It’s moments like this in my life that I have a hard time with. Like, I know I have to do it, but it never seems to sit well with me. I get shaky and I can feel my heart beat quickly, and then I tend to get sick to my stomach. Of course, the sickness passes with time, but it generally comes back after the fact. I guess the original sickness is sort of a build up, a foreshadowing of the deed to come, and knowing what happens afterwards.
I don’t know if I’ll ever fully get used to killing another man.
* * *
Dan came to. He started breathing quickly and he noticed that his head was hurting. He wanted to get a better view of his surroundings, but he was duct-taped to his chair. His eyes scanned the room, or at least the amount of the room he could see from his point of view, looking in vain for something, anything, a knife, scissors, or even a tiny point of a nail sticking out of the wall somewhere. If only he could look around behind him.
He used all the strength he had left and hopped with his chair, turning it slightly. He cringed when he landed, due to the loud bang it made, all the while hoping that his captor wouldn’t hear the sound and, consequently, come down to see what he was doing. He paused; nothing. Another hop and another bang; still nothing coming from upstairs.
He looked around again. There, out of the corner of his eye, was a rickety-looking table with a large knife on it. It wasn’t going to be easy, but it was doable. Unfortunately, he knew how noisy it was going to be. His captor didn’t hear him yet, so hopefully he wouldn’t notice long enough for Dan to undo his bindings.
He hopped again, followed by a loud bang; still no indication that his captor was listening. Several more hops and he was next to the table, albeit extremely tired at this point. He was almost in the clear, but it wasn’t over. It was time for him to knock over the table, and then knock himself over in order to pick up the knife.
Another hop, this time into the table; it wobbled, and the knife shifted, but neither the table nor the knife fell down. One more hop, another wobble, and down went both the table and the knife. His muscles ached and he was gasping for breath, but he managed to hop over to the knife, and it was now time to go down. He leaned back with all his might, and went down with a thud.
He started feeling for the knife behind him, but then his heart nearly stopped. His captor was standing there, watching him with a smile.
* * *
Sitting in my living room, I hear someone pull into Dan’s driveway. I look out the window and see him getting out of his car. He goes to his trunk and starts pulling out grocery bags, quite a few of them. I see him starting to struggle with the bags, I put on my shoes and jacket, and I run outside to help him. I grab a few bags for him, and he thanks me.
Once I’m in his house, he thanks me again and offers me a beer. I accept, since I would never dream to refuse my neighbour’s hospitality. He asks me if I wanted it in a glass, and I tell him it doesn’t matter. I walk around his living room a bit, and he approaches me with a large, heavy beer mug filled with the liquid. I tell him, “This will do nicely,” and I take a drink.
He turns around to walk back into his kitchen, and he starts to say something, but I cut him off by clubbing him on top of his head with the mug.
* * *
“Sorry for smiling and chuckling a bit,” Dan’s captor said as he hoisted him back upright, away from the knife Dan worked so hard to get. “I know that took a lot out of you, but it was a bit amusing to watch the whole time.”
Dan was trembling, “W-what do you want from me?”
“Not too much. In fact, I’m not going to beat around the bush, Dan. I’m here to kill you.”
Dan turned pale, “W-w-why?”
The other man took a moment to think about his response, Dan still shaking. Finally, he told him, “You know, when I do this normally, I tend to make up different stories to tell the ‘victim.’ Like, ‘I’m a hitman from the mob and, don’t take this personally, but you stumbled into something you should have left alone. Like I said, this is just business,’ then I’ll finish them off. But, I think I’ll level with you, Dan. Because, you see, you haven’t really given me any reason to distrust you. Not like the others.”
“Yeah, my other neighbours. I’ve run into a string of…unluck, if you will. I keep moving next to neighbours who I really can’t trust. They don’t like me, and I can tell they plan on doing me in, probably in my sleep. But I’ve always been onto them, and I get them first.”
Dan had to take a moment to process everything he was being told. Still with a tone of shock and fear in his voice, he asked, “But then why are you doing this, if I’ve never given you any reason to distrust me? Really, what have I done to deserve this?”
His captor moved in closer. A grave tone graced his voice, “That’s the point, Dan. You’re extremely trustworthy; in fact, you’re all too trustworthy. I’ve been keeping a very close eye on you, Dan, and you’ve really done nothing to spark my suspicion. This made me realize that you’re the smartest out of the whole lot of them, my neighbours. I started trusting you; I wasn’t afraid to fall asleep, and I wasn’t worried when just the two of us were conversing, with no one around to hear my cries for help if you ever struck. I almost let my guard down, but I realized this before it was too late. And now…Dan…I win.”
A single tear fell down Dan’s cheek, “You know, you don’t have to do this.”
“Sorry, Dan, I got you, and you’re not getting out of this. Besides, think about it, now that I’m this far, I can’t stop. There’s no turning back, Dan.”
There they sat in silence, Dan’s captor brandishing the knife.
* * *
I vomited. I tried my best not to; I tried to hold it back, but it was so hard this time. I really liked Dan, but I couldn’t take any chances with him. Time to take one last look around his home to make sure nothing’s out of place, besides him downstairs.
I don’t know where I should move to now. No matter, I’ll figure it out once I’m out on the road. And, who knows, maybe my new neighbours will be good people.