Contest story. Do you like your feet? I do...
The young man's pleads merely echo off the cold and lifeless cement walls of the large dimly lit room. Fractures and fissures in the walls run out from small holes looking into the abandoned buildings copper intestines, some reach down and touch the stained and light blue colored cement floor.
Dim yellow light barely illuminated the tops of the walls dying quickly with a few tendrils reaching down to the cement floor. The weak lights flickered on and off forcing his eyes upwards to the cracked and water-stained ceiling. Would they finish their life cycle soon? Would he be left in the utter pitch black?
Fuck! Don't go out...don't go out for God's sakes! He thinks frantically, pulling on the metallic binds that hold him to the black sturdy wooden chair bolted to the empty floor. Except for the small empty TV dinner table-tray beside him with a strange symbol painted on the top in maroon, the room is empty and somewhat cool. He wondered if rats would even make their home here in the cold, empty hell.
Something about himself felt different, drawing his eyes from a hallway straight in front of him, thinking it was probably the only way in and out, he looks down at himself . Today was his day only day off for two weeks, instead of his work clothes he draped himself in a comfortable outfit of jeans and a T-shirt, not the tan slacks or the white button-up dress shirt he now found himself in. His confusion was set in deep after leaning over and seeing his feet are completely naked. His socks and his black sneakers were gone.
“What the fuck?” He cries feeling as if he had entered some kind of Twilight Zone nightmare.
He remembered the only reason he went out of the house: cigars. All he needed to do was step out of his house, walk about a hundred meters down the street and he was at his target place, but the fucking tobacco he had a craving for and go home, but that was not quite what happened was it?. He sighed, definitely needing a cigar right now. What was the last thing he remembered? Ah, he knew! He remembered walking around the store with his individually wrapped fragrant blueberry flavored cigars in hand and...then he awoke here only moments ago.
“You are like every other person I have taken into my sanctuary.” A voice whispered from somewhere behind him. It sounded old, almost ancient, like an elderly man. “The first thing you do is try to regain your bearings. After that, once you realize you are strapped into the chair, you panic and try fruitlessly to escape, once you have nearly exhausted yourself you cry out for help or beg for me to show myself.”
Ray turned, trying to look over his shoulder for the creator of the voice. Through the very edge of his vision, Ray saw the shape of a medium sized man covered in darkness. In his hands is something that looks like a tray.
“Let me guess, your next questions are there: 'Where am I?', 'Why have you taken me?', and my personal favorite: 'What are you going to do with me?'.” The elderly voice chuckled dryly and finally walked into view.
He had been correct, the voice did belong to an elderly man. He looked to be in his late sixties, possibly even in his early seventies, with only a few defined wrinkles on the corners of his lips and the start of crows-feet in the outer edges of his eyes. His salt-and-pepper hair is cropped short, barely touching the top of his forehead as if someone set a bowl on his head and cut it around it. His skin is dry and almost scaly on the right side of his face with a slight case of eczema on his right temple under his spotty hair, both of his cheeks and his neck hold a few liver spots. His blue eyes are pale and held under a slight shroud of white, halfway between the eyes of a corpse and the eyes of the living.
Cold and calculative. Ray thought, and shivered, possibly seeing the true horror of that look for the very first time in his short twenty-something years of life. He had seen that same look many times, using that look quite a lot as well, but this look was different. This seemed truly cold. The kind of look that no actor could ever produce even in the best of movies, until he sees the sadistic amusement in the old man's eyes as he sets the tray he is holding onto the table with reverence as not to make a sound.
Instead of looking directly into the man's sadistically cold eyes, he tried to pull his gaze away. Ray's own blue eyes head downwards over the old man's chest. He is wearing a simple black button up shirt with the same logo on the TV dinner table embroidered just above his heart on his left breast in bright red threading. The loose dress shirt hides the elderly man's strength (he could not see the elderly man having much fat on his body). Just as his chest is hidden so are his arms, but Ray wonders just how strong they are. His left hand has another liver spot on the back and his right hand seems to have another spot of the eczema on his wrist over top of a small tattoo that looks remarkably like the embroidered insignia, it looks a tad different.
