Beau Johnson, Blue Collar Noir, Crime Fiction, Down and Out Books., Fiction, Flash Fiction, Flash Fiction Offensive, Punk Noir Magazine

It weighs on my mind every second of every minute of every day.  Obsession does not describe me though, not to an accurate degree.  I am him now.  He, unfortunately, me.  The difference, the main difference, being our retaliations and how we’ve chosen to implement the pain.

“Your ribs are showing.” I close the cell door and put the tray down atop the roughed-in toilet.  The chains around his wrists rattle as he adjusts himself upon the mattress, his demeanour in an instant changing to what it always changes to once he realizes what’s on top of the tray.  Took some doing getting him here too, emotionally I mean, and it isn’t until his right eye is removed that he comes to understand what I have always known.  That I was capable of doing what he only ever paid his men to do.

It meant his need of solid food was no longer required.

It meant he would never again wear shoes.

“You don’t start drinking more, you’re only going to give me a reason to go in there and excavate.”  He’d respond if he could, more so in fact, but his tongue had been one of the first things to go, going early, pretty much at the beginning of what we’ll call year one.  It was joined by his left thumb and right nipple later that same year.  All three combining to become the least of what Reggie deserved.  Little could I know how difficult it would prove to keep things healthy, let alone infection free.

“Not that I’d be adverse to such a thing.  Not at all.  Inner, outer, you know it’s all the same to me.”  He makes the noise in the back of his throat, the one he’s come to use to beg.  I respond by asking him if he recalls when it had been me who’d begged.  He turns his head at this, lowers it, the concrete wall suddenly the most interesting thing in the room.  The response is far from new, coming into play about the time his need to stand while urinating became obsolete.  The old-fashioned way could still be used, sure, but the dribble aspect it creates, this is what forces the desired effect.  Year three is when this occurs.  Along with his nose and left ear it coincides with what would have been Becka’s sixteenth year.

Today is a different day altogether.  Today, Daniel would have turned ten.

“Do you remember what you said to me as you had them brought in?  When your goons were holding me to the glass?  You said how much you appreciated their names and that each of them sounded strong.  I remember this, Reggie.  I have never been able to forget.”  I have gone down this road before.  I probably would again.  As ever, he only nods, but then again, I’ve never given him much of a choice, not since tracking him down.

Caught, I’d been posing as a surgeon in a body parts ring when my own cover is blown.  Forced to watch, Reggie whispers in my ear as my children are strapped to operating tables and ripped apart and then thrown into bins.  The reason I’m left alive is meant to be viewed as a deterrent, for when me and the agency I work for decide to come at him again.

Reggie’s words.  His arrogance.  Not mine.

But it took years for me to find him, long after Janet left and I’d resigned.

“My son, he would have hit double digits today.  Means he would have been just out of diapers when you had him taken down.”  More mewling.  More trying to push himself into a corner which would never relent.  “Because of this, in honour of this, I believe it’s time I let you choose.”  He stops at that, waits, then raises his one good eye to mine.  On his face sits everything he wants, everything he needs.  It just might finally end.  The chance having come at last.

It hadn’t though.  And never would.  Not after everything that’d been done.  But it gives me what I require.  What I will continue to take from Reggie until I no longer can.

It meant we’d just begun.

Find out more about BEAU JOHNSON here.

a better kind of hate



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