This story is by B. Shaun Smith and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“Get up Stephen…”
He opened his eyes slowly. His mind foggy. He was laying on a concrete floor, on his stomach. A foot from his face was a silver coated revolver, laying pointed at him.
“GET UP!” Boomed his voice.
As Stephen got to his feet slowly, he found himself enclosed by five mirrors in the shape of a pentagon. Above each mirror were small flat screen tv’s, angled down. The screens were black.
“Welcome!” His voice said.
“Who are you?” asked Stephen.
“You… can’t be.”
“We need to understand the suffering we’ve caused.”
“We’ve hurt people.”
The entrance to his precinct appeared on the flat screens. Stephen watched his six-foot frame and sandy blonde hair enter the screen. His green eyes were hidden by round wire-rimmed sunglasses. Carrying a small black duffle bag in one hand, he entered the precinct. The video fast forwarded, resuming as Stephen exited the precinct without the duffle bag. Stephen glanced back, while he walked away. People entered and exited until the glass doors blew off, with an accompanying fireball. The tv’s went black.
“What…? I didn’t do that!”
“12 dead and 26 wounded. Why’d we do it?” His conscious asked.
“That’s not me!”
“Pick up the revolver.” His conscious commanded.
“Pick a mirror and shoot us.”
“I’m not playing your game!”
“The sooner we shoot, the sooner we move on.”
Stephen picked the revolver up. It was a .38, that held only five rounds.
“Aim for us.” His conscious urged.
He picked a mirror, aimed and fired. The mirror shattered to the floor. It had a plywood backing.
Dashcam video from a police cruiser bumping down a dirt road at night came on the screens. It rolled to a stop. Seconds later, Stephen watched as he shoved his brother Owen to the ground. Owen’s hands were cuffed behind him. He was wearing his black patrol uniform.
“Owen!” Stephen screamed, moving closer to one of the tv’s.
Climbing back into the cruiser, Stephen backed up about 30 feet. Owen got to his feet, running in the opposite direction. He watched in horror as the cruiser chased after Owen, before running him down. Circling back, the dashcam showed Owens body on the ground. The cruiser sped toward him again. The tv’s went black before Owen was hit again.
“We did that a total of seven times, why?” His conscious asked.
“I… I don’t know. Owen…” Stephen said in disbelief.
“It’s hard for us to comprehend.”
Stephen remained silent, shocked.
“Shoot another mirror.”
“What’s the point?”
“We need to move on.” His voice urged.
“Move on… I don’t understand.”
Stephen aimed at himself in another mirror. After it shattered to the floor he waited. Growing impatient, he called out “Hello?”
“Sorry,” His conscious responded solemnly. “It gets harder to comprehend with what we’ve done.”
An object fell from above the tv screens, hitting the concrete floor. It took Stephen a second to recognize it was a dog collar. Picking it up gingerly, the collar was partially torn and encrusted with blood. “Lanny…” He croaked, looking at the German Shepard’s collar.
“We shot gunned our old partner.” His conscious informed.
Stephen was a K9 officer until budget cuts forced the elimination of his position. He became a Vice detective, Lanny became the family pet. On the tv’s, Lanny’s dog house appeared.
“I get it.” Stephen stated.
Stephen interrupted his conscious by aiming at a third mirror and firing. The tv’s faded to black.
“Why must I shoot the mirrors?” Stephen aske as he pocketed the collar.
“Our fellow officers found us. We fought back, lost. We’re on life support.” Answered his conscious.
“I’m deciding to live or die then?”
“Yes. We shoot the mirror’s, we accept who we are and live. Turn the gun on ourselves, we die.”
Stephen swallowed hard “Let’s keep going.”
On the tv’s, a security camera feed of Stephens driveway appeared. Tate, his nine-year-old blonde son rode up on his bike.
“Tate, no…” he whispered.
Stephen came into view, pulling Tate off his bike by the right arm. He split Tate’s right forefinger from the middle finger, then ripped them apart. Tate cried out in pain, grabbing his righthand. Stephen dragged his son by the collar out of the cameras view, as the tv’s faded to black.
