|Is it Photons or a Rainbow?
Author: Ray-Anne PM
A collection of short stories and quick writes. Chances are you'll find something enjoyable in here, if not...You didn't waste too much time.Rated: Fiction K - English - Chapters: 18 - Words: 20,717 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 11-18-12 - Published: 04-18-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3014585
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Although it was always hectic at work, things were when you worked with children; it was particularly more hectic than usual. I let out a groan as I glanced at my watch; I had twenty minutes left on my shift and my boss was not letting this go as easy as it should be. She was in the way and having me run errands instead of attending to my child. But what was I to do? I couldn't well tell my boss to shove off, could I? So instead I ran the errand quickly and glanced at my watch as it said I had ten minutes left. I would barely have enough time to clean the child up for his parents (making cookie flowers had proved to be a flour disaster) much less clean up the kitchen before the parents got home. Which meant I would be staying late and probably meant that I would have to ride a bit of my ride home in the dark.
"Hectic day?" My boss asked as I desperately cleaned up Sammie.
I wanted to say it was her fault but instead I grimaced and nodded. I managed to clean up faster than I thought (mostly because the mother helped me, I suppose, I always get a little sensitive when people try to clean up my kitchen) and got on the bike to head to my car. I always parked my car roughly half way between home and work because I couldn't bike the whole way but I needed exercise. I pedaled faster than usual as the sun was already setting and I detested, absolutely detested, riding my bike in the dark.
I turned carefully as I walked the bike up the stairs from the underground passage. Weird people hung out in the underground passages. It was just two young boys (I use the word young a little carelessly as I am only nineteen myself and they are probably something like twelve, but who knows. I suck at discerning ages). "Can I help you?"
"Yeah, how much for a ride?"
My eyebrows went up as he handed me a small wad of cash. I laughed. "Uh,kid…I can't give you a ride." I looked through the money more from curiosity than actual interest in doing the deed. My brow furrowed. "Twenty five pound note? What? There is no twenty five pound note."
It was fake, obviously, but it did look really authentic. "Well no," he admitted. "It's fake, but you know there are a lot of things in this world that work that just don't look right."
What? "Um…right, well anyway." I handed him the money. "I can't give you a ride, I'm on my bike."
"Yeah," he nodded. "But you get into your car in the next block." He gestured behind him to two bikes. "We will ride with you then get in the car."
My stomach clenched and I felt a little cold. "How do you know that?"
He gave me a cursory glance then looked at me as if I was stupid. "You go this way almost every day of the week, was bound to notice."
"No," I corrected, "you are bound to notice that I come this way. Not bound to notice that I get in my car a whole block away."
He nodded. "Unless I had been following you; which I have."
Okay so twelve year old kid or not he was freaking me out. "Okay, no sorry kid, get lost. You're freaking me out."
He said nothing and when he didn't for a while I started up the stairs again with my bike. He stared after me, well both of them did. I kind of forgot the other boy was there too since he hadn't said anything. In fact I thought I had seen him mosey off to their bikes and was unsure when he had gone to stand next to the kid again. I stared after him as he stared after me. He hadn't moved but my skin was itchy which meant something bad was about to happen. The sun had set and there was only a glow in the sky left to lead me to my car. I was putting my bike inside of it, in the dark, when I heard the pedals of the kids. Forgetting that it was dangerous to be riding the bike in the dark and that I should be warning them or something, and that I worked and liked kids, I jumped into my car seat and locked the doors. I revved the engine and cursed when nothing happened. I felt the tears in my eyes when I heard the knock on my window. I glanced to the kid. He held up a bunch of wires that I had no clue what they did but I had a feeling it had to do with my car.
I stared at him through the window. I reached for my phone and sighed when I felt it wasn't there. The other kid lifted my mobile phone up and waved it with a jeer. Never mind, I hate kids. In fact, I'm a little scared of kids sometimes. I'm not a Children of the Corn movie fan and never have been. I bit my lip, as long as I was in this car he couldn't come in, and bygone I could stay in this car until someone came by.
But someone was already in the backseat and when the cloth went over my mouth I barely had time to attempt to gouge out his eyes until the stinging burn of the chemicals in the rag confused me and I slumped back.
