Voices of the Dead

The prisoner lay unmoving with his thin body shackled against the cold stone platform. With his feet held at an angle above his head the rush of blood to his brain kept him continuously dizzy. He rarely opened his eyes though he almost never slept. When he did open them the few torches in the chamber started swimming in circles. The disorientation would leave him physically sick even though, after so long without food, there was nothing left in his stomach.
With every bone and joint in his body aching he desperately tried to hold on to his sanity with prayer. He prayed to every god he had ever known to take pity and free him from his bonds. It didn't matter how they did it any more. He knew even death would be freedom.
Slowly he licked his lips and was surprised at how much moisture he found. It tasted good and he collected as much as he could. Once he had enough he braced himself for the pain and swallowed. His muscles tightened and he fought the urge to scream. Finally, after what seemed a lifetime, the pain subsided and his body relaxed. He repeated the process several times and was relieved to feel the pain lessen.
He wondered if all the moisture meant it was raining outside. He listened intensely holding his breath for silence, and was certain he could hear the sizzle of rain hitting stone in the distance. He took a deep slow breath and sensed the very faint scent of rain.
He felt tired, as always, but did not want to sleep yet. The pitiful sleep he occasionally didn't help. He had learned the longer he forced himself to stay awake the deeper he would sleep later. Concentrating on simple things like that was one of the ways he managed to keep control.
Another was singing.
Though he couldn't form words anymore he opened his mouth to sing. Even with a crackled voice he could still manage to create several tones and by changing their pitch and depth he could produce the resemblance of his favorite hymn.
Gentle are the voices of the dead
Whether lives end swift or slow
Souls either happy or sad
Must not be forgotten in the morrow
Remember the moments of heart and grace
Remember the truth behind the face
Forgive them their lust
Forgive them for their wrongs
Shade or hide from them we do not
And pray our sins they shall forgive
Those who've gone either friend or foe
Begin again as virgin snow
With them lies our sacred past
And in their sights our future is
Listen to their memory flow
Hope and dreams and all they know
Believe the truth of all things said
Gentle are the voices of the dead
He stopped singing when he heard footsteps approaching. He could tell by the slow and heavy treads that it was the giant. He expected, even hoped, that he would not survive this session.
He jumped in shock as a cup of cool water was suddenly dumped on his face. He opened wide and swallowed as much of the liquid as he could. As usual this was followed by the strong smell of fruit, a nearby melon, but it was quickly removed.
"Now," the menacing voice of the master started slowly. "Tell me what you know before I cut off your pointed ears."