The Victim

The victim was forced from the vehicle, bound and gagged, stumbling, and nearly delirious with hunger and thirst. It had been days since the captors had provided a morsel, much less a meal.

“On your knees,” a voice shouted. The gag was torn away. It no longer mattered. There was not another living soul in sight. No one would hear the screams. There would be no witnesses except the birds of prey, which circled overhead in anticipation of the feast.

“Do you have any last words?” the executioner asked in mock consideration. “Care to confess your sins?”

The victim, stubborn to the last, said nothing. A confession-any confession-would offer some measure of satisfaction, of control. There would be none of that today.

The man with the blade had imagined this final act as his greatest triumph, as a moment of complete and utter dominance. In his fantasies, his victim had whimpered and begged. But this refusal to submit to him, this willful indifference to his power and control, had ruined it for him-had always ruined everything for him. In the end, it was anger and frustration that brought his machete into the air. The blade sang, the victim screamed, and then, in a heartbeat, it was over.

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