The pain was familiar, but it was still painful. I had never gotten a tattoo on my face, much less around my eye. I had a few on my thighs and one around my belly button but I had never wanted a very visible tattoo. There was something over my eyes keeping them shut and from twitching. It felt like cotton in my mouth and my hands were bound. My heart was racing a mile a minute and my throat ached with the desire and my attempts at screaming. I began pounding my hands on the table, making desperate mumbling noises; all that I could manage through the gag. I felt my tears leak out and a man curse.
"If you cry you'll ruin the ink."
I felt the napkin press against my skin and I only whined in response.
Is this what kidnappers did to you? Inked you up? God please say he didn't put anything obscene, his name, or anything that would really make me ostracized for life. I did not have the money for the laser removal.
"There, beautiful work of art."
I felt something get strapped to my nose and I breathed in a gas again. It reminded me of laughing gas for a moment but then the sudden weightlessness didn't match, then there was nothing.
I woke up to crying and that made me want to cry. I didn't wake up with any grogginess. Sure I was sore and stiff, but I knew where I was, or rather what had happened to me. I had no idea where I was. Clearly, I was not alone however and the crying did nothing to calm me.
I opened one eye blearily and groaned. Okay so I was sore and I had a massive headache.
"The light sensitivity will pass in a few minutes," a kind male voice comforted. It was different than the one before, who was giving me the tattoo.
I blinked rapidly, and even tried shielding my eyes.
"How many?" garbled out the woman who was crying, it was more of a keen than anything. "How many will he take? How many will he kill?"
I opened my eyes widely at that and regretted it again almost instantly. "Owww," I mumbled.
"Quiet Carrie," he scolded gently.
I felt a small touch on my cheek but it was sensitive still near to the area of my new tattoo and I flinched away. The thought had been kind though. I tried opening my eyes again, a small squint. I was a bit surprised to see we were in a living room. Well, sort of a living room. One side of the entire wall was a two way mirror. But you could tell the other side knew it was one too. The other side was designed in a stage manner. "My God," I whispered. I got up and put my hand to the glass. It was a gurney table and absolutely crude diabolical tools. The gurney table, actually there were three, centered the room and the tools decorated the walls. A counter filled with chemicals and cabinets with probably more malicious things followed along the wall. I could see the ink set on the corner.
But it was the blood that caught your eye. Everything in the room was startling clean, shiny clean.
All of it, except the floor.
It was covered with splatters of blood. Footprints, droplets, and just pools of it decorated the floor. It was both newer and old, but for now all of it dry.
"Nothing nice goes on in there." The male told me, but he didn't really need too. I could have guessed that. I glanced now to them, but kept looking around. The room was simple enough, couple couches and a table. One entry way blocked by a heavy metal gate and a fridge and small kitchenette with a small bathroom that I could see through the open door.
There was one cage, a huge cage, one that could easily fit a person, hung above the room. I stared at it mouth agape before the man spoke up again, clearly the spokesperson for the madhouse.
"You don't really want to see what's in there. When its dinner time it will come down, but try to be…calm."
"What's in there?" I asked then, couldn't expect me to be calm if I didn't know.
"I'll tell you later, here come and sit."
I finally tore my gaze away and sat across from the couple. She was pretty enough, blonde ringlets a blue blouse and work pants. Her eyes were red rimmed and arms covered in scratches that I could only assume were stress marks. He was tall with a receding hairline and glasses. Their age difference was too grand to be a couple I decided.
"Who are you?"
"I'm Peter, I was taken a couple weeks ago." He got up and lifted his shirt which I thought was odd until I saw that he had a tattoo on his back when he turned. It outlined his spinal cord and showed a bloody real depiction of a rip on his hip. "That's my tattoo." He gestured to the woman. "This is…"
"I can introduce myself, thank you." She said quietly, finally looking up at me. Her eyes were still red rimmed and tired, but her whole look was tired. "My name is Carrie; I was taken a couple of days ago. A week maybe now actually." She pulled down her blouse and I saw a tattoo of a beating heart covered in something that looked like wires. I could also see that her body had been recently surgically operated on. "This is my tattoo."
