A Crowd Sourced Novel
Read it here – Say what comes next.
Frank’s body heat filled the box. The few holes drilled in the metal sides didn’t bring enough oxygen. Sweat dripped off his nose. With head crammed low between his knees, unable to move, his anger grew and his breathing quickened. Pulse beat in his ears and he tried to hold his bodily fluids.
Before they crammed him in this thing, it looked like an ordinary steel footlocker. Not as small as the box used in pilot survival training—an experience he never expected to repeat. How many hours? With a curse, he realized he’d lost track of time.
Without warning, the lid opened and he squinted against the instant glare of fluorescent light.
“Sam, Bruno, get him to his feet.” The voice of Mahoney.
Two sets of hands lifted him out of the box. “Please stretch your muscles, Mr. Smith. It’s time we talked. Bruno, bring him to 109 when he’s fit to walk.”
Frank looked at him from under his brows.
Mahoney turned and strode out the room while Frank tried to straighten his back, his legs. He glanced at the front of his shirt and pants—heavy and dark with sweat.
* * *
The door to the interrogation room slammed closed. Solid steel-on-steel. Frank arched his back then paced. Why didn’t they cuff him to the chair? He pressed his face to the mirror and tried to see to the other side of the glass. Impossible.
The door opened and Mahoney breezed in. “How are we doing, Mr. Smith?”
A stupid question—ambivalent, sarcastic, calculated to bait him. Frank’s military training included interrogation techniques but now his anger burned. He didn’t bother to answer and decided to show no fear or discomfort.
“Not talking?” Mahoney grinned. “Perhaps you resent that box? Convenient thing to keep lying about. Who would guess I’d use it that way? Yes—strictly against regulations, I know.”
“I want a lawyer.”
“You actually have quite good legal counsel.” Mahoney grinned and glanced at a clipboard. “It’s all here in black and white. According to these documents, you’ve been released on bail. Why are such things allowed? The laws of this country are certainly lax.” He lifted the page and peered at the next. “At this moment, you’re walking free on the street, perhaps stopping at a store or restaurant. A criminal–a killer like you. It says you like golf.”
“I said I want a lawyer.”
Mahoney slouched in the steel chair and examined Frank. “Don’t act so naive, Mr. Smith. Technically, you have ceased to exist, but on the books… Let me put it this way: You have been replaced by a paper trail. Don’t act so surprised–it doesn’t convince me.” He sighed. “We are building quite a dossier on you. Frank Smith will check into hotels, travel from city to city.” He clucked his tongue. “Already violating your parole A suitcase will be open and clothing will hang on the rack, soap and towels will be used. We can be very thorough, you know. Of course, in reality, you aren’t hearing me say this.”
Frank’s face burned with anger at this dirty Fed. He felt he could strangle the guy. It wouldn’t be hard to snap that pencil neck. How many others did Mahoney torture? “How do you get away with this? It’s against the law.”
Mahoney sighed. “Don’t be a bore. I’ve scheduled you for training. That box is part of it as I’m sure you are quite aware from your military school. We don’t do that to our pilots in my home country, but it does seem to prepare a man.” He looked Frank up and down. “You look fit enough, but you lack certain skills. We have only a few days to train you. It will be intense. Think you’re up to it, old boy?”
So that was the game. When Mahoney crossed to his side of the steel table, Frank grabbed his throat with one hand and with the other, lifted him from his feet by the belt and slammed his body against the huge mirror. He squeezed until he felt the man’s larynx through the pasty flesh. Mahoney’s face turned red as his hair and seemed to swell.
The door burst open. Sam and Bruno rushed in. They took hold of Frank and pinned his arms to the concrete floor. Mahoney drove the heel of his shoe into Frank’s solar plexus.
The breath driven from him, Frank gasped for air.
“Put him back in the box.”
HOW TO PLAY–This is an interactive novel. Tell me what comes next. I’ll try to fit it in.
1.) IT’S EASY – Just enter an idea, such as: “their jeep drives off a cliff.”
2.) KEEP IT CLEAN – In general, if it wouldn’t fly in a 60’s Bond flick, then it’s out.
3.) SHARE – If I publish, I’ll list contributors prominently. I take you at your word that all ideas are your original thoughts.