That Guy Named Daniel

He came out of nowhere while I was walking home in the night. I got a flash of a big guy, tall, muscles, an oval of a white face and then it all went black.

I came to and felt like I’d slept for hours. I moved and realized that I couldn’t since I was tied up. When I looked down at my body, I realized I’d been tied up in the way that you’d only see in the old TV-shows, where the villain would use an absolutely ridiculous amount of rope. This didn’t feel comical at all though.

The place I was tied up in was some kind of shed or .. shack maybe, the walls were simple planks. Whatever it was, it certainly was spacious from the look of it and filled with all the general junk that those sorts of constructions seem to collect automatically. I started noticing things like old rusty tools, hammers, saws, pliers, and so on. Garden tools were lined up against another wall and then my attention was grabbed by a shiny metal tray containing different tools, my balls immediately felt like they were made of ice.

I took a shuddering breath, trying to stave off the panic as I looked closer at the middle of the room where there was something which was a cross between a workbench and a table. It looked mostly like a big slab of wood that someone had carved out from a tree and put there. In a way, it looked incredibly primitive, despite the fact that it had a lot of tools and such attached to it.

The only illumination was a dim light in the ceiling and what appeared to be a street light shining through a window so dirty that you couldn’t see anything outside. I looked to my left and saw a dark doorway leading to an adjacent room.

At this point, my sense of panic had properly woken up too and I couldn’t contain it boiling up, so I tried to shout, but the only thing I could get out of my dry throat was a crowing sound. To my horror something started shuffling around what sounded like a bag in the other room and I could only struggle uselessly against my bindings as he came into the room.

“He” being my captor, my very big and intimidating captor. He was close to two meters tall with a tightly muscled body that revealed that this guy, whomever he was, wasn’t a stranger to working out. He was wide, but not so much as to compromise his agility. His arms and legs still made me realize that for all intents and purposes, I would not be getting out of here unless I got some kind of an upper hand against this guy. The most striking part was his face though, where I’d expected a scarred and hideous face, I saw two warm brown eyes behind a pair of round glasses and a smile that normally would have seemed charming, but that in this situation was definitely creeping me out.

No wonder that he’d managed to knock me out in less than a second, I’d always imagined myself to be somewhat of a decent fighter, but compared to this guy, I absolutely wasn’t a man, I was a mouse. And I was a very terrified mouse at that.

He came closer and kneeled down next to me and inspected my bindings. He then spoke and his voice was as smooth as silk as he said “Hi there, I’m very sorry for knocking you out, are you feeling well?” And he looked truly concerned.

I could only whisper as I responded “I’m fine, why did you, why did you do this to me?”

And he smiled again, it was like the sun coming out of the clouds on a rainy day and said “Oh, I’ve brought you here so you can see what I’m doing here. I’m terribly sorry about earlier, but it was very necessary as you soon shall see. In this situation, you are what’s known as the Observer. I’ve brought you here in order to ensure that you will do your utmost in your role as well.”

At this point, I freaked and my instincts kicked in to fight, so I headbutted him in the stomach and yelled “HELP! HELP! HELP! I’M BEING KIDNAPPED!” or at least that was the plan. In practice, all I did was to feebly headbutt him, but it felt like I’d hit my head against a tightly padded sofa. The next thing I knew, I was being held up in the air by two strong hands, one of which was cutting off my airflow in a very soft, but precise manner. At that point, I nearly pissed myself on the spot, because I realized I’d fucked up really, really bad.

His face was now uncomfortably close to mine as he said in a calm tone of voice “You’re being very disagreeable right now Sir. Please, I must ask you to desist from any such future outbursts since you are disrupting my very delicate experiment here.” Before he could continue, I heard somebody start crying in the other room and his serious expression turned to one of concern. He looked to the other room and then turned his attention back on me and finished “Oh dear, you’ve awoken her, this is too early I’m afraid. Oh my, I’ll have to revise my play I suppose.”

He then gently put me down on the floor and gave me a warning glare and said “No” and walked into the other room. Then I heard the sound of him mumbling something and the sound of fabric tearing. A moment later, I heard the sound of something like bags being dragged again and he appeared in the doorway carrying a woman that had her hands and feet tied up. She was wearing a fancy, but somewhat dirtied dress and her makeup had been smeared, giving me the impression that she was a party girl. It tracked though, I’d been heading home on a late Saturday night, so he’d probably grabbed her first and then me second.

He gently put her down on the floor and I could see she was gagged now, which explained why her crying had stopped when he entered the other room. She looked at me with an alarmed expression and I couldn’t help but to notice that she was absolutely gorgeous underneath all that dirt.

Before I could say anything, the big guy shoved some oily tasting rags in my mouth and fashioned a gag from the same piece of fabric he’d used to silence her. He then smiled and started pulling her behind the bench, out of my field of view. I could then hear her try and scream and out of fury I tried to scream as well as he started putting his tools to use. I heard strange snapping sounds and cracks that indicated that he was breaking something behind the table, but because of it’s size I couldn’t see much of anything.

I could see him get up with big red splotches of something covering his face, his hands and his torso. He gave me a really innocent and enthusiastic smile over the table that felt like it froze my blood into ice as well. Then he grabbed a pair of pliers and chuckled to himself and went down behind the table again. I could only hear her gurgling now, the sound made me sick to my stomach, because it was obvious that he was doing something to her that wasn’t right. Then I heard her again try and scream and grunt and then the big guy seemed to hold his breath and struggle really hard with something and then all of a sudden he went very silent.

The only thing that I heard was his tools making snapping, creaking and cutting noises and at one point, his other hand, also covered now in a deep crimson, came up to get a hammer which he then seemed to hit something with repeatedly with great force. I felt nauseous, this was all kinds of fucked up.

