Unhinged

Wednesday is upon us so without further ado here is Unhinged. Hope you like it!

The bank is locked tight. Not because the working day has come to an end though. In fact, the sun is hours away from reaching its zenith. Instead, the bank is locked for a very different reason.

Inside Jeremy Myers puts a bullet from the nine millimetre pistol in his right hand into the back of the head of the last remaining member of the crew of fellow accomplices. He hasn’t done it because the man, whose head is covered by a black ski mask, has betrayed or even angered him. He’s done it because it was all part of the plan from the start. His plan. He never would have told the other five members of his crew that. Doing such a thing would have spelled certain disaster. Jeremy might be crazy, but he sure as hell isn’t stupid and cackles crazily while watching the thick dark crimson puddle spread around the lifeless corpse he has just executed.

The fellow criminal never saw it coming and even if he had he would have been unable to avoid his own death seeing as Jeremy is armed with a pump action shotgun as well. It’s fully loaded and ready to dispatch anyone foolhardy enough to try and take him on. But with his ‘crew’ dead, along with the banks two security guards, he doubts he’ll be met with much resistance.

He leaves the confines of the vault room. He isn’t interested in the monetary contents that it holds and only used the lure of easy money to get the five now dead men to join him on this ‘robbery.’

The vault room is plain, apart from the large metal door recessed into the far wall, by the side of which is a keypad and a scanner. Jeremy doesn’t know if the scanner is for the managers’ eye or palm and doesn’t much care. That isn’t his concern here. Still as he returns to the back office of the bank, which is sealed up nice and tight, he hears the screams of the nearly thirty hostages.

They’re all already bound with plastic zip ties, which are painfully digging into their skin as they fidget. He knows they’re not trying to escape, but if any of them were they would be met by a swift shot to the gut. He doesn’t care how many of them die, or the threats the cops will undoubtedly make to try and weed him off the idea of executing hostages. The authorities don’t know who they are dealing with. If they did their response would likely be very different. But that’s their problem, Jeremy thinks as he stares at his captives, who are all still snivelling and weeping like pathetic little lambs aware that they’re being led to the slaughter.

Jeremy doesn’t know if actual lambs know when they are being marched to their doom, but he expects they do. Animals aren’t as dim-witted as people like to make out. They just say they are to make themselves feel smarter and more important than they actually are.

He wonders if these people realise how important they are at this very moment. He doubts it. Instead they’re likely praying to their Gods or pleading for their lives. He isn’t listening to their words, but he is sick of hearing their moans.

“Quiet!” Jeremy roars as loud as his voice will allow. It surprises him just how vocal he can be when it matters.

The walls of the back office are thick concrete that have been lined with skimming paper and then covered in thick layers of cream coloured paint. To his eye the craftsmanship seems sloppy, but he doubts those around him would notice unless it was pointed out to them. Few people ever realise the substandard nature with which jobs have been completed. It isn’t an affliction that Jeremy suffers. Everything he does he does with pride and care.

A wide sick smile is torn across his thin pale lips which would otherwise be twisted into a permanent sneer. While his over large eyes flash between the restrained hostages before him. Their eyes, unlike his, are filled with fear and unsurprisingly a healthy dose of loathing. He can taste it in the air as he inhales it. He loves the taste and throws his head back in response. His swept back excessively bleached hair almost white in colour as he licks his lips and then suddenly drops his head and stares maddeningly at his audience. Each has a bomb strapped to their chest, but they can’t detonate them with a false move. That would have been a terrible waste. Hostages can, and should, never be trusted to keep themselves still. The idea that they will is a fallacy of fiction and one which he finds to be both abhorrent and idiotic.

The rest of the back office space is lined with boring desks topped with all-in-one computers. Jeremy doesn’t care to note the make as he sees little point. The machines serve him no purpose, much like the chairs which were unceremoniously tossed when the rest of his crew had entered. They had been the ones to round up and secure the hostages. They’d even asked, in the typical clichéd manner, which one of them was the manager of the branch. They never got an answer and Jeremy didn’t press it. The crew had wondered why, but he’d given them some excuse about the manager having been canned from his position and a replacement not yet being in place. His fellow conspirators had bought the comical excuse. Not that they lasted much longer as soon after he’d began executing them. Only the last died from a bullet wound to his cranium. The others had met grizzlier fates that saw sharp implements jabbed into their eyes, ears or throats. Each had met a vaguely different, yet inventive end, which had brought Jeremy a great deal of satisfaction.

“What do you want?” Someone asks. Jeremy doesn’t care who. All the faces look the same to him no matter their race or gender.