“Well?” The man asks, his voice cold but patient.
Ray tried to pull his attention away from the man and almost succeeded, until the old man stepped away from the table directly in front of him. The black button up shirt was neatly tucked into an incredibly black pair of jeans, probably brand new and as of yet unwashed. His jeans are a little less loose than his shirt, giving the suggestion of strong and well maintained muscles underneath—something he did not expect from a man of his age.
His eyes went down towards his captor's feet and saw that he was not wearing shoes, and something was wrong with his skin. The old man grins, showing slightly yellowed teeth and two incredibly pointy fangs on the top and two more on the bottom, held in place by healthy pink gums even though his breath had the distinct scent of rotting meat. The elderly man reached out and grabbed Ray by the chin and pulled his face upwards. Pale and cloudy eyes found alive and terrified eyes.
“Well?” He asks again.
“Something like that.” Ray said.
“Excellent!” The old man grinned. “Maybe you are different. You looked me directly in the eyes! You might just have some strength in that handsome body of yours!”
“Let me go.” Ray said in a commanding, almost growling voice, reading that the old man hated to see weakness.
He chuckled and tried to push Ray's chin to the side as he let go. After seeing that Ray would not relent, even to that little subtle check, he chuckled and turned around for only a moment. That moment passed and he turned back to Ray, staring at his face eye to eye.
“I'll let you go,” The elderly man muttered in an impassive manor that suited the cold first impression. His short pause was suddenly punctuated by a slightly amused smirk. “but...you have something that I want.”
“And what might that be?” Ray asked, trying to hold his fear in check and praying for dear life that his voice sounded even and strong.
“Your feet.” He said and chuckled again, a dry and emotionless sound. Without looking down at his own feet, the elderly man grabbed the leggings of his jeans and pulled them up a little beyond the ankles. “You might say that I have a foot fetish.”
Ray looked down at the elderly man's feet, instead of seeing fairly healthy skin and strong bones he saw something that looked about as half dead as his eyes. The skin of his legs were pink with a slight tan and dotted with a few dry patches, until they hit scars that look as if his feet had been severed and then reattached by coarse, heavy stitching. From the tips of his toes up to the scars the skin was as pale as death with a strange bluish tint, under the skin Ray could see strange black lines raggedly zig-zagging upwards. The tips of his toes were slightly blackened with decay from gangrene, or something equally as horrible. Almost missing it, Ray saw three strange holes in each of the old man's feet, each about an inch up from the dying digits.
His stomach knotted from the horrible sight. He felt like vomiting, that would show weakness. He swallowed his pride and some of the acid that drew up into his mouth and shuddered, unable to hide a grimace, and felt his stomach acid burning as it went back down.
“A bad pair of feet.” He said with a nonchalant shrug.
He walked back to the table holding the tray Ray almost forgot about, breathed in deep and turned to the utterly plain cement ceiling, closed his eyes and exhaled slowly. He drew another breath in, opened his eyes and looked over to Ray, turning his pale blue eyes down to the table.
The tray held six-two inch nails black nails with a length of wire each about four feet long tied just under each nails head, a coiled length of coarse brown thread, another coil of black plastic-like thread that could probably be used as stitching for a wound, a number of needles (some small and some large) to sew the black coiled length, a hammer, and a small hand-sized blow-torch with a grating flint-steel combo.
The elderly man reached down and grabbed the circular flint and steel and pushed the small wiry handle to the other side with a grin. Sparks exploded outwards and down briefly illuminated the elderly man's face reflecting off his pale blue half-dead eyes, vanishing before they hit the ground. He set the flint-steel tool down and picked up the hammer and all six nails.
He shrugged, walking directly in front of Ray. “But you are here now; and both of us know you have strong feet.”
“Oh, fuck...” Ray whispered, quickly connecting the three small holes in the old man's feet to the six nails and the hammer he now holds. The strength he exhibited ran out of his body, much like the urine quickly soaking the front of his tan pants with warmth. “Somebody help me!”
The old man threw back his head and laughed in utter joy and yelled in a loud booming voice: “Audire me mei deus! Aliquis pedis enim me! Aliquis pedis te! Aliquis anima pedis obitus! Sic ille voluntas exsisto!”
