Chapter Six: Tightening the Straps
Berry took his kid to the movies. It had been a movie Terry had been wanting to see for weeks. The Power Flower Krew. It was the summer movie blockbuster. Terry was happy his father had taken time out of his busy architecture business to spend some time with his son.
They grabbed their popcorn, and Terry got some candy raisins to go along with his soda. They both had a fun time watching the krew’s adventures against Snugrog the Terrible. When the movie was over, they hopped into their Lexus, and traveled for home.
As they drove on a secluded highway, their car began to flutter. The lights blinked, and the engine began to stutter. After a few seconds, the car cut off entirely.
“Great. The car cut off,” Berry said, and pulled out his phone to call an auto service.
He got in touch with the service, and told them they might need a battery. His son became scared of being stranded on a dark road.
“Snugrog might be out there waiting for us to leave, daddy,” Terry said.
“Don’t worry T-man, Q.A.S. will be here soon, and they have the same defense as the Power Flower Krew, so Snugrog won’t harm us,” Berry comforted Terry. “We just need to give them about an hour, so we’ll wait in here.”
Terry’s fear was slowed. He was with his father, and Snugrog wouldn’t have a chance.
They waited around forty five minutes, and saw two pins of light behind them at the horizon. Terry taped his dad’s arm, and pointed to the headlights. Berry got off his phone with his wife.
“Okay, Amy, Quicker Auto Service is almost here so we will see you in about forty five. I have to tell them how to disconnect the battery so they don’t trip the alarm. Terry had fun, and says see you later. Bye honey.”
A tow truck parked behind them, and a man got out of it. Berry opened his door, and got out to greet the driver.
“I don’t know what happened. I guess this battery just died.”
“I think I might know what happened,” the driver said, pulled out a Taser, and shot Berry in the chest!
As Berry surprisingly jerked at the fifty thousand volts of the stun gun. He fell to his knees, and Terry screamed.
Marvin walked swiftly to the car, opened the door, and sprayed Terry with a mist of Curare. It paralyzed him quickly.
Marvin walked back to Berry, and hit him with the spray. Then he reached under the car, near the engine to pull out his electro-nullification device with timer. He dragged Berry to the Secu-lok service truck, and carried Terry to the passenger’s side.
He drove away to his home, and twenty minutes later, a real Q.A.S. tow truck came upon an abandoned Lexus with its lights on, and doors open. There was no sign of the passengers, so he just logged the visit, and drove to his next road emergency. Q.A.S. wasn’t as quick as Berry thought.
Berry had awakened tied by his wrists, and ankles in a wrought iron cage. The nylon repelling ropes on his limbs were attached to an odd machine on either side of the cage. There were openings large enough for his limbs, but that was about it. He saw his son Terry in a similar cage with his limbs tied in the same fashion. He was still unconscious.
Berry was in a dank, mildewed area with a horrid painting on the wall portraying two women in a contorted, bloody mess.
“What the hell is this?! Where am I?!”
Just then, an intrusive, daunting siren blared. It woke up Terry, and violated Berry’s ears.
“You are in my basement in a modified Iron Maiden. You both are strapped to a separation device. I call it the mechanical horses for drawing, and quartering. You are free to move about your cages for now, however, when the gears begin, they will not stop until you have been parsed in the vilest way possible.
Your Iron Maiden has a button in front of you. It activates the deadly spikes of the opposing cage. All you have to do is push the button to multiply impale your family member with spikes to avoid your painful, slow, and deadly separation. You have two minutes to complete your task when the siren sounds. I hope your son was awake enough to hear my answer to your question because you two have only seconds to digest my explanation.”
Berry was shocked. He had never heard that electronic voice before. He thought his buddy Trent was playing a prank on him. Trent was a card, but never this dark or elaborate.
“You okay, Terry?!” he asked his son.
“I don’t know where I am, Dad! Where’s Mom?!” Terry screamed the question.
“I don’t know either. My phone is in the middle of the floor, and I can’t reach it!” Berry yelled.
All of a sudden, Berry’s Johann Brahms’ Hungarian Dance ring tone chimed.
“Any money that’s Mom right now,” Berry said.
“I hope your pleasantries are over, because you have two minutes to push the button to save your life by killing your family member.”
That was when the siren sounded.
“Dad! What is happening?!” Terry screamed.
“I hope this is a sick joke, Terry. I won’t push my button. I made you. I won’t kill you,” Berry claimed.
“This will hurt badly, Terry,” the voice chimed in. “Your father has lived his life. You don’t want to die before you have a real girlfriend do you? Push your button, and you get to live.”
“I’m not gonna push my button, Daddy! You won’t die!” Terry screamed.
“This will be over soon, Son. This guy is just playing with your head,” Berry said.
“One minute,” the voice informed them their decision making was counting down.
“Dad!” Terry screamed.
“Calm down, Son. We’ll laugh about this on your birthday. You’re going to be thirteen, and a teenager. It’ll be a new chapter in your life.”
“You’re an architect, Berry. You probably have a very lucrative deal happening where you and your wife can afford dinner on the Eifel Tower in Paris for an evening. You don’t need a kid dragging you down. Push your button, get him out of your life, and survive.”
“If you wanted the Johansen deal, Trent, you didn’t have to cook up this craziness! I would’ve just given it to you if you would’ve just asked!” Berry yelled at the voice.
“My research of your workplace didn’t go that far, Berry. I don’t know a Trent—-thirty seconds,” the voice said.
It wasn’t Trent. Berry was out of ideas. Who else hated him enough to threaten his son? He never stole a deal from anyone. He even took Natasha home after she passed out from four pints of peppermint schnapps at the Christmas party last year. He was a good guy. He never gypped his clients. And had a strong referral list, so it couldn’t have been any of them.
