Red Paint

Time is not the static, linear, unchanging thing we are taught. This much I have learned. Thirty seconds can be far longer than an hour, and a lifetime can be experienced in a day.

I'm not even sure my own thoughts make sense. They're supposed to, they're my thoughts, but it's like the time I was drunk and decided to write a paper. I read it the next day and had no idea why I'd been so sure it was brilliant.

Time. Right. As I sit huddled against a wall I have no idea what time it is. I guess it doesn't exactly matter. Not even sure what day it is. That's probably for the best. I'm pretty certain I don't want to know what's happened.

I miss my Star Wars sheets. They're so much nicer than this cement. If I move it scrapes my leg and even that little friction makes my vision darken.

They should have just killed me, but they never do. In movies they leave the betrayer alive so they can witness what their betrayal has wrought. Like Lando. Or... my mind's a blank. Usually I'd know a ton of examples, but I can't think of any right now.

I should never have tried to take my car. I should have been more anonymous. I should have known better. I always thought, watching movies, that I'd be smarter. It's easy to be self-righteous when you are safe on our couch eating popcorn drenched in real butter and slugging down Dr. Pepper.

The thought of the food and drink clenches my stomach and I'm not sure if I want to throw up or if I'm starving. Maybe a bit of both.

I'd always been so sure I'd never make the dumb mistakes the people make in movies, but I did. I went for my car. I guess that's more proof I'm not as brilliant as I thought. They were already waiting. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw a face, just for a second. Then the world exploded. I don't think it was literally.

Probably not. If the world had exploded I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be feeling like this. It would have been an improvement.

Judas. That's another example. Of course he got 30 pieces of silver. I guess my reward was that they didn't break my nose.

I hear noises and I wish I could melt into the wall. Why can't the cold concrete wrap around me and hold me safely? Hide me?

The door opens and I blink, a groan coming from me as that tiny, insigificant action makes pain sprout. You'd be surprised just how much blinking can hurt.

The guy standing in the door isn't anything special to look at. If I saw him on the street I'd never assume he beats people up or think that he enjoys the sound of bone cracking. I'm not sure, but I think maybe he has something against people like me. Maybe he was muttering about computers when he was breaking my fingers. I forget.

In the light I see the patterns on the concrete flooring, around the drain. A convenient drain, although I guess they picked the location for the drain rather than putting the drain in because of the location.

The patterns look like paint. Red paint. Maybe black. Splatters. Red Five would probably know what artist to say it reminded him of, but I just know it was abstract. Large smears, scrape marks, splatters.

That smear there is from when they shoved a screwdriver into my thigh and I flinched, my pants scraping over the cement. I can almost see the trail of the end of the shaft.

I'd throw up, but I haven't eaten anything other than blood since... I don't know.

"Joel. Tell us about him again." The voice is actually nice. The kind of person you might keep listening to if they phoned as a telemarketer.

"Dun know 'im." My jaw aches, and I taste copper as the scabs on my lips split. Or maybe it's from where my tooth got knocked out. I'm not really an expert on being hit. Not like this anyway. High school had nothing on this.

They're down to Joel. First they asked about Red and Mack. I really did try to hold out, not to say anything. I think it lasted about five minutes.

Time made a little more sense back then.

I really did try. I'm not good at this though.

In the end I told them any detail that came into my head. Random ramblings. I told them how Red contacted the Voice, about how he sends in pictures. Mack's favourite candy. How I once hacked into her computer and found that picture that I'm pretty sure she thought she'd deleted. Pretty sure some guy took it, that or she took it for a guy. You don't take a picture like that for another reason.

They hit me harder when I mentioned that. Guess they weren't interested, although I think I heard someone say to search my harddrive. It isn't there. Never store it there. They asked other stuff though.

I'm sorry Emma. I shouldn't have kept that file. Geez she has nice boobs though.

I yelp in pain, then grunt from the pain the yelp caused, when the guy steps closer and presses his fingers into my jaw. My broken jaw.

"Focus, Jim. I asked you about Joel. We know about Emma and Red, but you haven't told us about Joel."

" 'mma's boyf'nd. She calls 'im some'mes. Secret ag'nt man." I know it's garbled, but pain does that. So does lack of sleep and food. I don't know what to tell them. I wish I did. It's all Joel's fault anyway. Emma wouldn't have done this if it wasn't for him.

Mack, not Emma. She wanted to be Mack. I wanted to be Q.

Q wouldn't have gotten caught like this. He wouldn't have gone to his car, would have found a way to get a note to Mack. And Mack wouldn't be in danger.

Too bad I'm Jim and she's Emma.

I can't help Red. This is his fault as much as Joel's. Hope they both get to see the pretty red paint on the floor. Hope they can tell the story of each drop and smear.

Red and black cloud my vision as steady pressure is exerted on my jaw again. I guess I have to remember more.

The End

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