MIND-SHATTERED?

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

A young woman ends up in a dark castle, tormented by its masked owner for a sinister reason which might end up compromising her moral beliefs -- not to mention the possibility of her ending up psychologically broken (or worse still, dead).

MIND-SHATTERED?

Written by and featuring concepts created by JOHN LAVERNOICH

For the past hour, Lea Torres, a beautiful and slender Puerto Rican woman in her early thirties with long and curly black hair – had been unconscious.How she ended up that way – plus any other questions which were already swirling within her mind – would be answered – but not yet.

Soon, Lea’s eyes started to slowly open at roughly the same time she regained consciousness.  It would be a minute before she was awake – as she started to slowly get up from a solid stone floor after resting there for the past few hours.  It was when she realized where she ended up – and it wasn’t her apartment in Concord, New Hampshire, or her workplace.  Instead -- it was a dimly-lit hallway corridor within a stone castle that wasn’t different from those that graced medieval Europe centuries ago – the stuff of classic fairy tales.  And it was the last place that Lea wanted to be.  Only a few hours ago, Lea was getting ready to go to work – when, inside her apartment’s kitchen, she started to feel light-headed, as if a magical spell had overtaken her; within seconds, she collapsed onto the kitchen floor and drifted into unconsciousness.

As Lea started to explore her new surroundings, she was already asking herself several questions – and not just how she ended up inside the castle; the answers she sought would soon be revealed to her – that is, if Lea didn’t end up insane by the end of today.  “Surprised by where you are now, my dear?” an echoing male voice from out of nowhere replied, which caught Lea by surprise, “As for who I am – point your eyes upward – immediately.”  Lea did just that – as she saw from out of nowhere a projected image of a human head clad in a bright red pull-over mask that hid his true identity.  On the front of the mask’s brow, above the eye-holes, was the number 666, which was carved out of leather and colored bright pink.  One thing was becoming painfully clear to Lea – this definitely wasn’t Oz – and who she was now dealing with was hardly benevolent.

”My name is – Mr. Diable,” said the masked head in a sinister tone, “I’m your host – and perhaps your executioner if you decide to act foolishly.”

”You look more like a reject from a pro wrestling event,” said Lea sarcastically.

”I don’t find that remark funny.  But enough criticism about what passes for your sense of humor.  As for why I’ve brought you here -- you’re about to perform a special favor for me -- if you want to gain your freedom!”

I’m to perform a favor -- for you?  You must be 100% nuts!”

”My past victims who proclaimed me insane in the past are either now in padded cells, wearing strait-jackets -- or better still, six feet under!  And that’s just those with nerves of iron!  You’ll cooperate with me if you wish to leave your ‘temporary home!’And I won’t hesitate to use all my resources --!”

”And if I refuse?”

”You won’t.  That, I promise you!  As for what I want from you -- this afternoon, at 1 p.m., local time -- you will publicly lie, and not just to the mass media --!”

”What the hell –?”

”It shouldn’t be that hard for someone in your profession -- and after all, you’ll --!”

Forget it!I won’t wreck my career solely to satisfy your twisted ends – and when I do get out, I’ll call the police and have you arrested for both kidnapping and attempted blackmailing!”

”You don’t know me that well, do you?  By day’s end, you will -- if you retain your sanity -- or live that long, that is!”  Lea, already ignoring both Mr. Diable’s verbal threats and his sinister laughter, started to head down the dimly-lit hallway corridor, determined to find a way out of her sinister host’s domain – unaware that it would prove to be more difficult than she thought.

Well, this isn’t Concord, thought Lea, Or even Kansas!  Then again, this isn’t the first time that someone has threatened me -- and my so-called “host” won’t give up trying to bend me to his will!But if this Mr. Diable character thinks that he’ll try to turn me into a basket-case -- he’s in for a rude surprise -- especially after I leave this hell-hole and sic the law on him!Unknown to Lea, closed-circuit digital video cameras which were hidden within not only the side walls, but also the ceilings and floors, were already recording her every movement – proof that Mr. Diable was more than he seemed to be.

*****

A few minutes later: Lea was still walking down the hallway corridor – and still determined to find a way out of Mr. Diable’s castle, no matter how much he tried to torture her.  “You’re making it very difficult for yourself, my dear,” said Mr. Diable’s echoing voice.

