Okay, everybody, you can stop salivating now! Here’s that spooky story you’ve all been waiting for!
I call it….
(A Tribute to Alfred Hitchcock)
by Ryan K. James
“Please! You gotta believe me! You’ve got The Wrong Man!”
On the dusty floor of a lonely, forsaken warehouse, Roger Kaplan cowered in a Frenzy of terror. His left eye was bruised, his lip was busted, and his sides ached. A tall, thin man in a blue suit stood nearby propped against a wall, casually examining his nails. The thin man suddenly paused to yawn and check his watch before returning to examining his nails.
Roger tried again, this time louder, more insistent.
“Please, let me go! I’m not a Secret Agent!”
Seeing still no response from the thin man, Roger made an attempt to stand up, but, as soon as he did, Vertigo seized him and he collapsed in a heap, groaning and coughing up blood. He looked up to see the thin man peering down at him with a bemused smile.
“You Psycho!” Roger shouted, clenching his fists. “You don’t care what I know or don’t know! Why don’t you just get it over with?”
“I’d prefer to keep our little game going as long as possible,” the thin man said, cracking his knuckles. “Besides, that’s not my call. I’m not allowed to kill you. My boss is keenly interested in what you know.”
Suddenly, Roger could hear the sound of a car pulling onto the gravelly lot outside. Headlight beams flooded a Rear Window of the warehouse.
“Speaking of my boss, here she is now.”
Roger heard the car’s engine shut off and then a car door slam. He watched as the thin man strode over to a door in a shadowy corner of the building. He opened the door and greeted a dark, lithe figure. After a brief exchange of words, the pair emerged from the shadows and approached Roger.
“Who are you?” Roger demanded, attempting to raise himself up and face his tormentors.
The thin man’s new companion, a beautiful woman wearing a trench coat and a deathly cold expression, stepped forward and gave Roger an appraising look.
“You may call me Rebecca,” she said with a sudden tantalizing smile, “or Tippi, or Janet, or Eva Marie, or whatever you like. It really doesn’t matter. You won’t be around long enough to remember it.”
“Why should I talk if you’re going to kill me anyway?” Roger spat.
“Because it could mean the difference between a quick, painless death and something a little more… messy.”
The thin man smiled a sickening grin. The woman walked over to Roger and crouched down close beside him. She brushed her fingertips lightly across Roger’s cheek.
“So why don’t you help us?” she said in a plaintive voice. “Tell us what we want to know. Where is Marnie?”
“Marnie who?” Roger snapped. “I don’t know anyone named Marnie. I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
The woman grasped Roger by the collar and jerked him up so that their faces were only inches apart.
“You know who! Marnie MacGuffin! Where is she?” the woman roared.
Roger closed his eyes and thought for a moment. He heaved a painful sigh and then opened his eyes and met the enraged woman’s gaze.
“She headed North by Northwest,” he said.
Despite the unbearable pain in his sides, Roger began to laugh. It started out as a faint, gurgling noise that was almost imperceptible, but eventually, it erupted into a raucous, terrifying cackle. The laughter echoed throughout the abandoned building.
The woman sighed, letting go of Roger, and then stood up with that deathly cold expression on her face once again.
“Okay, Leonard, I’m done with him,” she said, peering down at the oblivious laughing maniac on the floor. The thin man nodded and reached inside his coat to take hold of something.
“I’m sorry, Roger,” the woman said, “but this is what we do to bad little boys.”
With that, she shook her head, then turned and walked away.
There was a quick flash of metal just milliseconds before Roger’s head rolled away from his body. The laughter was silenced.
© Copyright Ryan K. James 2008