Ode to Joy
he opened his eyes again, someone had covered his eyes with a
scratchy, stinking piece of cloth. His wrists were bound firmly
against the arms of a metal chair with a rusty chain.
He did not remember how he had ended up here, nor did he actually knew where „here“ was. His head was aching and his mind was blurry. He couldn't remember anything. Hopelessly, he tried pulling his hands out of their shackles, but he only cut himself on the shackles sharp, rusty edges.
“Hello?” he croaked weakly.
Sweat began running down his temple. He shifted in his seat, winced as the shackles cut into his wrists again. He wanted to cry out for help, but his throat was sore and he again only managed to make the same weak, croaking noise.
Suddenly, somewhere above him a door opened and the sound of someone walking down a set of stairs echoed through the dark. A muffled clang. Then the footsteps stopped.
“Ah, you finally woke up!” a young man's voice sounded. “I was beginning to fear that the drug killed you instead of merely knocking you out.”
He heard the stranger's footsteps, then felt how thin hands touched his arm, checked if the shackles were still properly restraining him. A satisfied grunt.
“I'm sorry about the chains, but I really wouldn't want you to try and break free. Would make such a mess and I truly hate cleaning up afterwards,” the young man told him. His voice was polite, almost so soothing in it's tone that he almost forgot that he was bound to a chair and blindfolded.
“W-what do you want from me?” he found his voice again.
His captor didn't answer. Instead, he heard a piece of cloth being rolled out. The same clanging noise, but now unmuffled.
The next thing he heard, was the sound of metal scraping over metal. His shoulders began to shake and his voice was on the edge of breaking when he called out to his captor yet again.
“P-please, whatever you want, I can give it to you! J-just please let me go!”
The scraping noise stopped.
“Oh, I am quite certain that you can,” the young man answered, again ever so polite. A few seconds of silence. Then the scraping continued.
“N-name it!” he begged, his voice almost a sob.
Again the scraping stopped. Steps coming closer, then he felt the young man's breath next to his ear.
“I want you to bring me joy,” he heard him whisper.
His captor pulled his head back, then he answered somewhere to his right:
“Yes. Do you have children, my friend?”
He shook his head, close to tears.
“I have two nephews,” his captor mused. “My older brother's twins. Whenever he looks at them, he told me, he is overcome with joy. With happiness. And I try my best to feel the same whenever I spend time with them and him. But...I never felt a thing.”
The young man began to walk in circles, around, around his blinded victim.
“The world seemed blank, boring, grey with dullness to me. No matter what I did, it could never make me feel happy. Reading, meeting with friends, drugs, sex, nothing. Then one night, something happened. Do you know what?”
The older man's nerves couldn't take it anymore and he broke out into convulsive sobbing.
“I was taking a stroll through the streets at night, taking a shortcut through a small alley, when a man stumbled into my vision. He smelled just like the rotten alley we where in, and his movements were slurry from excessive alcohol consumption,” the young man continued, his voice distant and lost in thought. “He pulled a straight razor on me and demanded me to hand over my wallet. Before I could even open my mouth, he already lunged at me. He was slow, staggered and almost fell as he swung his razor. But nonetheless...I was startled and fell. He pinned me down, held the blade to my throat. But he was drunk, his grip was weak. I kneed him in the stomach, he lost his razor. In panic, I picked it up.”
young man's voice grew lower and lower with every word, until it was
not much more than an erratic whisper.
“He tried to strangle me once more, his neck was exposed, I slashed...and as the blade carved through his flesh, as his crimson blood dripped into my face, as he chortled and slumped away to the side, as I scrambled to my feet and looked down on his corpse, the razor in my hand...I felt alive. I wanted to prance, jump around, cheer and laugh.”
And as he finished, the young man let out a small, almost inaudible chuckle.
“Please...,” the blindfolded man sobbed. Footsteps walking away from his chair. A thin finger pressing a button.
The first notes of an orchestra echoed through the darkness. The man let out a sobbing howl.
“Shhh....”, the soothing voice whispered. “Now comes the best part...”
as the clean, silver straight razor slitted through the man's throat,
as the blood dribbled from the gash and gathered in a pool on the
ground, a choir began to sing:
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.