“Want? Who says I want anything?” Jeremy replies with a terrifying chuckle that erupts from his thin mouth above which sits a long narrow moustache. The height of which is barely more than that of the lead of a pencil.

“That’s why you’re here, surely!” Another of the hostages exclaims. This time it’s a woman. The first had been a man. Both are dressed in suits. In fact, most of the people who are being held hostage are in suits. But less than half of them are bank employees. Not that it matters as they are all wearing the same panicked looks on their faces as they wonder what will happen next.

“Oh, surely.” Jeremy says before erupting into maniacal laughter that sees him throw his head back and gives a proper look at the charcoal coloured suit that he is wearing over a salmon pink coloured shirt and white tie. The outfit doesn’t match. In fact, it looks like Jeremy got dressed in the dark to the hostages. The reality is he didn’t.

“So why are we here then?” A third hostage, a male, asks with a stammer.

“So I can tell you a story.” Jeremy replies with a wide smile that doesn’t quite remove the sneer that is the result of the scarring to his left cheek.

The wounds, though healed, look painful. They aren’t self inflicted but they are deep, jagged and messy. It makes each and every one of the hostages wonder how the man armed with the pump action shotgun got them. Was it the result of a fight? Or some family tussle? They don’t know and they aren’t sure they want to find out.

“You want to tell us a story?” Someone asks with a confused and wary tone.

“Of course. I bet you all like stories. And I think you’ll enjoy this one.” Jeremy continues his head swaying from right to left and then back the other way again. It’s an eerie movement but for some reason none of the hostages can bring themselves to look away.

“What about your…friends?” An older sour faced looking woman asks choosing her words carefully.

“Oh them. You don’t need to worry about them. They won’t be bothering us. We’ll have plenty of alone time.” Jeremy says with a frantic wave of his left hand. His right remaining on the grip of the shotgun, while his index finger makes sure to stay close to the trigger.

Jeremy doesn’t like guns. But they have a time and place. And this is certainly that time and place. He would never be able to keep this audience in line otherwise and that, in his mind, would be tragic.

“Anyway, back to the main event. The story. You all want to hear the story right?” Jeremy queries as his tongue laps at his bottom lip absentmindedly.

But Jeremy is met with nothing but um’s, uh’s, silent pauses and blank stares. He isn’t impressed with the audience’s lack of participation, but that’ll change before long.

“It’s ok. It’s not a long story. It’s about my how my parents met and all that fluff. I think you’ll like it.” Jeremy states before adding, “Mostly, anyway.”

At that point he chuckles crazily, flashing his overly whitened teeth for all the hostages to see. But still he is met with silence and that irks him.

“Fine. Be like that. But I’m going to tell you like it or not. After all, it’s not like you’ve got anywhere to go.” Jeremy cackles.

“And seeing as there are no objections…there’s no time like the present. So let’s start with a poem.” Jeremy concludes. He doesn’t care if the hostages want to hear what he has to say. They’re here and they will listen. That’s why his face darkens as his long pointed nose drops to cut his wide evil smile in half in the moments before he clears his throat to begin.

“I wasn’t a wanted child. At least that would have been my mother’s cry.” Jeremy begins with a flourish of his hands. The shotgun now hangs off his shoulder because of the strap attached to either end of its length. But the hostages haven’t noticed. Instead they stare at Jeremy almost feeling sorry for him.

“My father was a special brute. He saw my mother and pulled her root.” The captor continues pleased with his little rhyme.

“Abduction was the greatest key. He kept her on the bed you see.” The hostages hearing this line gulp. They aren’t sure where this poem is going, but something tells them that it is about to get far darker than even this section alludes to.

“Her first escape saw shattered legs. But still she dared to try again.” The hostages’ eyes go wide as it becomes clear what their captor is detailing.

“Crawling for the front door. Dear dad stopped her forever more.” The hostages wince in response to these words, while Jeremy chuckles a little. He knows he has his audience in the palm of his hand. They can’t get enough. They’re invested now and that’s before the best part has come. Oh how clever I am, he thinks before he carries on.

“Snapped her arms like little twigs. After that she wallowed like a pig.” The hostages cry and squirm as Jeremy recites the line gleefully. It is clear he is pleased with how his mother was treated. It’s proof that he is a sick man. If only they knew the truth of it, but they soon will and when they do they’ll wish they didn’t.

“Before long I came shooting out. Ending her life with a shout.” Jeremy giggles in a manner which would usually be reserved for an excited schoolgirl.

“So dad buried her in the yard. Missing people can be so hard.” Jeremy concludes before roaring, “Hahahahahahahaaaaaaa.”

