The euphoric vibrations of revenge hummed in Oliver Drennon’s veins as he continuously tapped the dangling light above his victim’s head with his long fingers. Tap. Tap. Tap. He smiled as the man strapped to the chair winced each time the fixture swung toward him, shining on his battered face. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tilting his head to the side, he studied his prisoner, waiting for his face to show he was breaking.

“Where’s my money, Felix?” he squatted down in front of the man and stared him down with ice, blue eyes.  “I don’t want to hurt you, my friend, but we both know I will.”

The man replied by spitting in Oliver’s face, blood dribbling into his thick beard.

“Alright, you don’t want to tell me where my money is then where is my lucky lighter?”

“I didn’t touch your lighter,”  Felix furrowed his brows; uncertain what kind of game this psychopath was playing.

“Damnit, you took my pants, you took my lighter!” Oliver slammed a fist into his face, “You think you know a guy,” he tried holding back his laughter but a small chuckle escaped his lips, “until they rob you blind and leave you standing naked on the side of the road.”

“You’re crazy!”

“I told you that when we partnered up and you still decided to screw me over.” A menacing smile twitched at the corners of his mouth as he turned away, moving to a workbench on the other side of the dim, cramped room.

“Wh..what are you doing?”

“I’m going torture you, silly,” He peered over his shoulder and laughed again, “What a stupid question.”

Oliver found what he was looking for and lifted the tool above his head shouting, “Eureka!”.  A quick turn of his heal, he marched over to Felix’s chair and knelt in front of him, “BOO!”.

Giddy to be getting to work, he unlaced the big man’s boots and slid them off, following with his socks. Wrinkling up his nose at the smell, he inspected each hairy toe. He chose the little one on the left foot. Oliver glanced up then held up the tool. Needle nosed pliers. Carefully, he pushed the open tip under Felix’s toenail, causing him to scream.

“Come on, it’s going to be a long night if you screech like a little girl every time I touch you.”

When the screaming dwindled down to panting breaths, he closed the pliers over the nail then ripped it off. The wailing began again. With a dramatic roll of his eyes, Oliver went back to the bench and returned with a piece of leather.

“Are you ready to talk? Where’s my lighter?”

“I don’t know where the damn lighter is,” Felix yelled, tears rolling down his cheeks, soaking the hair at his chin.

“I meant the money, you know I meant the money,” Oliver lifted a finger and pointed, “Where’s the money? Thirteen million dollars doesn’t just walk aw…actually it did. It walked away because you took it!”

“You’re insane, Drennon!”

Oliver stuffed the leather strap in Felix’s mouth then grabbed another toe and ripped the nail out with more force and anger. A loud bellow of pain filled the room, the strip dropped to the ground, but Oliver hollered over it, “I’m waiting.”

A quiet knock at the door caused Oliver’s head to snap up. He whistled quietly as he sauntered over, twirling the pliers around his fingers. Cracking the door, he peered out then with an excited grin opened it the rest of the way.

A little girl with long, black curls and the same blue eyes as Felix’s captor stepped inside, followed by a tall, exotic woman, “Mommy says I have to go to bed.”

“It is late, baby,” Oliver bent down and kissed the tip of her nose, “As soon as daddy is done working, I’ll be right in to make sure you’re tucked in real tight.”

The child stared at Felix with accusing eyes that said he was the reason her father wasn’t inside with his family. He shifted nervously in his chair, ropes rubbing his wrists raw. He glanced down hoping she’d look away but her glare held strong.

“Don’t be rude, Felix, say hello to my wife and daughter. Cleo,” Oliver pulled the woman close, “Annabelle,” he ran a hand through his offspring’s hair, “this is Felix; my associate.”
“Oliver,” Cleo leaned in, planting a quick kiss on her husband’s neck, “the news is saying a large reward is being offered for any information that leads to the arrest of…”

Holding up a hand, he cut her off, “You know what they say about snitches, my love.”

“I do,” Little Annabelle bounced up on her toes, “they end up in ditches.”

“That’s my girl,” he ruffled her hair, “See, Cleo, this is clearly the only way. Now, you two, head inside and I’ll be there very soon.”

Cleo’s dark eyes landed on the man in the chair, “You’re right, honey,” she turned a convincing smile over to him as he ushered them out the door.

Oliver made his way over to the workbench and picked up a rusted saw. He turned around and pointed at it then pointed to Felix as if to ask if he thought it was a good choice. Shaking his head, he turned around and dropped the instrument back onto the wooden surface. He took an axe down from a rack on the wall and grinned broadly at it.

With a skip in his step, he prowled around and around the chair with his new weapon propped against his shoulder. He ran his long fingers over the armrests and across the back as he circled his prey. Dropping to his knees, he eyeballed Felix then tapped his leg with the sharp blade of the axe.

“How attached are you to this leg?” Oliver laughed as Felix whimpered. “Would you like to keep the kneecap or should I cut above it? It’s your choice really.”

“Why are you doing this?”

“Why did you steal my lighter?” His cold eyes became briefly distant before he reeled his wandering mind back in, “You took my share of the money and my lighter. You left me with nothing even though I did most of the work.”

Scrambling to his feet, he pulled the axe back then plunged it into Felix’s leg, just below the shin. He swung the hatchet again and buried it into denim and flesh. The high pitched wails seemed to drive his fury further and further as he hacked away. He pivoted, beginning to bring the axe down again but he stopped inches from his target. He tilted his head, staring down at Felix’s trembling body.

“What’s in your pocket?”

“What are you talking about? Please,” Felix whimpered, “Just kill me and get it over with.”

“What’s in your pocket?,” Oliver bent down and stuffed his hand into the pocket and pulled out a small, silver lighter. “All this time. You had it all this time. There, in your pocket.” A low chuckle escaped his lips, “All this time. In your pocket,” the laugh grew, “You could’ve saved yourself a lot of trouble, my friend.”

A loud bang issued from the door startling both men. Silence filled the tiny room. The bang came again. Shrugging his shoulders, Oliver swung the axe around in a circle as he moved toward the door. He opened the entry way then glanced back at his hostage.
“Police,” A voice yelled, “put your hands up.”

He spun around and slung the axe across the room. The sharp blade drove through Felix’s head and settled half way through his skull. Oliver slowly shifted himself into the direction of the officers piling into the little shed building with his hands above his head.

“Sorry about that,” He raised his eyebrows, giving them an innocent look, “I thought it’d be best to drop my weapon so you wouldn’t get the impression I meant you fine fellas any harm.”

Two policemen grabbed a hold of him and pushed him against the wall. One patted him down, searching for any other weapons while the other cuffed his hands behind his back.

“He’s clean. All he has is this lighter,” the younger of the two held up the shiny silver square then dropped it into a plastic bags labeled ‘evidence’.

“I’d like to have that back, please,” Oliver smiled politely.

“This piece of junk is the least of your worries,” the senior officer laughed as he shoved Oliver out the door.

He looked up to see Cleo standing next to a car with whirling blue lights and her arms crossed over her chest. She watched with wide eyes as the officials lead him across the yard. Stepping forward, she looked to the senior officer who gave her a nod then threw her arms around her grinning husband’s neck in a hug.

Oliver laid the side of his face against hers and breathed in her scent. He kissed her gently on the cheek then leaned in and hissed, “You know what they say about snitches.”

Cleo pulled back and met his cold stare. She lifted her hand and wiggled her fingers in front of her husbands face to wave goodbye then turned around to find Annabelle standing there with a twisted smile on her pretty little face.

The child grabbed her mother by the hand, watching the blue lights fade as they drove away, and whispered, “Ditches.”


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