Quiet Intensity – A hellish short story (and personal homage to my first favorite ‘adult’ author when I was in 5th grade, Dean Koontz)

If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair, you’re fooling yourself. That’s like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat him.

If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair, you’re fooling yourself. That’s like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat him.
– Unknown

There was a loud buzzing in her ear and she felt shaky, as if she had been spinning with a blindfold on, but there was no party. The voices seemed far away but gradually became louder, along with the intensity of the light. Her heart dropped when she realized Eben was not by her side. Where was Eben? She frantically tried to stand and immediately fell over, her feet were tied to something. She felt wetness on her face and a lump on her temple. Looking down at her feet, she only had one flip-flop on. Her toes covered in dirt and blood, skin raw and red, she had obviously been dragged across pavement. The man that approached her was calm, much older; he could have been her father. She stared quietly meeting the intensity in his eyes. He asked her if she knew why she was there and she scanned the room quickly trying to resist the urge to bolt. They were in a basement, no windows, with concrete walls and floors, screaming didn’t seem to make sense. There were three other gentlemen and another woman in the far corner, not paying much attention to the conversation. She shook her head and out of the corner of her eye she saw him, his little 8 year old body leaning limp on a piece of plywood propped on the wall, shackled by one arm above his head. He was alive, she could feel it. She had to tell herself he was alive, even if he wasn’t, to stay sane. As the man began to speak in his thick Irish accent she tried her hardest to make sense of his directions, Pick up, stay two nights until the exchange, something about her son, wait, what? He was walking backwards away from her towards Eben. He grabbed Eben’s face and slowly lifted his head. She fell to her knees when she saw the bloody swollen mess. What has she done, what did they do? She lunged towards them, and the man yelled at her, the quiet intensity gave way to frantic gasping and clawing as she tried to escape the hands that had quickly found their way around her neck. She stopped fighting and he told her if she tried to escape again, they would break his other arm. Eben’s unshackled arm lay limp by his side. She sank down to the cold floor in defeat. She had found hell.

…I struggled to share this piece. If we are what we create, should I be worried

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