Guilty as Charged — You Must Die!

Cheaters Do Not Cheat Death!

Guilty as Charged — You Must Die!

Bobby’s eyes opened for a moment, then closed again. Shaking off the haze from his head, Bobby felt like someone hit him in the head with a baseball bat. He struggled to keep his eyes open and focused.

“What the hell happened? I had one beer. Oh wait, that pretty brunette bought me a gin and tonic, then all went black. SHE ROOFIED ME!”

On his stomach, Bobby tried to get up. The numbness throughout his body gave way to pins and needles. Someone had tied his hands behind his back and his feet to his hands. He was naked except for underwear and facedown on a cold stainless steel table.

“Where the hell am I?”

Adrenaline kicking in, the drug haze departed. Bobby turned his head back and forth to check his surroundings — brick walls, no windows, and a single heavy door. Because of his predicament, he could not look behind him without causing excruciating pain. Shelves lined the walls. On them, gallon size glass jars filled with human body parts. Eyeballs, ears, hands, feet, and a few heads all organized by body type in each jar.

Panic set in. Bobby struggled. With each tug and pull on the rope, the rope tightened and cut off his circulation.

A voice came from behind him, “Your efforts are futile.”

Bobby cocked his head, but could only see out of his periphery. A huge man stood outside his visual range. Blurred, he could only make out the man’s body. The man’s voice altered by electronics.

“Bobby. Tried, you are found wanting. The jury deliberates as we speak.”

Bobby struggled against the ropes again, “PLEASE, LET ME GO!”

The man turned away from him. Bobby heard the hum of a grinder followed by the ear-piercing sound of metal against the grinder wheel. Bobby’s eyes lit up, “He is sharpening something.”

The noise stopped, and the grinder turned off. Bobby could hear the frequency drop as the motor decelerated. Metal flashed in front of his eyes as the man pinned Bobby’s head to the table.

Bobby tried to move his head. But the man was powerful and had Bobby’s left cheek buried in the table.

The electronic voice laughed, “This awaits you.”

The blade on the knife had to be eight or ten inches long. The knife reminded Bobby of the sharp carving knives from the late-night infomercials.

Taunting Bobby, the man gently rubbed the flat side of the cold steel blade against Bobby’s right cheek then down his back. “I will enjoy watching you scream in pain.”

Waiting for the knife to plunge into his flesh, Bobby tensed as the metal slid down his back. “Man, what did I do to deserve this? Please let me go. My parents are rich. They will pay you handsomely if you let me go.”

The man walked away, meeting Bobby’s pleas with silence. He walked back over to Bobby and placed a black hood over Bobby’s head then sinched it down tightly around Bobby’s neck. Bobby could barely breathe.

He heard the heavy steps of the man head toward the direction of the door. The door opened then shut.

“Are you still here?”

After several seconds no response, Bobby just went limp. “I am going to die.”

Tears formed around his eyes and ran down his cheeks, “I will never see my sweet Angela again. Or mom and dad.” He sobbed until he passed out.

Shaking Bobby violently, the man yelled in Bobby’s ear, “WAKE UP! It is time for you to face your judgment.”

Bobby opened his eyes, “Stop!”

The man had seated Bobby and tied him to a chair. Rope pinned his head against the back of the chair. His wrists were tie-wrapped to the arms and his ankles to the front legs of the chair.

Seven people stood in front of him. All of them wearing sinister-looking masks, black cloaks with the hoods covered their heads. Bobby sensed the huge man from earlier standing behind him to his right out of sight.

“What do you want with me? I have done nothing wrong to anyone.”

The person at the center of the seven stood behind a podium. The person walked from behind the podium over to Bobby then paused. Though Bobby could not see the person’s face, he felt the anger and disapproval emanating from behind the mask. Without warning, the person reared back and backhanded Bobby across the face leaving a handprint. “Hush pig. Do not speak unless spoken to.”

“Why did you slap me?”

The person walked back behind the podium and pulled out a piece of paper, then began to read.

Robert Sterling Whitman, you are hereby charged by this counsel for submitting falsified documents to your professors. Under pretense, you conspired with and paid fellow students to write your term papers and essays in which you then presented as your written work.

The person then lowered the paper and sighed, “How do you plead?”

Confused, Bobby responded, “This is what this is all about?”

The spokesperson continued, Robert, did you not apply to this school because you wanted to become a writer? In your application letter, you stated emphatically, and I quote, “I will write or die. Did you not write that?”

“Yes, but I did not mean, literally.”

Swinging his gavel, The spokesperson pounded hard on the podium, “Young man, you have committed egregious acts. The Edgar Allen Poe Memorial Literary Society — of which you are a member — takes these things very seriously. Now how do you plead?”

Wincing from the loud crack of the gavel against the podium, Bobby urinated on the chair. Sobbing, he cried, “I am guilty. I pledged to write or die. Caught up in partying and dating, I lost sight of my pledge.”

Bobby lowered his head, “Please make it painless as possible.”

Each of the seven removed their masks and hoods to reveal the professors from the literature department.

Surprised, Bobby recognized the spokesperson as none other than the department chair, Doctor Thaddeus Hemingway.

Doctor Hemingway smiled and winked, “Son, your death will not be necessary.”

Doctor Hemingway motioned to the unidentified man behind Bobby, "Release him. I believe he has learned his lesson.”

Doctor Hemingway began to walk away then turned back to Bobby, “Trick or Treat Robert.”

While walking away from Bobby, the department chair laughed hysterically.

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Don Feazelle
See all posts by Don Feazelle