The man, the crazed lunatic that the hostages are now sure that he is, can’t control himself as his laugh continues to echo and roar. It seems as though it will never end. Then suddenly it does. The smile disappears from his face and is replaced in an instant by an expression of madness. His eyes burn with violence, yet so far he has shown none. The hostages don’t understand this man, and he doubts they understand him. Neither is necessary. He knows that, but he doesn’t know if they, his audience, do.

“Why are you telling us this?” A big guy asks calmly. He has fear in his eyes, but unlike many of the hostages he is managing, so far, to keep his emotions in check. Some of those around him though feel and look sick. They have pale faces and they keep their eyes averted from their captor. They are sure they’d be better off with the rest of this crazy man’s accomplices. Though some wonder why they haven’t heard anything. They would have expected drilling sounds and voices, but they’ve heard nothing. Does it mean anything? None of them can be sure, but now they have noticed it they can’t shake the concern it makes them feel.

“Because I can.” Jeremy replies simply as he stretches his arms wide showing how proud he is of his own actions.

“Now. Would you like to know how I got these scars?” Jeremy asks after a short pause during which silence hangs in the hair.

The pause was for affect and Jeremy is sure that it has indeed had that desired effect that he hoped for. That’s why he can barely keep a straight face as he suppresses a smile, as well as a hearty chuckle.

“No? Well tough. You’re going to hear it whether you like it or not.” Jeremy answers following a delay in which no one gave him the answer that any good audience should, yes. Ungrateful, the lot of them, he thinks as he tugs on the lapels of his jacket and cocks his head left and then right. His vertebrae crack audibly once and then a second time with the cocking of his head. It feels good to get the kinks out, he thinks to himself as a smug look slides across his face in preparation of this new recital.

“I call this…the story of the scars. Catchy title, don’t you think?” Jeremy begins but gives no pause for the captives to answer as he launches straight into the tale. But as he does he recalls now that he never gave the title that he previously recanted. That darkens his mood, momentarily. He should have made sure to inform them that its title was: Poem of Birth. But it matters little now. He has missed his opportunity.

“Jeremy had been a troubled child. He’d killed birds with toxic pesticides. Gutted cats on summer days. And tortured dogs for many days.” The captives were already sickened by this latest story, which is again being recanted as though it is some sort of brilliant fabrication of poetry. It isn’t, but none of them are going to tell the man, who they now know is called Jeremy, that.

“Daddy didn’t really care. In fact he was proud to have him there. Learning how to torture souls. Hoping that his skills would soon evolve.” Jeremy reels off proudly, his left hand extended as though he is reciting lines on par with those that were written by Shakespeare.

“Then came the first death of man. A young girl without a better plan. Desperate and needing cash. Soon her throat ended up slashed.” Jeremy laughs for a few seconds with his overly white teeth on show. He made a slashing motion across his throat as he gave the girls fate, his lips pulled back strangely.

“Prison called a few years later. With the discovery of filthy scraps of paper. They accused of crimes committed. But he would soon be acquitted.” Jeremy alluding to how it is that he is stood before his ‘audience’ now.

“Even so he butchered convicts for fun. No one dared to say a thing. So when the judgement was overturned. Out the gates he did worm.” The hostages are quaking where they sit on the hard polished tiled white floor that has grey shining specks dotted about randomly. They don’t know how this story is going to end, but it makes them all fear for their lives more than they already did. Before it was clear that Jeremy was crazy, but now it seems he is looking at crazy in the rear-view mirror having passed it by several miles.

“But not before a foolish mate. Tried to teach him a life lesson late. He took a razor to Jeremy’s cheek. A reminder of which we often speak.” Jeremy projects loudly, pointing to his cheek when its honourable mention came. The captives have to admit that Jeremy seems to have forgotten the point of the story was to inform them of how it happened. Instead, he seems to have informed them of the events that led up to it, but not the actual details of why it occurred.

“So now you know the true story. Of what happened to the face of Jeremy. A sad tale it’s really not. Cause now I’m here with you lot.” Jeremy concludes before smiling disgustingly. It’s a look that makes all the hostages fidget in response. They are sure he is going to kill them, like he must have killed his accomplices. They don’t know that for sure, but they don’t see how they can be wrong, unless right now one or all of them appear alive and well.

The hostages wait but no other criminals appear to quell their fears, which means, as they had come to suspect, Jeremy has almost certainly killed them. But still they don’t know what the purpose of all this is. Though, none of them dare to ask now. They had believed this was a simple robbery, now they have no idea what they are faced with, other than maybe the craziest person ever to have walked the Earth.

At that moment a phone rings. Its rings is deafening to the captives who had become accustomed to the silence following Jeremy’s harrowing ‘stories.’

