An armed burglar sneaks into a house. Upon gaining entry to a heavily secured room he presumes to be full of untold riches he finds a teenager, trussed up in a makeshift cell instead. Seeing the weapon the teenager begs: “Please…Just kill me.” The burglar is stunned for a moment but then curious, putting his task aside, he helps the teen escape…
This job was supposed to have the biggest take to date. As we moved from room to room, we became increasingly more agitated. Minimal jewelry to be found and nothing of great value to be taken. Manny and I split off when we reached the second floor and I hoped to God that he found something. This job seemed to be a stupid waste of time so far. What I scored wouldn’t even cover the gas we used to get here today. I walked into what I assumed was the master bedroom and took a quick look around. There was a glint of silver on the countertop across from the closet. I walked in that direction and noticed a Breitling watch casually thrown in a heap without a care. Finally!
I went to pick up the watch, and a noise startled me. I turned around and peered into the closet. The doors were closed, and the lights were off. It didn’t appear that anyone or anything was in there. I must have imagined the sound. I returned to the business at hand, scooping up the watch and shoving it in my bag. That’s when I heard it again. Instinctively, I reached for my gun tucked into my waistband. Slowly, I opened the closet door and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Rows and rows of clothing and shoes were the only things immediately visible. I walked in and looked around. Might as well make the most of this distraction and see if there was anything of value here. As I started moving around the clothing, I found a jewelry box. As I rifled through its contents, I heard the sound again. It came from right next to me and sounded like a grunt. Not being able to resist, I turned off the flashlight I was holding and looked for the light switch. As soon as it was on, I saw it. There was a hidden door behind the dresses. I ran my hands over the frame of the door and found the handle. Excitement filled me and I felt as giddy as a schoolboy as I imagined what I might find in such a well-hidden room. Surely, something of great value would be locked away inside. I pushed on the handle and felt the resistance of a locked door. Of course, it wouldn’t be that easy. I knew there had to be a panel somewhere on the door to open it. After a bit more exploring, I realized it was down on the floor. Undeterred, I got down and prepared to work. This was where I shined. Breaking into things was my bag. Two minutes later and my ears rejoiced as I heard my favorite sound, a lock disengaging.
My greed overcame my senses, and I forgot about the grunting I heard not moments ago. When the door swung open, my smile twisted into a frown. Instead of rows of hidden cash, jewels, gold or guns; I found empty shelves, a barren concrete floor, and a chair in the middle of the room with a defeated-looking teenager trussed up in it. My brows furrowed in confusion as I took in what was in front of me. His head was drooping like he was asleep or passed out. I could see the sweat dripping from his wet hair and down on to the floor. He was pale and looked frail. There was a fan in the corner blowing warm air around, but it did little to make it comfortable in there.
“What the fuck?”
My words must’ve awoken him because his head snapped up. When he saw me, he looked relieved. As he took in my appearance, his eyes lingered on my right hip where my gun was printing out of my shirt.
“Please… just kill me.”
The break in his voice and the way he was being kept pulled at something deep within me. How could anyone tie up a kid like that? I decided in that moment that I needed to let him go. I ignored my rule to never make impulsive decisions while on a job. My objective was to get in and get out as quickly as possible and I’d already been here far too long. I walked over to the kid and readied my knife, thinking they tied him up with rope. I wasn’t expecting to find a strange pair of cuffs. I had never seen anything like them before. They weren’t metal like normal cuffs. They were a material that I almost didn’t recognize. They looked like they were made of carbon fiber, but there was something more that I couldn’t place, and it looked as if his skin around the cuffs was glowing slightly. I shook my head, wondering if the heat in this room was making me see things, and got to work. Hopefully, the carbide hacksaw blades I had on me would do the job.
“Hang on kid. I’m going to get you out of here.” I assured him as I got to work.
As I was sawing away, I noticed he had bruises all over his body. I wondered if he was getting beaten as he sat here tied to a chair. An agonizing ten minutes later, I was done. When the chain broke apart, the cuffs disintegrated. I stared, mesmerized by the action. What the hell was going on here? I knew I had made a mistake when I looked up. The frail-looking boy was gone. In his place was a very healthy but scary looking man. His eyes were blazing and full of fire, his hair was flowing around his head as if it was under water, and his fists were curled in on his sides. He looked unhinged.
“Who are you and where did the kid go?”
My voice squeaked as I asked the giant, angry man. This guy was giving off all kinds of crazy vibes and I instantly regretted my involvement. My gut sank, I knew I wasn’t going to make it out of there.
He tilted his head in contemplation as he stared at me. “Because you have freed me, I will share my secret with you.”
He spoke in a booming voice that made me almost piss my pants.
“I have the ability to deceive anyone’s mind. I was wearing this disguise in hopes of you taking pity on me and freeing me.”
As he gestured to his body, I watched in horror as his appearance changed once again to the frail teenage boy.
The next time he snapped his fingers, I found myself staring at my doppelgänger. He laughed a hearty belly laugh at my discomfort. The world started spinning. How the hell could this be happening? I started backing up and hit the wall with nowhere to go. He was blocking the doorway and there was no other way out of this room.
“Why were you locked up?”
I wasn’t sure if he would answer me, but at least I thought I’d ask. I was almost certain he was going to kill me before he left, anyway.
He shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly and said, “they realized they couldn’t control me anymore. The only thing holding me back is gone. Now the world will pay.” He turned those crazy eyes back on me, except they were my eyes, which freaked me out even more.
“You mean those cuffs I took off?” I asked, terrified that I did this.
“Mmm… no. I would’ve gotten out of those, eventually. They were merely draining my power slowly.” He explained in a matter-of-fact manner.
“They killed my Elena!” He screamed, agony breaking through his words. “They used her as an example. My sweet, innocent Elena is gone now because of them!”
I wasn’t sure if he was trying to trick me, but I swore his eyes started glowing white as his anger continued to build.
“Now there is no one that ties me to this place, and I am free to take revenge on this world.”
Before I could ask another question, I heard Manny call out for me. This was it. The moment of truth. Was he going to kill Manny and me? Manny came around the corner and I heard a finger snap just as he peered into the room.
“Bruh, what the hell are you doing in here? What is this place, anyway?”
Manny asked as he walked in. He looked around and then he stared at my mind-altering friend. I jumped up and down and ran in front of him, but he couldn’t see me. Then I realized the snap was for my benefit. He didn’t want Manny to see me. Then, in a voice identical to my own, I heard him speak to Manny.
“I don’t know, man, nothin here though. Let’s get the hell outta here before the owner comes home.”
They moved out of the room, and I panicked. I looked down and now I was in the chair, handcuffed and all.
“Hey!” I yelled at his retreating back. “You can’t just leave me here!”
He turned around and smiled his deranged smile. “I’m only leaving you alive because you freed me. Consider yourself lucky.”
It was only fifteen minutes before I heard sounds again. I was hoping it was Manny after realizing he was mind fucked and came back to get me. Instead, an older man walked into the room. His hair was disheveled, and he looked frazzled as he stormed in. He looked around frantically, not seeing me. He stopped and slipped on a pair of odd-looking glasses with an orange tint. It was only then that he saw me and gasped.
“Good God, man! What have you done?”