I licked my lips, nervous. "You said he kills people?"
The man looked at me and sighed. "I think we will all die here."
I leaned back in the sofa. "You've just resigned yourself to that fact? What the fuck!"
"You'll understand when you see the cage. This isn't your average madman serial killer. There is something…" Now he looked nervous, paler and sweaty where he had seemed so cool and collected. "Some evil magic or something."
"Magic isn't real," I said, but oddly. I was distracted. What was my tattoo? What did the tattoos represent? Was that how he was going to kill us?
"You say that now but wait."
I glanced back up again and saw the woman was crying and scratching at her arms. The arms were red and the scratching was inadvertently scratching up the scabs causing her to bleed again. Yup, stress tick. "What are the tattoos?"
He shrugged. "Sometimes it's how he kills you, sometimes just how he tortures you."
My jaw dropped. "What's my tattoo?"
He gestured to the bathroom instead of answering me. I stared at the door, somehow knowing this would break the wall of unbelieving that I had surrounded myself with. This stuff didn't happen to average girls like me. I was of slightly above average height and average weight with dull brown hair and dull brown eyes. I wasn't really here and kidnapped. I couldn't be.
I got up and looked to the mirror.
Around my eyes was a design, it was almost pretty. It was on my eyebrows and extended to my hairline in swirls and dots. I don't understand how this was going to kill me.
I poked my head out of the door and glanced at him and he shrugged. "I don't know what to make of it either. But there was a man who had only dots on his body and he was taken yesterday, when you took his place. I'm not sure but I'm guessing we will see what they mean tonight."
My heart grew cold and my stomach curled. "How many people have you seen die?"
"Three," he answered.
"One," she said.
"And why are you two still alive?"
They both shrugged, clueless. "How were you taken then?" I asked again. "Some stupid young boys took me. You can't tell me they are the ones murdering."
"No," he said scratching his chin, "I think they are his sons. I was taken by them too, everyone so far has been."
"You're crazy." Yup, the wall was breaking. I slid down, leaning my back against the wall. My flight response was in full gear but there was nowhere to run to. I was beginning to feel trapped, my lungs couldn't get enough air, my sight began to tunnel.
And I was out again, a panic attack feint.
When I felt myself coming around I almost cried. Let me stay passed out! I begged, I pleaded with God but I got no answer and only heard the whisperings of the male and female.
"We have to tell her before dinner time, you know how sensitive he is."
"I don't want to wake her," she insisted, "she deserves to …"
"She doesn't deserve this." He said harshly, "but neither do we. The fact is that we are here and before I go completely insane I rather have some control over my insanity."
I think you lost there, fellow. But seeing three people die and believing in magic would cause any sane man to break. I wondered what it would be like for me to go insane.
I would not survive watching a man die, I knew that much.
"Just tell me." I kept my eyes closed, delightfully trying to remain ignorant.
I heard a chain being ground and the cage lowering with each clank, click, and protest of the chains. I opened my eyes then to see the cage come down and my jaw dropped. Inside was a man and two dogs. The man was missing a quarter of his face. I don't mean to say there was skin that had been taken off but that literally it was gone and you could see through him. One eye was gone, his nose, one ear, and his mouth. You could see the stitches on the side, and although I wanted to assume he was a puppet by the way he glanced around and waved to both Peter and Carrie I could only assume he wasn't. "My God!" The two dogs had his human parts stitched into them, replacing their own. Both were black Scottish dogs and the one with his mouth said, "Who is the new girl?"
"MY GOD!" I screamed and fell back. It had to be an illusion somehow, it had to be! Carrie and Peter winced and the dogs … His eye glared at me but only one eye was on one dog (the other eye had a patch over it and I can only assume had been removed) and the other one, the one on his body still, glared as well. It would have been humorous if it wasn't so fucked up.
The other dog did nothing but turn an awkward ear to me.
"Well, aren't you rude? Nice face much?" The dog spat. I could only assume he meant my tattoo.
"I…" I'm sorry? I guess, I can't really be blamed but Peter had tried to warn me. "I am sorry, I'm new and I'm just so overwhelmed."