After another seemingly endlessly long period of silence, he came back up and adjusted his glasses, exhaled deeply in satisfaction and looked at me and said “So, are you ready now my most coveted Observer? Are you truly ready to gaze upon my work of art?” When I didn’t reply he continued with a louder voice “I asked you a question: Will you be my Observer or will you prove to be utterly useless to me? Nod if you agree, I need you to be complicit in this undertaking of mine, otherwise my , um.. my …” and here he looked down and seemed suddenly so small and helpless and frightened before he looked up again me again and continued “objet d’art will be utterly useless. It’s a time-sensitive piece after all…”

And then he pulled her up and I steeled myself for what I was about to see, I knew she’d be mutilated of course, ruined beyond recognition, her face smashed, her arms broken, her eyes gouged out, my mind kept racing through every goddamn horror movie I’d ever seen.

Then I saw her head which was unscathed, but it looked like it’d been tied to a saddle?

As he pulled her out from behind the table, I saw that he’d used steel wire covered in plastic to create a rudimentary bicycle shape around her. Both her arms were stretched out into a T shape, her left arm was intricately woven into the back wheel of the bike while her right arm was woven into the front one. As such it looked like she’d been fully integrated into the whole thing, her whole upper body was in fact tied into the bike in a way that she couldn’t move. But what made me relax a bit was when she opened her eyes and looked at me again with those frightened eyes of hers.

He then steadied the bike sculpture and her against the table and started to clean his hands and arms and face and that’s when I realized that it had been red paint that I had seen on him, but there wasn’t even a speck of paint on her or the bike thing that he’d created so quickly.

Then he walked over to me and tore off the gag and said with a boyishly enthusiastic voice “So, dear Observer, how do you perceive my newest sculpture? I call it “Evidences Of Morning Dew” and quite honestly, I think I managed to express quite a lot of myself in it too! My name’s Daniel by the way and I’m terribly sorry for capturing the both of you, but I just had to make this piece alright?”

Considering the surreal situation I was in, I started feeling crazier by the second, so I laughed to myself and said “Dude… seriously, you could have just asked us you know?”

And he joined me in my laugh and after a while he turned again to her, looked at her in a strange way and then turned back to me and said “So, you would have truly followed me here to be a part of my art project had I just asked?” and looked at me with incredulity in his eyes.

Seeing my chance to get out of the situation I continued “Why yes, I would have done it in a heartbeat, wouldn’t you have joined as well pretty lady?” I asked her and gave her a look I hoped conveyed my message of “humor the crazy fuck!” and it seemed that she got the message, because when he walked over to her and tore off her gag, she panted out “Why yes, I would have loved to be a part of an … uh… an amazing work of art like this.. I used to model you know? Back in high school and all that…” her voice trailed off.

“Oh deary me! Oh no no no, this was a huge mistake then!” he exclaimed and he looked as if he was about to cry as he looked at the both of us. “My abject apologies goes out to the both of you, I’m incredibly sorry for having put both of you through this, I truly never meant any harm here.”

When neither of us dared say anything he asked me “So, please.. just to make this whole thing right, can you please give me a review of this work of art? I think I shall have to release you both afterwards, because this definitely was not my intention. I’ve absolutely gone beyond the pale on this one. My arts teacher, he always told me that one day, I’d go too far with this whole performance art thing and now I have haven’t I?”

Then he stared at me and I looked at him and her and realized that he was being serious, he truly wanted me to tell him about this sculpture that he’d created out of steel wire, some bicycle parts and a woman. The absurdity of it all gave me new strength and I mustered my best serious face and started:

“Well, you see, the way you created it was impressive since I had no insight into your creative process. Because of that, I didn’t have any knowledge of what to expect, which made the final expression so much more impactful (this was a thing I’d learned from art class, the word impactful always stroked the ego of whomever it was aimed at) and surprising. But having looked closer at this piece, I have to say that I’m just floored that you managed to create this out of some wire and bicycle parts and then the inclusion of the woman in the middle of it, it just speaks volumes to me.

“Oh?” he said and fixated me with a sharp glance “What message does this convey to you?”

I continued bullshitting as best I could when I continued “Well, I think it speaks of fragility and the human condition (another buzzword I’d picked up), this is a woman on her way to wherever, but much like society at large, this construction has her trapped as it’s a part of her life that she can’t escape. It’s a metaphor for the need to use a tool that brings you closer together with the tool in such a way that you’re inseparable after a while. The fact that you also made her hands so tightly wound into the spokes of the wheels really conveys the idea that she and the bike are mutually trapped together in this.”

And then I went silent, not wanting to overdo it, but I still added a final “I really think it’s brilliant” and at some level, I really meant it, because this huge guy had created a frame of a bicycle with nothing than tools and some pliers and also woven a woman into it somehow. In mere minutes, it was insanely well done.

He looked at me and he looked at her and then he laughed and walked behind the table and fiddled with something behind it and said “I’m most pleased with your Observations here Thomas, I thank you in the deepest of ways” and then he walked out from the table and stood in front of me for a while and then in what felt like a fraction of a second, he quickly turned around and shot her in the face with a gun he’d been concealing.

It took me a few seconds to process the event, but then it hit me with full force. He’d shot her in cold blood, right in front of me.

Her once beautiful face now featured a big hole just to the left of her nose, there was blood spatter everywhere on the bike and on the table. I was speechless and just before I was going to scream he looked at me and laughed and said “Oh man, I fucking LOVE messing with people like you, FUCKIN HELL THAT WAS FUN!” and then the merciful darkness of unconsciousness claimed me.

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