Chapter One: Dwelling in the darkness
It was strangely silent here. Margo sat in the darkness. This wasn’t where she was an hour ago. She was jogging in the park with her best friend Jeanne. They were just jogging, listening to low music, and chatting. Then something covered her eyes, and she heard Jeanne scream. Jeanne’s screams were cut off abruptly.
She heard ‘shut up bitch’ from a foreign sounding voice, and expected that Jeanne was struck. She was grabbed, bound, and put in some sort of vehicle. Then a needle intrusively stabbed her in the neck, and she blacked out.
She awakened in a dank, musty, cold place still deprived of sight. What happened to her? Where was Jeanne? Where was she being held? All she heard was the drip from some sort of faucet plinking an ominous echo in this vile place.
“Jeanne?” she called out.
“Where are we, Margo?!” Jeanne’s voice came from in front of her.
All of a sudden, she felt a spider crawl from her hair, and down her cheek.
“Ahh! A crawly just came out of my hair! It was in this bag! I don’t know where we are, Jeanne, but I don’t like it!” Margo screamed.
“You have been initiated to test your friendship’s loyalty”, a menacing electronically masked voice filled the dank area.
Margo had no clue of who it was. The voice had that disguised, electronically augmented sound to it. She didn’t recognize the gender either. Either man or woman, it was darkly intimidating.
That was when she saw the lights come on from underneath her cover. The light illuminated her bag well enough for her to confirm the smell of mildewed burlap.
She heard footsteps coming towards her, and began to tense her body. The figure stopped by Jeanne first, then the burlap sack was taken off her head, and it took a second to adjust her eyes to the bright spotlight beaming on her.
When her eyes adjusted, she saw a large figure in a Penelope Prissy mask. It looked like a man. She also looked past the figure to Jeanne. She was bound to a chair with rusty chains with her arms free. It looked as if she was in a cold, dark, mildewed basement. It had cracked brick for the walls with weeds, and moss protruding from the cracks. The pipes from the upper floor was sweating, making that dripping sound. The drops pinged off of an old used porcelain tub accenting the menace of the area.
The figure put a gun in her lap, and left behind her. She was bound to the chair, so she couldn’t turn to the figure. She looked at her gun, and then looked over to Jeanne. She had a gun as well. She didn’t have a sack on either, and looked desperately at her.
“What is this, Margo?!” she began. “Why are we here?!”
“I have no idea, Jeanne. We were just in the park, and now we’re sitting here tied up with guns,” Margo said. “This is way out of reason.”
“My back is cramping, Margo. These chains are cutting into me,” Jeanne complained.
“I hope we get out of this, wherever this is,” Margo said.
“I hoped that you enjoyed your chat with your BFF,” the digital voice boomed from nowhere. “Now it’s time to test if the other is your best friend forever. If you look down, you will see a syringe at the side of your chair. That syringe is filled with Belladonna, and Brown Recluse spider venom. The Belladonna dilates your pupils, and gives you deadly hallucinations while the Recluse venom is painless, but eats away at your tissue relentlessly. It is the equivalent of forty eight spiders. The venom gets into your bloodstream with terminal results if not treated immediately. It will be a painful, psychedelic death if you do not shoot, and kill your best friend. The syringes are on a timer that I control. You have two minutes to execute.”
“Margo looked at Jeanne, “This is nuts! I won’t shoot you!”
“You’re going to die if you don’t!” Jeanne screamed.
“I love you, Jeanne! You’re in the same position! Shoot me!”
Jeanne had a desperate look to her. “I’m not going to kill you! I’ve never pulled a trigger in my life!”
“This is serious, Jeanne! One of us has to get out of here!” Margo screamed. “I’m fine with sacrificing my life! Get outa here, Booch!”
“You have one minute and thirty seconds to kill your BFF. Trust me, the poison hurts for a few hours before you die. End your future pain by killing your best friend, and this test will be over,” the digital voice announced. “Jeanne, your friend said that she would give her life for you. That’s a BFF. Do the right thing, and oblige Margo. It’s simple, just pull the trigger.”
“You go to hell! I won’t kill my friend you misogynistic beast!” Jeanne yelled at the voice.
“I don’t have a chauvinistic bone in my body. I just analyze the human condition. If you don’t shoot and kill Margo, then I guess you two will die BFFs. Fifty four seconds.”
Jeanne became frantic. She knew that Margo was willing to sacrifice her life for her, but who’s to say that she would be released after she killed Margo. She just wouldn’t do it. That devastating decision would live with her like a dark cloud for the rest of her life.
“Interesting. You are Margo’s friend so steadfastly that you would never harm your BFF. Although Margo told you to get away, and survive this. Isn’t that a violation of your friendship by not adhering to her request?” the figure asked. “You are in a BFF paradox. Do you listen to your friend, and kill her to survive? Or do you stay selfish, and not kill her because you couldn’t live with yourself. In a roundabout way, not killing her is selfish on your part. Thirty eight seconds.”
Jeanne knew the figure was just goading her to kill Margo. She didn’t have enough time to contemplate. She had to make a decision.
Jeanne picked up the gun, and pointed it at Margo. Margo saw Jeanne pointing her gun at her.
“This is okay, Jeanne. Just get out of here, and get the police to fry that beast!” Margo closed her eyes.
Jeanne knew that she had no choice. She had to kill her best friend. The friend she met at the age of 6, and had become kindred to her. The one that gave her a kidney without a question. The one who was her unconditional friend.
The voice stung her psyche. It kept coercing her by alerting her of the count down. The choice was becoming squeezed by the time. She had to do it.
She saw Margo with her eyes shut tight just waiting for the inevitable. The tears streamed from her eyes, and she was shaking. Her breathing was erratic because as ready as she said she was, she could never be.
“Five seconds, shoot her.”
Jeanne knew that she couldn’t kill her friend. She lowered the gun. She wouldn’t be Margo’s executioner.
This will not happen you beast! I love Margo! You can’t make me kill her! We will see you in hell!” Jeanne screamed. Then she heard the ding of the timer.
They both braced for the injection. They waited for the hallucinations to occur, and the heat of the venom creeping up their legs. It didn’t happen.
As they waited in terror, the figure came back into the room, and took Jeanne’s gun from her.
“This was a test to prove the loyalty of your friendship. You had a choice to murder the other or be poisoned horribly. Neither of you could kill the other,” the figure said. “That proves one thing. You both are selfish, shallow prima donna skanks that won’t risk the absolute for your BFF. Best friends forever holds more weight than most could handle.
You were willing to sacrifice your life for your friend, Margo, but you wouldn’t shoot her. That was commendably flawed, however, Jeanne did much worse. She had the gun in her hand, but wouldn’t shoot her sacrificing friend. That is grounds for an immediate punishment.”
Jeanne looked quickly at the needle.
“Don’t worry about that dastardly poison I concocted. Buying that stuff leaves a trail. I watch too many detective shows that tells me that detectives are very good at following trails. I just looked up deadly poisons at the library. A computer can leave a trail also. I just had to make this test convincing enough for you to believe that you were in terminal danger,” the figure explained, and took out a rusty spoon. “You can be killed with a staph infection from a rusty spoon. It’s time for your punishment for your selfishness, Jeanne.”
The figure went to Jeanne, and went after her eye! Jeanne screamed as the figure plunged the spoon in her eye with blatant disregard for her or Margo’s screams!
The figure kept digging at her left eye while Jeanne clawed at the figure’s arm tearing rips from the shirt. As blood spurted, the figure just dug deeper until her eye released from its socket, and fell on her cheek. It hang from her optic nerve, and renal artery in a slimy, bloody protrusion.
Margo screamed while this was happening right in front of her! She could do nothing. The figure grabbed Jeanne’s gouged eye, ripped it from the renal artery, and threw it in Margo’s lap. It landed on top of her gun.
“There’s a souvenir from your friend, Margo. You both failed, so you have to pay the price.”
Margo screamed in shocked dismay while Jeanne screamed in vile pain. The figure became tired of the wailing so he took the spoon, and thrust in Jeanne’s bleeding eye socket. The rusty spoon went into her brain through her bloody eye socket! Her screaming ceased immediately.
“Jeanne?! Say something!” Margo yelled to her twitching friend, but had no vocal response. “Why are you doing this?!”
