The Reckoning

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: June 21, 2016

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Submitted: June 21, 2016



It had struck 12. A wave of dread came over him, and because it was futile to do anything but that, he closed his eyes and let the waves carry him away. It could carry him to Africa, with its receding coastlines and towering trees, or it could carry him to Antarctica, with its huge white blank nothingness, anything but here, he thought. He could hear footsteps, he recognized them, and the tide grew stronger.


At that moment, it was as if he knew nothing but dread, as if he had not been a child, as if he had not been born on this Earth. It was as if that scar he received when he fell off his bike as a youngling never was, it was as if he never will be. Screams were heard, and then those screams were reduced to muffling, and finally to the same silence he experienced when he was first brought to this place, he guessed 3 hours ago.


When he finally woke from his lapse, from his state of dread, a state of consciousness but not exactly intelligence, he panicked. Even though he had been in this place for a considerably long time, it was as if this was his first time here, as if he had never seen this place before, but he had, though he did not know. He panicked and stood from his unusual sitting position, where his legs were crooked in an uncomfortable position.

He was only able to stand halfway through his entire length, he tried again, and he found himself restrained by a rusting metal, in the darkness it looked glued to the wooden wall. Maggots crawled out of holes and crevasses in the hole,  in the darkness they glistened, their slimy exterior providing the only light to be had in this dark room. Unfortunately for him, he did not like those little buggers, he never did like any sort of insect, they were too small... too unnatural, and too unlike him and other animals he had known to love.

The holes were positioned in such a way that they were ever so close to where the metal was glued to the wood, the maggots crawled through the chains of the rusting metal that restrained him, so close to me, he thought, and he panicked even more now, his wrist pulsating as much as they could, but just like him, they too were restrained, and he could feel his hand numbing slowly.

He was in this sort of situation before, he finally recalled in his panicking, the scene did look familiar. The rusting metal chains, how they were glued to a wooden wall, and how the maggots crawled out of their holes, somewhere in his mind, a bundle of neurons fired up and shared the memory with his conscious self, and he finally did recall, but nothing more than being in this same situation, and being in the same panicky mood.

He stopped panicking, he exhaled, the type of exhaling you would do when you have given up on something, when you have given up on hope and life. This was his end, he thought, this was his reckoning, but what did he do to deserve this? He did not know, he had no memory before this incident, only that he was a man, and that he was restrained to a wall by a rusting metal chain, with maggots crawling out of little crevasses on a wooden wall.

Another scream, it seemed as though it was emanating from some kind of chamber adjoining to the wall he was restrained to, it was painfully close to him, and it was dread-inducing, again he felt that wave of dread, that tide he wished so hard to escape from, but the ocean is not so easy to get out of, especially when you are bare-foot.

He tried moving his hands to his ears, to block out the scream, to live in a bubble he wanted to create for himself, but before he could do that, he was stopped again, by that familiar force, by that rustling rusting metal chain, he hated that chain so much, in what he had estimated to be a full day, although it was only 4 hours now, he had come to hate its guts, if it was a human, he would have felt no remorse after digging a knife into its innards.

The screaming was, again muffled, a pattern he had noticed. Screams came, then silenced, from chambers all over the place. Sometimes the screams were close, sometimes far, sometimes they were coming from the east, sometimes from the west. He had also heard metal striking floor, wooden floor. Not had, he still is, and they won’t stop, and it’s driving him mad.

Tchikle-tchikle, that’s al he heard, metal striking the floor, metal striking the floor, each time a new one struck a new floor, he turned his head towards what he thought was the source, which meant he moved his head quite a lot, and this pained his poor neck, and the poor tendons dwelling within his flesh. He heard no rustling from the chamber adjoining his, which was quite weird, but he was in no state of mind to decide what was weird and what was not.

Finally he heard a key scrambling in a lock, this was close, closer than the metal clunking he had been hearing, no, he thought, this had been in the very room he was in. He panicked once again, the ocean of dread, dried up for a long time, had now returned, and with full strength. His wrist pulsated more, and the metal rustled even more, his eyes skittered around, where was the door?! He did not know, but if there is one thing he knew, he knew that this was his end, he did not know why he thought he would die to this unfamiliar stranger, but he certainly knew, as if a memory of a similar incident was stored deeply in the trenches of his mind, but alas, he could not recover it.

The stranger wore a black hood, he could see this, not because the stranger brought some lamp with him, but because the hood he wore was even darker than the room he had been in, and this terrified him. A stranger, with a black hood, meant no good.

He was shirtless, this revealed the jungle that was his chest hair, in the short time the stranger entered he could already imagine all the different micro-creatures that must be living in his hair, ants, maggots, worms, and centipedes. It disgusted him, his mind said, but he said something else, he said, to himself, this is my end, this is my reckoning, but he did not know why.

Finally, he knew, he knew how and why the thought occurred to him every now and then, like a toy sailing ship on a pond, it always came back, to the uninformed plebeian it was magic, how it always came back, but any man of any level of education knew it was the wind that pushed it back. The wind was pushing the memory back to him, not the type of wind that hits you like a wave on a stormy night, but the type of urgency you had when trying to recall something you had forgotten, something you knew was important.

His mind was trying to make him remember, its fundamental survival instincts had kicked in, they had been activated, somewhere in the pits of his brain, neurons were charging with electricity, more furious than they had ever been in his entire life, they were trying to let him know, and then, they stopped. No more charges, no more forming of new neurons, no more cells moving around, and no more bacteria fighting against them. It all stopped, like life in a city would stop if a nuke had struck it.

He screamed, and flopped to the ground, his body limp and lifeless, his dark skin pale, for a few milliseconds he could hear, somehow, disconnected from the rest of his body he could hear, the sound of joyful laughing, and the sound of an entire life gone. He had died, slain by the mysterious executioner.

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