Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer

The goons in their black suits and sunglasses hold me above the chasm by my ankles. Then I hear their commander’s bullfrog voice.

“Drop him.”

Without hesitation strong fingers release their respective grips in unison and suddenly I am plummeting past stone cliffs toward a pile of jagged boulders heaped upon unforgiving rubble far below. I clench my eyes shut, but at the last instant open them out of sheer curiosity, just as my grimacing face greets the boulders at maximum velocity.

As anyone who has experienced likewise or similar misfortune will surely tell you, this last moment comes with the veracity of a freight train. There is a tremendous clang throughout you and your entire world, a clang that smacks your soul clean out of your body, followed by an immediate, “Oh no!” No matter what you do, or how you crash, there will always be that, “Oh no!” there to greet you an instant after the clang. The pain is enormous beyond your wildest fears, but thankfully it fades to nothingness in under a second.

I come to in the chair. My restraints still hold me tight. One of the black suited gorillas slaps me across the mouth. I hear the bullfrog voice behind me.

“Had enough yet?”

I say nothing in return.

The voice shouts, “Again!”

In an instant I am transported to a tiny pedestal. I freeze. I am balanced on a ten-inch-square platform atop a metal pole. I am naked, smeared in animal blood and bits of entrails, and I shiver in fear. A mere four feet below the lagoon surrounds me, infested with at least fifty giant snapping crocodiles.

The bullfrog voice resonates behind me, “Knock him in.”

I dare to crane my neck around. Behind me, some twenty yards out of reach, stands a hut on stilts. The men in suits all have sizeable projectile-launching tubes balanced upon their shoulders. “Fire!” comes the order.

Half a dozen old fashioned medicine balls careen my way. The first one misses my head by inches. The second one hits me square in the back. I fly forward off the pedestal and land face first with a splash. Surprisingly none of the beasts approach me at first. But quickly a massive specimen takes interest and makes his way boldly in my direction.

I kneel down in the shallow water and bow my head in resignation but it does nothing to alter the creature’s progress. In another moment the huge jaws chomp down on my head and upper torso. Giant razor sharp teeth dig into my face and it snaps my neck as it begins to roll me over and over. Water fills my lungs as we slip beneath the surface. The “Oh no!” in this case happened early, and then several more times along the way.

Suddenly I come to in my restraints again. Again a backhand crosses my face. Again the bullfrog voice prods, “Are you willing to talk yet?”

And once again I say nothing.


Suddenly I am transported to a warehouse. I hang in a harness from the ceiling. Below me are thousands of sharp metal spikes pointing upward. I feel the rope above me begin to slip.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows