“Why am I here? I am an old man. What do you want from me?”
A silhouette of a man lurked in the shadows of the old cellar; motionless like a solitary statue in a park.
“Who are you?”
“I will tell you who I am after you answer my questions.” The voice was calm and devoid of any emotion. Something beeped, a tiny circular red light started flashing. “Tell me, what is your name?”
“Are you recording this?”
“Tell me your name.”
“You kidnap me and you didn’t even take the time to find out who I was? What kind of moran are you?”
“The kind of moran who could make your death so fucking long and painful, you’d eat my shit and drink my piss to end it quickly.” A chill ran through the old man, not because of the words but because of the monotony and the matter of fact way of how it was said. “Again, what is your name?”
“That is not your name.”
“That is my name. Who are you to…” A shot was fired. The old man felt the wind of the bullet as it flew past his head. A nervous wind escaped his rectum and he silently thanked God nothing else had followed through.
“I detest liars. What is your name?”
“My name is Amos Segal unless you want it to be something else.” The old man heard his captor let out a heavy sigh.
“Okay Amos, let’s see if you can at least answer this truthfully. “Where are you from?”
“Listen, if you can just tell me what this is all about, maybe we can…”
“I am beginning to lose my patience with you.” The man stepped out of the shadows. He examined the old man’s face. Nothing. Surely there would be something, a hint of recognition if it were him. His mother’s house had pictures of him and his sister all over the walls. Maybe he had the wrong old man. But the eyes…
“Do you know who I am?”
“Should I?” The old man’s voice was shaky but there was a hint of defiance.
The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a photograph. He shoved it into the old man’s face.
“Don’t tell me you don’t know who this is.” The old man squinted as he scrutinised the picture.
“I’m sorry. I truly am, but I don’t know who it is. Please just tell me what this is about.” His voice wavered. The man couldn’t help but sense the sincerity in it. But how could he get it so wrong? The photo that his mother had shown him of his sister’s rapist and killer had looked just like this man. Sure, he was at least thirty years younger in the photo, but it looked a lot like him especially the eyes. He turned away from the old man. He needed to think. If this was indeed him, then he was a damn good actor, but if it truly wasn’t, he could kill an innocent man. Did he allow his desperation to cloud his judgement? The guilt had been eating away at him that he had abandoned his mother and little sister just like his father to chase some dream; a failed one at that. He needed to make up for that because maybe if he hadn’t left, his mother wouldn’t have let the pervert into their home. For years he had been searching for the monster and he had felt so sure he had finally caught him. Another idea came to him. He took out the ripped half of the photo of the man he had been searching for.
“Are you saying that this isn’t you?” A flicker of recognition flashed across the old man’s face.
“He… he looks a lot like me,” the man mumbled. He examined it a little while longer. “But… it can’t be. I don’t know that woman and I don’t know that man.” He saw the disappointment on the younger man’s face. He took the picture back from the old man. He believed him. He could hear and see that he was telling the truth.
“You are free to go.”
“Yes, you can report me to the police as well. I shouldn’t have taken you. I thought you were someone else.” He was so dejected that the old man almost felt sorry for his captor. Hesitantly, he got up and made his way to the door expecting it to be shut, but it opened without any protest. He made his way up the stairs, through the abandoned building and out into the fresh air. He did not recognise his surroundings but he was grateful for the warmth of the sun that greeted him. He kept moving; trying to get some distance from what was almost his execution site. He didn’t trust the man not to change his mind but he wouldn’t call the police. It wasn’t out of pity for his captor. Deep down inside, he knew that the man was him, but the man and the woman in the picture are long lost to him. He wasn’t sure what he did but he had no recollection of his life before the accident. Whatever he had done, it must have been terrible enough for someone to want to kill him; he had no doubt that was what the man had in mind when he took him. No, he would not call the police. Let sleeping dogs lie.
In the cellar, the man waited for the sounds of the sirens, crying in anguish at his failure to avenge his sister.