Voice of Sins

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


A woman awakes blindfolded with a gun to her head, a voice she faintly recognizes demanding justice for her actions. Who is her mysterious captor? Can she persuade him to release her?

Submitted: April 16, 2018

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Submitted: April 16, 2018

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“Do you ever dream a dream of what life would be like if life had turned out different?” the voice asked, his words flowing like a rippling breeze.  “Have you ever touched the one you love before wishing them good night and worried if they will be there when you wake in the morning?”

Margaret did not answer, she was afraid to.

“I do,” the voice whispered.  “Do you?”

Margaret still did not answer.  She sat motionless in the chair, afraid to move, afraid to breathe.  She began to sob quietly.  She did not know where she was, she did not know who it was who spoke to her, and she did not know what he planned to do to her.  Her fear continued to rise as she listened to each step the man took towards her.  She could see nothing; a heavy canvas hood obscured her vision.  She could not move; her hands were bound to the chair with rope.  Margaret wiggled her legs; they were bound to the chair with tape.  She could feel the adhesive pulling at her skin, tugging at the fine hairs on her ankles.

Margaret could not remember what had happened; she did not know how she had ended up wherever she was.  She had gotten into bed and fallen asleep, then was stirred awake with a tap on the head, waking with this hood over her head.  She wanted to ask the voice what was going on, but she didn’t have the courage.  She did not want to anger the stranger.  She wanted him to release her so she could go home.

Margaret could hear footsteps slowly stalking behind her, but she could only see blackness before her.  She began to quiver.  Warm, salty tears streamed down her hooded face.  She did not want to die; she did not want to be hurt.  She was supposed to have brunch with her mom and her aunt tomorrow.  She wanted that very much.

“I worry about every hair on my little girl’s head,” said the voice.  He sounded upset.

Margaret lowered her head, afraid he was about to strike her.

“I fret every day my little girl goes outside that she won’t come home.  Will a stranger pick her up, or will someone she knows and trusts pick her up?  I think to myself, is my wife sleeping with another man?  Would she take our daughter and not tell me?  Would she try to run out on me?  Our love is gone, but our child is still very much present, and I would do anything for her.”

As Margaret listened to the voice speak, she thought she recognized it, but from where?

“I killed people, you know,” the voice stated.

The longer he talked, the more desperate he sounded.

“I have killed people because I was told to do so, because it was the right thing to do, apparently.  I was awarded for it.  Now?  Now I’m told to be a good boy and obey the rules of law because it’s the right thing to do.  You can’t do this and you can’t do that.  Oh, this is bad, George.  You’re going to get in trouble now.  How does it make sense?”

George?  Where did she know a George?

“I have been patient with people all my life, and now I see that people don’t respect my patience, they think I’m a pushover to take advantage of!  No!  No.  I will not be taken advantage of!”

Margaret’s heart raced.  He was losing control, and he was clearly a man capable of anything.  Margaret thought of how she could disarm the situation and hopefully talk some sense into her captor.

He kept talking.  “Why am I the one who suffers for you peoples’ mistakes?  Why does it have to go in my head?  When will people learn about accountability?  Like you?”

Margaret felt the cool touch of metal against the back of her neck.  It sent a chill through her body.

“When will you learn that your words have an effect on people you’ve never seen?” the voice asked.  “You think talking to one person means you’re talking to one person?  No, you’re not!  It’s a network, a network of self-destruction, and you have destroyed yourself, Margaret.”

The pistol cocked.  Margaret’s body tensed as she waited for the sound of the gun and the bullet to the back of her head, but it did not come.  She held her breath, waiting.

“It’s a scary thing when your life spins out of control, isn’t it?” the voice asked in a quiet manner.  “I’ve been scared for months.  Scared if my kid will come home or if the house will be cleared out when I get home from work.  Will my wife find it in her to get through one more night with me or will she serve me papers in the morning?  It’s scary, not knowing who loves you.  My daughter loves me.  I know that.  But who else can I depend on?”