But the captor himself simply rolls his eyes at the onset of the ringing tone. It’s a boring drone, he decides, but he had been expecting it.

Jeremy reaches for the phone, but he doesn’t pick up the receiver, instead he thumbs the button for loud speaker as soon as he answers it.

He wants his audience to hear the conversation. He has no secrets to keep from them. What would be the point? They have seen his face, which is pretty distinctive because of the scarring. Plus he’s told them his past, as well as his first name. Those aren’t deal breakers, but they will help. That’s why it’s probably just as well that Jeremy’s dear old dad is dead. Jeremy killed him when he’d gotten old, weak, forgetful and overly talkative with any tom, dick or harry that he came across. It had been a swift death, but not one that had entertained Jeremy. Poison rarely gave him the same pleasure. It was too hands off for his liking, but any other manor would have drawn attention and attention may have led to him being investigated. He didn’t want that as he’d made sure to keep everything perfect and devoid of evidence.

“Line one. How can I help you?” Jeremy says suppressing a chuckle as he answers the call.

“I take it I’m speaking to the hostage taker in charge?” The serious sounding male voice on the other end of the phone asks ignoring Jeremy’s attempt at humour.

“That’s me.” Jeremy confirms without a care in the world. His tone is pitched and jovial.

“Ok, good. I’m officer…” The man begins but never manages to finish.

“Oh stop being so boring. This is supposed to be fun. So how ‘bout we get straight to the good part?” Jeremy interjects before chuckling.

“This isn’t a game.” The officer replies, his voice still as serious as ever.

“Oh but it is. Now ask me the question I know you’re dying to.” Jeremy retorts.

“Huh. What are your demands?” The officer asks already sounding weary from his brief exchange with Jeremy.

“I don’t have any.” Jeremy advises before cackling.

“You don’t have demands! So what is it you want?” The officer asks confused.

“To incite fear!” Jeremy proclaims loudly before he grabs hold of the shotgun hanging limply off his shoulder and fires off a shell.

The pellets explode out the end of barrel and cross the short distance to their target before shredding the young man’s clothes and chest.

Jeremy laughs like a lunatic as hostages scream and cry in shock at the act. Most try and shuffle away from the mortally wounded man as he begins to choke on the blood that it filling his torn lungs.

A few try and move toward the dying man in hopes of somehow helping him, but as they do so Jeremy fires again. The second shells pellets claim another life as they explode the head of a once pretty young woman. The sprays of blood, bone shards and brain matter lancing up the wall behind the now headless hostage, staining the surface as the screams continue to roar loudly.

“Holy shit! He’s killing them! He’s killing the hostages!” The officer on the other end of the line bellows to his colleagues around him. But Jeremy and the hostages hear none of the police officers words. They are lost under Jeremy’s uncontrolled maniacal laughter and the various screams and prayers of the captives.

Three more of the hostages die brutally at the hands of Jeremy and his shotgun before the armed police blast the door and large windows of the bank and come storming in with all force they can muster.

Each of the armed officers is clad in body armour, helmets with face shields and full tactical gear. Their assault rifles are gripped tightly in their hands, the barrels of which are raised and ready to fire as soon as they catch sigh of the target.

The armed officers scream and shout for everyone to get down on the ground but as they advance they are met with Jeremy who simply continues to laugh like a crazed lunatic with something in his hand. At first the officers don’t realise what he is holding and simply demand he drops it, but once they do they know they have to end this. Unfortunately for them Jeremy doesn’t give them the chance as he detonates the explosives strapped to the chests of the hostages, living and dead.

The simultaneous near thirty explosions vaporise the hostages and their bodies who never had a chance. While the expanding core of the explosion balloons outward until it reaches the armed officers who having time to react are consumed and obliterated by the blast that sends blood, bone and tattered cloth in all directions.

Then suddenly the epicentre of the explosion vanishes almost faster than it appeared, leaving debris and ruin in its wake. In addition the walls of the building that used to be a bank, have swollen outward due to the force of the blast. The roof of the building barely still attached to the walls as it hangs partially in limbo waiting to collapse. It doesn’t take long before it does. The crash of the roof and its supports slamming to the ground results in all the officers on the street, as well as the civilians who have been watching, to jump backward in surprise. No one had ever thought they would experience what they have today, but in truth they don’t actually know why this happened. That will only be known once the security footage is published for the world to see. It won’t be the networks that publish it, but once it is out in the wild they will cover and replay it countless times from now until the end of time. Jeremy will be infamous, just like he has always wanted to be. His name will go down in history and with any luck will inspire others to do the same. That is what the crazed maniac had wanted all along.

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