he gasps, before she drops the anvil.