Margaret could hear the man crying.  She ran through her mind, trying to figure out who this stranger was.  He knew who she was, so how did she know him?  His voice was familiar to her, but not familiar enough.  He wasn’t someone she spoke with on a regular basis.  Was he someone she had spoken to at all?  She didn’t know anyone who had killed before, not that she knew of, anyways.  But who would be told to kill someone?  A police officer?  A soldier?  This man was definitely suffering from stress, perhaps post-traumatic stress.  Margaret did not know any cops, and the only soldier she could think of was her cousin, but it definitely wasn’t him.

Margaret’s mind froze as she realized she did know another soldier, indirectly, but she had heard mention of him several times in passing.  She scrambled through her memories, trying to place the person she had spoken with about a man, an ex-soldier.  What was the person’s name?  Had it been a man or woman she had spoken with?  Margaret did not recall nice things having been said about the soldier, but who had said them?  She was too frantic to place a name or face.  She was too concerned with surviving this confrontation.

A hot puff of air blew against the side of Margaret’s hooded face.  The voice startled her as it sounded in her ear.  “You’re as afraid as I am.  I know you are.  You’re afraid you won’t get to see your husband again or your mother.  You’re afraid your dream of having a baby is over, that these are the last moments you’ll live, and you’ll never get the chance to tell the one’s you love what they mean to you.  I would be afraid, too, because this probably will be your last night.”

Margaret started to cry.  What had she done to this man to cause him to do this to her?  She had never done physical harm to anyone, not intentionally most of all.  Why was he tormenting her?  Who was he?  How did he know these things about her?

Margaret felt the pistol’s cold metal barrel graze her neck, sliding down between her shoulder blades as the man taunted her.  She couldn’t take it any longer.

“Please, George, please, please tell me what I did to you!  Please, what did I do?” she demanded.

“What did you do?  You ruined my life,” the voice shouted in outrage.  “You’ve taken my wife from our home and sent her into the arms of her other man!  You’re trying to take my daughter from me, too, but you won’t.  I will kill and I will die first.”

The barrel of the gun dug into Margaret’s back, pressing against her spine.

“Please, George, please.  I don’t know you.  Who are you?”

“You don’t know me?  Of course you don’t, because I’m a pushover!  Not anymore, I’m not!”

The gun pressed harder into Margaret’s back.  She was afraid this was the end.  She had to try to calm him down.

“You’re not a pushover, you’re not,” she sobbed.  “You’re in control right now.  You’re the one with the power.”

“I am, finally,” the voice stated proudly.  “That’s why you’re afraid of me,” he whispered.

“I want to know how I did the things you say I did.  I would never want to break up a family.”

Margaret hoped to get the man thinking so she could direct his mind to happier thoughts.  Maybe he could be convinced to let her go.

“You talk,” replied the voice.  “Like her mother, like her brother and her uncles, and their kids; you talk.  You poison her mind with your thoughts and opinions on how you think a normal couple should be, but not every couple is like you and Dan!”

Another chill ran down Margaret’s spine at the mention of her husband’s name.  Was he all right?  What had George done to him?  How could he have stolen her from their home without waking Dan?  He had mentioned her mother.  Did he know her name, too?  Did he know where she lives?  Horrible thoughts entered Margaret’s head.

“Not every couple has such an easy time working through their problems,” the voice continued to berate her.  “Different couples have different problems, and you can’t understand mine!”

Margaret quietly sobbed.  He was losing control again.

“Why do things have to be so difficult for you?” she asked in desperation, washed in pity for herself.  “Why couldn’t you see a counsellor or a doctor to help you through your problems?  Why are you taking this out on me?”

Silence lingered.  A loud bang broke the stillness as something slammed into the floor.  Margaret screamed, thinking her time had come.

“You never listen, do you?  None of you ever listen!  You talk and give your advice then go on living your life.  You don’t think twice about what you say because everything in your life is so perfect!  You don’t know me, so you don’t care.  You only know her, so that’s whose side you’re taking!”