“Let me go!” Ray screamed, starting to thrash against his bounds holding him to the black reinforced chair. The chair held firm, bolted to the ground by unseen screws. “Please let me go!”
“Abs unas somes ad! Tui iuventus enim mei!” The old man screamed, sounding suddenly jubilated in ecstasy.
His old body shuddered. He collapsed to the ground with a shriek of pain quaking, baring his slightly yellowed teeth. As if something else was in control, Ray's eyes went directly to the old man's heels. The skin surrounding the old man's feet split bloodlessly with a sickening dry ripping sound, like ripping a J-Cloth . The black tattoo of cell-death on his toes quickly started to spread upwards, taking over the feet in a matter of moments. The dead and blackened skin quickly started to peel and blow away with some unseen and unfelt wind, until all that was left was yellowed bone. The bones dropped from the elderly man's stumps and vanished in a pile of dust.
The old man looked up to Ray with a horrid and pained smile, pure agony obviously ripping through his entire body—enough to bring some extra wrinkles to his mouth and squinted eyes. He dropped the nails onto the floor and grabbed the threading. He turned to the left away from the table, and started to tie the threading connected to the nails to a thick black metal ring on the floor. An item that Ray missed.
“PLEASE!” Ray cried knowing it was useless. He screamed as loud as he could with his eyes open and watching the old man tying each of the six cords to the thick metallic ring. He begged and pleaded with the nameless captor to let him go. “I won't tell anyone! I promise! Please!”
The old man looked up at Ray with disgust, hissing in a labored breath and breathed out small gasps and whines. “I'm the one in sever pain here, do you hear me screaming like a stuck pig? Shut up!”
“You can't do this!” Ray cried. That was where he was wrong and he knew it. Ray had no idea what was happening or how it could happen, all he knew was that the man somehow made his previous feet decay into nothing. The monster couldn't take his feet...
Oh, but he could and that was all that mattered.
The old man finished tying the knots and took the hammer from the ground with shaking hands. He closed his eyes, breathed in a choked breath and exhaled slowly. Ray watched as his smile broadened and wondered if the pain was gone. The old man grimaced and opened his pale half-dead eyes, reached down and took one of the nails.
He looked up to Ray. “Do you want to know why I changed your clothing?”
“Please don't do this...” Ray whined. He wanted to cry. He wanted to, but his fear would not allow a single tear to form in his eyes and drip down onto his cheeks. “...please!”
“--Because you are an affront to my god.” He stated. “You should be proper when you wake up in the morning, proper when you go about your tiny affairs, and proper when you go to bed. You were made in his image an thus you should reflect that beauty!” He paused, his lips thin and pressed together, now he looked as frail and weak as a dying old man. He looked furious. He reached out and set one of the nails point-first against Ray's left foot, hands quivering.
For a moment Ray could not tell if his hands were shaking from the pain he felt from his missing limbs, the fury he now showed, or the pure joy and bliss he showed a few minutes ago. He screamed and shouted, continuing to beg as the old man lifted the hammer over the nail.
“Your transgressions shall all be erased when you give me my feet!” He yelled joyously, even in his excruciating pain.
The old man, lacking feet from a few inches above the place where his ankles were only a few minutes ago, dropped the head of the hammer against the nail. Ray's cries for a stay in the actions he knew were coming suddenly turned into shrieks of pain as the nail stabbed through into the middle of his foot. Blood welled around the wound and started to ooze down the side and front of his foot. The nail stuck a little more than halfway out of his foot. He picked up the second nail, placed it on the top of Ray's left foot an inch away from the first nail and drove it in about halfway. He watched the blood pool and ooze down the middle of Ray's foot to the floor, gleefully listening to his screams. He grabbed the third nail and drove it into Ray's left foot, closed his eyes and smiled.
Ray could not move his leg after the old man impaled him with the first nail. He screamed and watched as his own blood started to wash down his foot, quickly starting to pool on the floor. He shook and shivered in the chair, gripping the handle at the same time as he tried to force himself free without avail.
