Captive Audience

Submitted into Contest #120 in response to: Start your story with the line ‘Back in my day…’... view prompt

10 comments

Crime Fantasy Teens & Young Adult

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Back in my day it was much simpler, people were either alive or dead. When you’re alive, you’re alive and when you’re dead, you’re dead. It’s the Grand Old Duke of York of life and death. Every day is different and nothing stays still but you’d think those two things would remain the same whilst everything evolved around it. My entire life I’ve made a good living from these two facts being set in stone whilst I reaped the rewards. 


These days the world and its residents above and below have evolved to be cockier and more rebellious, thinking they are better than the norm and can do whatever the fuck they like. In my line of work that makes everything much trickier. Thankfully I saw this coming - and as I’ve done in my long career I’ve been ahead of this cheeky curve. Maybe career is a bit too much but it’s definitely a well-paid hobby of mine. Some people’s hobby is selling inspirational tea towels on eBay with “Love Your Dog And Embrace Life” or “Work Laugh Chew” or some such mindless shit plastered over them, and they find there are countless brain-dead morons to lap it up. I kill people, no big deal and best of all most of them deserve it. Problem is nowadays some of my new targets are dead to begin with but we’ll get to that…


I remember my first kill fondly like my first day at school or when I learned to ride a bike. I was at my friend’s tenth birthday party and it was hideous! Every snot nosed kid and pushy parent in a five-mile radius had congregated to this one house to play games and eat too much jelly and pizza. At this point I was just a quiet kid who kept myself to myself and because my mother wanted to gossip with the coven of cackling cows, she dragged me to this party. 


After an hour of eating and joining in with “Pass the Parcel” and making some weird plasticine monsters, the birthday girl’s Dad called everyone into the living room. I’d hoped it was the cake because this meant the party was almost over and we could leave but NO! Waiting for us in the living room was a colourful ball of potbellied smiley energy otherwise known as a children’s entertainer.


For the next ten minutes Mr Slappy bored us to tears with the worst jokes, music and magic you’ve ever seen until one of the kids sitting next to me was sound asleep on the floor. It culminated with a magic trick where he was going to make a rabbit disappear. Lots of “Oohs” and “Ahhs” from the parents who could see this guy needed some moral support as well as possibly AA support.


He took the rabbit out of its cage, showed it to the crowd of bored stiff boys and girls and then put the floppy eared assistant on the table in front of him. He picked up a metal lid, showed it to the crowd in a slow sweeping movement in time to the ridiculous background music and then slammed it down over the little bunny. He said some stupid magic words like “Alakazaam!” picked up the lid and… the bunny was still there. He looked shocked so tried again, showed the lid to the bored and slightly sniggering crowd and slammed it down over the rabbit, said some magic words like “Alakazeem!” picked up the lid and… same thing again, bunny still sat calmly on the table. 


At this point, and I still don’t know why to this day, I laughed and not just a quiet giggle, I flat out belly laughed at this tedious so called entertainer in front of us. After a few seconds of me laughing some of the kids around me joined in until everyone in that room young and old were in tears pointing and slapping their thighs at how crap this magician was. 


Sadly the magician was not impressed and he just stared at me as the room erupted with laughter growing louder and more deafening with every passing second. Eventually the guy with tears in his eyes asked everyone to “Simmer down!” and he said he would try the trick one more time with an assistant. He pointed straight at me. Now I knew this was a bad idea but I reluctantly stood up and clambered my way through the sea of arms and legs to the front.


He took me through the individual steps of the trick which seemed bizarre since he hadn’t made it work yet. Like a person who keeps getting run over showing you how to cross the road safely. Anyway I took some deep breaths as he handed me the magical lid, I stroked the rabbit’s head, said some magic words like “Alakazooo!”, closed my eyes and SLAM! The lid crashed down onto the table over the rabbit.


The crowd had gone deathly quiet, I daren’t open my eyes until I heard some whispering at the back followed by a sea of sniffles which erupted into every kid and adult bursting into tears and then deathly screams. I went to pick up the lid but it was stuck to the table. At this point I opened my eyes to see what was wrong and there in front of me was a kid’s entertainer frozen still staring at the table which was covered in blood seeping from the lid which had embedded in the rabbit’s neck.


