Short Story ~ Unknown Knowns
Spent most of today playing wow with Liz. Wanted to make sure we got our achievements done for having flying once that is unlocked. After that I’ve put a bit of time into my game project. It’s officially back on track. I’ve gotten a new stage into it and sometime this week it can officially be called “a game”. Albeit being fun and whatnot is another story entirely. Baby steps. I’m interested to see where I can take this and if I can tell a story with it. Which reminds me, I haven’t written in a while. Obviously the best thing you can do when you haven’t written in a while is to start writing something with no planning at 11 at night. Here we go, enjoy the potential train wreck.
His skin chafed terribly in the forsaken heat of this alien land. Bound, black bag over his head, gagged, and strapped to a chair. All this after a long and particularly rough transit. His captors had dragged him along the ground like a sack of vegetables. His skin tender in some places and broken in others. Normally he’d think this was leading to something good, he’d had a few particularly rough lovers in the past. The heavy body odor and grinding of iron suggested that this was not a pleasure visit.
Someone removed the bag from his head. He blinked a few times and laughed through the gag. The captor replied with a grunt. “Huh?” They said. “What you think is so funny?” They asked. He replied through the bandage. “Whl Mgh I Brln.”
The room was silent. Then, “What?” The captor replied.
“Mrb shd I Bld drmh.” He said. Sighing through the gag. He looked down towards his mouth and then bobbed his eyebrows suggestively.
“Oh, uh, yeah.” The captor replied. Finally removing the gag. He didn’t think that the air could have been any worse but with the return of his tongue he could taste it. He wondered how many people had died in this room. How long did it take them to do so?
“As I was saying.” He said, stretching his mouth wide and popping his jaw. “Takes a real genius to put a black bag over a blind man’s head.”
“What?” The captor said. He lifted an iron claw from the nearby table. Sparks crackled from its teeth as it dragged across the surface. The shriek stabbed at the blind man’s ears. The captor held it a few inches from the blind man. No response. The tips of the claw were sharpened to a fine point, no matter how close he drew it to the man’s face there was no reaction.
“You are blind.” The captor said.
The blind man shrugged as much as his restraints would allow. “Most of the time, yeah.”
“You joke now.” The captor said. “You won’t joke by lunch time. I make you tell me everything. I make them all tell me everything.”
“Lunch time?” The blind man replied. “Oh good! I was worried it might be late.”
A gust of wind squeezed through a pair of rickety wooden doors opposite of the two men. A rusted iron latch lifted off of its clasp and the doors swung open. The temperature in the room immediately rose and the blind man felt the heat of the sun reflecting off of the floor. Sand brushed rough against his skin. His wounds all refreshed in a most unpleasant manner. The captor grunted.
“Damn door. Too cheap, I can’t work in these conditions.” He walked towards the door holding his hands up in disgust, very nearly hitting himself in the side of the face with it. He, and the blind man, were both oblivious to this. Only one of them had an excuse. The blind man called out to him before he could close the door.
“No, no. Could you do a victim a favor?”
The captor paused. “What!” He shouted back. The wind was loud and sand belted him just as much as it did his captive.
“Can you keep the door open! It’s helping with the stench!” He shouted back.
The captor looked out the door. Down below he saw the sandy rooftops of the city. Dunes in the distance reshaped with every passing second, their contents passing over the city like millions of biting insects. Not a flicker of green could be seen for as far as the sandy skies would allow. Nothing but the hungry maw of the endless desert.
The captor slammed the doors shut and jammed the handle of the claw into the door. The fingers of the device pointing into the room. He turned around and breathed deep. “Stench?!” He laughed. “I smell nothing. We should fix that nose of yours.” The captor glanced at the table covered in all manner of cutting, stabbing, and twisting tools. “I wonder which will do the trick?”
“Probably the candle, if you’ve got one.” The blind man said with a grin.
The captor waltz back around and stood before his blind captive. “You will tell me everything you know. And then you will die.”
“Not much incentive there, chief.” The blind man replied.