The figure turned to Margo. “She was too loud. I had to stop all that infernal screaming,” he said. It was definitely a man doing this. She saw the hair on his forearms through his torn shirt. He knew that she meant why them, but it wouldn’t make a difference soon anyway.
Margo was just shaking involuntarily. This situation was surreal to her. She was jogging with her best friend that morning, and now she just watched her friend brutally murdered with a rusty spoon. As Jeanne’s blood poured out of her eye socket, she knew that she wasn’t getting out of this.
“You’re shaking, Margo. I’m sensing a bit of neurosis from you. I will relieve that in one minute, hold on,” the man said, and left Margo shaking.
Margo didn’t know what was going to happen. She looked at the gun with Jeanne’s bloody eyeball on it, and knew that she had to grab it, and shoot the mysterious butcher. Her problem was that eye. It bled, and dripped fluid all over the gun. To her, it would be the equivalent of picking up a Madagascar Hissing cockroach. She would never even attempt to sign up for one of those do something disgusting to win a million dollar reality shows because disgusting things made her queasy watching them, and she would vomit if she actually had to do it.
He came back with a portable drill, and a battery in his hands.
“I have always wanted to try this, but my colleagues said that it was too barbaric. I’m going to drill into your brain, and watch you get dumber before you die.”
The notion of his actions were enough for Margo to forego her squeamish apprehensions, and grab the gun!
“Drop that drill!” She pointed the gun at him. “Now you’re going to release me, and let me go. You have ten seconds before I shoot you!”
The man looked at Margo having the gun pointed at him. He saw her determination, and knew she would kill him.
“I guess I forgot to take your gun. I am so stupid for forgetting that! Well it’s time for me to pay for my absentmindedness.”
He took out the keys, and held them in the air. He threw them behind her. “You aren’t in control of my experiment, I am. Shoot me if you think you can. I am betting that you can’t.”
Margo was shocked. She thought intimidation would get her out of this destruction. Apparently, she had to bite the bullet by firing one. She closed her eyes, and squeezed the trigger.
The man stood, and peeled the gun away from Margo’s clicking fingers.
“Did you think that with all of my elaborate planning that I would ever be stupid enough to let you get the upper hand? I have thought of everything. Your surprise at being kidnapped, your Samaritan act of sacrifice, your fright of seeing your best friend killed, your elation of pointing the gun at me, and the despair when you realized that the gun was never loaded. If you would have followed through initially, I would’ve drugged you both, and replaced you back in the park. This would have just been a crazy story to tell your girlfriends. Since you failed originally, your girlfriends will never know. All you had to do was pull the trigger at the correct time, and this wasn’t the correct time.”
Who was this lunatic?! Why did he go through all of this just to see what a stranger would do?! Margo was very confused.
The man decided to take away her confusion by putting the drill to her temple, and turning it on!
The drill’s electric whine violated her ears as the bit ripped away her skin. It kept spinning as the man used force to push it deeper into her temple. Margo screamed in burning agony, and bent to avoid the intrusive bit. The man took his other hand, and put it on the other side of her head to insure that the bit got to her skull.
Margo wailed as the bit dug deeper to her skull. The pain was unbearable. When the drill ravaged the surface of her brain, it destroyed her pain receptors, and she stopped feeling the agony.
Certain daredevils, and boxers could cut off their pain. Margo didn’t need years of training. A whirring, violent, ominous drill made her end result seamless.
As the drill dug deeper, her screaming stopped. Her pain receptors were destroyed, and so was her vocal abilities.
The man continued the carnage until Margo went into brain death. She didn’t have to worry about the confusion, or anything else for that matter.
The man was satisfied with what he did. There was no sorrow, or remorse in his soul. He enjoyed taking innocent lives. In his mind, no one was innocent. His warped mind tricked him into thinking that he was a vindicator for humanity. He was crazy in that aspect of his psyche, but calculatingly sane in the not getting caught category. He couldn’t continue his crusade if he got caught. His vindication would cease. He was put on this earth to vindicate.
He went into the storage room to grab a tarp, and a machete. He had much work to do to show his psychosis.
He laid the tarp, unlocked the two, and began to cut.