The Fear

Another short story by Beirut Beat…

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

Came the noise from the phone that sits before me. Has it been hours, or days or months since it began? Four hard walls, a desk and nothing more in this dungeon, it has been decided that I can do without even a chair. The Chief prefers me to stand.

 

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

As it calls I grip the pencil with which I am to record my orders, yet the page in my book contains not a word. For I fear what the voice on the line will ask for, and though I beg only for silence, I cannot reach for that phone.


‘Ring ring, ring ring’

Beads of sweat stain the page like tears on a love letter. The heat from the next room where great fires do burn. And inside men in blue uniforms are busy with actions. Red stains mark their clothing as they work with sharp knives.

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

From the corner of the room a camera is recording. For my safety, they told me when I first walked through that door. Someone is watching, on a screen or computer, as I pace round in circles, leaving trails on the floor.

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

 I try to remember a time before all this torture, but somehow my memory has washed into a blur. There is nothing in my mind but this constant bell ringing, and the faint smell of burning that seeps in from the next room.

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

Now the handle on the door is twisting and turning, and I know he is coming, for I have been bad. As it swings open the door brings with it illumination, not daylight but strip lights that blind my tired eyes.

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

Standing before me, and as angry as I predicted, The Chief, his uniform perfect and pristine. His face is like a gravestone that reads my own epitaph, in one hand a bag of money, in the other some keys. We stare at each, for seconds or hours, until silence is broken by the sound of a phone.

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

I do not dare say a word, for I know what is coming. He wants me to do it, but without being asked. Perhaps if I refuse, he will put me out of my misery. But he wants me, no, needs me to sit in this room. With a sigh and a smile he whispers with venom. ‘Answer. The. Phone.’

 

Ring ring, ring ring’

 My quivering fingers slide onto the receiver, slippery with sweat and fear and despair. The terrible process is about to begin again. But there is still a chance for it to wail one last time.

 


‘Ring ring, ring ri…’

With a deep breath I am ready to take down instructions. But first, there is something I am required to say. I close both my eyes and my lips begin moving. Down on both knees I silently pray.

Hello, Dominoes Pizza. Can I take your order?’

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