”I won’t do as you say,” said Lea sternly.

”Others have refused to bend to my will, Miss Torres -- and ended up regretting it.  What makes you think that you’ll prove to be the exception to the rule?”

”You think that I’m a pushover, eh?  I’ve come across others who’ve thought the same as you – only to –!”

”I hate your stubbornness.”

”Get used to it.  And you’d also better get used to being behind prison bars – and that won’t be long in coming.”  Within seconds, Lea came across a four-way intersection which connected the hallway corridor that she walked down with three others.  Then, before the young woman could decide which direction to take, she heard what seemed to be an infant girl’s voice laughing and giggling which came from out of nowhere.  Lea turned around and saw behind her a baby girl doll made out of plastic with short blond hair, orange-colored plastic eyes, and a smiling face which wore a pink silk dress and short skirt with lace, and a pair of white sneakers which was walking and talking on its own – something that was impossible in real life, even in today’s technologically-advanced world.

”A toy doll?” said Lea in a puzzled tone, “Walking on its own?”

”You’re a bad lady,” said the toy doll, which surprised Lea, “You’re not doing as Mr. Diable says!”

And talking on its own, Lea thought, trying to make sense of what she was now encountering.

”You’d better do as Mr. Diable says,” said the toy doll in a sinister tone, as its facial features switched from happy – to very angry and sadistic, “Otherwise –!”

”Listen to her,” said Mr. Diable’s voice from out of nowhere, “You’ll –!”

”No,” said Lea defiantly, “It’s bad enough that I have to deal with the occasional crackpots in my profession – I certainly –!";

”Perhaps what’ll happen next will change your mind – or what passes for it."  The toy girl doll was chuckling wickedly, as its eyes started to glow bright red – proof that it was hardly harmless.  Seconds later, the doll’s eyes fired laser rays at Lea, as she got out of its path very quickly – while the rays hit one of the stone side walls, causing it to explode and shatter immediately, with fragments of it falling onto the stone floor!

This can't be happening, thought Lea, It just can't!

”Now,"; said the girl doll in a sadistic tone, "Do you obey my master immediately -- or get burnt to a crisp?"

"Well?"; said Mr. Diable's voice furiously.

"Never," said Lea defiantly, as she was a few inches away from where the toy girl doll was – as rocket boosters already built into the bottoms of the doll's sneakers caused it to head upward until it was two feet off the ground.  "Will you obey my master unconditionally?" said the doll furiously, "Or die regretting your defiance?"

Within seconds, Lea picked up one of the small fragments from the side stone wall which was blasted and damaged by the toy girl doll's laser rays seconds earlier – then threw the small fragment from the damaged side stone wall directly at the rocket-elevated toy girl doll, hitting its front, point-blank, immediately.  After that, the toy girl doll hit the stone floor, landing hard on its back.  At the same time, the doll's eyes fired laser rays upward towards the stone ceiling, hitting part of the stone ceiling, and causing large fragments of it to quickly fall and crash both fast and hard on not only the stone floor but also the killer doll, as the stone fragments damaged it beyond repair.

Lea reacted silently and with shock to what had just happened – while still trying to make sense of the situation that she was now in.  "My employers spent several million dollars building that weapon," said Mr. Diable's voice furiously, "And you wrecked it in just a minute or two!"  Lea was already ignoring Mr. Diable, as she turned right at the four-way intersection and ran down another dimly-lit hallway corridor, still determined to find a way out of the castle.

"You think that you've outsmarted me,"; yelled Mr. Diable's voice angrily, "And that you'll escape my abode!  And like those who've crossed my path in the past -- you'll be proven wrong!"

That Mr. Diable character's more than just a nut, thought Lea, He's a total sadist who definitely won't give up!Lea's task – to find an exit out of the castle – was further augmented by the determination to both outsmart and outguess Mr. Diable – before things got much worse.

*****

A few minutes later: Lea came across yet another four-way intersection inside Mr. Diable's castle, leading her to silently ask herself several questions for which there weren't any easy answers – at least for right now.  As Lea stopped running to catch her breath, she wondered how long she'd keep it up – the situation that she was now in was uncommon for the profession that she chose.  "You can't defy me forever, my dear," Mr. Diable's echoing voice said angrily, "All the more reason for you to do as I say!"

