He knew it was still there. Burt didn’t even have to stand up. The feeling of dread washed over him in giant waves. Staring at the door, Burt wondered if he would ever be able to leave this room.
“You going to let me out anytime soon?”
“Silence.” A cold voice whispered to him.
That’s the same response he got whenever he tried to do anything. Rolling his eyes, Burt stood up and paced the dim concrete room. It depressed him to be here. The disgustingly plain room gave Burt a new appreciation for his old apartment.
Brushing the wall softly, Burt gave a sigh.
Growling, Burt continued to pace around the room. His short black hair glistened in what strange light filtered in. A dirty window on the wall opposite the door only let in a few rays. He could tell it wasn’t the sun. In fact, Burt wasn’t even sure there was a sun here.
Wherever here was, it didn’t make him feel safe. Burt longed more than ever to be home. Would he ever see his mom or dad again? Blood stained his white dress shirt. At this point, he wasn’t even sure who’s vital fluid it was. They had made him do such awful things. Not only to himself… But to others as well.
These thoughts caused a melancholy assault. Leaning against the wall, Burt looked to the door again. There it stood. A tall figure in black with scars upon its pale face. The creature turned and smiled at him whenever he dared to look at it. Threaded lips greeted him with such sinister and malignant intentions. Bloody chains contained its head as if holding the swollen pieced together.
“The time has come.” Stepping into the room, the creature had on black sheets that dangled loosely upon its body. Those gnarled lips continued to pierce Burt as it stretched out its burnt hands. Upon each fingertip was a knife that looked scorched.
“Don’t tell me you wish to stay here. Surely all that wailing and whimpering at night isn’t just an act.” It didn’t give much sign of joy or happiness. Instead, that smile remained until it stepped aside, and the creature let all hints of emotion slide away.
“You’ve been listening to that?” Burt didn’t like to admit he had nightmares, but who wouldn’t? The things he’s seen in this strange place… Some nights Burt felt like giving in to the madness and letting them have him. He knew that’s what they were waiting for. Burt heard them talking about how much better victims are to consume when out of their minds.
“We are always listening. And watching…” It let those words hang in the air.
“Even… Those times?”
“Oh yes. Especially those times.”
“Hmpf.” An uneasy feeling crept up Burt’s spine. He didn’t like anything watching him when he did that.
“No more talking. The time has come.” The creature showed its first signs of agitation, but it vanished just as quickly. Burt knew resisting didn’t help him. They had punished him severely the one time he tried… He didn’t attempt to resist again.
Burt nodded; seeing no need for words, he stepped through the door frame. Stretching out before him was a long dark hallway. Although this particular pathway seemed to be enveloped in pure nothingness. The only thing Burt could see was the floor beneath him.
Looking back, Burt was just in time to catch the last glimpse of the creature as its black billowing sheets vanished from sight. Despite the lack of light, Burt could still clearly see the floor as he continued forward. This was routine by now; he’d done this so many times that Burt didn’t even try to reach out and find the walls. He knew emptiness would greet him.
Walking along the cold corridor, Burt heard the familiar screams of others being tortured… Some are being pleasured. This place was evil. That’s the mantra Burt continued to tell himself. He knew they waited for him to concede, give in, but Burt didn’t want to give them the satisfaction.
Finally, the hallway ended, and Burt stepped into a snow-laden garden. He looked around while he could. This was so beautiful, the crisp white snow falling down to the Earth in a delicate dance.
“Burt Kalispo. Welcome.” A gentle voice called to him from the center of the garden.
“Hello, Rosy.” Turning towards the voice, he smiled. Standing in front of a frozen fountain, resembling an angel pouring water from a pot, was a small girl with fiery red hair and a blood-red dress with black lace. However, she did not mimic his smile, instead choosing to stare at him blankly.
“Today, we have a great deal of anguish awaiting you. Enjoy.”
“I always do….” Burt’s thick cowboy accent pulled ahead under stress. He knew what awaited him for the next few hours. If they had let him keep his hat, he’d tip it to her, but they seemed intent on destroying his identity.
