Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Android and the Chamber (short story)

         The following is a short story I wrote for Chuck Wendig's weekly flash fiction contest. You can check out his website here: I highly recommend you do.       

The noticed android walks past a wondering chamber. What did that mean? John had no idea. That was the sequence of words that popped into his head as he creeped over the wall. Androids weren’t even real. They were the things in movies that tried to take over the world as a plucky band of survivors tried to stop them. And how does a chamber wonder? What the hell was wrong with his mind? Fear maybe. He had been a thief for years, but the fear of getting caught never went away. What would happen? Would he go to jail? Or would the house he got caught in belong to a trigger happy redneck (aren’t they all trigger happy?) and would he be full of more holes than James Caan in The Godfather?

                Whatever the case androids weren’t real and chambers couldn’t wonder. But those surveillance cameras were real. John ducked down behind the fountain as the camera rotated toward his position. He waited a few moments before creeping around the side and hiding under the camera while it was turned away. As the camera rotated back around, he dashed across the courtyard and tried the side door. It was unlocked. Why were rich people so trusting? Was it because they thought people wouldn’t dare break into their home? Or did they think the security cameras would protect them? Or whatever just him in the back of the head?

                John woke up to a bright light shining directly into his retinas. Instinctively shutting his eyes so they didn’t melt out of his skull, he squeezed them tightly shut before slowly opening them again. He was looking directly at the back of a head. Confused John tried to talk, but nothing came out. He realized he was gagged with a filthy tasting piece of cloth. After a second he realized the back of the head was turning, ever so slowly it seemed, until it was looking him in the eyes. Not the back of the head of course, it was facing the other way, but another pair of eyes looked directly in John’s. They stared at him for a few seconds, then turned around and walked out of the room. Confused John tried to call out again before again realizing he was gagged. Stupid memory. Another man entered the room, a different man, John could tell because he had a different pair of eyes. Why so obsessed with eyes? Because John couldn’t move his head, every time he tried a sharp pain shot through his skull until it felt like it was going to implode.

                The new man sat down a small box on the table in front of John, and opened it. Inside were a lot of different, but sinister looking sharp, scary things. Not good. The man did not waste time. He was starting to realize he had never been tortured before when the pain hit him. He could feel the knife being pushed against his skin, could feel the skin giving away to the sharp blade like butter and felt the blade scrape against the bone in his finger. The pain was unimaginable. He had never been tortured before and judging on how this was starting, he never wanted to be tortured again, that was if he got out alive. Abruptly the man stopped. John opened his eyes and looked at him. He held something in front of John’s eyes and it took him a second to realize it was a strip of his skin. That is messed up. Who cuts of a piece of someone’s skin and then dangles it in front of them? A torturer I guess...yeah, that makes sense, but still...messed up. The man smiled a horrible little smile and took out John’s gag.

                “What do you want?” John asked quickly, lest the foul tasting rag be shoved back into his mouth and he would have to deal with that along with the excruciating pain emitting from his left hand.

                “You were going to steal from me.” The horrible little man said in his horrible little voice. He had a point John supposed, but that didn’t change the fact that he was torturing John and that was messed up.

                “So why are you torturing me?” Waiting for a reply, John took stock of his surroundings. It was a room. That’s about it. A room, no window, four walls, the horrible little man was framed in the doorway, who using rope, had tied John to an upright table with his arms pinned to his sides.

                “You were going to steal from me.” The horrible little man repeated in his horrible little voice. “No one steals from me, I like my things, I want to keep my things.”

                “Well then, keep them. I don’t want them anymore, they aren’t worth it.” The pain was terrible, John could barely speak, he could feel his finger screaming with pain, begging to be fixed, but being tied to a table and all John was in no position to fix it.

                “Oh, I plan to, but you can’t leave now. It’s been a while since I’ve had any fun, my family didn’t last too long you see, and no one breaks into my house much anymore.” The hell was wrong with this guy? Was he a psychopath? Yeah…seems like a safe bet what with all the torture and all. Did he just say he tortured his family? What the fu-…did he have kids? No, wait, scratch that I don’t wanna know. Anyway, John blacked out from all the blood loss,probably, not a doctor but blood loss would be my guess. Seriously…his own family? What the hell?

                John woke up to numbness. He couldn’t feel anything anymore. The man had cut off more of his skin and John had probably gone into shock, I guess, would make sense at this point, but I’m not a doctor so don’t quote me on that. Anyway the man untied one of John’s arms and put his hand on a gun and his finger on the trigger, and then raised it to John’s head.

                “Pull.” The horrible man said in his horrible voice.