"I never did anything to you, you bastard,"; said Lea in an angry tone, "Hell, I don't even know you that well!Why the hell are you tormenting me?"

"Once you agree to obey me -- you'll learn why -- and not before that."

"Forget it!Even if you did force me to give in to your demands, you'd still torture me out of pure cruelty!"

"You'll change your tune soon, my dear -- another of my -- hee hee -- playmates will help see to that!"  Within seconds, appearing in the center of the four-way intersection from out of nowhere, was a twelve-foot muscular, solid, and ugly-looking monster with snow white-colored fur, glowing red eyes, sharp yellow teeth, and sharp black claws on its furry fingers and feet, as it stood directly in Lea's path, as it roared as loud as an African lion; the monster's appearance was enough to suggest that he might be the mythical Abominable Snowman from Asia's Himalayan Mountains.  Lea, still trying to make sense of her present situation, didn't need a college education to realize that she was in danger – the gigantic creature's presence was already proof of that.

"I still have several advantages over you, my dear," Mr. Diable's voice said, "All the more reason for you to stop defying me at once."

"My master is correct," said the furry monster in an echoing raspy voice, "By obeying his will, you will help restore the natural order of things in the world -- and not just for the benefit of my master."

"What?!" said Lea in a confused tone.

"The world you live in today is both chaotic and messy -- my master wants to return it to what it was centuries ago when humanity knew its place in the proper scheme of things without questioning and defying its superiors."

"Like the Roman Empire of old?  It’ll never happen! Mr. Diable's nuts if he thinks he wants the entire world to return to what he thinks were ‘the good old days!’”

"And yet,” Mr. Diable's voice said, "You don't have much of a choice."

"My master's correct," said the furry monster, "You can't escape your destiny."

"Well, I'm not going to give in to your boss's demands," said Lea defiantly, "Now or ever!"

"You'll change your mind very quickly," Mr. Diable's voice said, "Or regret your stubbornness in the last few seconds of your life!"  Within seconds, the gigantic monster – who was more furious than before -- raised its right arm and curled its right fingers into a fist, its intentions already crystal-clear to Lea.

"Dying's far better than obeying a fruitcake like you," said Lea in a defiant tone.

"You know exactly what to do, my servant!" yelled Mr. Diable's voice angrily.

"I will," said the furry monster wickedly.

"Farewell, dear fool -- forever!"  But before the gigantic furry monster could lower its right arm and attempt to smash Lea to death with its right first – it started to slowly disappear, as if a sorcerer's magic spell was responsible for what was now happening, to not only the surprise of Lea but also the total shock of Mr. Diable!  Within seconds, the monster was gone forever – never to threaten anyone ever again.

"The monster," said Lea, "It's -- gone!"

"It can't be," Mr. Diable's voice said in a confused tone, "It just can't be!"Seconds later, Lea made a left turn and walked down one of the interconnected hallway corridors, a bit more confident than she was a few minutes ago, given what she had just witnessed.  But if Lea silently believed that the odds were about to improve in her favor – she'd be soon proven wrong.

*****

Ten minutes later: Lea continued to walk down the dimly-lit hallway corridor, still baffled by what happened with Mr. Diable's gigantic monster earlier -- and perhaps far more than she realized or could comprehend.  What she was already dealing with was nothing like all other previous situations that she faced throughout both her life and career.  And it was far from over.

Soon, Lea reached the end of the hallway that she was walking down for some time – as she spotted a large steel door which was painted dark blue with a gold handle and a silver latch and wondered if it was the long-sought exit door leading out of the castle.  Or so she believed, as her right hand grabbed hold of the door handle while also pushing its latch.

Seconds later, Lea opened the door and started to enter what appeared to be a darkened room – and not the gateway to the freedom that she hoped it was.This can't be right, thought Lea, It just can't be.Lea was right -- something was wrong.  For a few seconds later, part of the floor inside the room that Lea had just entered slid back -- revealing a trap door that she quickly fell through, and which led to a long and winding metal slide that she was now heading downward on; where she'd end would soon be revealed to her.

