The Ego

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

Submitted: November 12, 2012

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Submitted: November 12, 2012

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“Give me the fucking key! Right now old man!”

These were the first words Jack heard as he entered the room. The room was lit by fire, candles and torches on the walls, giving the room a warm, ominous feeling. The walls were old stone. Cracked and damaged by years of use, the room was built into the size of your average gas station. A fireplace burned in the far right wall, casting shadows through the cobwebs that filled the room. Illuminated on the floor were footprints left in the thick dust that covered the floor.

On his left, there were two cages separated by two rows of thick black bars. The bars of the cages seemed to be shooting up out of the ground, and crashing through the ceiling. Each cage held a prisoner within. Closest to him was a man sitting cross legged on the floor of his cell. He was a large man, the type of person you might expect to be in the Navy seals. He had strong, taught muscles prominent against his shirt, casting even deeper shadows into the dark material. He was bursting with tension. Every muscle in his body was tight and waiting for a chance to be used. The firelight reflected off his shaved head, casting him in a fierce orange light that reflected the rage seated deep within.

On the other side of the parted cage was a thin, dark shadow of a woman. The light of the fireplace didn’t reach her as well as the man, leaving her in darkness. What little light did reach her Jack could see returned off the thick sheen of sweat that covered her naked body. Scattered over her pale skin were dark nearly metallic bruises, shining the light back with a concentrated intensity, playing games with the light. Her face was slicked with her own hair, lending definition to the gaunt and thin face that lay behind. She moved with snake like movements, her skin writhing beneath her, trying to escape. She was rubbing against the cage, her breasts leaving slick marks behind on the bars that they touched.

Right in front of Jack stood a hobbled old man. Of all the things Jack saw in these first seconds in the room, he was most taken aback by the garment of the old man. He was wearing leather. Not the kind of leather you might see on a biker, but brown leather, fitted to his body for protection. On his shoulders where two rounded steel plates, worn and dulled by the weight that this man must surely carry on them. From the back of the plates a thin black cape fell. Tattered at the ends, and not serving any practical purpose, except for the hood, which covered his head and shadowed his face so Jack could not see it. A long gray wisp of a beard fell out from beneath it. At his side was a sword, from what jack could see. The pommel was made into an angry gargoyle. The hilt of the sword seemed in contrast to the rest of his outfit. They seemed new and shining, while the rest of his attire was old and worn. He stood with strength about him, despite his obvious age and lack of capability. He stood strong, or as strong as he could with his back bent at nearly a ninety degree angle.

“Come and take it” The man said in a quiet voice, nearly a whisper.

“Jeez” Jack thought. “Even this man’s vocal cords are giving up.”

The man opposite to the old man growled in frustration and fury, “You damn well know I can’t do that! Give me the *damn key!” The rage with which this man spoke was true. He was outraged, and powerless. This man was the most believable of the four, thought Jack. He looked average, if a little ornate. Jacks height, just under six feet tall, and slightly thinner than him, he looked like just a normal guy. The firelight flashed on every surface of his body. His dark red silk shirt was lessened in ferocity by the light of the fire. A glint of gold repeatedly struck Jack in the eye from the man’s right hand. There Jack observed a large golden ring with a dazzling gem set in the middle. On top of the man’s mass of untidy black hair sat a crown encrusted with precious red gems. Jack did not think this strange. He simply thought “He pulls it off.”

The door Jack entered through closed, pushing the cold fall air in behind him and sending a chill up his spine, and as the door closed with a slam, all eyes turned to him. The man sitting on the floor quickly fixed his gaze to Jack. The naked woman gave a wide smile and leered at him. The old man’s head turned only slightly enough to see Jack out of the corner of his eye, and he looked back at the man in the crown.

An expression of excitement came over the man in reds face. He quickly forgot about the old man and rushed over to Jack, arms spread wide, in a gesture of acceptance and expectation. “Jack! You're here!” He was quickly within inches of Jack. “Now that you're here we can kill him,” He said this with a lick of his lips, looking Jack dead in the eye.

The expression on the man’s face shocked Jack. “How could he be so excited about killing someone? This man is insane.”