“Five seconds, push your button.”
Berry wouldn’t do it, and neither would Terry. The siren blared again.
“I normally like to see my carnage up close, but watching it from my location gives me a better view. You failed,” the voice said. “I must show you something before I begin though.”
“In a few seconds, a figure in a Penelope Prissy mask entered the chamber, and walked up to Terry’s cage. He bent down, and put his hand on Terry’s button.
“Wait! Stop! Don’t kill my daddy!” Terry screamed.
“Just know that you wouldn’t have either,” the figure said, and pushed the button.
As Terry screamed expecting his daddy to be impaled, silly string, and confetti showered his father.
As Berry spit out confetti, the figure said, “See, you wouldn’t have killed your dad. You’re a kid. You weren’t even curious enough to try it. All of those violent cartoons have tainted your mind. This country calls violence entertainment. You both will be vindicated from this vile country!”
The figure stood, and left out the chamber.
Who is that sick beast? Berry thought as he spat out the confetti.
The room became silent once more, except the perpetual plinking of a constant drip from a pipe that fell to the abandoned tub in the room. Terry whimpered in his cage, and Berry felt his terror. He was the father, so showing strength was what he did.
His paternal staunchness was violently shaken when he heard the gears from that ominous machine activated. Every repelling rope began to tighten from their slack.
“Dad! What’s happening?! My ropes are winding up!” Terry yelled.
“We’re going to get out of this, kid. Don’t worry!” Berry yelled back.
“Your only option for getting out of this expired within those two minutes, Berry,” the voice blared over the speakers. “No human, let alone a twelve year old boy, could resist four thousand foot pounds of torque. Your decision was already made, but you wouldn’t kill one another. You wouldn’t have done it mind you. I would’ve drugged you the same way I did to get you here, and return you to your car with a strange birthday party story. Now both of you will die.”
Berry was caught in this evil. He never did anything to anyone. He was an ethical architect. He never participated in any hostile takeovers. He never indulged in drugs or alcohol, so why was his karma balance so violently askew? He didn’t deserve this.
Berry had to understand that no matter what belief you adhered, actuality could harshly reject that belief, and fact would render your belief ineffectual. Marvin Predjin was real so he had to believe the figure was as relentless as he portrayed.
The repelling ropes retracted further into machine. Once they became taught, and Berry’s limbs were stretched in a very uncomfortable contortionist pose, the machine’s whir began to whine at a lower pitch. The straps began to tighten.
“Ahhh! Dad! It hurts!” Terry cried out.
Berry felt his limbs being violated by that infernal machine constantly retracting. It was ravaging him, so he knew that Terry wouldn’t last. He could do nothing, except watch his youngest son get ripped apart.
“It’ll be over soon Terry. Just remember that your old man loves you.”
As Terry’s joints began to separate, he began to scream the scream no father wants to hear from his child. The scream that has told you, you have failed as a father.
The dark machine kept with the retracting of the repelling ropes. The ropes were crafted with nylon to support a 350 pound individual so they had no give. They just became dangerously taught. Nether the pulling machine, or the rope have any lax, but the human body they were attached to did.
As Terry began to wail because of the searing stretch, the figure came back into the room.
“Your boy will go first, Berry,” he said. “You will have another few seconds of regret before you succumb to your dissolution. How does it feel to know you could have avoided all this carnage, but was too squeamish to push your button? I don’t kill kids, that’s barbaric. Your apprehensive actions forced this.”
“You did this you vile bastard! Take my kid out of this contraption! Take me, but let him live!” Berry tried to negotiate.
Marvin walked to Berry’s cage, and sat beside it.
“Your sacrifice ended within that two minutes. All we can do now is just watch. Let’s watch, Berry,” Marvin said with an ominous psychopathic callous.
Berry just sat trying to resist the pulling as Terry screamed. Once Berry felt his limbs separate from the joints by the tearing of cartilage, Terry’s body began to rip.
It was a slow, violent separation. The blood began to spurt from the unnatural tear of Terry’s doomed body. The screaming from Terry overshadowed the searing agony of the stretch. Berry saw his son’s light wither to nonexistence.
“Terry! Oh Terry!” Berry yelled to Terry’s torn body.
The machine didn’t stop. It kept its relentless quest of carnage.
After Terry’s exsanguination, the ropes began to rip Terry’s body asunder.
“You’ll go to hell for this!” Berry yelled as he flexed his muscles.
“You had the choice. I’m just the messenger, and messengers don’t go to hell.” Marvin said without waiver.
Berry’s arms and legs began to separate because his tendons couldn’t withstand 4,000 foot pounds of resistance.
His tendons snapped inside of his body, and his muscles released from his bones. Berry went into shock because of the perpetual, relentless agony. His heart kept beating, although there was no point. His body could never be repaired.
As his muscled ripped away from his bones, his heart finally relented.
Marvin allowed the machine to complete the bloody carnage of the heinous quartering. Marvin had only read about the punishment in books. He didn’t realize the sounds of ripped flesh, or the putrid aroma of the inside of a human body. He almost gagged at the vile display.
As he held back the acidic bile trying to escape his stomach, he thought of his quest, and he would have to swim through the blood, brains, and intestines of cursed bodies to accomplish it.
As the body’s muscles began to rip and tear, Marvin began to smile. Even the assaulting, odious, and offensive smell of death didn’t disturb him. It just drove him farther.
He went to switch off the machines in the next room. He turned on the ironic song Up with People, and grabbed a few jugs of sulfuric acid. He returned with the acid, and a mop. The vindicator went to work.