Lesson

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic


“In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.” – Isaac Asimov

Submitted: December 06, 2017

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Submitted: December 06, 2017

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The boy, no more than perhaps twenty-one, had a much stronger resolve than Robert had ever seen before. Usually they cried, screamed, begged. Even pissed themselves on occasion. He was coming around quickly, his body attacking the sedation far quicker than anyone else he’d seen. And it was funny. He’d put up a real fight with the hypodermic, more than any of the others had, even the ones far physically bigger than he was. Still, he’d be no match for the simple ropes restraining him.

“Do you know who I am?” Robert always asked them this, if for nothing more than the gratification that his own infamy was spreading like wildfire. Serial killers were incredibly rare these says, like a collector’s vintage wines and whiskeys. But he found that with this boy, he needed to know for something more than that.

The boy sucked air through his teeth, took his time. “My guess is that you’re the monster who’s been abducting young men and killing them in ways the press won’t even release.” He looked a little tenser at that part. Robert relaxed slightly.

“Spot on,” Robert smiled pleasantly. His own pressing feeling of panic seemed to ease a little as the young man’s own distress spurred further on. “But you’re a lucky one, you are, because you’re going to find out all about what I did with those others. Do you know why?” He patronised.

But the boy’s fear wasn’t potent. He looked uncomfortable, yes. But more than that, he looked almost bored. It was unsettling. “I’m gonna take a stab in the dark and say you’re gonna rape my ass and murder me horribly?”

This was the problem with these ‘Generation Z-23s’ – nothing shocked them anymore. Robert tried not to let this bother his features. “Yes, something like that.”

The boy sighed in distress.

“But first,” Robert continued softly, “I need something from you.”

~

00:00.00 This thing is on now? Okay. An hour, I got it.

Um, I’m meant to read this script, and improvise from there, I think.

So, hmm, ‘my name is Calvin Frederick Greene. I have fallen victim to the night stalker who calls himself “The Warden.” These will be my last words. My voice, like the others before me, will be kept by him as a trophy, and sent to my family as a reminder of what can become of young men who do not look out for themselves. The Warden has given me half an hour to relay my life’s story.’

03:15.26 Okay, so I guess I’m recoding the last words I’ll ever say, because some psycho abducted me and he needs something to keep in his aural spank bank. Whatever. I’ll say the obvious: Mom, I love you. Jane… Janey, I love you.

I’m not exaggerating here, but I must be the unluckiest guy in the whole state. The whole New United States, even. Possibly even the world – seriously. The one time I go out after the curfew, literally the only time that I ever do this I get abducted?

Not to mention… I mean, c’mon, the year is 2087, who knew serial killers were making a comeback? I thought that insane cultural phenomenon ended in, like, 2055 or something like that? So, there’s something I can tell you about myself. I’m insanely prone to back luck.

12:09.44 Um, sorry, I just… I wish I could think of any clues to reveal who or where this guy is, but… I’m at a total loss. I don’t know his name. And I’m sure he’d just edit out anything I say about where he’s keeping me. So I better just get on with this whole ‘life story’ bit...

I’m 20 years old, I was born in Connecticut, and I guess in the past-tense, I died in Connecticut, too… Uh, I’m sorry, I don’t wanna sound, like, distressed, because I know my mom will never stop hearing it, and her heart can’t take it. She’s lost enough.

18:36.07 So, I’m guessing my time’s gonna be up quicker than I’m expecting. I just… I can’t believe my luck, here. I’m like, a law-abiding citizen, you know? I don’t… I don’t do anything illegal. Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. I don’t go out after 10. I’m all about “the safety and well-being of our nation’s citizens”. The only reason I was even leaving the apartment last night was because Jane called, and she just sounded so upset that I couldn’t not go and see her, you know? Fuck, I don’t even know who I’m talking to, here.

I’m not blaming you, Janey, if you ever happen to listen to this. I’m just sorry I never made it to your place. I’m really starting to believe I’m the common denominator in all these ill-fated events that befall us. I was gonna marry you, you know. But now-

~

Robert reclined back in his chair, his lower back aching like it needed to be cracked, or stretched. Something. He was getting old. That was part of the reason why he kept the recordings. He didn’t want to forget them, the boys. There were six now, six shallow boys in shallow graves in his yard. That was the beauty of these pricey property permits, he had the privacy to build his own private cemetery for his boys, and no one to disturb him when he wanted to pay them a visit.

It had been two days now. A day of play, which, like all good things had to come to an end, and then another day spent getting him ready before finally putting him in his resting place. Now was the perfect time to listen back, and learn all about his newest friend. It was reverse-research, and Robert always treasured this part. He felt almost giddy – he had no idea what to expect on this recording. He kid had a poker face like nothing he’d ever seen before – not even when poker was legal. He was about to press play on the newest recording, that unsettlingly unafraid-looking Calvin, when there was a tapping at the window. Not tapping, more like a screeching.

But when he turned around, of course, there was nothing there. He cracked his neck to the left, then right, and finally pressed play-

His heart slammed into his throat when something crashed through the window next to the front door of the cabin, dirt and glass covering the floorboards. It was his long-handled shovel, the one he always used when he was finished with the boys.

If the almighty crash hadn’t already damn-near sent him into cardiac arrest, when he saw next as he scrambled out of his chair would have. Climbing through his front window was a sickening familiar face. Calvin. The boy he’d just buried. The boy he’d only a day ago burned and skinned and choked and anything else that came to mind while he was exploring. But here he stood, true as day. Covered in dirt, naked, the way he’d been buried. But without a single mark on him. He stepped closer, the glass grinding under his feet, pushing and piercing his skin. But Calvin didn’t flinch, just picked up the shovel. Robert felt his bladder let go, vaguely aware of the piss filling his trousers as he stood transfixed and quaking.

Calvin finally spoke over his own recorded voice that had been filling the room. “I guess you’re not at the end of my tape yet, huh?”

It seemed he actually wanted an answer. Robert gulped, shook his head.

“Well, I guess I’ve spoiled that for you. I’m sorry. But I guess there’s not point keeping you alive to hear the end of it…”

Robert couldn’t run. This boy would be far too fast, far too strong. The only reason he had the upper-hand on any of them was because he usually carried a tranquiliser with him. He knew they were fast, he knew they were strong. Hell, he’d torn their bodies apart to find layers of muscle underneath it all.

He was speaking again. Calvin. Robert almost missed it, and then wished he had. “- now, where’s that fire-poker you shoved inside of me yesterday? ‘Cause I was thinking about it as I was digging myself out of my own grave, and I am just dying to try that on you.

~

25:33.19 Like, you wouldn’t believe it if I told you, but I can’t even count on nine fingers how many times I’ve had a fatal concussion from slipping on black ice. That’s a bad one. Or how many times I’ve been run off the road by drunk drivers, even after alcohol was banned in all 48 states. And don’t even get me started on how many times I’ve been shot at and blown to high heaven while “protecting and serving” the good ol’ NUSA.

Actually, I am keeping a record of that last one. It’s three. Madam President, you can thank me any time.

So I guess I’ve been complaining a lot… but in in my defence, it’s kinda hard for someone in my position not to get a little down on himself. I guess, on the flip side of things, it’s pretty fortunate for me that I was born immortal. I mean, 85% of the population only get one chance. I think I’ve had at least fourteen so far, but I lost count. So, maybe I’m the luckiest unlucky person in the world then? The lines are kind of blurring. Thank God for positive genetic mutations, though.

I’m not exactly excited about how I’m going to die, but, you can be sure I’m gonna make an example of this sonofabitch and teach him a-


© Copyright 2018 E Bowshall. All rights reserved.

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