Heading further into the garden, Rosy silently slipped away. Burt guessed she was one of them. He wasn’t really sure what they were. Maybe one day, he’d figure it out.
“What have you got in store for me today? I’ve seen and done a lot of twisted things… Yet you always seem to impress me.” He searched around the garden for places things might be hiding. They had sent all sorts of things after him. Werewolves, vampires, spiders, some things that didn’t make sense. Hell, sometimes Burt was convinced they had sent the entire zoo after him.
After making it a good way into the garden, Burt rounded a corner to find a woman in a loose white dress sitting daintily on a smooth marble bench. Burt didn’t have to call out. He didn’t have to get closer. He instantly knew who it was, even from such a great distance.
Stopping in his tracks, Burt began to drink in her image, bottom lip quivering as a few tears threatened to assault his cheeks. Her bold brown hair shined a faint red in the artificial sun they had created. A curvy feminine figure washed over Burt’s eyes, and she sat proudly as if knowing she looked so fine.
“Lord have mercy….” Burt stuttered, falling to his knees.
“Who’s there?” The woman stood up and turned.
“E-Excuse me.” Burt stood up quickly, the sight of her face vanquishing his grief. Rubbing his thick beard, Burt began to sweat with fear. But, the woman was working her magic to banish those worrisome thoughts.
“Burt? Is that you?” She approached him with a lovely simper on her face.
“I’ve been waiting for you. What’s wrong? Are you ill?” Betty placed her hand on his forehead, still smiling. She seemed unphased by his presence, but Burt had difficulty falling into the illusion.
“Y-your dead.” He muttered, turning away from her.
“What? Honey, no, I’m not. I’m right here.” Betty insisted and held onto his arm, refusing to let him go.
“Y-you…” Burt had no choice but to turn and look at her, knowing it was a mistake. Because as soon as his deep brown eyes met wither her shining emerald beauties, he was taken.
“Baby, it’s okay. I’m here.” Her words of comfort caused him to cave in, and Burt bent down, holding her slender body tightly to his burly figure. He began to sob. More than he’d ever cried in his life. Burt was not the kind of man to let tears sway him, especially not allowing others to see them.
“O-oh please o-oh, please… G-God, please.” Burt was trembling, gasping for air between his crying fits.
“Why’d you do it.” Betty’s voice snapped on a dime. She was so hollow and empty now, devoid of all love and affection.
“NO!” Burt wailed louder, knowing the time for judgment had come. He pulled away from her, but Betty’s left hand appeared chained to him. Handcuffs kept them together and prevented Burt from escaping her.
“Was I not good enough for you? Did I not do my best? WHAT WAS IT!” Betty began to scream at him. She now had burning red eyes, and her left hand gripped Burt’s forearm, sharp nails digging into him.
“I-it’s not like t-that B-Betty, please.” He begged her, falling to his knees.
“SHUT UP! You bastard! BASTARD! How could you??? Remember this?” Her eyes burning with fury, Betty managed to raise her right hand, which held a 44. Magnum his, to be exact, but Burt understood the message. His eyes snapped to the wedding ring on her finger, which glittered in its disgusting gold beauty. “FOR BETTER OR WORST! It’s a promise! Or at least it’s supposed to be! I wanted to be your only one! THE ONE! You loved….”
“FUCK YOU!” She smacked Burt across the face leaving a small nick on his cheek that began to bleed gently.
“Betty!” Burt growled with pain.
“Did she feel better than me? Huh? I bet she did. Younger to? DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT NOW, DO YOU!”
Burt remained silent as he began to sob again.
“Cry all you want! Pathetic little man! Everyone knew! Had to hear about it from the whole town! That little harlot went and yapped her gums! Didn’t expect that did you?” Betty began to cry, but her tears felt more like rage and betrayal than sorrow and grief.
“P-please.” Burt tried again.
“Shut up.” Betty’s voice was both cold and hurt. Raising the gun to the side of her head, she let the tears fall like stars to the Earth.
“NO!” Burt lunged.
She pulled the trigger.