My eyes felt like they were going to explode out of my skull, as I stared at the carnage I’d created, but something deep inside looked at the waves of upset and began to feed off it. My Mum was at the back of the room giving me daggers so I stared right back at her making it damn clear she was the one who dragged me here in the first place and none of this would have happened if she hadn’t.

 I clasped the blood-stained lid continuing to stare into my Mum’s soul, smiled at the distraught audience and yanked that metal weapon of death out of the rabbit’s neck causing the head to fall off the table and into the lap of the birthday girl. 


Yes it was a disaster at the time but have you seen the crap you get as gifts at these birthday parties? I bet that girl still thinks about the bunny’s lifeless face plopping into her lap 30 years on! And more importantly I never got invited to a birthday party again. Result!


I spent years reliving that party and the exhilaration of the crowds reaction and me being the master of pain appealed to me deep inside. When I knew school had nothing more to teach me at 16 I joined the Army and that was a perfect way to become a one-stop death shop, skilled at handing out a permanent pass to the other side. I was paid to train to become a lethal killing machine and soon enough I had a level of notoriety where my superiors thought I was a liability and my mates saw me as essential to a successful mission.

For five years I did this in different parts of the world until the government recruited me to do things more “off the books” and that led me to the job I do now. Tracking down nasty shits like you for the right price and making sure you pay for what you’ve done. I get to keep doing the hobby that I love and you get to stop breathing. It’s a win win! 


But then you discovered how to cheat death didn’t you?! Spirits from the after life returning to Earth with the illegal drug “Soulex” using the human body as a fleshy battery to allow them to walk around like the rest of us. Hiding behind the industry of dodgy mediums and clairvoyants to convince the general public to take this drug so you can get a host for your evil schemes. Very clever! I bet you…


“Are you nearly finished?”


Max stopped his standard speech in its tracks and turned to the person rudely interrupting sitting across the room to him. They were still tied to the chair with the chains Max had wrapped them in 15 minutes previously but they had managed to loosen the gag.


“Your life story seems fascinating, but I really don’t give a shit so if you’re...” 


BANG! 


The bullet went through the target’s skull before he could finish his sentence leaving a huge bloodied pile of chunks and torso where the head used to be. Like a human version of that magician’s rabbit all those years ago.


Max pulled a small circular disc out of his pocket and walked slowly over to the corpse avoiding the multiple sticky flesh puddles. Pressing the button on the underside of the shiny circular device, Max pointed it towards the target as a fiery wave of energy sprung out of the disc and hit the corpse with the intensity of a magical vacuum cleaner. The sound of a thousand screams came from inside the dead body which grew louder and louder as they echoed up through the ribcage.

A split second later a huge whirling energy cloud with faces of a thousand ghosts came flying out of the hole where the target's head used to be and was sucked directly into the heart of the disc. Once every piece of this bulging ghostly cloud was inside, the disc slammed shut with a clang and a beep to let Max know they were successfully contained. With a smile on his face Max put the disc back in his pocket, patted the target’s body on the shoulder and walked towards the door.


“You know what, you were right. It was a boring conversation anyway!” 





November 19, 2021 09:07

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

10 comments

Lore Ax Horton
16:34 Dec 09, 2021

Violently funny and creative!

Reply

Pj Aitken
16:35 Dec 09, 2021

Hehe - thanks Lore. I enjoyed leaning into the crazy side.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Howard Seeley
04:52 Nov 27, 2021

Great effort. Keep up the good work!

Reply

Pj Aitken
06:38 Nov 27, 2021

Thanks Howard

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Scott Skinner
04:20 Nov 23, 2021

I felt like I read a pitch for a much darker backstory of Ghostbusters. Like what Batman begins did for Batman this could do for a person from Ghostbusters lol I liked how we find out we're listening to dialogue at the end and then it dives into the current scene and situation, it was unexpected and I liked it. Coven of cackling Cows was a good one. Nice!

Reply

Pj Aitken
05:34 Nov 23, 2021

Thanks Scott - glad you enjoyed it.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Hannah Foust
00:13 Nov 22, 2021

This reminds me of a cross between Assasins creed and Ghost busters, very interesting!

Reply

Pj Aitken
05:34 Nov 22, 2021

Thanks Hannah - I’m flattered to be compared to those two very successful franchises.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Boutat Driss
18:25 Nov 21, 2021

well done!

Reply

Pj Aitken
18:49 Nov 21, 2021

Thanks Boutat!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply