‘A Short Reprieve’

14:56 Tue 26 Dec 2006. Updated: 19:46 31 Dec 2006
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His eyes snapped open. He was sitting down, slowly rotating. He was strapped into a chair at an amusement park, chintzy music echoing around him.

Around him were the dead bodies of the people who had brought him here, the people who had beaten him into unconsciousness. His neck hurt the most, and he found he couldn’t turn his head to the right. But as he rotated, he could see no-one alive around him. Most of the bodies were covered in blood.

All the rides were active. They had been off when he’d been brought in. The young children’s ride he was tied to was on, and probably what woke him.

He was still alive. They weren’t going to kill him (or anyone else). Elation eluded him, however. Before they caught him, he had thought himself resigned to death. But once presented with the imminent fact of that death, he had realized that he very much wanted to live.

And now, where was that desire? Where was that drive? Perhaps they had beaten it out of him.

He was trying to get his hands free. It would take a while. His fingers played over the rope, seeking weak spots, trying to discern where to push, where to pull. He looked around as he did this, hoping to see someone come, someone curious about why the rides were on, someone who would help him loose.

He noticed that he couldn’t see any lights in the city. At first he thought it was because he was facing the wrong direction, but then realized that none were visible in any direction. Yet he remembered very well the bright lights in the distance behind the club as it swung towards his face.

He looked more closely the next time around. Maybe the lights from the other rides were too bright.

No, he could make out silhouettes of some of the buildings. The city lights were definitely off.

For the first time since waking, he felt afraid. And this was a different fear, a slippery, elusive fear, one that mocked and twirled and dodged but still froze his spine with its touch.

Behind him, he heard a voice, and that fear became everything and nothing. The voice was like gravel down a velvet slide.

‘Ah, I missed one coming through, did I? That won’t do at all.’

A pressure at his throat, then blackness again.

(400 words)

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