"I can't do it.. Please... I-..."
The warm tip of a recently fired pistol greeted the back of his head, supressing and separating his dark curls. A goopy mixture of tears, sweat and snot covered his cheeks and chin, and with each word or whimper, it bubbled and spat off of his lips. He clenched shut his eyes in fear.
Please go away. This is not real. This is not. Real. This. Is. NOT. Real.
"You have three minutes remaining, Micheal. Then I will shoot you, and I will shoot him. Now, do as I told you."
"Pugh-please... I can't do it... Please..."
Stage one, begging. Victims always pleaded for the lives, crying and sobbing like a tempermental child who hadn't gotten their way. Micheal knew it wouldn't help him, but still, he couldn't stop himself. He was entirely out of control of his emotions and the situation at hand.
"I'm a father... I have two little girls... I have two girls and a son..."
"Micheal, your time is running short. My patience is running very, very thin. Make your decision."
His heart pumped like the gears in a steam engine train running full speed downhill. A memory flashed before him of his two daughters, who were only four and seven years old. Their youthful laughter rang in his ears as he watched a beautifully cinematic montage of Jade and Jacklynn growing up. For a moment, he had peace.
"Their names..." A lump rose in Micheals' throat, forcing an audible 'gulp'. "Their names are Jade and Jacklynn... Do... Do you have daughters?"
"One hundred and twenty seconds."
Stage two, empathy. Victims try to relate their captivators, asking questions about themselves or giving information about their own lives. Micheal hoped so much that if he could make the man who grabbed him in the parking lot see the value in his life, he would realize his wrongdoings and let him go. Begging hadn't played out so well for him, and he had but two minutes to make this all go away.
"You must have family... A mother... A father... Siblings... What would they think about what you're doing?"
A quick relief fell over Micheal as the barrel of the handgun was lifted from his head, however, that relief was short-lived. The masked man grabbed the back of Micheals' head with a gloved hand, digging his fingers deep in to his hair and gripping tightly. A stinging sensation filled his skull as he was thrown to the ground, partially from the 'bang' of his head smashing against the rough concrete, and partially from many hairs being ripped from their follacles. Rolling his eyes to release the pressure now in his head and readjust his sight, he saw a shiny boot step down beside his face. His captor knelt beside him.
"This is my family. This is the last of it, Micheal."
The burlap sack once concealing the identity of the second victim was ripped off, revealing an unconscious young man - age most likely between twenty and twenty-five. He had evidently been beaten before being stuffed inside of the burlap, his face badly bruised and swollen. Micheal kicked his feet trying to back himself up, unable to use his hands due to durable bindings.
"Please..." Back to the begging. "I won't tell anybody!" And now to the bribery.
"You have one minute remaining. Make. Your. Decision." As the man spoke, he stood and began making his way to the truck that had brought all three of them here; to this abandonned multi-level parking complex outside of the main city. Micheal heard a 'bee-beep', followed by the click of an opening trunk.
"I... I'm sure you know who I am... I have access to a LOT of assets... to a LOT of money... I can give you anything... Anything you want..."
Micheal whimpered at the sound of a shotgun pumping in the background. He was frozen in terror, too afraid to turn around and see what scene was greeting him. Footsteps echoed, getting closer, each one creating a ripple of fear that reached it way to Micheal and vibrated down his spine.
"You know what I want. It's not MONEY. It's not POSSESSIONS. Your time is up." Micheal wincingly peeked above him, greeted by the two barrels of a loaded gun. This was it. He had tried everything, and he just did not understand. Why him? Why this? What had he ever done to deserve this? A single father, working nine to five and struggling to get by, living in the suburbs in a semi-detached bungalow that most likely won't be paid off until he dies and his life insurance kicks in; just an average Joe.
"I don't understand... Why do you want... Want me to kill him... If... He's the last of your family..."
"Because you killed the rest of them, Micheal."
He was taken aback. Never in his life had he taken a life and he knew now for sure that this man had confused him with someone else. He finally scampered to his feet, mustering the strength in his core and thighs to stand himself up. The masked psychopath held steady his gun in Micheals' direction. All of his fear somehow disappeared and a hot frustration overcame him.
"You have the wrong man! I have never, NEVER committed a murder! You did this all to the wrong person! What kind of moron does it take to kidnap the wrong person! You fu-"
Suddenly, Micheals' breathe was cut short and vision went white for a moment. He felt weightlessness; almost non-existence, as if he had miraculously transformed in to a gasious state from a solid and began floating on the air, tangling amongst the particles making up the oxygen around him. The voices of two adolescent girls lead him to the far door of the parking garage, which was now opening. Grass sprouted on the ground in a path leading from the lifting door to himself, and Micheal smiled as he watched his beautiful daughters running towards him. Something held him in place, as if his feet were made of lead, offsetting his balance and causing him to fall forward at the feet of his kin.
"Get up, Daddy! Play with us!"
His lungs were filled with warm liquid, stopping him from speaking. Upon opening his mouth, blood pooled out and dripped down his face, adding to the other bodily fluids that had built up upon his chin to form a super-goop. Seeing this, his mirage began to deterioate. Jade and Jacklynn screeched in horror; the playful gleam in their eyes disappearing in a flash. As they escaped the opening parking garage door, the once green and flourishing lane of grass that lead in front of Micheal turned grey. All life retreated from the flora, and what remained was a trail of ash and filth.
"I gave you a chance, Micheal."
Following the path of drips plumetting from his chin to the concrete, Micheal realized that he had been shot through the abdomen. He noted the burnt, twisted mess of flesh, organ and skin that reside in the cavernous wound left from the blast. It looked unhuman and entirely unrecognizable. He was too in shock to give attention to the unconscious young man as he was also murdered.
"Now only God can grant you retrubution."
"You remember, now?"
That was the only word that Micheal could manage to speak. Indeed, he did remember. All too late, he remembered the entire incident.
"Look at me, you son of a bitch. I want to see it in your eyes. I want to KNOW that you remember what you did to me!"
Micheal peered up through glossy, nearly lifeless eyes and watched the man before him remove his mask.
"Look at me, Micheal."
The face he stared into was his own. He coughed up gobs of clotted blood and bodily acids as he began to sob again. His shrill voice boomed through the empty parking lot after he let out a shrill holler.
Not again. No. This isn't real.
"No, Micheal. This time it's real. This time, you will pay for what you did."
As the life escaped him, one last memory materialized inside of his mind of the family he once had and of the vulgar and horrific crimes he had committed against them. He had let his illness consume him, devour him and drive him to insanity; an insanity that took hold of his mind with devil-clawed clutch and controlled him to sin. The memory spanned across an eternity, making him suffer endlessly until finally, in death, he was brought to peace. Both Yin and Yang intertwined once more to make him whole; a tranquil being who could finally reunite with the souls of his wife and children and gain forgiveness. Micheal smiled as he approached them.
"I can't do it.. Please... I-..."