(From the Dystopia series of stories)
The man at the window stared calmly at the passing clouds against the blue sky, “Do you think there will be clouds in Hell?” he asked.
His captive, a man tied to the table, began to pull against the ropes attaching his arms and legs to its corners. He let out some muffled comments through the strap covering his mouth.
The man turned and looked at him for a moment and then turned back to the window.
“Really Hector,” he sighed, “it was a rhetorical question. I was just considering that both of us are hell bound. It would be nice if there could still be clouds. The ones today are wonderful.”
The man began to walk towards Hector, his long leather duster skirting the floor as he moved. He knelt down near Hectors ear.
“Don’t worry,” he whispered, “when I’m done I’ll take your head over to the window and show you the clouds. Maybe just your eyes actually, the whole head seems like a lot of work.”
As Hector began to kick and struggle again against the ropes the man moved towards a wooden chair in the center of the room. The sound of his boots echoed in the silence. There was nothing else in the building except what was in this room. There wasn’t even another living soul for miles around. This abandoned apartment building was just like countless other places all over the valley. That was why the man picked this place to bring his prey. That was also why Hector knew this place so well.
The man began to remove his coat, draping it over the chair. He pulled off his hat, his gas mask which had hung around his neck, and set them on the seat. He pulled on a pair of stained leather gloves.
“Before, when the world still was a place with many people, with hope and a society that still functioned, people like you didn’t get the treatment that they deserved,” he said. “You were treated better. It was that kind of shit that let things get to the point that they did. And when the collapse happened, all sorts of opportunistic predators began to appear.”
He stepped to a small covered rolling cart and continued, “I believe that the punishment should fit the crime. Your crime, Hector, is the destruction of innocence.”
Removing the sheet and dropping it on the filthy linoleum floor he revealed an assortment of knives, thread, and sewing needles. As he pushed the cart towards the table the lone overhead light danced over the glinting surfaces of the blades.
Positioning the cart within arm’s reach of the table he rolled up his long black sleeves, revealing burn scars which encompassed his forearms. Making his way to the head of the table he placed his hands at Hectors shoulders and looked down.
Hector could see the cold stare of the man’s black eyes. His face was marked with the soft lines of age around the eyes and mouth. About two days of stubble filled his cheeks which was speckled with grey. His hair was short and greasy looking.
“I am Alexander House. I’m part of an order. We scours the small pockets of humanity left in this world. We do this for the benefit of mankind. We go anywhere that children or women disappear. One is sent, one watches, and I watched. I found you. I watched the aftermath of what you did to the Turnbull child.”
Alexander turned and spit in disgust, “I watched you stalk the Forsythe children. When you moved in, so did I. Hector Diaz, you have violated hope. You have destroyed innocence in a world that needs it so very much. I am willing to remain hell bound to deliver you there first. I want you to know that your suffering will be exquisite. It will be long. When I finally allow you to die I am going to skin you and hang your remains at the entrance to this building. You defiled this place, and you will serve as a warning to anyone wanting to use it for such depraved acts.”
Hector began to let out muffled shrieks, thrashing against his bonds. Alexander responded by striking him, hammering his fist into his face and crushing his nose.
Grabbing the sides of his head Alexander leaned down and whispered one last thing into Hectors ear.
“This is going to get messy,” he said.