As the man spoke he simultaneously placed his hands on Jacks shoulders, bringing Jack closer to him. “Kill someone?” Jacks thoughts whirled. Of course at first his reaction was repulsion, but something else slowly crept into his mind. “Kill someone...” Here he was, being propositioned with the opportunity to perform an act as final as ending a life. “How often does this situation come around?” He thought. Jack was quickly reminded that he was getting ahead of himself. He didn’t know these people; he didn’t even know for sure who it was he was supposed to kill. After a long ponderous silence Jack asked the man, “Who are you people?”

“Oh Jacky boy, don’t play with me!” The man said as he quickly let go of Jacks shoulders and brought his arms out in the same wide, proud gesture as before. “You know who I am!” He quickly turned and pointed at the old man. “And you know who he is,” He started towards the old man, all the playfulness and robust attitude he had showed Jack now gone. He seemed to have reminded himself with the sight of the old man that this was serious. “Oh yeah... You know who this one is.” He stalked towards the old man with the same proud gait as he had showed Jack just seconds earlier. Within seconds the young man’s fist flew with an otherworldly power. His fist connected to the old man’s face with a sickening crunch of bone, and dropped him to one knee. “Oh yeah.... Yeah, you know this one.”

The woman in the cage let out a moan as the man in the crown hit the knight. She was pressed close to the bars now, holding on to one with each hand. Her body slowly moved back and forth, shifting her weight from side to side. The man in the other cage had gotten to his feat now. He was taller than Jack had expected, maybe six foot three, six foot four. He was looking at the scene that had just played out with attentiveness. Jack could see the man’s breathing escalate; nearly see the man’s massive heart beating.

The man in the red shirt took a knee in front of the old man, coming as close as he could to eye level with him. He placed a hand underneath old man’s chin, lifting his weary head from its slack posture in order to meet eyes with him. “Give me the key,” he said in a dead tone. There was no question in this statement. It was a demand, and he had given no thought to it being denied.

“No,” The floored old man said in just as stern a statement. The willpower of the old man amazed Jack.

“Just give it to him, Old man. You can’t take him.” Jack thought.

The man in the red shirt brought an open hand down across the old man’s face, knocking him down onto all fours. He sighed as the man fell, and hung his head. “This man, Jack, is the source of all of your problems in life.”

“What are you talking about?” Jack asked, bewildered. He had never met this strange old man in his life, why would he have ever caused any problems for him?

“I'm talking about that little voice in your head that keeps you, keeps me, from taking what we want. The one that cages up my two friends here, and holds them prisoner to his will.” The man in the red stood and turned to Jack. “Look at this gorgeous creature,” He said, pointing to the woman in the cage, “He holds her hostage. Imagine the things she could do, how happy she could make you were she free.”

Jack looked at the woman. She was smiling now, a broad, true smile, dazzling white teeth contrasting with the darkness that surrounded her. Her eyes were fixed on him, and Jack couldn’t help but think she was a beautiful woman. He could only imagine what this sick old man has done to her to make her appear the way she did, how those bruises had come to play with the light the way they did.

“Yeah, she’s a beauty. Or she would be, if it weren’t for him,” The man with the crown had a forlorn look about him now; he was truly hurt by the pain this woman has endured. Staring at the floor in front of the cage, he offered a solution. “We can set her free. You can set her free,” He looked Jack in the eye now, “All you have to do is kill him.”

There it was again. Kill him. The old man was obviously a monster, but how could he kill him? He doesn’t know these people, why should he have to kill someone for them? “Why don’t you do it? You seem to be doing a pretty good job of it by yourself.”

“He won’t stay down! He always gets back up! And believe you me, that sword bites like a bitch.”

“Well, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to kill anyone. You'll just have to find some--”

“Kill him! Kill him!” Jack was shocked by the new voice cutting him off. He turned to see the Navy seal, now bathed in the light of the fire, arms poised at his sides and chest rapidly rising and lowering. “You have to kill him, Jack. He has no place with us.” The large man grasped the bars of his cage now, trying to pull them apart, and Jack thought he could see them moving. “Kill him!” He was shaking the bars, trying to escape, ripping his own muscles in an attempt to get free.

