With his bloody hand, he rubbed his right cheek, in search of an answer to the question posed to him by the Ruben Stoddard the Congressman from Chicago.
“I don’t know,” was all the Blood Hand Man could think to say, looking as confused as Stoddard did frighten.
“Then why are you here,” Stoddard said, doing all he could to keep from screaming bloody murder. “…haunting me?”
“I don’t know,” said the Bloody Hand Man, again. “Has to be a reason though.”
The room was dark, the only light in the obscure place, shined down over their heads coming from an unseen source. They sat at a small table, like one you might find in an interrogation room at a police station.
“I think it’s just my turn to ask questions I didn’t ask before,” offered the Bloody Hand Man.
“What!?” asked Stoddard, thoroughly confused and extremely frightened. He looked around the darkness. “Where I am? What is this place?”
Out of the darkness, echoed what sounded like, scores of agonizing voices whispering, “My turn, my turn…” they whispered, one on top of the other.
“WAIT YOUR GODDAMN TURN YOU SONS OF BITCHES!” screamed the Bloody Hand Man.
Ruben Stoddard covered his ears, his face scrunched in fear and confusion. Stoddard looked at the mans bloody hand resting atop the table and then into the smiling eyes of the Bloody Hand Man. Stoddard shivered.
“Ironic isn’t it?” the Bloody Hand Man asked Stoddard.
“What’s ironic?” Stoddard asked, afraid he might get an answer.
The smile on the Bloody Hand Mans face seemed to flip upside down in an unnatural way, as if done without his will.
“YAAGUUAA!” screamed the Bloody Hand Man. “YOU SAID IT WOULD BE BETTER, YOU PROMISED GODDAMN YOU. YOU PROMISED!” he screamed.
“I’m sorry, so sorry,” Stoddard began to cry, shaking his head from side to side. “But I have no idea what you’re talking about Mr.”
The Bloody Hand Man smiled, however this time, it was a smile laced with hate and determination, directed at Stoddard.
“No one remembers anything in this place clearly,” offered the Bloody Hand Man. “But concentrate on it long enough and it all comes back.” He put the tip of a bloody finger against Stoddard’s forehead. “Think about,” he whispered, demandingly.
Stoddard cocked his eyes up to look at the bloody finger pressing on his forehead. “I don’t…” he started, but stopped when a fleeting recollection, came and went so fast, the only thing seized was uncertainty.
The tears began pouring down Stoddard’s cheeks again. “You can get that hand taken care of…” he offered through the tears.
The Bloody Hand Man removed his hand from Stoddard’s forehead. “At no cost to me, right?” he said.
Pleadingly, Stoddard said. “That’s right.”
The Bloody Hand Man slapped his hand down hard on the table and splashed blood spatters across Stoddard’s face.
“IT COST ME EVERYTHING YOU SON OF A BITCH!” The Bloody Hand Man screamed and sat back in his chair, his face obscured, partially in the light, partly hidden in the darkness. Gaining his composer, he said, “it cost me my life.”
Stoddard blinked and blinked and blinked, trying to make sense of that comment. “I don’t understand,” he said. “If you’re dead..?” an incomprehensible question lingered.
Stoddard tried to rise out of his chair, but was pushed back down, by what appeared to be, many hands pushing on him.
“WHAT IS THIS PLACE?” Stoddard screamed, trying to look around into the darkness. “What do you want?” he pleaded, looking back at the Bloody Hand Man.
The Bloody Hand Man began to laugh uncontrollably, “You asked US, all of US, to come here,” he said through his laughter and pointed his bloody finger at Stoddard. “YOU!” he screamed and laughed.
Stoddard shook his head in a defiant, NO. “I don’t even know you,” he said.
All of a sudden the room became still and quiet, the only thing heard was the sniffles of Stoddard. Stoddard noticed the silence and looked around again into the darkness and back to the Bloody Hand Man.
The Bloody Hand Man leaned back into the light, crossing his arms atop the table. “Hundreds of millions of people in need of health care, and only a few people willing to become doctors, because none desire to work for a system that demands more than it is willing to give,” he offered. “So this free health care…” he started. “AIN’T WORTH A DAMN IF YOU CAN’T GET SERVICE!” He pointed his bloody finger at Stoddard and brought his scream down to a whisper. “You voted for it and shortly thereafter realized the error of what you had done and the affect it would have on everyone who voted you into office.”
Stoddard through his face into the palms of his hands and shook violently, as a rush of images flooded his mind. “God no,” he whispered. “My God no…” he cried like a baby.
It was his deciding vote, which had allowed universal health cover for everyone. But that was so many years ago. He had retired from politics so many years ago. However, the news coverage of people dying everyday from lack of sufficient health care was commonplace during a daily news cycle. There was nowhere else left for people to go on the planet to find good doctors, let alone good health care. His vote had made sure of that, he had been the deciding vote.
Those who had opposed his vote made sure his political career ended, but the damage was done, and everybody knows that once the government gets its hands around something, getting it to change is next to impossible.
“Here,” said the Bloody Hand Man.
Stoddard fell silent, afraid to remove his face from his palm, afraid of what was being offered him.
“How do you live with what you’ve done,” offered the Bloody Hand Man. “Hundreds of thousands dead and explained away as easy as one would the weather.”
Stoddard removed his hands and looked at the .357 revolver lying across the table top. But an inquisitive looked crossed his face.
The gun was smoking, as if it had already been fired.
“Well..?” said the Bloody Hand Man.
Tears began to roll down Stoddard’s face. “I’m so sorry,” he offered.
“Sure,” said the Bloody Hand Man. “Sure you are.”
Stoddard slowly picked up the .357 revolver and placed it to the right side of his head. The Bloody Hand Man leaned back in his chair again, half in the light, the other half obscured by the darkness.
Feeling Stoddard’s hesitance, the Bloody Hand Man said, “The deciding vote was yours to make,” he said. “And you made it, knowing it was not in the best interest of those who voted for you.”
“Yes, of course,” said Stoddard. “Yes of course.”
He pulled the trigger, and a portion of his brains exited out the opposite side and flew into the darkness. His head jerked violently to one side and fell, face first onto the tabletop.
Everything went dark, until…
“Who are you,” asked Ruben Stoddard, the Congressman from Chicago.
The young woman was topless sitting across from him in the darkened room, the only light shinning from above hidden in the darkness, reflected off her mastectomy-removed breast.
“I don’t know,” was all the woman could think to say, looking as confused as Stoddard did frighten.
Of Interest on Amazon