Under the blanket of a cloudy night an older rusty white Dodge van bounced along the dirt boreens adjacent to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Proceeding slowly, lights off, the driver was dressed in black, black hair jutting from a ski cap. The vehicle converged into a wooded area, it known for frequent fornication by lovers who had only a car and no money for a room. This evening, most likely because it was after 3 AM, it was vacant.
The driver exited the vehicle, surveyed the area, adjusted his genitalia, opened the rear door and helped another similarly garbed man drag a third man from the van floor. The third man was tied, blindfolded and bound with duct tape. He writhed in an effort to free himself, yet only managed to frustrate the two abductors, one enough that he struck the restrained figure in the groin. An inarticulate muffled groan followed and the struggles for freedom ceased.
Because of the blindfold it would be easy to surmise that the victim did not know these kidnappers, or maybe he knew them all too well. As might a recluse not wishing to be detected unexpectedly, they moved beyond the road. Facing away, they tied the man to a tree and began a more than devious process. While wearing protective masks—ones used in lab research—they took a plastic bag, inserted a vial into it, and placed that bag with the vial over the man’s head, duct-taping it airtight at his neck. The vial was broken open and its contents released.
Sensing discord, the captive fought, rapid and struggled breathing followed, resulting in the movement of the bag as well as the inhalation of whatever gas or dust that was in the vial.
The motion of the bag was affirmation enough that their intentions were satisfied; they spun, walked, leaving the man to suffocate. Suddenly one of them returned, tore an opening into the plastic allowing fresh air to enter, and then he rejoined his partner.
“Why did you do that?”
“So he might suffer.” The disparaging point was cruelly intended.
The two laughed.
~ * ~
After two-hours the restrained man began to feel the effects of the released contents from that vial, for it had disseminated through the limited amount of air. The first symptom was respiratory distress. His lungs ached, felt clogged as if suffering from a heinous flu. Each breath was raspy, ultimately resulting in a gripping tightness of his chest. The man’s disdain for his enemy was, at first, ambiguously replaced by concern, and finally fully preoccupied by it.
He struggled to extricate himself from his bindings…failed.
The tightness in his chest was soon followed by the onset of a fever and uncontrollable coughing made more difficult by the legacy of the gag over his mouth, thus forcing mucus through his nose causing further breathing difficulties.
He struggled to extricate himself from his bindings…tasting failure.
Heavy sweating rolled across skin, superfluous, announcing itself through fabric and puddling within the plastic bag. He began to shiver.
He struggled to extricate himself from his bindings…tasting more failure.
The once strong deep breaths found brevity. Slowly, as the difficulty in breathing became more pronounced producing chest pains, marked by the hue of his skin turning blue. Tears filled his eyes in reaction to the symptoms.
The sun rose as night’s anarchist, angry and
He struggled to extricate himself from his bindings…continued to fail.
The despot of nausea gripped, its hand harsh and
tyrannical. He swallowed convulsively but was unable to avoid vomiting at which he almost suffocated, but he managed to swallow it back down. A second swallow brought shallow air, it benevolent but meagerly so. He imagined the taste of blood within that mixture of post-digested dinner, bile, and beer.
He struggled to extricate himself from his bindings…failed.
While on the verge of pulmonary edema, fluid developing in his lungs, his breathing worsened. The incontrovertible taste of fear had no clemency. His stomach clenched, deep down, a searing cramping that distracted from his near inability to breathe. He clamped his teeth and pressed his back against the tree, moaning. He felt as if his legs would give way. Unconsciousness threatened. He fought it, sensing that giving in meant he might not wake.
The late afternoon sun blazed through three branches. It should have warmed him, should have comforted, but nothing could distill the chill anymore. He understood the solemnity of this pain still attacking his lower bowels, him praying for relief.
He struggled to extricate himself from his bindings, bloodying flesh…and still failing.
His excrement freed itself in an uncontrollable flush of diarrhea. It convulsively spurted from him; however in its cruel irony, it did not ease his cramping. That seemed to intensify. He inhaled the stench through the small tear in the plastic and that instigated a simultaneous ejection of what little bile was left in his stomach, but he choked it down. Eventually, he was forced to urinate in his pants. It felt hot along his thighs, dispersed past socks and shoes.
He could not kindle any cogent thoughts, had no real concept of time, only the endless struggle to breathe, to overcome the dry heaves and ignore his bowel’s expulsions.
He struggled to extricate himself from his bindings, believing in freedom…yet knowing failure.
He felt the apathy of evening rather than saw it.
Coolness dried the sweat beading his flesh, but inappropriate levity showed its improperness as fresh, chilling sweat soon rose again all in streams, laughing.
Muscle aches invaded his limbs, their heresy nothing more than tenderness that nearly seemed insignificant against the other, more intense pains. Yet it was there, along with an acute weakness, rapid heartbeat, and the cold hot wash of an increasing body temperature. The blue tinge to his complexion, called cyanosis, would have contrasted against his reddened eyes if he had not been blindfolded.
He must have passed out during the evening, for morning came, a morning he didn’t expect to experience, an indictment of his weakening will. His symptoms grew worse.
He struggled to extricate himself from his bindings… more lethargic though committed.
Thirty-six hours had passed since he first inhaled the contents of the vial. Through persistence, yet unexpectedly, he managed to free himself. He fell from the tree onto his hands and knees. The fumes of his expelled bodily fluids and excrements made him retch, and he attempted to crawl away from it before even freeing himself from his gag or blindfold.
Survival inherent, his hand skittered out from under him, his upper body dropped to the ground, face landing in his own excrement, he rolled away, jerking off his blindfold and tearing at his gag, then once again fighting to get away. He drew in clean air, gagged upon it. The bright light blinded him nearly as much as the blindfold had, but he could partially make out the road and unsteadily got to his feet. He stumbled a few steps, and then felt the world spin as he once again landed on his back and passed out.
Eventually recovering consciousness, he called for help, but it was a bare thread of sound, more a croak than any words, it a cryptic pall of tone.
After a couple of hours he woke, exerted possibly his last effort, made his way toward the road, and heard a car door. A burly built man raced toward him. He felt the magnanimous kiss of salvation.
“Oh my God!” he heard, as if from off in a distance.
He was unable to respond. Because of low blood pressure accompanied by respiratory failure, with a final
ragged breath he died.
Angelica Hart and Zi
Killer Dolls ~ September 2009
Snake Dance ~ February 2010