“You choose, a fast death, or a slow death. It matters not to me which, but you all talk.”
“I’m not talking to anyone that doesn’t have the decency to at least tell me their name. Didn’t your father teach you anything?” The blind man said.
“I killed my father when I was little. He was weak.” The captor replied.
“Fair enough. But we are going to need a little give and take here. Otherwise this is just going to be uncomfortable for both of us. How about we talk and then once you’ve gotten your information you can chop me up or whatever it is you do, deal?”
The captor glanced at his tools and sighed. “If you will talk without the cutting I will accept. But I still will kill you.”
“Sure, sure. I’m sure you’ve got a quota. So first, what is your name? Nameless evil is far too cliche for me. If you won’t give me one I’m going to start calling you Frank.”
“Do not call me Frank.” The captor replied. “My name is Dokotum”.
“Alright, Doko, do you mind if I call you Doko? What do you wish to know about me?” The blind man smiled.
“Who are you? Where did you come from? And do not call me Doko.” Dokotum replied.
“My friends call me Hyo. I appear to have stumbled upon this area after a rather unfortunate meeting with some of your lovely fauna.” Hyo looked around the room, a gesture more symbolic than anything else. “When your find acquaintances found me, did they happen to take my clothes?” Hyo glanced down at himself. “I do not feel my robes.”
“Prisoners clothing is stored and then sold. You will have no use for it in death.”
“Right, right. Anyways, Doko, where am I now?”
Dokotum flushed red in the face. Hyo’s smile reflecting in his amber eyes. He glanced over at the tools. If Hyo called him Doko one more time he would lose a hand.
“Where did you find this?” Dokotum lifted up a partially eaten apple and shoved it in Hyo’s face. It was covered in sand and grime but the familiar scent of the fruit still lingered in Hyo’s nostrils. He let out a sigh of relief when he smelled it.
“Picked it up ages ago.” He said. “Poor thing has been through a lot it seems.”
“I did not ask when. I asked where.” Dokotum replied.
“If you want to know where I found that, you’ll need to answer my question.”
Dokotum placed the apple down and picked up a scalpel from the table. He gripped it tightly. “You are at the edge of the Vitisian Wasteland. Once I am done with you I will hurl your corpse from that door and it shall rest in the streets of our city. Your legacy will remain in the droppings of so many small critters.”
“Awfully vivid imagination you’ve got there. You know what they say, you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar. So, how do you think we should go about doing this? Should I just surprise you or would you rather it be over before you realize anything is wrong?”
Dokotum squinted. Hyo was still clearly bound. The thick iron might be rusty but no man nor beast would be able to break from those binds. He placed his free hand around Hyo’s neck. “Where did you find that food? Tell or I will feast on your tongue.”
“I’ve often wondered if food is just tasty or if I’m tasting my own tongue. Sadly I don’t really have time for us to get down to the brass tacks of which is what. Anyways, I’ve got one last question.”
“No. No more questions. You have stretched my patience.”
Hyo sighed. “Oh alright. We can do this your way. I hope your friends aren’t as inhospitable as you are or this is going to be one long day for me. I’m really done having long days.”
Dokotum grasped the side of Hyo’s mouth and stretched it open. “You bite me and I will cut open your head.”
“I figarh id out!” Hyo exclaimed. The air crackled with the snapping of iron. An instant later Dokotum found himself soaring backwards. Hyo lurched forward in his chair with an open palm outward. Hyo wiped his tongue on the side of his arm and made a smacked his lips a few times disgusted. “Thanks Doko! Turns out it wasn’t my tongue because your fingers taste disgusting!” Hyo brushed some of the sand off of his chest, the bits that caked to his wounds refused to budge.
“I’m probably about to hurt you real bad. So I’d really appreciate if you could answer that question for me.” Hyo snapped the shackles around his ankles with a single horse stance. He kicked the table of torture instruments rocketing across the room. Many of them sticking into the wall, whether they were blunt or sharp seeming not to matter at those speeds.