A piece of the puzzle; Margaret now tried to recall disgruntled women she had talked to about their husbands.  Every woman had the occasional man trouble, but which had it worse?  She eliminated everyone in her family and started going down the list of her friends.

The voice continued to fill the room with its frustration.  “You think a professional has all the answers?  You think they know everything?  That they can say ‘poof, here’s your cure’?  No, they don’t always have answers!  Some of their expert opinions are just bullshit!  I could know what they know if I read enough articles, too!  And what good is trying to fix a marriage when one of you doesn’t want it fixed?  She wants out!  How do I fix that?”

Margaret knew none of her friends wanted out of their marriages; they just wanted a little more effort put in.  She started thinking of co-workers, patients and acquaintances from around town whom she’d run into over the past month.  Her interactions with people at the grocery store, the office supply store, department stores, restaurants and cafes flashed through her mind, but none struck a chord.

“I can’t help being the way I am!” the voice exclaimed.  “I’ve tried to change, I’ve tried to be better, but it’s no use!”

Margaret had heard those words used before, but where?

“I love being a dad.  Bethenny is a good kid.  But I’m no good as a husband.”  He was crying, lost in despair.

Bethenny.  Margaret remembered hearing a Bethenny mentioned before.  It was someone close to home, literally.  Margaret recalled standing on the sidewalk under Mrs. Grenich’s maple tree while she had spoken with this woman about her husband and daughter.  Who was it?

“I’m no good as a man anymore,” said the voice, abject with depression. “I don’t want to hurt people anymore, but I don’t want to be here to see them hurt people, either.”

“George, please.  I can help you,” Margaret pleaded.  She knew he was retreating into himself and soon she would not be able to reach him.

“No, you can’t.  Only I can help myself.  That’s what my counsellor told me.”

Margaret’s body jerked in reaction as she suddenly remembered whom she had spoken with; it was Dana Lambert, her neighbour next door.  She had moved in two-and-a-half months ago.  Her husband, George, had been in the armed forces and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.  He had tried to have it treated, but his condition had only worsened over the past couple years.  He was growing increasingly distant from Dana and was prone to outbursts of rage, which were becoming more frequent.  She was worried that he might get violent one day and didn’t want any harm to come to their daughter.  Dana had started seeing another man.  George worked the nightshift and was gone all night.  It made it easy for her to sneak around and have someone watch over Bethenny while she slept.

Dana had needed someone to confide in, so had told Margaret.  She had told Dana that she needed to do what was best for her and her daughter, even if that meant leaving George.  If he couldn’t get help for his condition, then he shouldn’t be around a child, and she shouldn’t have to stay in a potentially dangerous relationship.  Margaret recalled that Dana had seriously thought about it.  She had strong feelings for this man she was secretly seeing and was reaching her wit’s end with George’s condition.  Margaret had encouraged Dana to be with a man who could take care of her and her daughter, and her mistress sounded like the right type of guy.

Margaret recognized George’s voice from the few arguments she had overheard between them.  He was right; she had helped drive Dana away.

“George, I know what I’ve done is wrong and I can fix this.”  Margaret used a calm tone to address him.  She knew she could still deescalate the situation.  “Let me talk to Dana and I can make things better,” she promised.

Margaret wished George would remove the hood so she could look him in the eyes.  She’d have an easier time reaching him, of tapping into his humanity if she could look at him and show him how sincere she was being.

George blew out a long, exhausted sigh.  He was standing directly behind her.  Margaret hoped he would untie the rope binding her hands.

“I’ve already talked to Dana,” replied George, his voice quivering.  “I’ve straightened everything out with her and her lover.  And Bethenny is safe now, too.  Thanks to me.”

Margaret listened to George sob.  It was the last sound she heard before the gunshot ignited the air.

George listened to himself sob as he pressed the gun to his temple.  The room echoed with the sound of his despair.  He had never felt more pathetic.  George closed his eyes and gently squeezed the trigger.  Another gunshot erupted into the air.  The room fell silent.

 

 

END


© Copyright 2019 Jeff Bezaire. All rights reserved.

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