This story is by T’challa Williams and was part of our 2021 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The pain in the back of my head brought me too. Last thing I remember, was my driver telling me to hold on. Someone was chasing us. I reached up to check my head for blood, but my arms were stuck. Did we flip over?
“Heeee…” I tried to call out but there was something in my mouth. My heart began racing. The darkness took no shape. It was dank, damp, and never ending. As I moved my legs, I felt the straps or ropes on my ankles. I was tied to something on the ground. I tried to move my arms and feet in search of release. Between the attempts at movement and my rapid heart, my mouth burned dry. My tongue fighting to collect what spit it could before the rag soaked it up.
In the silence, I couldn’t hear a car, truck, nothing. I was far away from the city, my penthouse, my comfort. The ground’s dark coolness began snaking through my Armani jacket and shirt. I imagined oil and spit and everything else the ground holds contaminating my two-thousand-dollar blazer.
A rush of ice-cold water hit my face. The frigid cold shocked and jilted me. Water was burning up my nose and choking down my throat, not even a relief to the dryness. I coughed but remained quiet. I needed to know who I was dealing with and why I was here.
“Well now, that’s interesting Braithwaite. I thought sure your sorry ass would be crying out for help by now.” The sarcastic voice said.
“Yeah, you’re smart right? Ivy league or some shit. Let me put you up on game.” said another, with the same sarcasm. I just wanted these pricks to take this gag out of my mouth. They spoke from the darkness and walked around the room. I couldn’t see anything at all, but I could hear them circling my head. There wasn’t a window, window sill, or crack of light beneath a doorway.
I heard a door close. Then, blinding light flooded the room. The brightness made my head throb, leaving a beating behind my eyes.
“Ah!” I shook my head back and forth but the brightness hurt even with closed eyes. I clinched them tighter; My shoulders were timid shields.
“You were in an accident Mr. Braithwaite. Your car was torched. Driver dead, and you? Well, you didn’t make it at all. Or, did you?”, Sarcasm asked slyly.
“Whaaaa?!” I asked confused, eyes still clenched from the stark brightness in the room.
“You are a prisoner by your own hand.” The self-imposed warden declared.
“Humph.” I stated and shook my head. These people are idiots. I have security measures in place for this very thing; eager and extreme vigilantes. They’ve been on the rise ever since The Big 10 took over governmental operations. You would think people would be happy at the technology we created to make their lives easier. But no, they’re ungrateful little shits. Protest this, angry that, we want, we need. They don’t even have the mental fortitude to consider all options in a kidnapping.
“Oh, don’t you worry your little head. Speaking of head, that’s why yours hurts you know. Did you think we weren’t aware of the tracking device?”
I felt panic rush through me on a different level. I tried to shift my chair. I was ready to talk, but I refuse to do it with this gag.
“Mmmmmmmm!!!!!” I growled. I felt a kick in my side.
“Hey! Ain’t no negotiations in this deal! You’re sentenced to the confines of this room.”
I began violently moving in my chair, to hell with this. The chair began to raise upright. I don’t care about the pain of the light. I ripped my eyes open. The brightness burst into view followed by pain and cloudy vision. I couldn’t see the two assholes but the room was white. Stark white. Cocaine white. The walls, floor, ceiling, everything was white and cold. The room was much larger than I thought. There were two people in white body suits, that covered their heads. They reminded me of twin albino Spider men. I want answers. I began moving in the chair again, when someone slapped me.
My head flew to the left. My cheek was stinging and I was looking at albino Spidey hoping it wouldn’t climb the walls, but praying it would release me so I could pluck its legs and crush its little head.
“REEETT EEE OH!!!” I yelled with as much thunder as there was rage flowing through me. Someone slapped me again from the other side.
“Take that bass outcha’ voice bitch!” the man said. I knew it was a man because his slap was heavier than the first slap, even though they both hurt. The chilling tone of his tenor voice also told me he was ready to hurt me. I don’t care. I refuse to shut up.
“Whaaa is roin’ on? Who’s rin rarge?” I hated this gag. I sound like an underpaid scooby-doo. This is bullshit.
“Why ram I rere?” I pleaded.
“You’re here because that dollar means more to you than the lives of human beings. You’ve been CEO of Dreamscape Pharmaceuticals for the past twenty years. Under your leadership, your company murdered one million people every year. The population in the US is 328 million. Twenty million deaths can be attributed to your companies’ vaccines, children’s vitamins and the pain medication Sumitall. Your lawyers have paid thirty million in class actions suits which is why your hands stay clean. But, they’re about to get even cleaner. Look at the wall.”
I looked to the right. The bright white wall was littered with high definition documents. Lettering in full view, names. My name, my documents. Sweat shot out my armpits and from the top of my head. My stomach knotted as I read. Then the prick cut and snatched the gag from my mouth causing pain to shoot down my neck like a pulled muscle.
“Cat ain’t gotcha tongue Braithwaite, a dog does. What you see is your revised last will and testament, witnessed by your first wife and sealed by your trusty notary.”
My eyes feverishly read the wall. It revealed all my land purchases in the US, in Budapest, Thailand and Brazil. They found the village we test on in Djibouti as well as the community in Arkansas. My god! They found all my accounts, every penny. The cash safe buried on my estate with the gold bars and diamonds from my young hunting days. What is this? My mind was feverishly working and reading. They’ve divided my assets up with, children? Who are all these people??? Bile surge up and I tried to fight it only to choke. I was sick.
My head fell. I thought about the DaVinci and Picasso paintings I purchased last week and looked back to the list. Damn, they donated the art to my high school and elementary school as unrestricted funds. This can’t be happening!
Suddenly, someone slapped me again, harder than the first two times. Then came back across my face with a back hand. Blood shot from my lip and the ringing in my head returned.
“You’re a self-righteous little shit! You think just because you didn’t administer these medications you don’t have a responsibility in twenty million deaths? You don’t even care, do you? Do You!!” She yelled. Shock and pain rippled through her voice. She slapped me again.
“Please….” I whispered. Mouth like an ashen desert, my throat still burning. I don’t think I’m ever getting out this room. If they convinced the press, removed my tracking device, is this it?
“Oh no, your fate has been especially curated for you. You’ve been given a choice.”
“A choice?” I asked, lifting my head up slowly, as the blood crept down my chin.
“Sign your revised will and you can leave this room, paralyzed from the waist down with a prescription of Sumitall for life. Or you can refuse, and live the rest of your days in this room while videos of every person that died from your medications play on the wall in an endless loop. Your own little hell on earth. You have 30 seconds.
“Why do my legs have to be broken?”
“For the lives you’ve broken, and so you never forget that there are consequences to your actions, 20, 19”
“Wait, a violent break or surgical? Who are the children?”
“Are you making a decision or allowing time to decide for you? 10, 9”
I was sweating profusely, I don’t want to be in this room. I don’t want my legs broken.
“5, 4” he repeated mechanically.
“Fine!!” I yelled.
“Fine what?” the prick asked calmly.
“Break them.” I whispered and dropped my head. I couldn’t stop sobbing.
“BREAK THEM!” I yelled and the pain shattered both my knees instantly. Silence fell as the room went black with my body falling to the floor.