“So, what will it be?” asked the hooded man. “Heads or tails? It’s as simple as it gets you know, one choice or the other.”
He sighed, the indecision of his interlocutor was starting to bore him, he wanted to get to the interesting part. It was always like that : the incomprehension, the attempt to resist, the resignation and then the indecision. Always so long and uneventful. Of course he tried to add some action by pressuring them a bit but it was always too long. What he wanted was the thrill that came after the decision, when the game started. The powerful feeling of control he had over everything, the idea that he was deciding, not that other idiot who couldn’t even do things right. At least he was good at what he was doing! The woman sitting on the chair before him sobbed a little and looked at him pleadingly.
“Come on, you have to choose or else we’re going to spend the night here !” He exclaimed. She shivered and sobbed even more, pleading for help.
“He won’t come you know.” said the hooded man in a calm and determined voice. “He won’t do anything to help you, he never comes. Whatever you may ask him, whatever you may pray for it won’t happen. He simply sits back and watches, that selfless bastard! The choicer is your and yours only, you decide for yourself and I carry out, that’s all.”
“I… Please, why ?” She asked, tears running down her cheeks as she shot him a pleading look.
“Because I decided so and no one is here to stop me…” He answered simply with a smile.
He looked at the woman again, she was a brunette in her early thirties, quite pretty. Even through her ruined makeup one could see she was a beautiful and cultivated woman, her deep blue eyes gleamed with intelligence and, more recently, with fear. He had seen her leaving the mall a few days ago and had followed her to see where she lived. He had made sure no one would follow them, that they would be left alone. He prefered when they were alone, being interrupter was never as pleasant. Then at night he had striked : he had waited for her to come back from work and had surprised her as she was opening her front door. The gun he had kept hidden in his pocket had proven useful, as always, and she had cooperated without complaining too much. Obedience, definitely a good trait, he thought.
He had then convinced her to carefully lock all doors and to help him prepare a good meal. They had eaten quietly and peacefully. He liked those moments, like the calm before a big storm. He had kept his gun at hand’s reach at all time of course but he had managed to discuss a bit without her sobbing all the time. He hands hadn’t stopped trembling, sometimes knocking her flatware against the dish, but that did bother him nearly as much as sobbing. He had learned that her name was Julie, that she had no husband, no kids, but that she wanted some. She had been living there for four years now and that she worked as an accountant for a law firm. He enjoyed learning all these details about them, understanding the person before playing was not important of course, but he had developed a habit of trying to guess what their choice would be. And he was quite proud to say he had become a lot better lately. He looked at his watch.
“I’ll give you one more minute to make your choice Julie, then if you haven’t chosen I will simply play myself. Which do you trust most? Your choice or mine?”
“Wha- what does it matter? You’re going to shoot me anyways…” She managed to say in-between her sobs.
“But you might get lucky. True I have the gun in my hand right now but I am not the one who decides who wins and who loses. Now choose Julie, please.” He added softly, pulling back a loose strand of hair that fell on her face for her, which she couldn’t do since her arms were bound to the chair. He also tilted her head up so that she would look at him. Their eyes locked and once again he marveled at the pure color of her orbs. She took a deep breath to calm herself a best as she could, building up the courage to answer him.
“You are mad, completely mad Saul.” He smiled as he heard his name, he liked the soft sound of it through her lips. “I- I can’t understand the purpose of- of doing this… I can’t understand… Only a madman would do such a thing…” Her voice was now a whisper. “But…” She added, speaking up again. “I believe in life and I will prove to you that you don’t have merely as much power over people as you think…” She paused to glare at him and let the words sink in. “I-” She hesitated a second. “I choose tails.” Her voice was determined and fierce as she finally gave him the answer he had been longing for.
“Very well Julie…” He said as he stood up from the ragged wooden chair. He checked the gun, making sure it was loaded and placed it on the chair. He then took a coin out of his pocket and put it in his palm. “This is a one dollar coin. You chose tails so I will take heads. You know the rules I presume… So! Let’s get on with it!” He added, now barely containing his excitement. His hands were trembling from the anticipation as he set the coin on the tip of his thumb. He looked once again at the woman before him, she had not closed her eyes as most of the others had done, she was looking straight at him, her eyes storming with so many emotions.
“Let’s play a simple game, shall we?” He whispered just before launching the coin in the air.
Both of them followed it as it spun upwards incredibly fast. It all played like in the movies, in some sort of slow motion, as if life itself had slowed down for this single instant. The coin slowly went up and reached its peak altitude. It stayed there for what seemed to be an eternity before finally starting to come back down. Saul could see every rotation as clearly as day, his blood was boiling with excitement and his head was buzzing with thoughts. His body surged with adrenaline and he felt alive, so alive. This is what he was waiting for, this feeling of existence and freedom. Freedom from everything. As the coin reached the palm of his right hand he flipped it on the back of his left hand, keeping it hidden. He looked at the woman for a moment before slowly unveiling the result of the game. He cherished the emotions that crossed their faces when they saw the result. Astonishment, fear, sadness and anger all at the same time. He looked down at the coin and a small smile spread on his face. He put the coin back in his pocket and calmly walked back to the gun. He took it, checking one more time that it was loaded and walked back to the other chair.
He looked at Julie. She was looking at him and he could read every emotion running wild in her mind but he also found something new, something rare, that he had not often seen in the others : determination. She was silently saying : “Go on, throw at me what you want, I’m ready !”. Their eyes were locked as he lifted the gun up, both of them determined not to look away. His smile was still spread on his face and in that instant he was filled with a feeling that felt strange to him, a feeling he hadn’t experienced in a long time : happiness. Quite happy indeed, he thought.
“Goodbye Julie.” He said softly as he pointed the gun. He then looked up and added “Now it’s your turn…”.
A gunshot reverberated in the house and throughout the calm neighbourhood before fading into the calm night. When the police arrived they were able to confirm this was the thirteenth and last victim of the “Coin killer”, but even after all those deaths, they were still unable to explain his motive.
I hope you enjoyed!
This is a short story I wrote for a daily post (that one : http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/daily-prompt-game/) a few years back, and that I had completely forgotten until I found it again today. I didn’t even remember writing this until I re-read it.
I modified it a little, re-writing some parts that weren’t so good or that had mistakes in them and I can say I’m quite proud of what I had written last time and what I did with it this time.
It’s a fun text to read, even to me, the one who wrote it.