Shades of Grey
He yanked at his bonds in quiet desperation and cold icy fear. Berl tried to stretch his arms. No good. Tied fast behind his back. Agonising cramps twitched in his forearms. He tried to shout out but a gag muffled the sound.
He looked around the grim little room. A lone cockroach roamed around on the oily and dusty ground before him. Its feelers scanning the air for tasty morsels. There was a constant drip, drip from the ceiling onto the top of his head.
As the endless hours stretched by he was slowly getting soaked to the skin. Outside a storm raged and buffeted the corrugated tin sides of the building. The loud roar of the wind whistled through the vents and holes in the building. A loud clatter and muffled curse reached Berl's sharp ears. The cold was starting to gnaw at his bones like a hungry grizzly. He yanked at his bonds in quiet desperation.
A constant hammering from the next room heightened his fear. The Sheriff wondered how much more of this he could take. His ticker wasn't what it used to be.
What should have been a quick drive to the seven eleven had turned into a terrifying ordeal. Someone had hollered his name in the parking lot, then pain, a fall and darkness. He awoke bound and gagged to a chair in a dark room.
The room was windowless and unremarkable except for one small detail. A perfectly square metal clad hole several inches wide and several deep from what he could make out. Berl shuddered as he wondered at its purpose in.
What sounded like a power drill started up in the next room. Berl felt a sharp stab of fear and his heart started to pound. What did they have planned for him? The drill stopped and a harsh laugh punctured the silence.
A loud grunt and then the sound of something heavy being dragged along the floor. The door was suddenly kicked open. Two large black men struggled with the weight of a heavy wooden frame that resembled, no it was, a cross. They lay the cross on the floor. The taller of the two men eyeballed Berl before leaving the room. They left the cross on the floor.
Several hours passed and despite his fear Berl drifted into an uneasy dream-filled sleep.
His slumber was disturbed by the slamming of the door. He looked up blearily from the gloom. The two large black men entered the room and this time they were pushing another black man in a wheelchair. Berl stared at the man in the wheelchair. His eyes were vacant and there was a bare patch and scar on his head. A puddle of drool had collected at the top of the T-shirt he wore.
"You remember us boy?" Asked the larger man looming over Berl. He waited for any sign of recognition in Berl's eyes. When he saw none he snorted. "We just two more niggers to you eh Sheriff?"
Berl struggled and tried to talk as the two men untied him. The larger man knocked him down with a vicious hook to the jaw. The darkness once more called to him.
When Berl came around he found that he couldn't move at all. His legs were tied and his arms were outstretched. He was raised off the ground and staring down at the three men. Berl saw that the cross had been placed in the hole in the floor. He was bound to it. The pain hit as he realised that his hands were actually nailed to the cross. Gravity pulled mercilessly.
"You awake just in time boy. Before you die we want you to know why. We was jus' kids when you and your clansmen caught us. Walking along minding our own business. Except our little brother Jonah knew no better. He gave you lip. You and your clansmen with your hoods and billy clubs." At this he spat on the floor and stared up at Berl on the cross.
"He’s been in this wheelchair since that day. His expression’s the same one you see now. It don’t change. If you'd known better you'd have kept your hood on Sheriff."
The large black man pulled a Zippo from his pocket. "We gonna have us a barbecue. Our own cross burning if you will."
Berl’s eyes widened in terror as he smelled the gasoline. Jonah’s frozen lips creased into the first smile that had graced them for years.
Originally from Stoke-on-Trent, Daz now lives in Hull. His short fiction is on various ezines and in anthologies, including, Radgepacket: Tales from the Inner Cities 6.
Daz is proud to be a part of the Byker Books stable and is the creator of Tales from the Longcroft Estate. Check out his eBooks on Amazon.
Daz also reviews here.