The old man looked up into Ray's face without an ounce of pain showing. “Do you want to know why I chose you, Ray?”
“Fuck you!” He cried.
“Because you have done nothing with your life!” He hissed, and grabbed the fourth of six nails. “If you had made any headway, I would have chosen someone else, but no! You stagnated in a lifeless job without any prospects for your future! Now I will have something of yours, and you will have even less then you had. Maybe this will be a wake-up call for you! Maybe, when you get out of here—if you get out of here—you will choose a productive path for yourself!”
He set the nail against the top of Ray's unscathed right foot, just above the toes, and drove it halfway, watching the blood pool and flow exactly like the left foot. His smile turned into a broad ear-to-ear grin and shuddered as a wave of pleasure rippled through him. He knows that Ray's right leg was as lifeless as his left.
“Trust me, this gets a lot worse.” He grinned, looked up at Ray for a moment and pounded the second nail into his right foot. “Like the blessed Tower of the Tarot foretells: End to a life, a beginning of a life. Finis ad aliquis vita, aliquis ab aliquis vita.”
Picking up the last and final nail, the old man wraps his hand around it and shudders. “Tui edo edi impleo mei desiderium!”
Both Ray and the old man look up to the ceiling, another force raising both of their eyes to the cement sky. Ray feels something starting to build in the air, opens his mouth and lets out a scream of sheer terror with his piercing pain forgotten for the moment.
“Your waste begins my regeneration!” The old man cries and turns away from the ceiling back down to Ray's feet and places the nail an inch away from the second. “So mote it be!”
He brought the hammer down and stabbed the final nail into Ray's foot, screamed in pain and recoiled backwards away from Ray and the black chair. His smile turned into a frown of horror for just a moment, as if something was supposed to happen. He went rigid and uttered a gasp that sounded almost erotic. He shuddered as if in the midst of a grand orgasm, relaxed and uttered a choked laugh.
All was good.
He crawled back over to the chair, turned to the TV Dinner table and pulled himself along the floor. Ray continued to scream as his eyes stared up at the beige cement ceiling, unable to move or create a coherent word, even a single letter. The old man reached up and searched around for the next implementation of the ritual, found it and pulled it down: the coarse twine. He slithered back in front of foot and quickly wrapped the tan twine around his left foot about an inch above his ankle.
As soon as that part of the ritual was done, the old man pulled back for a moment and Ray's neck suddenly pulled his head down and leaned his body forward. He saw the skin on his feet start to pale as if watching them die right in front of him, a moment later he saw the same black lines zig-zagging upwards from his toes to a few inches above his ankles. The pain lessened significantly until it was only a dull throb.
“Please! Stop this!” He begged.
The old man looked up at him, frowning. “You don't want me to stop, not this far in. You'll be dead in minutes, like your feet are dead to you. I saw it once. I showed fear and mercy my second time. I did stop...and my God killed the young man for it. He died such a painful death.”
For a moment, only a moment, Ray thought he sensed regret and remorse from the elderly man. His torturer also had the faint look of sadness in his pale blue eyes, almost infinite sadness. That all vanished at the moment the elderly man pulled himself away from Ray. One foot, two feet, a third and finally a fourth.
“You'll survive. I promise.” The old man said, reached into his pocket and pulled out what looked to be a miniature remote control. The remote was black and about the size of a small lighter with a single button.
He pressed the button once, from under the black chair Ray heard something fall and suddenly stop above the floor. His mouth opened and his eyes went wide. He recognized the sound as metal being scraped along metal, like the sound of Freddy Kruger's claws scraping against themselves as he flexes his fingers outwards.
“So mote it be!” The old man exclaimed, and pressed the button a second time.
His pale blue eyes watched as the hidden blade sliced through Ray's legs like butter, severing his feet from his legs a few inches above his new ankles and spraying a small vapor of blood outwards. Ray screamed bloody murder as blood gushed out from his severed appendages like a red downpour, thrashing about in the chair, rocking it up and down against the bolts holding it against the floor.
The old man quickly pulls himself towards Ray, detouring towards the TV dinner table, reaches up and grabs two objects: the flint-steel tool and the small hand held blowtorch. “This might hurt a bit.”