It was about 10:45 PM when Thaddeus recovered from his first concussion. His head was whirring as he opened his eyes, feeling icy concrete beneath his face. He soon became conscious of the dark, oppressive surroundings, and a violent shiver traveled up his bones as he took it all in. A small, ancient-looking, abandoned building with two rooms, all bleak grey stone and concrete, and a tiny, wrought-iron cell that he was in—the only intact cell in the half-demolished edifice. He tried to move, but immediately realized that his hands and feet were both tightly bound. Looking up, he saw an old, elaborately-engraved wooden table with all of his belongings laid out upon it a few feet from the cell, just outside range of his reach.
Thaddeus could hear voices echoing from the other room, along with the faint crackling of a warm fire. He shuddered at the cold—the night had turned cold quickly after the heat of the day, and he gazed longingly at his brand new black leather jacket on the table. His distressed black jeans and thin emerald green T-shirt were certainly not enough to keep him warm in this sudden change of weather.
One of the men wandered into the room, inspecting the valuables on the table, and glanced quickly at the cell. He froze and smiled, fixing his crooked gaze upon Thaddeus as he realized that he was conscious.
“So sleepin’ beauty’s finally awake, huh?” he said, mocking his captive.
The other man rose and joined him in the shadows as he heard this. Both stepped forward and gleamed at him with a devilish look in their eyes.
Thaddeus lay stunned for a second and then stated, “Look, I really don’t know what you want from me. I thought this was just a simple accident. Where am I anyways? You have my things right there. What else do you want? If you want my money, fine. Take it. Just let me go. Please. I don’t know what I did—”
“You’re in an abandoned Union army prison in the middle of nowhere, son,” said the shorter captor,” and you ain’t done nothin’ to us. We was just itchin’ for some fun, and then you came along with your pretty clothes and fancy bike, so we thought we might be able to get some money outta you in the process.”
There was a pause as his words sunk in. Fear and dread slowly crept into Thaddeus’s eyes.
“Now,” the other began, “we noticed ya got some nice things over here. We ‘specially like your phone, with all them contacts. Too bad you don’t got their addresses there too. Oh well. That would be too easy.”
Thaddeus’s appalled eyes grew even wider at this. “Please don’t do anything to my family or friends. Leave them out of this. Please,” Thaddeus begged.
“Aw, but where’s the fun in that?”
“No! Please. Leave them alone!”
“Relax sunshine, we ain’t gonna go hunt them down. All we wanna do is mess with their heads a little bit. Besides, why would we wanna go on some wild goose chase for more entertainment when we can have so much fun messing with you? Now, this purdy little gal with you on the front screen—what’s her name? She must be your galfriend. I say we mess with her first. What do ya think?”
Thaddeus stopped shivering at that statement. He jumped on his feet, skin red hot with rage, and grasped at the metal grid barrier as he glared at the men in their eyes.
“Is that a no?”
“You will never, ever, lay a hand on my family or my friends. Especially not her.”
The sudden display of antipathy and insurgence silenced them for a moment—they were not expecting such an intrepid character to emerge from such a shy, courteous young man. A shrill beep cut through the tense silence, suddenly announcing the unanswered texts and missed calls on Thaddeus’s phone. A few seconds later, I called; at that moment, my identity was confirmed for the criminals.
The men put the phone down and let it ring, and started to unlock the colossal cell door. Thaddeus stood by, gripping the iron grid for support as the men entered, preparing to make an escape. He bent down and threw all his weight into his shoulder to shove the first intruder. The man lost his balance and fell with a heavy thud, and Thaddeus gripped his palms together to move the second man out of the doorway. The husky blonde man groaned as the blow hit his stomach, but unfortunately for Thaddeus, he was ready for it. He didn’t move an inch as the imprisoned tried to slam him hard enough to move him. This man was a rock. He stood his ground and threw Thaddeus back, brandishing a heavy metal pole from behind his back, and smashed it on Thaddeus’s right arm as he continued to press forwards.
A sharp snap was heard, and Thaddeus cringed in pain as the blow shattered the radius bone in his right arm. At the same moment, his feet were pulled out from under him, and Thaddeus hit the concrete chest first. He heaved a painful breath, the wind knocked out of him for an instant. But his head was out the door! He fought with all his might to pry his feet from the steely grip, gaining inches of victorious freedom. Both men were holding and hitting him with all their might, but Thaddeus’s determination was winning out against both of them.
