Page 1 of 1

"Freedom for the Taking" - Your Story 56 Finalist

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:26 pm
by TiffanyLuckey
Freedom for the Taking

“If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it.”

Juan considered this proposition with dumb cow eyes, breathing heavily through his mouth. They’d broken his nose, of course, but right now the worst torture was the blood slowly dripping down his chin from his busted lip. After all they’d done, cuffing his hands behind his back so he couldn’t wipe that away was the worst.

The man asking him sat behind a shiny metal table, hands folded, head cocked in a posture of polite attentiveness. Behind his large glasses, his eyes apparently couldn’t see Juan’s torn and bloody clothes, or his torn and bloody skin. He had a slowly balding head and a three-piece suit that didn’t quite fit his angles. Like this room, the man was clean.

There was an incredibly fat woman to the man’s right, all curves swathed in countless yards of pink silk that did nothing to help her figure. Her eyes sparkled from their twin caves in her fleshy face. She had her hands clasped over her dome of stomach, and Juan couldn’t shake the feeling that she should be girlishly swinging her feet. She might be offered to him in exchange for something minor. Juan wondered vaguely which transmittable disease she had.

The third person at the table, the little man, was nearly as large as the woman, dressed in all black and most likely nearly solid muscle. Juan let his wide, blank eyes travel over this man as well, without reacting to the barely hidden weaponry. Funny, really. Although this man was clearly armed—and could probably kill him 17 ways with his bare hands before his heart rate rose—the man in the suit was the one to fear.

“Señor Perez?” If anything, behind the large glasses the man looked concerned, as if Juan might be coming down with a touch of the flu. “I made you a proposition. If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it.”

Despite the days of torture and isolation, Juan’s mind still functioned. His thoughts whirled through possibilities, dismissing them just as quickly. If it was the handcuff key, he would still be stuck in this compound, at the mercy of these three on the other side of the table. Same with any other key—there were too many barriers to escape for a single key to be helpful. Maybe it was a gun, which would be difficult to handle, considering his current feathered state. A pardon for the cousin and right hand of the leader of the revolution? Unlikely. Juan had to fight back a smile when that popped into his head. Even if he covered it up with a cough, the big man would know. And remember it for later.

Money would be useless unless he got out, as would a blank check. There really wasn’t much that could fit into a pocket in that suit without making a bulge against the skeletal frame beneath it.

The little man smiled, showing even, slightly yellow teeth. “Don’t you like to play games, Juan? Or is that only at the expense of your country’s freedom?”

He was poking, looking for a sore spot, something to put a spark back in Juan’s eyes. Something to rile him. Juan remained silent, though his legs ached from kneeling and he wondered if his shoulder would dislocate again if kept in this position long enough.

At a glance from the smaller man, the meat mountain got smoothly to his feet and approached Juan, apparently empty hands coming up with the handcuff key and releasing him. The man took a step back, toward the door, but remained standing and at the ready, just in case. Juan let his arms fall to his sides and couldn’t hide the wince of pain. He thought the large man was smiling.

”Freedom,” the smaller man mused slowly, almost to himself. The woman’s small eyes were fixed on Juan’s face as she licked her tiny lips. ”Strange how we can only define it against capture. You think freedom is out there, for the taking. You’re just as stupid as your cousin was.”

Was. Past tense. Juan’s head didn’t snap up, but he nearly felt his ears swivel.

”Guess, Juan. This is your last chance.”

He didn’t know. He couldn’t guess. And, when the man in the suit removed his cousin’s beloved St. Christopher medal from his pocket, Juan could no longer be still.