*****

It was several minutes later when part of the rear wall inside a dimly-lit and empty underground room located fifteen feet below started to slide open, and Lea quickly emerged from it, falling off the slide and landing hard on the floor, bottom-first.  The room -- including its ceiling, floor, and walls -- all were colored blue-gray.  There were no windows of any type inside the empty room -- and no door leading out of it, which Lea quickly noticed, as she slowly got up from the floor and started to walk towards the center of the room, feeling a bit bruised -- but still alive and in one piece.  As for how much longer -- only Mr. Diable could answer that question, which wouldn't be long in coming.

Mr. Diable's no doubt out to make my life miserable, thought Lea, And I still don't know the full reason why!  Then again, lunatics like him aren't rational -- and I've long encountered my fair share of them!Though Lea didn't know it yet, she'd soon learn why Mr. Diable was trying to psychologically torture her -- and perhaps more than she wanted to know or care to admit.

Once Lea was in the center of the room, as she pondered what to do next -- the lights inside the room itself were turned off, and replaced by multiple flashing multicolored strobe lights -- their source remaining a mystery -- which were very bright that they started to affect Lea's vision greatly, as well as give her a blinding headache.  Seconds after that, loud electric buzzing sounds coming from mini-loudspeakers hidden within the room's ceiling, floor, and walls were heard, affecting Lea's hearing greatly, and combined with the strobe lights, already contributing to the increasing pain from the headache currently affecting Lea.  Within seconds, the loud and mocking laugh of Mr. Diable -- which also came from the loudspeakers -- also added to Lea's present torment, as she wondered how much longer her present ordeal would last.

Suddenly, Lea's vision became very blurry as a result of her eyes being exposed to the strobe lights.  At the same time, the young woman also became dazed and disoriented, as not only the strobe lights but also the loud electronic sounds and the loud mocking laugh of Mr. Diable were greatly affecting her to the point that the pain in her head was still increasing -- and that she had difficulty standing.  Within seconds, the strobe lights -- the electronic sounds, and Mr. Diable's laughter -- all of them disappeared from inside the room -- while concurrently, Lea became unconscious and collapsed onto the floor, falling flat on her back.  Soon, the room became dark -- all was silent.

But only for a minute -- soon, there was a subtle mechanical whirring sound heard from within the room which lasted for several minutes -- its source known only to Mr. Diable.  After that, the whirring sound stopped, which happened at roughly the same time that the lights in the room were turned on -- by the time that happened, Lea had already disappeared from the room itself, and Mr. Diable -- and only him -- knew where she would end up, much to his demented delight.

*****

Two hours later: Inside a brightly-lit and almost empty red-colored room, Lea -- still unconscious -- was resting in a cushioned red-colored leather sofa chair, totally unaware of her present surroundings -- though that would change, and very quickly.  Within seconds, Lea's hazel-colored eyes started to slowly open, as she started to regain consciousness -- her vision was initially blurred, but became clear and focused in a minute.  At the same time, the last lingering effects of both the headache and vertigo that Lea underwent a few hours ago at the hands of Mr. Diable were also disappearing, as she slowly regained not only consciousness but also her senses.

Once she regained consciousness, Lea learned where she was now -- as well as the fact that the sofa chair that she had rested on for the last few hours was directly facing the room's rear wall, which already had bolted to it a 55-inch wide-screen HD video monitor which was turned off for right now.  "W-W-Where -- am -- I --?"; said Lea in a somewhat weak voice.

"Where are you, my dear?" said Mr. Diable's voice from a hidden hi-tech loudspeaker, "You're where I want you -- as for why -- you'll find out -- very quickly!"

"Finally -- though you're not the type to take the short and direct route to get your point across --!"

"Ah, but my method's far more dramatic -- and effective -- as you've just learned.  That's one reason why I've operated for so long."

"You must be the life of the party bragging about it -- that is -- when you're not torturing your victims to the point of insanity -- or worse yet, death."