He was halfway out the door, when all of a sudden a jolt of electricity sent his entire body into painful convulsions, and he completely lost control of every muscle in his body. The excruciation rendered him unable to produce even a single sound; the victim’s only protest was wide, pain-stricken eyes as his body shook wildly. Not until he was pulled back in to the utmost rear of the cell, and the door was slammed and locked did the electrocution cease. He gasped for air, every cell in his body throbbing violently after being tasered for an entire minute. Torturously long.
“Now I know that Taser gun sure is fun, but we can’t be usin’ it too much. Might be fatal, and then what entertainment could we make of you then?”
Came a voice from the spinning world around him.
The other chimed in, “So ya gonna obey now? Need a little more motivation?” He asked, menacingly pointing the Taser gun at Thaddeus’s quivering chest.
“I’m going to assume no answer response means yes…”
“No!” Their hostage shrieked, finally regaining control of his body.
“Well, alrighty then,” the taller man said with a bemused chuckle.
The phone rang again, and was ignored again. Again, and once again ignored.
The dark-haired man, agitated with the nuisance, threatened, “If I gotta listen to that phone ring one more time, I swear I’ll—”
Unfortunately for Thaddeus, my next call did come through at that moment, and the shaking prisoner received the muscular men’s’ unjustified vengeance. One held him down while the other punched his face with all his might. The phone rang again. The beating continued. Thaddeus fought with all his might, but there is only so much he could do when bound and held down and after having received half the dosage of electrical shock that can kill an individual. A split eyelid, a black eye, a busted lip, a dislocated jaw. Blood gushed as his face swelled. Still the beating continued.
At last, the phone stopped ringing. The two exuded a massive sigh of relief, threw Thaddeus to the ground, and slammed and bolted the door. One man pushed a button, illuminating a new computer screen, while the other gingerly picked up the now noiseless cell phone. The advanced computer was fully loaded in less than a minute, with a program opened and ready to start. The tall man at the computer desk nodded to his partner.
The squat man poked the phone until a ringtone was heard, and a frantic female voice picked up immediately.
“Hello? Thaddeus? I haven’t heard from you in hours. What happened? Are you OK?”
“Thaddeus’s just fine. He’s enjoyin’ some downtime right now.”
A shocked pause, and then an apprehensive response, “…Um…who is this?”
“This is Thaddeus’s phone number. Where is he?”
“Listen, little missy, your boy is just fine. He got in a little accident, but he’s just restin’ now, just like I told ya. I think he’s takin’ a nap now.”
A gasp, and a worried host of questions began. “What? What happened? Where? Is he OK? Is he hurt anywhere? What about his bike? Is he conscious? Is—”
“Look, he got hit by a drunk driver, and was on the side of the road when we was drivin’ by, and saw the poor fella. We picked him up to take him to the hospital. But he’s fine. No broken bones or nothin.’”
A faint groan echoed in the background.
“What was that?”
“Just another kid waitin’ to go to the ER, missy.”
“Oh. Well, what hospital are you at? If he’s OK and the wait is long I’ll just take him home. I don’t know about his insurance information anyways. Thank you for taking the time to help him, by the way.”
“Well, we ain’t sure. ‘Scuse me, what hospital are we at?” the man seemingly asked another in the room.
“Tibbston City Hospital.” Came another male voice in the room.
“Alright I’m leaving now. I can meet you, and take over from there, OK?”
Another pain-stricken whimper from the background. This time, I knew it was Thaddeus. Suddenly, I knew every word he’d said to me was a lie.
The man spoke again, this time much more slowly and deliberately, “So listen missy, do ya know the directions to get to—”
The man at the computer muttered obscenities under his breath; they were only a few seconds from determining my location at home. He rose and lashed out at the metal bars, and darted into the room to pound Thaddeus’s head a few more times. Thankfully for Thaddeus, he remembered another tracking method on the computer and suddenly dropped him to the floor and locked the door behind him again. An exasperated sigh a few minutes later as he discovered the phone was unlisted and undocumented in regular records.
Studying their captive, the shorter man stated, “Well, looks like we’re just gonna have to get our fun some other ways then.” He turned to face the tall man at the computer. “Don’t you worry there, we’ll get ‘em.”
The two went through some of Thaddeus’s belongings on the table, but quickly bored of the activity and meandered into the other room to eat, drink, and strategize. Thaddeus breathed a sigh of relief at last, still shaking and panting on his side, as small drops of blood dripped from his eyelashes onto the cold, hard ground…and once again, everything faded into blackness.
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