Hidden Value

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

A no-body finds some worth in his world. But what he has to do to find it is way above the call of duty.

Frank awoke with a splitting headache, which was not anything unusual for a Sunday morning after a Saturday night out on the town. But Frank had been spending a lot of nights out on the town lately, a lot more than he should.

Frank was just a no-body, working dead-end, here today and gone tomorrow jobs. And quite frankly, after all these years Frank was pretty sure that he was a failure; so he drank.


This morning's headache was different, more like a drug hangover..

Frank tried to move and realized that he was bound with steel bracelets attached to chains; and there was something tied around his neck. So Frank yelled, "Hay, what the hell!"

"Ah, I see that you have awakened," said an unusually thin man in a mechanics jump suite and sneakers.

"Who are you and what the hell is this?" Frank demanded.

The man replied, "Who am I? Well I guess you might say that I am about to be your executioner. Then again, you might decide to end your own life in a quicker and less painful manner, but that would be up to you.

I always give my victims options; it enhances the experience for me; but for them, not so much.

Frank responded, "Look, whatever your name is, after last night and whatever you drugged me with, I'm not making a lot of sense out of what you're saying. So why don't you just start at the beginning, such as your name so that I will know what to tell the police when they arrive."

"I am Harper Chadwick, and I'll bet that you think that you are being a funny man. But you will not be having the last laugh because you are not going to be alive to tell anyone anything." 

Frank continued, "Well Mr. Harper Chadwick, here are some valid questions that might enhance my death experience, if you'd care to share; you might even regard them as Last Wishes.

Do I know you from somewhere and is that the reason you are going to kill me? And I’ve got to ask, what the hell is with this steel chain arrangement that you have going here?

It is like {Dungeons and Dragons} meets {How It's Made}. Are you some kind of CSI mad scientist or something?"

Chadwick said, "You don't seem very worried about your present predicament and that is refreshing because I haven't had that response from my victims before; it is usually anger followed by sobbing, or just a lot of begging.

But I digress, getting back to your Last Requests. No, I don't know you and I am going to end your life because I just like doing these things; I get a kick out of it.

As far as who I pick to kill, I always acquire victims that I don't know because that inhibits investigations by the police.

The steal chain, bracelet, set-up, I like to be creative in my hobbies and this is one of my latest designs. Do you like it?"

Frank snickered, trying hard not to show his discomfort as he said, "Didn't you forget something? My right arm and hand aren't shackled, both my ankles and my left hand, not to mention the rope around my neck, but my right hand is as free as can be. Aren't you afraid that I will just remove the rope?"

Chadwick replies, "So nice of you to notice.

I am a materials and design engineer and I have designed this new and improved Hangman's Noose, it can only be loosened with two hands. --- But wait, there is more!

Woven into that rope are patented flexible fibers that a knife would take quite some time to cut through; such as the fishing knife that is in your right pocket," Chadwick replied while answering a text message.

Frank asked, "Was that Mommy scolding you for being late again?"

Chadwick answered without thinking, "No, smart ass, unlike you I have some worth in the world!

That was my employer and they have run into some problems that they can't manage to take care of on their own, as usual."

Frank replied, "I have an idea what to do with this knife, but I don't think that it is what you had in mind; besides, you are standing too far away, (Frank laughed). 

Chadwick replied, "If you are anything like the others, you will cut your wrist with that knife, or your throat. One of my subjects, an oriental man, ended it quickly by stabbing himself in the heart."

"Well thanks, but no thanks, I'd just as soon hang as stab myself in the heart," Frank said with a frown on his face.

"Oh you are not going to hang, at least, not in the traditional sense. That rope is adjusted in such a way as to only pull on your head, slowly, ever so steadily and slowly, until your head is detached from your body, but your nerve fibers and arteries will still be attached for quite some time. It is a terribly painful and terrifying process; it usually takes an hour or so," Chadwick remarked with a notable amount of saliva oozing from the left side of his mouth, and his eyes partially glazed over.

"Well, that doesn't sound good," Frank confessed. "How about you let me go and I'll just be on my way? After all, you know that you have a mental problem and now I know too, so we'll just call it even and continue on with our lives."

"I really do find your caviler manner refreshing, but as amusing as it is I need to be leaving soon," Chadwick said as he looked at the time on his cell phone.

"What's your hurry? You still haven't told me what all this other junk does," Frank teased.

"Well Frank, from the way that you keep looking at it I would have thought that you would have figured it out by now.

On the folding table that is in front of you, there is a book.  On one side of the book is a two inch diameter, by eight inch long PVC pipe, and on that same side is a coiled spring glued to the table-top.

On the top of the book-face cover is a cell phone that is positioned over and on the spring-side of the book. The phone is set on vibrate, so when the phone rings it will walk off of the book and then the spring will lift up on the book, causing it to slide. And as the book rolls on the PVC pipe it will fall off of the table top.

When the book falls it will hit and activate that lever causing the Golf Ball to roll down the ramp, knocking the bottle of acid over.

The acid, in turn, will eat through the retaining strings that hold the counter-balance and the hanging process will begin.

Oh, and as an added bonus, I have mounted cameras in appropriate places with a live feed connection to most social media outlets; when the phone rings everything is activated. Then everyone will watch you die! So do try to look good for the camera, will you?"

With that said, Chadwick burst out in a wicked laugh and walked out the door.

Frank pulled the knife from his pocket with his free hand. He felt the weight of it, balancing it on his forefinger, tossing it in the air, flipping it and catching it blade first.

Time was running out, he knew it wouldn't be long before that phone rang; he had only one chance to do this.

Suddenly, Frank flipped the knife into the air and watched it tumbling ever so slowly, end over end, the blade flickering in the streams of sunlight that were coming through the window.

Then a sound occurred, it wasn't exactly a Thud and it definitely was not a bang, it was the sound made when the tip of a knife-blade sticks into a book cover. The knife leaned to one side, but stopped short of falling.

The phone rang.


Yes, the phone rang and it did slide right off the book.

But the added weight of the knife counteracted the weight of the phone, and that was enough to keep the spring from rising, or the book from going anywhere.

It didn't take long for the police to track the social media feed to Frank's hell hole. And in a manner of minutes they were freeing him.

With the information Frank had gleaned from Harper Chadwick, it left no doubt as to which Harper Chadwick they were to arrest; they picked him up at the airport trying to board an outbound plane.

And as Frank was signing papers to receive several cash rewards from different cities, you know, for information leading to the apprehension and arrest of "The Spring-book Serial-killer"; one reported asked Frank how he managed to pull off such a daring act.

Frank replied, "Well, I guess having been a knife-thrower in a carnival had value after all."


D. Thurmond / JEF


Rew. 12-2019

Submitted: September 26, 2016

© Copyright 2021 D. Thurmond aka JEF. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



I was a bit concerned that this was going to get real gruesome, JE. But quick thinking and an unusual skill saved the day. Great job.

Wed, September 28th, 2016 8:28pm


I wish it could be true in the real world.

Thu, September 29th, 2016 10:17am

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