A man should always keep his promises
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“Damon, can you hear me? Wake up, Damon, wake up,” the cell phone voice called over and over.
“Wha… Oh. Oh, yes, I hear you,” Damon’s groggy voice finally responded. “Wha… Hey, why is it so dark? I’m not still in that damn box, am I?” with the pitch rising sharply.
“Well, yeah, afraid you are. There’s been a little change of plan.”
“Get me out! Right now!” Damon screamed, “If I’m not out of here in five seconds, there won’t be any money! No money, no operation for your daughter – she’ll die!”
“That’s just the thing, Damon: she already died.”
“Well… that’s too bad. I’m sorry, but it’s not my fault,” Damon was controlling his voice now, but just barely, “Let me out and I’ll still give you the money. We have a deal – you promised!”
“I promised you wouldn’t die in the execution chamber, and you didn’t. I always keep my promises. And actually it is your fault my daughter died, Damon. It’s been almost twelve years now, but you remember the little girl hiding in the closet at that last apartment you visited? Where you got arrested? She was my daughter. Her name changed when my ex’s new husband adopted her. He was a good guy and had lots of money, and I lived all the way across the country, still fighting my PTSD demons from overseas. I loved her and it was hard to admit he’d be a better father to her than I could then, but it was true. We all figured that was best for her, especially after her new father agreed to fly me back there to visit her twice a year."
Stewart paused, listening to the rapid breathing, then continued, “It took me a long time to work myself into a position where I could get to you. I intended to kill you in your cell, slowly, the way you killed her. But then I got a chance to be on the execution team and got a better idea.”
“I’m sorry, Stu, I didn’t know who she was. It wasn’t my fault: she wasn’t even supposed to be there! You know I had never worked on children before; just couples. But she was there,” the pleading tone intensified, “Come on, get me out of here and we can talk. I’ll still give you what I said – no! I’ll double it! Just get me out of here.”
“Damon, Damon: it was never about the money. I never figured you would have paid anyway, just come up with some way to kill all three of us. And I couldn’t get you out even if I wanted. You’re buried six feet deep – kind of surprised the cell phone works this clear. Too bad you can’t reach yours and the battery’s almost dead anyway. But don’t worry: I been working on this a long time. There’s a good ventilation system and, when you can move, turn your head left and you can suck sugar water thru a tube. Should last you a week, maybe even two.”
Stewart had to hold the phone away from his ear, the shriek was so loud. He wasn’t sure Damon heard his last statement, “I told you I always keep my promises, and I’m keeping my last one now, the one I made at my daughter’s grave.” He listened as the screams gradually subsided into babbling and pleading, until the battery in Damon’s phone died.