I felt the tears again. This could not be real! Could he really do this? What tortures were possible for someone who could do this? But it wasn't anatomically possible! It just wasn't! "My God," I whispered more to myself.
The man looked at me with more pity. "I'm sorry too; your tattoo is actually very pretty. I hope it is quick."
Quick? Oh yeah, my death.
Another creaking noise and I instinctively looked back to see a slot open on the metal ornate gate and food be slid in on a tray. Shortly after a speaker crackled, even before words were said Carrie began to tear up and it frightened me. I wrapped my arms around myself, feeling cold.
"Good afternoon pets, we've a dinner and a show tonight."
That was it and it crackled off. Carrie hid her face in the pillow but Peter kept looking at the two way mirror. "It may be hard to watch," he said distantly, "but if you stop watching it's when you are killed I think."
At that Carrie lifted her head. A man was brought to the centre gurney which had been tilted upwards by a man in one of those radioactive suits; where everything was covered. He turned the man and shackled his wrists above his head on the corner of the gurney. "I can't watch" I whispered, somehow knowing this was the death I was going to see. I suddenly forgot I didn't believe in magic because whether I didn't or not I was seeing something so unbelievably horrid and it still caused my spine to creep with icicles.
"You must." Someone said, but I don't know who.
In the centre of the man's back was a large circle tattoo and all over his body were little dots.
I heard the moaning first, then his body began twitching, and then he began screaming. Carrie was crying and one dog was already howling.
Then this humming, a noise familiar to me but it took until the dots took off that I recognized it; bees. Every dot on his body, besides the big circle, ripped off of his skin; leaving just the red flesh behind and none of the skin. Blood dripped from his body and I couldn't help but take too long staring at the floor. It was covered in fresh blood now, the dog bit my ankle lightly and I returned my gaze to the man. I knew he was screaming, I could feel it in my veins, but I barely heard anything above the buzzing. The bees circled around the room once and then went into the black tattoo hole in the man's back. They popped out of his skin once more, in different places, further shredding his skin. It took three times before he finally lay limp and the bees, one by one, fell to the ground dead as well. The bees themselves were covered in blood and left more speckles on the ground, but around the man was a piece of art of sprayed blood.
"I'm going crazy." I was shocked to find tears on my face. I couldn't even feel them, couldn't remember crying. However when all three of my detainees glanced back at me I saw they had tears on their face.
"You will." Peter said seriously. "I can feel it in my head, the insanity. I feel myself questioning whether I deserve this. I question whether this murderer is God. I feel the insanity of wanting to cut myself to pieces slowly, before he can do it for me. You will go insane here."
His chilling words made it worse.
I glanced at the dog man. "Why do you have to stay in the cage?"
"My punishment, I'm being tortured slowly. Every week a new part of me is decorated onto the dog. Being alone is also a torture."
He took his food and climbed into his cage and when he closed it, it rose instantly high unto the ceiling. I turned to Carrie and Peter desperately. "I'm not a bad kid! Honest, I really don't understand this."
Carrie led me to sit and shushed me silently, wrapping her bloody arms around me. "We know, none of us are perfect but none of us deserved punishment. He is sick, twisting our minds like this. It's probably half the fun watching us like this."
The next day was dog man's next surgery. They removed his dick.
Peter had to go throw up in the bathroom, and that meant he didn't watch it.
At night Carrie and I both slept next to each other, Carrie said there was no stopping them. She held me down when, at the middle of the night, three men came for Peter. He screamed and struggled and I felt Carrie's tears.
But the truth is, that she didn't have to hold me down. I was so scared stiff that I would never have moved. I could barely blink my eyes without feeling a sense of panic that within that blink someone had come to get me.
I hadn't slept all night and my paranoia was running high. I began to hear the thoughts in my head that Peter talked about. They told me how that he just wanted us to watch. It was Peter's fault and he deserved to die if he didn't just do as told. That wasn't too hard was it?
I stopped looking at myself in the mirror because I would see the scared truth in my eyes. All day, and trust me when you have nothing to do but play board games with Carrie, whose arms were extra bloody today, you have a lot of time to go insane.
