#AtoZChallenge 2022 – Quick to Judge

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

Contains strong language, please be advised.

It’s quiet at first. Then enters mirage of sounds – distorted and wrong – and follow by pain – a thousand tiny pinpricks at the back of her neck. As fast as Abby wants her eyes to open, they open painfully slow – one micrometer at a time – delaying the inevitable.

When her senses are awaken again, she is first slammed with a damp and musky odor that made her want to gag. She starts to want to sit up but discovers she is being held down by multiple sets of straps across her chest, waist, legs, and feet.

Oh god, dread and fear fill her now like water in a tall glass, I’m going to end up just like all those people in that room, aren’t I? As she ponder upon her current situation, her heart is thumping and pound louder than ever before. I must get out of here.

Concentrating with all her might, she pushes herself upward against the restraints but the harder she tried, the harder the restraints seem to be fighting back. “There’s no use trying,” Richard says, standing feet from her.

“I wouldn’t have to do this if you let me go.” Abby says through clenched teeth.

Richard limps the last few steps until he’s standing over her. Abby turns away, the last thing she wants to see is that hideous face of his, the face her elementary classmates used to run away from whenever he approached. Severely pockmarked, craggily, and scarred – most likely from years of severe acne and damaging the skin with strong acne treatment.

Gently, Richard brushes his hand along Abby’s cheek, making Abby’s every hair stand up. She wishes she can slap his hand away but instead, she is forced by the restraints to lie there and endure the sickening sensation of his cold hand on her face.

“I wish I didn’t have to come to this, Abby. I liked you. In fact, I had a crush on you back in second grade. You were the only girl I saw when I walked down the hallway. I tried to talk to you, to get you to tell me the time of day, but you wouldn’t even look at me. Why? Were you as disgusted by my looks as the rest of the school?”

Abby clenches her teeth as Richard continues.

“When you saw me at dinner that night, I knew you didn’t recognize me. After all, it’s been 20-some-odd years. It gave me the greatest shrill to see you stare at me for a whole 5 minutes at dinner. You had never stared at me that long, ever.”

“That’s because I was trying remember when I had seen you before.” Abby snaps.

“Still, that’s the longest you’ve ever looked at me.” He clicks his tongue, “It’s too bad you discovered my secret so soon. I was hoping everything would be normal for a little while longer before…”

“Normal? You call this normal? I saw what you did to this people in that room. You’re a murderer, a god damn murderer.”

Richard takes a step back, a hurt expression on his face. “Murderer? That’s a little cold, isn’t it? What I did to them, is merely a process of preservation. I want my friends to last forever, don’t you?”

Theme: The Mystery of the Millionaire Mansion

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