Introduction to Number 13
“Number 13” is the third and final chapter in my three part thriller ‘Like’ This Page. A challenge has been issued to other members of The Creative Exiles (in our Newsletter) to attempt to write a final chapter for this story, but I thought it only fair that I write my own final chapter, rather than be tempted to borrow ideas from anyone else. So, that being said, I hope you enjoy..or at least find interesting: “Number 13.”
When I looked at the number on the card old superstitions kicked in. It felt ominous to have received the number 13, but those reservations were probably all in my mind and I tried to put them aside … at least for now.
The “dreadicipated” night arrived, and once again I dressed as I would to attend a football game. I kissed my wife and kids goodbye and told them I loved them. They looked at me a little puzzled, as though I was going slightly mad, but managed to say, “Love you back,” which is the usual response in our house.
My mind hadn’t stopped since attending the previous “showing” and I tried to anticipate what might happen this time – should I take the car or should I not? What would happen to our only car if I didn’t return home. How would my family cope without a husband and father etc? At least I had finalised my will.
I was probably just being silly, but I decided to catch a cab anyway.
The address had actually been changed for this showing and the location was actually closer to where I lived. My instructions said to arrive at 8:15pm and, from what I assumed, was dependent on the number you were allocated.
On arrival I paid the taxi driver and stepped out in front of an ancient church. A handful of people were gathered in a courtyard below an impressive bell tower. Guessing the same system of entry would ensue as last time I confirmed that a number was displayed next to the door. It was already showing number 9 so I wouldn’t have long to wait my entry, or should I say…fate?
More people arrived spasmodically over the next twenty minutes as I waited for my number to show. When the number 13 did appear I felt a shiver of fear or anticipation run down my spine. Once again the door seemed to anticipate my approach and automatically opened for me to enter.
As expected, a hand gripped my shoulder and I was directed through the dark passage, but this time as I was pushed through the curtain some vile smelling cloth was forced over my nose and mouth, and my few feeble struggles were pointless as all awareness left me and I slumped into unconsciousness.
When I started to come to I tried to move my arms but found they had been strapped to something hard. I had no idea how much time had passed, and the bright lights temporarily blinded any attempts to focus on my surroundings.
What I could make out was that I was naked from the waist up, and soon felt hands fumbling to undo my belt. I tried to kick my legs to stop my jeans being removed but my ankles were gripped firmly as I was stripped completely. Adding to my embarrassment I found that I was also becoming aroused by what should have been a terrifying situation, and I could hear muffled comments and laughter coming from my captors.
Suddenly, my legs were roughly thrust together and firmly secured to the same hard surface as my wrists had been earlier. I could only move my head and neck and tossed it from side to side (now my eyes had adjusted to the light) in an attempt to see what was happening. Lying prone, I found myself being lifted horizontally into the air and I saw black hooded figures on each side of me as I was carried to the stage. I heard the audience gasp in awe or surprise but could see little as the stage was brightly lit but the seating in semi- darkness.
Soon I was being hoisted vertically and it began to dawn on me what I was attached to and the form of torture that awaited me. It was a wooden cross, and I was to be crucified like the messiah!
The sturdy cross was secured to a stand already fixed to the floor of the stage, and I gave my best attempt at a struggle as I was placed on display in all my nakedness for the audience to view. Footstools were placed on each side of me and I began to panic as the two black figures climbed them, bearing hammers and nails. The crowd preempted what was about to happen and their cries of anguish headed my own screams as my hands were nailed to the wooden cross beam.
The pain was excruciating, but even more so when the bindings holding my wrists were cut causing all my weight to be born by my nailed palms. Each leg was bent slightly and I tried to straighten them and push upwards to relieve the pain in my hands. This, however was short-lived as my tormentors descended and began to hammer even longer nails through my feet … I passed out from the pain.
I awoke in a private hospital room. My wife was holding my bandaged hand with a relieved look on her face. “Where’re the kids?’ I asked.
“They’re here,” she said smiling and pointing across the room. My son and daughter stood up and came over to my bedside. I was glad to be alive!
The police waited for me to regain consciousness and for me to spend time with my family before interviewing me. After all it was only a formality. They had witness the event and all evidence was clear.
Their attention had been drawn to the offending “Facebook” page by a tip-off some time ago, and they had their Cyber-crime squad monitoring it. Two police officers had gone undercover, ‘liking’ the page and expressing interest in attending a “showing.” Like me, and the others, they had received invitations and numbers in the mail, fortunately to attend the very viewing where I had been selected as the victim.
They needed to procure enough evidence by witnessing an actual torture, and it just happened to be mine. They had called for back-up, and waited until my feet were nailed to the cross and I passed out before they struck, storming the stage and arresting the perpetrators.
In coming days the media went crazy with the story and it was reported that at least ten missing persons were thought to have been tortured and killed under the guise of ‘performance art,” by this ‘unnamed” group. A police spokesman revealed the number of victims may be higher as there was no way of telling if all had been reported missing.
They also released a statement saying an abandoned cemetery had been found on the church grounds and some of the old graves appeared to have been recently disturbed. These were in the process of being excavated in the hope of finding the bodies of those recently executed.
Currently, I am still undergoing therapy as a result of my ordeal, and for responding to the request to simply: ‘like’ this page.
… meanwhile, somewhere in Japan, 32 year old Yoshi Makoto withdrew a strange black envelope from his letter box. It was just one of many delivered that same day.
After a lot of procrastinating I have finally self-published my first eBooks of poetry "I Laughed a Smile" and "On the Wings of Eagles" at Lulu.com.Now I find myself branching out and experimenting with short fiction.
I have also been fortunate to have two poems chosen to be made into songs and recorded. The first "On the Road to Kingdom Come" by Al Wordlaw, and the second, "If I Could Write a Love Poem" by award-winning Israeli/British singer Tally Koren.
I am also finding my services increasingly in demand as a freelance writer and I have ghost-written the text for a number of children's books and educational tutorials.
It has taken me many years of searching and restlessness to realise that my life's passion is to write. It saddens me that I wasted so many years not devoting to that, but thinking positively, the experiences gained over those years is now wonderful material for my stories and poems.
I want to try to bring a new focus on poetry and try to make it appealing to a new generation of young people and those who thought they never liked or understood it before.