Charlie's back with an absolute beaut...
Jim could remember them all. Most people could. He had no special gift. Mr Clark had taught art. Miss Randall history but she left and the unfortunately named Mr Pratt took over. Mr Bunce taught chemistry, the boil on his nose unforgettable. All of them. He could remember every teacher he’d had.
Jim’s problem was the opposite.
Twenty years he’d been teaching himself. Twenty years. Sixty kids he’d taught each year. Some years he’d get the same classes, other years a different lot. He reckoned he’d taught over five hundred of the little shits altogether. Five hundred.
Problem was, they could remember him, just as he could remember his. But remembering them? No chance.
He remembered the problem kids. Jonny Briggs who head-butted walls and stabbed the younger kids with scissors. Jamie Trim who got the lab assistant pregnant. Sally Traynor who dealt drugs at a school disco. Bill Cessnar who’d thumped him when he marked his homework down. He remembered them.
It was the others.
The quiet ones.
Well, most of the quiet ones. The brainy ones he couldn’t forget. The Molly Parkin’s and Jeff Gringdale’s who sat quietly through lessons, learning instead of dossing. Mark Dingle, the school’s first Oxbridge graduate. He remembered him.
No, it was the others he couldn’t remember. The quiet ones who weren’t intelligent. The one’s who kept their heads down but had little to show for it. Just like the one opposite him now.
Just like him.
“So then, Mr Parkin,” said the man. “Anything you want to say to me yet?”
Jim licked his lips. The rough gag that’d been over his mouth for the past day had left his lips sore. Even though the gag had been removed, he doubted he could speak. He gave up screaming late last night. Only a dull muffled echo came out of the gag. His throat ached. He knew cords had been damaged.
The man chucked a glass of water at his face. Though cold, it burnt his dry and cracked skin. Trickling into his mouth and down his throat, he felt his stomach contort as a few drops hit it.
“Please,” he croaked.
“Mr Parkin, Mr Parkin. I never thought I’d hear you say please.”
Jim reckoned the man was mid-twenties. He’d have taught him ten to fifteen years ago. The face wasn’t familiar. Jim couldn’t even picture what year he’d been in, let alone who he was or what he’d done to deserve this.
“You still don’t remember me, do you?”
Jim nodded his head but knew it wasn’t believable.
“Who am I then?”
The man’s face turn red. Veins poked through his neck. Nostrils flared and eyes became pierced. Years of pent up anger was being released.
His captor turned to cellar’s tap and refilled the cup. Turning, he threw the cup at Jim. The metal cup smashed into his nose and eye. More water trickled down Jim’s face which he sucked in through cut lips.
“You ruined my fucking life and you don’t even remember me?”
His anger was growing. His hands shook as he picked up the bolt croppers that Jim had eyed on the floor. He waved the croppers in front as he walked forwards.
Jim racked his brain over and over. His mind went back to the school registers. If he thought hard enough he might be able to see the names written there. He picked a year, 1998, and tried to see the names.
Opening the bolt croppers, his captor slid the two blades either side of Jim’s little finger.
“Please.” Jim felt his throat cracking as he screamed. “Dave? Dave Westerman?”
“Dave Fucking Westerman. That twat. Is that who you think I am?”
His arms violently brought the cropper’s poles together. He heard the click as the blades met long before he felt the pain of losing his finger.
Blood squirted high as it pumped from his trussed up hands. As his captor picked up the blow torch and lit it. Jim finally realised what its purpose was: to stop the bleeding.
“That’s one wrong. A minus, Mr Parkin. Looks like you’ve got nine more goes. Now, who am I?”
Charlie Wade lives in Derbyshire, England and has written two unpublished books, a comedy spy thriller and a post credit crunch dystopia. He's had a few short stories published online places and his story, Pleading and Bleeding, will be in Out Of The Gutter Magazine issue 7. He blogs at www.spiesliesandpies.blogspot.com
Charlie's also got a couple of eBooks out... here.