There’s the pungent smell of spilling fuel, the spray of fractured glass causing for red petals to seep from the man’s visage as a dull ache thrums at the base of his skull. All the while trying to make sense of his world which is confusingly flipped upside down, the seatbelt of the driver’s seat keeping him locked in place like a caged animal that didn’t deserve its freedom. But despite the building panic which burgeons in his chest, widening eyes cast upon the rear view mirror. Lips parting as he witnesses a pair of familiar faces returning his shocked gaze - facial hair which frames lips that hiss from behind a half-smoked cigar that’s seamlessly poised; a string of pearls which dance within the dwindling light, perfume reminiscent of his childhood engulfing his senses in an oddly comforting manner.
A sense of strength is feigned as he asks the ghostly figures if they’re alright, noting the clothing which looks like they’ve been plucked right out of a black and white photograph. Skin devoid of natural colour, cheeks instead filled with a monochrome hue that threatens to be so easily burnt with a mere trickle of warm sunlight. His priority shifting to get them out of the absolute wreck of a car, no longer questioning how or why they’ve even had the accident - the stench of soured alcohol on his breath seemingly answering his own question…
And yet things rapidly cascade downhill, the heavy creak sparking alarm as the door besides him is utterly ripped from its hinges. A strong hand appearing out of nowhere to grab the man by the throat, tanned sinews crunching and groaning beneath the commanding grasp. He can’t breathe… He can’t fucking breathing amidst the arising background of helpless screams and shouts. A breathless gasp struggling to emerge as absolute fear sets into motion, but that doesn’t stop the “stranger” from pulling Tony out of the vehicle. The grip shifting to clutch into his short hair, dragging him across the road which is littered in screeched tire markings. Feet awkwardly scraping as perfectly polished shoes grow increasingly scuffed. A hand reaching back as a growl of pain passes through a clenched jaw. Expletives are on the verge of being spat out but the shell of a man grows silent as he notices that the arm is one of metal.
No… The infamous star nearing the shoulder glistening with a taunting combination of red and gold. No no no… A heavy boot stomps onto Tony’s chest, keeping him in place as
Barnes the Winter Soldier lowers himself down with a curious leer, as if peering at an unfortunate animal at the zoo. The mask covering his eyes withdrawn to reveal a dull set of eyes which are entirely dead inside…and yet there’s the perturbing upward lift at the corners as his muffled voice comes across in a whisper.
“I heard you like to watch.”
The words are met with an expression of confusion, but a match being turned over within the other’s hand grabs Tony’s attention. That and the long and winding trail of fuel which leads up to the car. The debilitating shock and knowledge of what’s about to happen causing for him to close his eyes like the coward that he is, unable to face the anguished cries for help as his parents cook inside the confined tin can of a vehicle.