"Come now -- focus your attention on the video monitor, and see if what you're about to view brings back some memories for you -- though they definitely won't be pleasant from your perspective."  Within seconds, via remote control, the video monitor was turned on -- and what Lea saw on it definitely brought back some memories for her, and certainly not the pleasant type.  The video monitor then showed TV video news footage from three years ago which showed the grim aftermath of a violent and bloody mass shooting that took place at an elementary school located in a suburb of Concord -- an incident that Lea knew all too well.  The TV video footage of police cruisers and wagons, and medical ambulances at the scene of the incident -- the uniformed police officers carrying out of the school building body bags containing the bodies of those who were shot and killed point-blank, including not only fourteen children, but also the gunman responsible for the mass shooting who committed suicide to avoid arrest by the local police -- and medical paramedics treating those who were shot and wounded, including eleven children (with the more seriously wounded being taken to the ER wards of several local hospitals), who like the others inside the school building who weren't wounded or killed, would end up being seriously traumatized for the rest of their natural-born lives -- it was damning three years ago, and still was in the present.

"Yeah," said Lea angrily, "I still remember that incident -- as does the rest of New Hampshire, and the rest of the country.  And most of us are still sickened by the violence and bloodshed to the point of throwing up."

"You have a good memory,"; Mr. Diable's voice said sinisterly, "Then you should also remember what happened six months after that mass shooting.  Just in case you don't remember --!"  Then, on the same video monitor, was shown TV news footage six months after the mass shooting, in which Axel Rowley, a tall, muscular, and bald-headed Caucasian man in his early forties with a red goatee who was a well-known (and controversial) Conservative media personality and conspiracy theorist, was interviewed by TV reporters for his views concerning the mass shooting from six months before.  Lea was long familiar with Rowley -- and she despised not only him but also his attitude, which bordered on arrogance.

"That school shooting was a fake -- a hoax!" yelled Rowley angrily in the TV news footage, "And why?  So that those Liberal ass-holes can help rob real Americans of their Second Amendment rights -- and turn us into a nation of wimps, making us prime targets for all who threaten us!  Well, I'm no wimp -- and I'll never rest until America becomes the country that it was meant to be!"  Within seconds, the video monitor was turned off via remote control, leaving Lea very furious -- and with good reason.

"Charming, isn't he?" Mr. Diable's voice said wickedly, "He's my kind of person."

"And a total bastard,"; said Lea angrily, "His comments infuriated the families of those injured and killed in that mass shooting -- some of whom I represented as a lawyer -- so much so that only a few months after Rowley shot off his big mouth both in public and on his podcast, he was successfully sued by them to the point of greatly damaging his finances and greatly puncturing his king-sized ego!"

"So you do have a good memory -- how tragic."

"I take that you're leading up to something, Diable -- something that I definitely won't like."

"You're also smart -- in an annoying way.  Within the next twenty-four hours, you'll tell the whole country, as well as the rest of the world -- including the so-called ‘Real Media’ -- that the mass shooting in Concord -- in fact, all mass shootings in the world throughout history -- are total hoaxes!"

"I'll what --?!"

"Come now -- you're a lawyer -- those in your profession have been known to bend the truth once in a while -- and by doing what I demand, you'll --!"  Lea, already furious as hell, got up from the sofa chair, and said, "Forget it!I won't lie to the public -- not even to help support Rowley's self-serving delusions of greatness -- and I'll never betray my profession -- and the clients who depend on me to help see that justice is served!"

"So you refuse to obey me, eh?," Mr. Diable's voice said bitterly, as the holographic image of his masked head appeared from out of nowhere -- and onto the center of the almost empty room.

"Threatening me is one thing -- but whitewashing the truth for your selfish reasons --!";

"If you don't obey me, Miss Torres -- I'll extend my absolute vengeance to not only your parents and siblings -- but also your friends and colleagues!  Then -- we'll see who's truly the stronger of us two!

"Try it -- and it'll only result in you ending up in court -- followed by a long stint behind bars!"

"You've made a fatal blunder, Miss Torres -- one that --!"

"Lea Torres is correct, Mr. Diable," said a male voice from out of nowhere, "Those who practice evil -- as well as deceiving humanity -- rarely succeed."

"You're not kidding," said Lea, "Whoever you are -- and wherever you are."  Within seconds, appearing from out of nowhere, was Colin Dann, a tall and slender Black man in his late-twenties with dark black skin and a short black Afro hairdo who hailed from Kenya, and clad in the white leather jumpsuit and white leather boots worn by those belonging to the Dream-Weavers, the secret organization dedicated to protecting all known life which was good and decent -- not only on Earth but also throughout the known universe -- from the ravages of those who embraced pure evil without regret.  The look on Colin's face was one of bitter and absolute disapproval.