“What have I done?” Stephen fell to his knees, staring at himself in one of the last two remaining mirrors.
“We need to continue.” His conscious urged.
“Show me Darcy.”
“Shoot a mirror or yourself.”
“Show my wife!” Stephen commanded.
His bedroom appeared on the tv’s. Darcy was tied spread eagle to their bed. She was wearing grey yoga pants and a black tank top. She looked terrified with a cloth gag in her mouth.
“There’s no camera in the bedroom, how are we viewing this?” Stephen asked.
The tv’s paused. “We used our phone.”
As the video resumed, Stephen entered the camera’s view. Darcy screamed at him through the gag. Climbing on top, he straddled his wife. After ripping her tank top and yoga pants off, he groped her breasts. She thrashed, tears streaming down her cheeks. Stephen’s hands moved up to her throat, choking her.
The screen paused again.
“Do I kill her?” Stephen asked.
“Rape her?” He choked back tears.
“We do while she’s unconscious, repeatedly.”
“I don’t need to see it,” Stephen paused. “Everything I’ve done has been filmed?”
“Yes, we watched them over and over, multiple times. We were doing so when the police arrived. That’s how our mind is comprehending what we’ve done.”
“Explains the tv’s.” He pointed the revolver at them. Stephen gazed at himself in the two intact mirrors and looked over the three broken ones. Light shown through one of the bullet holes in the plywood, before disappearing. It happened again. Stephen stood, going to the bullet hole. Peering through he found the truth.
“What have we decided?” His conscious asked.
“Option Three.” Stephen began kicking the plywood.
“Stop!” His conscious yelled.
When the hole was big enough, he slipped through into an empty warehouse. The light he saw came through a window, where a streetlight flickered outside. Rounding the exterior of his cell, he saw a man with a shaved head running away from a computer console with multiple screens. Glancing at the screens as he aproached, Stephen saw they controlled everything in his cell.
“Hey!” Stephen gave chase. The man stopped to unlock a door marked office, before slipping in. Stephen approached the door slowly, before pulling it open. The office was small with no windows. It had only bare walls and aging carpet floor. Darcy and Tate stood behind the man. Tate’s hand was wrapped in a bandage, Darcy’s neck and face showed bruising.
“Jack McKay.” Stephen aimed the revolver at him.
“You will not hurt them!” Jack stood between Stephen and his family.
“Do you know who this is?” He looked past Jack, at Darcy.
Her eyes were a mixture of hate and fear. “Yes, he’s getting Tate and I away from you.”
“He drugged his wife and two-year-old daughter. Tried to commit murder-suicide by driving them into a lake. Jack’s body was never recovered.” Stephen informed her.
“Jack said you’d lie.” Her eyes were filled with only hatred now.
“D, you cannot trust him.”
“I’ve seen the videos you made. You’re sick!” Her words stung.
“He’s poisoning you against me.”
“Jack’s done nothing but—” Darcy was cut off as Jack grabbed her blonde ponytail with his left hand. He shoved the barrel of a Glock under her chin with his right.
“That expensive Stephen mask, voice augmenting equipment, some drugs to mess with your head and cheap cologne you like, were worth every penny.” Gleefully Jack pushed the Glock deeper into Darcy.
“No!” Yelled Stephen.
“You deprived me of my family’s final moment. I’m owed.”
“A dozen years, long time to hold a grudge,” Stephen wanted to keep Jack’s attention. “My wife hates me, I’ll shoot her then you.”
Surprised by Stephen’s intention, Jack dipped his Glock from Darcy’s throat.
“Harmony!” Stephen yelled their code word. Darcy went limp. Jack lost his grip as she slid to the floor. Both bullets from Stephen’s revolver hit Jack in the chest. Stephen kicked the Glock away from his slumped body.
Darcy scrambled to Tate, pulling him close. “He showed me a State Police badge, I thought he was trustworthy.”
“He was once.” Stephen let the revolver clack to the floor. He looked over at his wife and son. Darcy stared back with uncertainty. Tate kept his face turned away, crying.
“I love you both.” He said to reassure them.
I hope you love me…