At night when the food came on and the speaker cackled I didn't even listen to his words, but just turned to the window.
Peter was there, again the gurney turned up but this time him facing us. You could see he was searching or us even though he couldn't see. He mouthed things but I couldn't lip read and I assume Carrie had no idea.
Then the man took out the saw and cut him right in half where the bloody depicted tattoo was. But Peter didn't die. He screamed, blood dripped down his legs until there wasn't an inch of skin that wasn't covered in a ripple of blood. He cut him in half but did a weird maneuver when he got to the spine. He then pulled down Peter's legs and so Peter was a torso with a bony spinal cord. The man attached two cables to the spinal cord and Peter's legs.
Peter was almost passed out, you could tell. Carrie was crying and I was so amazed…again so real and so not.
Dog man was becoming less a man and the dogs looked on more eagerly then with regret.
The murderer gripped the spinal cord causing an ear piercing scream from Peter and an involuntary gasp from everyone in our room. Peter's legs jerked out and Peter stared at his own legs as if they had been replaced with a pair of woman's. He watched as he could move them without being attached and I could see the amusement in the stature of the murderer. I wish I could have seen his face.
Then without warning the murderer picked up a tool and slammed it into Peter's head and the legs dropped down and his body slumped. His skull was caved in and blood covered half his face and you could see the white tissue underneath. It wasn't Peter anymore; it was just a body.
"I want to die Carrie."
"It's a painful way to go." She replied absently scratching at her arms, but not hard enough. The blood was dried there; it appeared she didn't care to clean them anymore.
"We could make it easier for us," I insisted.
"Suicide?" she asked. "With what exactly? There isn't anything sharp here. There is no fire, if I choke you then no one left to choke me and I'll probably get tortured then die like everyone else…"
She went back to the table and took out the board game Boggle. "I'll play you." She giggled as she took it out. "This used to be my favourite."
And so we were insane already.
"You have wires in your heart," I said absently. "I could electrocute you and you would die, and I probably could too."
"Or not, loads of people survive lightning strikes."
"What if we did it in the bathroom?"
She glanced at me, with amazing clarity. I had just this glimpse of who she might have really been. I couldn't remember what I was like anymore either, and it had only been two days for me. "I don't know much about electricity and water the likes, we will ask dog man tomorrow and see if he knows anything. Someone new will probably be here. He always replaces and maybe he will keep a closer eye on that person than us."
I nodded eager for the plan. We were past cognitively thinking about everything that was wrong with the plan.
Like the fact that he always knew if we watched, so he had cameras with auditory.
I woke in a brick cell. This was more what I had expected when I had been first taken. It was slightly damp in here and smelled of mildew. I was frightened but I was always so cold now that the fear was only a small zap in my numb awareness. "Carrie?"
Turns out it was nobody but my insanity to wait.
He blew her up; it was a quick death and right next to me. I felt her spray of blood when he did and I could see the ribs sticking out and bent. Her face was red with blood but I knew, I just knew I could see the red of weeping too. Carrie always cried. I cried a little when I could see dog man and a young boy, who looked so frightened. I couldn't see his tattoo and I would never know what it was.
The man came close to me with a paint brush. I could finally see into his mask and held my breath.
He looked so ordinary. He had white hair, blue eyes and pale skin and very old. There was nothing in those eyes but cold delightfulness at his endeavors with his victims. He gave me a toothy grin and put the paint brush to my tattoo.
I screamed as the acid burnt into my skin. I thought I could hear it sizzling and I thought when something dripped down my face it would be blood but there was no red in the corner of my vision. Instead I felt my lips droop and from the awkward corner of my eye I saw my eyebrow slide pass.
I screamed louder as the skin melted off my eyes and I felt my eyes begin to boil.
I screamed some more when the pop of my eyeball exploded as bright stars somewhere in my brain and cried when I tasted something awful on my lips, something I had a notion that was me. I felt metal on my skin then a pressure; but my skin gave in like playdough and only my skull remained.
I could feel it but the pain was different than I was used to.
The last sound I heard was a crunch, then nothing.