"Who -- are you?" asked Lea, as both she and Mr. Diable quickly noticed Colin's presence.

"I belong to the Dream-Weavers,"; said Colin, "Dedicated to serving and protecting humanity -- and that includes removing Mr. Diable's killer monster from Miss Torres' path a few hours ago -- and transporting it to where it'll harm nobody ever again."

"You did what --?!" yelled Mr. Diable furiously.

"You mean --?" said Lea in a surprised tone."

"Mr. Diable attempted to force you to white-wash the truth concerning that mass shooting incident from three years ago," said Colin, "Not only because the man who hired him -- Axel Rowley -- sought revenge against you and the other lawyers who ruined him financially -- but also to help ensure corrupt lobbyists representing the country's leading firearm companies to force less sensible politicians to hear their so-called ‘side of the story.’”

"You think you know everything, don't you?" said Mr. Diable, as his holographic image quickly disappeared.

"There's more to this than you realize, Miss Torres."

"I hardly fear you -- as you'll quickly -- and woefully -- find out!"  Suddenly, from out of nowhere, Mr. Diable -- in flesh-and-blood form, a medium-height and slender man who wore a bright red dress jacket and pair of pants, a long-sleeved and collared red dress shirt, a black dress tie, a pair of dark red gloves on his hands, and a pair of black dress shoes -- appeared behind Lea, and soon wrapped his left arm tightly around the front of her neck, while his gloved right hand held a Glock 18 semi-automatic pistol, its barrel pointed straight at the right side of Lea's head.  The would-be "hostage" wasn't impressed by Mr. Diable's bravado and over-confidence.

"With Miss Torres as my hostage," said Mr. Diable wickedly, "You won't stop me!”

"Your gun won't help you this time,"; said Colin calmly.

"You're hopelessly naïve -- whereas I'm --!"  But within seconds, Lea -- now even more furious than she was a few minutes ago -- rammed her right elbow hard into Mr. Diable's stomach, and the masked figure felt its full impact, forcing him to let go of her within seconds.  After that, Lea's right hand then applied a judo chop to Mr. Diable's gloved right hand, forcing him to let go of his firearm, which landed on the floor seconds later. Lea's left foot -- and the high-heeled shoe that it wore -- and delivered a flying kick to the right side of Mr. Diable's head very hard, as he quickly fell on the floor, landing flat on his back.  "Surprised that Miss Torres already has a black belt in the Martial Arts?" said Colin in a calm tone.

"More like devastated from his standpoint," said Lea, as he and Colin watched Mr. Diable -- still conscious, but now somewhat bruised (and humiliated) -- as he slowly got up from the floor, now more bitter than before.

"You -- think that -- you've outsmarted me," said Mr. Diable bitterly, "And like others before you, I'll see you dead within --!"

"You'll do nothing,"; said Colin sternly, "Except regret your actions almost immediately!”

"You two are already stains on humanity -- and within seconds --!"  Suddenly, Colin stared sternly at Mr. Diable, showing silent contempt for the masked villain -- while Lea stood as an eyewitness to what was now happening."D-D-D-Don't -- look at me," screamed Mr. Diable in a nervous and scared tone, his bravado already disappearing quickly, "Don't look at me -- you --!"

Soon, Mr. Diable stood and reacted with total fear, as he directly stared at the transparent spectral head-shots of close to one thousand human beings of various ages, sexes, and races, from young infants to the elderly -- all of them long since dead -- as they stared at him with total disdain.  Mr. Diable instantly recognized the faces belonging to the human specters -- as he should.

"Y-Y-You're supposed to be dead," yelled Mr. Diable nervously, "All of you -- do you hear me?!"

"Idiot!" yelled a loud and echoing male voice from out of nowhere, its tone very furious, "You've failed in your assignment!"

"Punish those two -- instead of --!"Suddenly, against his will, Mr. Diable -- still stricken with fear -- disappeared in a bright red puff of smoke -- courtesy of the mysterious and disapproving male voice already furious with the masked assassin's failed attempt to psychologically break and corrupt Lea Torres.  It was the final time that Mr. Diable would be seen alive -- and hardly a tear would be shed for him.  Then again, sadists like Mr. Diable are hardly ever missed after they die.