The man’s anger flowed into Jack, making him feel excited and wicked. A man as magnificent as this should not be kept in a cage. The spectacle of this man, so brimming with emotion and full of life made Jack feel alive. Jack thought “I need to get him out.” “What have you done to these people?” Jack asked the old man who still lay on the floor, gasping for breath.

The old man tried to get up, but couldn’t, collapsing back on the floor, he gasped out a word. “Don’t,” He said. After a few more breaths he said “Don’t believe them...” And his breathing swallowed.

“All you have to do is take the key, and give it to me Jack.” The man with the crown of fire said. “All you have to do is set them free. Imagine what we four could do together. Imagine how much fun we could have! Imagine all those things in life that you've always wanted, but never had the power, the will, to take!” He turned and looked at the man in the cage, met eyes with him, and started towards him. The tall man calmed. As he reached the man he said “With this, with this man right here, you could take all that you want. There would be nothing out of your reach.” He reached through the bars and touched the man’s neck, clasping his hands on both sides of it, holding him still. As his hands connected the large man rested his head against the bars and grasped the crowned mans wrists.

“Get me out” The man said in a calm voice. “Get me out. Get me out, now!” His voice was escalating, and after a few repetitions he was screaming. His head still against the bars, he was shaking the man by the wrists still clasped on the sides of his neck. He was holding his wrists tight enough to cause any man to recoil in pain, but the crowned man took a deep breath, closed his eyes and rested his head against the bars as well.

“Do you see now, Jack?” The man in the crown turned his head to the side, still resting his head on the bars. His eyes flashed open and met with Jacks. “Do you see?”

Jack did see now. He had to help them. He walked over to the old man, and going to a knee, rolled the man over onto his back. His hood fell back as he rolled over, exposing a ragged worn face. His eyes, still closed, sunk into his skull, creating a chasm where they should be. The key around his neck fell to the side. He could easily rip it off the chain. He grasped the key, and the old man’s hand took his wrist.

The chasms flashed opened, and two bright spheres bored into Jacks eyes. “Don't believe them.” Said a voice nearly disembodied from the man. He was gone, and his voice floated in the air all around Jack. “Please. They're tricking you.”

“Kill him!” He heard the large man roar behind him, almost visibly pushing the old man’s voice out of the air. Jacks eyes stayed intent on the old man. With one hand Jack held the key, and the other grasped the vigilant knight’s frail throat. “Kill him!”

“Kill him baby, please!” He heard the woman squeal.

Amidst the voices and the screaming and the pleading, Jack heard the voice of man in the crown, calm and powerful, surrounding him. “Do it Jack,” he ordered. Jack fell into the man’s voice, letting it envelop him and take control. Jack closed his eyes and let his all encompassing King do as he pleased. He tightened Jacks grip on the old man’s throat and Jack could feel himself take a life. The old man’s body gave one last gurgling rasp, and his death rattle echoed in the stone room. It was done. Jack killed him. Everything was silent now. The screams and shaking and pleading had all stopped. Even the sounds of the fire seemed a distant roar from this new ground that Jack had stepped onto. After countless seconds in the silence, Jack broke the key from the man’s neck, single chain links clattering to the floor, breaking the quiet. He stood and stepped back from the body. Jack turned from the corpse and looked at his new found king. He took a step towards the crowned man and extended the key to him.

Jacks king sprang from the man he was holding and screamed “Yes Jack, yes!” Pouncing towards Jack he snatched the key from his palm and opened the cage with the man in it. In the blink of an eye the cell door crashed open. Jack caught a glimpse of the mass of a man barreling towards him just before it threw him against the wall. Before Jack regained his senses, he heard a scream and the sounds of flesh beating on flesh. Jack opened his eyes to see the large man ravaging the body of the dead knight, ripping his leather, breaking his bones, and in his mind, all was silent again. The only sound Jack heard was the beating of his own heart as he looked at the scene that was playing out in front of him with attentiveness, his breathing growing rapid. He felt a woman sidle up next to him, her sweat mingling with his, yet her flesh cool. He felt her breath on his neck, and heard her words force through the silence;

“We are going to have some fun.”


© Copyright 2018 Adam Peck. All rights reserved.

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