Perfect Stillness. Short Story.

He stood in the middle of the room, looking at the other occupants. They were all sitting, each one almost completely still. All but one. He narrowed his eyes and frowned at the young girl sitting at the end. Her shoulders were wiggling slightly. That wouldn’t do. That wouldn’t do at all. He walked down the line, each person staring at him, eyes wide and fearful. She seemed to sense his approach and went still.
“And what, exactly, do you think you are doing? Well? Speak up!”
“N-nothing sir.”
“Oh nothing, nothing at all hmm? Weren’t you just moving?”

“No sir.”

“So you’re calling me a liar?”
Her face paled, “No, no of course not sir! I didn’t think I was moving, but maybe I was without realising it.”
“Without realising it you say?”
“Yes sir, I would never move without your permission.”
“Well, you have my permission now.”
He brought his hand back and swung hard, catching her across the face. Her body jerked to the side, a slight cry escaping her lips.
The girl tried to right herself in the chair, moving slowly, gingerly. Already a bright red mark was appearing on her cheek. Tears brimmed at her eyes, but they didn’t fall. Not yet.
“There. See what moving brings? Pain.”
“Yes sir. Sorry sir.” Her voice was low, hitched with tiny little gasps.

“Now. To make sure there is no more of that.”
He turned from the girl and walked to a small cabinet set into the wall. He took out a long strip of leather.
“Please sir, it was an accident. I swear it won’t happen again.”
He smiled at her, then caressed her bright red cheek softly.
“I know. I’ll make sure of it.”
He moved behind her and wrapped the leather around her shoulders, then tied it tightly, forcing her back against the chair.
She struggled to breath, at the edge of panic.
“Relax and it will be fine. That’s all you have to do. Relax.”
She tried to relax her body, allow her lungs to fill just a little bit more but it didn’t see to be working.
He turned from the girl and looked at the others.
“See what happens?”
They stayed completely still.
“Yes sir.” He smiled as they chorused in unison.
“Good.” He turned back to the young girl.
“Maybe something else, to really drive the lesson home.”
“Please sir, I’m sorry sir. I promise it won’t happen again.”
“Sorry isn’t always good enough, is it? It doesn’t undo what you did.”
He went back to the cabinet then pulled out a pair of handcuffs.
“Yes. These will do nicely.”
The girl whimpered again. She had seen what they had done to others.
He moved around her, she tried to stay still but her entire body was shivering in fear. Maybe, just maybe he’d decide against it. She felt cold metal against her skin, she flinched and let loose an involuntary shriek.
“Now, now. See? See just how much your promises are worth? No. I think this is a lesson that you will have to learn all over again.”

She started to cry, “Please, please don’t.”
He put a hand on her shoulder and squeezed gently, reassuringly.
“Child, when has begging ever helped?”
Her head fell forward, tears flowing freely.
He did quite enjoy these cuffs. The insides were studded with tiny little points.

“Sit. up.” His voice was cold, harsh. She felt herself responding before she had fully processed what he said. She suppressed a cry as the cuffs went onto her wrists, joining the other pair of handcuffs already there. Tightening. She gritted her teeth as the points started to dig into her flesh. She couldn’t cry out. She wouldn’t. It would just make things worse. She let out a hiss of pain with each exhalation.
Grinning, he tightened them just a little bit more.
“There. Perfect.” He watched for a few minutes. Staring at the red blood that welled up around the edges of the handcuffs, as it slowly snaked its way down her fingers until it began to prettily pitter patter to the floor.
He stood and moved in front of her. “They will be removed once you have learned your lesson.” Then he gently kissed her forehead. “It hurts me to do this to you, you know. But it is for your own good.”

He turned and looked at the others, they were all staring straight ahead. Most were ignoring what was happening. Good. They were well trained. There was one though, he was looking. His eyes had snapped forward, but still, he had been looking. That wouldn’t do.
“Did I say you could look at her? Did I tell any of you you could look?”
He stalked between the people. This wasn’t good at all. Two incidents in one day? It was akin to mutiny. He would have to nip it in the bud. Immediately.
He gripped the mans face tightly forcing him to look.
“How dare you?” His voice was low, close and dangerous, flecks of spittle landing on the mans face.
“How. Dare. You.” Each word was screamed and punctuated with a tighter squeeze. He released the mans face, pushing it away, and returned to his cupboard. What he wanted was a mask. A very special mask. He picked it up and felt the smooth leather. Yes. Perfect.
He returned to the man, when he saw the mask the man started to jerk in the chair, trying to free himself from the bonds.
“Now now, you’ll only tire yourself out.”
There was no time for fun here. The man started to whip his head around, trying to make it more difficult. He slapped the man twice, his palm stinging. The man, slightly disorientated continued his struggles. He finally got the mask on, the blades at the eye sockets scraping the mans forehead. He laced up the back tightly, enjoying the muffled screams as the blades went into the mans eyeballs.
“There. That should solve that little problem. You can’t look at what you’re not supposed to if you don’t have eyes. Can you?”
He patted the top of the mans head gently, in an almost fatherly manner.

He turned and looked at the other people in the room.
“Anyone else?”
Silence. Perfect stillness from them all.
He turned and opened the door, he flicked off the lights and listened to the mans muffled cries of pain, the girls whimpered and smiling, he left the room, leaving them in darkness. He turned on the sound detector. If any of them spoke it would go off, sending a loud blast of noise through the room, deafening them all briefly and alerting him. They knew that punishment would come next. It wouldn’t matter who spoke. It never did. He would choose someone at random, then have a little fun with them. They needed to learn and he was the only one that could teach them.

About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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