(The following is an excerpt from a longer work. Click here to read the first installment.)
He woke up. He was cold and hungry. That’s all he knew.
He thought back and tried to remember how he wound up this way.
Where was he?
What was his name?
And why in blue blazes did his neck and shoulder hurt?
“God, I don’t know which hurts worse, my head for trying to drudge up this info, or my neck and shoulder.”
He rubbed at his temples as if trying to relieve a migraine.
Starting with what he decided was the easiest route he began with trying to remember his name.
“Damn it, no!” He could do better than this, he thought. At this rate it would take him all day. He needed to focus, focus on the things around him and go from there, and then, and only then, could he jog his memory and retrace his footsteps into the past.
Okay, what did he see? Focusing his eyes, he looked down at his hands and feet and saw that he was shackled in chains.
Why in the Holiest of Hells would he be shackled? One step at a time, it would come.
He saw that he was in the back of a wagon and moving. The wagon was covered by burlap, and it was dark until he looked at the night sky through the opening in the back.
What was his name?
Relaxing and moving gently in his mind, he thought, slowly rummaging through his mind like a deer exploring the forest floor.
“Chase, my name is Chase,” he thought.
“And what is my family name, pray tell?” This time it came easier. “Rivington, Rivington. Yes by God! Rivington!”
He was slowly gaining confidence. Looking out toward the back of the wagon at the night sky, he ventured as far as he could. He then heard the tap, tap, tap. Apprehensively Chase inched forward and all he heard was scratching, like a child raking his fingers against a chalkboard. He stopped because of he had reached the length of his chains. Chase started to sweat slow rivulets all down his face and neck.
He started sweating not because it was hot—it was nighttime and it was cool. No, this sweat was much worse. It was cold sweat, the kind you wake up in when somebody or something is chasing you.
Time stood still for what seemed like an eternity. Beginning low enough that Chase suspected he might have imagined the sound, there came a tiny whimpering. It slowly began to crescendo until he was sure he heard it. What he heard made him start shaking and breathing heavily. The whimper graduated into constant cackling. This was more than he could handle, body, mind, and soul.
Chase fell fainting on the wagon bed floor, coated with hay. The last thing his conscious mind thought before he blacked out was that he was cold, and he was thirsty. Darkness overtook the back of the wagon where he was. In the last vision of his eyes he thought someone was hovering over him within a breath. And then darkness and pain!
By Greg Rickman