“You a family man?” Hyo asked, stepping towards the stunned Dokotum. “Because I’d rather not kill you, but the amount of hurt I’m going to give you really depends. Can’t have a crippled man going back to his kids.” Hyo cracked his knuckles. Dokotum stood and grasped the scalpel tightly in his hand. His free hand holding onto his chest. Each breath stung, he had a few cracked ribs for sure. Only luck had saved him from a punctured lung.
“Are you a demon?!” Dokotum stepped slowly to the side. Hyo could not see. Dokotum had to take advantage and kill the monster that stood before him. A pale monstrosity, his body betraying the truly horrendous power boiling within. Sand, mud, and blood caked the freaks silver hair. He would make a belt from the strands once he put him down.
Hyo stopped walking forward and breathed slowly. He closed his eyes and raised his hands up towards his chest. “I can hear your heart.” He said. “If I had to guess I’d say you don’t have a family.” Hyo opened his left eye towards Dokotum. “I might be wrong but sometimes you need to lie to yourself to get through the day.”
Dokotum grew cold. “You lied to me! You are not blind!”
Hyo shook his head. “I never lie. I might speak half truths, or perhaps manipulate a conversation, but I’ve never lied.” Hyo closed his eye once again. “I lost the ability to see a long time ago. Made a mistake much like you did today.” Hyo grasped the shackle around his right wrist with his left hand. “But I know where I need to be and what I need to do. It’s a terribly handy thing. I’ve known from the moment I entered this room. In some ways I’ve known for longer than I’ve been in this time. I couldn’t tell you what is going to happen for the rest of the day.” Hyo tightened his grip and the shackle buckled beneath the weight.
“But whatever happens I’ll know what to do when it does and I know by the end of it all I’ll be fine.”
Dokotum took a few more cautious steps and inched towards Hyo. Hyo once again opened his eye towards Dokotum.
“The next time you restrain someone for your fun little antics I suggest that you use a nice thick rope.” Hyo snapped the shackle from his wrist and hurled it at Dokotum’s face. It connected with his nose. The bones in Dokotum’s face let out a sickening crack and he collapsed to his knees. Dark circles formed in his vision and spread out to the outsides. Two pinpoints gave off the blurred silhouette of Hyo.
Hyo walked towards him. Each step complimented with a tightening of Dokotum’s vision. The tunnel grew thinner and thinner until all he could see was darkness.
“This is a bit like what Death is like.” Hyo said. “Terrifying isn’t it? Not knowing, not seeing. Your body becomes an awfully terrible crutch at a time like this. All it is good for is pain and pumping you full of more terror.”
Hyo knelt down beside Dokotum who was still clutching the scalpel.
“Do you want to take a stab at it?” Hyo chuckled lightly. “Get it? Because of the scalpel.”
Dokotum screamed. He would not be spared. Blindness is a weakness, they would execute him the moment he was found. Vitisians care only for power. He stabbed out in front of himself and felt the scalpel slide slowly into a fleshy gap. He only stopped pushing when his hand reached the edge of Hyo’s flesh.
“Awfully good aim for a blind man.” Hyo replied. He closed his hand around Dokotum’s hand, the scalpel having slid in between his fingers. “I’m going to break your hand now. After that you are going to direct me to where my robes are or I’m going to break both your legs.”
Hyo squeezed and Dokotum howled. Hyo could hear the hurried footsteps of more visitors raising up the stairs from below. They would arrive in a minute’s time.
“Your robes, they are in the stronghold.” Dokotum whined. “You will not break my legs now, Yes?”
Hyo nodded and punched Dokotum’s left leg shattering the bone. Dokotum screamed again. “Only one. I’m a man of my word.” Dokotum’s eyes rolled up into his head and he fainted from the agony.
Hyo stood and turned towards the doorway. They were almost here. Five people, two women, all heavily armed and armored. Hyo glanced towards the flipped table and then towards the door. He didn’t know what was going to happen but he knew exactly what to do.