byHeathen Hemmingway©

The man's eyes opened slowly as his senses came back to him. His head was reeling and he could feel a deep seated ache in his back. He could faintly smell a heavy stinging scent of chemicals in his nose, and his sinuses ached sorely. He shook his head weakly and then started to reach up and wipe his eyes when he realized he couldn't move his hands. He tugged upward but could not move them. That's when the man realized that his hands were tied behind him. He tried to pull his hands outward behind him but they would not move. His hands were tied together and tethered tightly to the back of the chair. His eyes opened wide and he looked around, afraid. It was fair to say that it was the first time he had been afraid in years, and he had good reason to be. He tried to stand up, only to find his feet were bound as well. He was seated in a tall chair with his hands and feet bound with cord. The man arched forward and craned his neck down to get a better look at his feet.

His feet were each tied to a leg of the chair, three tidy loops of cord terminating in a tight knot. He whimpered when he saw this. Whoever had him knew what they were doing. If his feet were tied together he could swing them under the chair and up end it or hop upright and stand. He could then smash the chair against a wall and hope to break it and free his hands. The way he was tied, the best he could do was to tip the chair over and try to crawl away. With the chair hampering him, he knew it would take him forever to crawl even a few inches.

The man was in a small room lit by a single overhead bulb. The light painted a small circle on the floor, with him in the center. It reminded him of an interrogation room in one of those black and white crime dramas his father loved to watch on their tiny console television back in the late sixties. He could only see inches in either direction, the small room obscured by darkness outside of the small circle of light he sat in. As he sat there gathering his senses the nature of his situation came to him. Someone had hit him from behind, likely with a stun gun. That would explain the deep ache in his back. It was isolated to a small area in the center of his back between the shoulder blades, the pain radiating outward. Whoever hit him with the stun gun had knocked him out with chloroform once he was disabled. 'Irony is a bitch' he thought to himself. Whoever had him, they had taken him in almost the same manner as he had taken his last victim. The reality of his situation came to him in a flash, like an unexpected slap to the face. Whoever had him knew. They knew, and he had a very good idea of what was about to happen to him.

Out of the darkness came a man's voice.

"So I understand you used to be a biology teacher." The detached voice said, speaking slowly and deliberately.

The man in the chair strained to see where the voice came from, but the gloom consumed everything in the room.

"Hey man, look…" Said the man tied to the chair, desperately. "I know what you think man, but you've got the wrong person!"

A thin scraping sound floated through the air, a metallic sliding followed by a sharp 'shink' noise. The man tied to the chair recognized it instantly. It was the sound of a blade being rubbed along a sharpening steel.

"You talk too much and I'll skip the banter and get right to work, my man." The hidden voice said. "Now do I have your attention?"

With a resigned sigh the man in the chair nodded his head.

"So as I was saying, you used to be a biology teacher, then you gave it up to teach phys ed, right?"

The man nodded his head again.

"Well now, I'm not too keen on biology now, although I used to love the study when I was a kid. I was lucky, though. I had a good teacher. He was one of those people who loved to teach, and he had this way of sharing his love for science with the class. A real sharp tack, he was. McQueen was his name, I think. I'm certain the science has advanced greatly since I was in school, but I like to think I still have a grasp of the very basics."

The man in the chair sat there with a baffled look on his face.

"Oh, sorry. I ramble a bit sometimes." The man's voice said. "So, anyway. I don't know how closely biology and chemistry are related, but I imagine that the two of them rub shoulders from time to time."

Another nod from the man in the chair. He was going to do anything he could to humor this person. He was fully awake now, and he was running every possible escape scenario through his head. If only he could get his captor to come into the light, he could start to formulate a plan. The person had a knife and a steel, and he was good with a knife. If he could somehow get his hands free, maybe convince to free him so he could do whatever ill deed he had in mind, he could make at least an attempt. If he got the chance. The knots on his feet worried him, though. Thin, strong rope tied in a tight knot with perfect even loops. No room to loosen the knot, no way to wiggle out. This person knew what they were doing alright, but he had to at least try to save his ass. After all, they knew.

"I did a little research before I came to pay you a visit." The voice said. The accent was unmistakable, very Southern. "I understand that a young lady named Amelia Karen was found in a landfill about ten miles from your house. Some sick asshole had tagged her with a stun gun then covered her mouth and nose in a rag soaked with chloroform. Next thing you know she was dead lying in a heap of garbage on the edge of town. The forensics people said she was raped. And tortured." The voice said with a definite tone of finality to it. "

The man in the chair hung his head, silent. He was hoping that his captor would take it as a look of resignation and come closer. Once the person came closer, he had a chance. A small one, but a chance still.

"So, anyways, as I was saying, I did some research. I'll be damned if you can't find just about anything on the internet. When I found out you were a biology teacher I did a little looking around on the web, and ended up learning some very keen stuff, my man." The voice quipped. To listen to the voice speak, you would think that they were two old buddies who were having a friendly conversation.

"So back to my biology teacher. He was one of those great teachers who made it a policy to get to know his class and share whatever he knew with them. He had genuine concern for his students. He cared, is what I am saying." The voice rambled on. "He also liked chemistry, and thanks to him I knew that you should never mix household chemicals, for fear of creating some deadly shit. Like bleach and ammonia, for instance. I knew that if you mixed the two that it would make you sick, but I had no idea that the shit would kill you."

The man in the chair nodded again. He was growing more afraid by the moment. Out of the darkness a pair of gloved hands materialized, both holding a tall plastic pitcher, each one half full of liquid. Both pitchers were sat at his feet. Suddenly his heart was racing, he knew he had to do something, and fast. He could smell an acrid odor.

"Look..." He stammered, and then a hand shot from the dark and clapped him hard across the face.

"No talking." The voice said calmly, and then continued. "While I was tooling around on the internet I learned why bleach and ammonia can be deadly. When you mix the two it frees up the chlorine gas from the bleach. When the chlorine gas is liberated from the bleach the two combined chemicals create a nasty cloud of gas called hydrazine. It will kill you, and in short time. First you get these spots before your eyes, and from there it gets bad. Really bad if you don't get some fresh air. Hydrazine is some wicked shit, my man."

For the first time since he was ten years old, the man in the chair started crying. He watched in horror as the hands reappeared, picking up one pitcher gingerly and carefully pouring the contents into the second pitcher.

"Amelia Karen was a straight A student. She was one of your students, as a matter of fact. That's why you chose her, befriended her, and then did what you did."

An envelope landed in his lap.

"This room is awful small, and no ventilation to boot. You might try and knock the pitcher over, but that's only going to make the fumes spread faster. There's a small part of me that wants to leave you a pocket knife or maybe a razor blade, so you can At least try and escape."

The man in the chair whimpered aloud. The hidden voice knew what the whimper meant. 'Please' it said to him.

"But." The voice said flatly. "Amelia Karen was never given a chance to escape. Not one. Whoever finds you is going to give that envelope to the police and then you are going to hit the news big time. When that happens, any pity that someone might have had for your sad ass is going to be gone. Just like she is."

A gloved hand reached overhead and then the room went black.

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