"Mr. Diable -- he's --!"; said Lea.

"He's gone,"; said Colin, as the late Mr. Diable's Glock 18 pistol, which was lying on the floor, disappeared within seconds, "Courtesy of his already-infuriated employers -- and not just because he failed to psychologically break you --!”

"You mean that --?";

"Axel Rowley hired Mr. Diable to try to both mentally break you and ruin your career as a lawyer -- the same Mr. Rowley who also illegally and secretly supplied firearms to almost two hundred people who were responsible for various mass shootings in the U.S. for the last few years, including the incident in Concord."

"That rotten --!  I realize that Rowley was a no-account bastard with no regard for the suffering of others -- but --!"

"There's more than you realize, Miss Torres.  Mr. Diable's employers -- the ones who made him permanently disappear -- are the leaders of Vengeance, Unlimited -- an organization dedicated to secretly serving their clients seeking revenge -- even the senseless type -- via both violence and terror -- and that includes the now-deceased shooter who attacked that school in Concord a few years ago."

"Then Rowley hired Vengeance, Unlimited, partly to get revenge on me -- which explains why Mr. Diable tried to torture me earlier."

"And Vengeance, Unlimited's not the only organization that's dedicated to sowing both hate and terror throughout the world -- a concept which spans more than just centuries."

"And the worst part of it all is -- even if Vengeance, Unlimited, and Axel Rowley vanished from the face of the Earth today -- others already tainted by hate and insanity will take their place and strike more cruelly towards humanity.  Unless humanity awakens to the truth and helps to break this vicious cycle for good."

"Indeed, Miss Torres.  There's already a lot of evil in today’s world -- and those who do practice it can't avoid God's final judgment -- and not only during their lifetimes."

"I know."

"But there'll also always be those dedicated to fighting for and protecting all that's good and decent -- including the laws of not only humanity but also God as well.  And that's something that those like Mr. Diable and Axel Rowley can never truly change and prevent."

"The ghosts staring at Mr. Diable before he disappeared for good?"

"They belonged to some of his many victims who died by his hand in the past -- those who had a lot to live for were murdered for reasons long associated with humanity's darkest traits which have existed since the emergence of early Man.  Mr. Diable's murder victims weren't perfect -- no one truly is -- but they were all good people who cared deeply about humanity as a whole -- and who also knew that hate, fear, and violence never accomplish anything positive."  There was silence for the next minute.

"I pray that someday," said Lea softly, "There'll no longer be such things as hate, fear, and violence in the world that we live in."

"So do I," said Colin softly, "But only if all humanity helps to make it a reality."  Soon, both Lea Torres and Colin Dann disappeared from the scarlet-colored room where Mr. Diable met his final fate only a few minutes ago.  Soon after, Lea returned to her Concord apartment, called the law practice office that she worked at, and told her colleagues that she was all right before she headed over there within the next half-hour.

*****

As Lea drove over to her workplace in her auto vehicle early that afternoon, she listened to the local news radio station on her vehicle's built-in AM-FM radio and learned via a news report that Axel Rowley -- the controversial media personality who secretly hired Vengeance, Unlimited to psychologically break her earlier today -- was killed in a car explosion not far from his New Mexico ranch almost a half-hour ago.  Only Lea -- and perhaps a few others -- correctly guessed that Vengeance, Unlimited was responsible for Rowley's death, partly because he had become not only a liability but also a threat to the organization's existence.

Lea knew that almost everyone in the world wouldn't shed any tears for the late Axel Rowley today -- the actions and beliefs which had defined his life and career ended up becoming his death warrant.  But Lea also knew that the decency and wisdom possessed by humanity, even during its bleakest moments, was far more powerful and enduring than even hate and violence -- and essential to help shape the better -- and far more sane -- world that future generations would someday inherit, forever free of all that was 100% negative.

©2022 John Lavernoich and Highroad Productions.

 

 

 


Submitted: August 23, 2022

© Copyright 2022 John Lavernoich. All rights reserved.

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zilka.44

Good story, super natural and reality all in one. There’s a few words you used a lot. Also and but.

Wed, September 28th, 2022 5:02pm

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