I've never told anyone the entire truth about what happened the night I was abducted. But I'm an old man now, and I've grown impossibly weary of living with this hideous secret. I'm finally ready to confess.
My memory of that night remains painfully sharp, even after all these years. I remember the leaves crunching beneath my panicked feet as I fled from a wild-eyed man, the terrified cry that tore from my lips when he seized hold of my coat, and the burst of primal fear I felt seconds before a blow to my skull plummeted me into unconsciousness.
I awoke in a dark room that reeked of rust. Clothesline rope bound my wrists and ankles. I tried to yell for help and found my voice smothered by a scarf fastened tightly around my mouth. Across from me sat my captor, a knife clutched in his gloved hand.
“Have you ever played The Five Finger Game?” he asked conversationally.
Before I could respond he brought the knife down onto my left hand. The putrid room spun as I soaked the scarf with bile and my helpless muffled screams while he sawed off my fingers one by one. When his gruesome work was complete he gathered my severed digits and cradled them in the palm of his outstretched hand.
“Put your five fingers in your mouth,” he commanded with a frightening smile as he untied my wrists and loosened the scarf. “Do it, and I'll let you go.” I stared at him in horror. Agony pulsated throughout my mutilated hand. The man pressed his knife against my neck.
“Or I can just kill you this very instant. And don't bother screaming—no one's around to hear you.”
I weakly brought a severed finger to my mouth, shuddering with excruciating revulsion when its fingertip brushed across my lips. The unnatural taste of my own flesh, blood, and bone danced on my tongue as I fought back the nausea rising in my throat. The second was no easier than the first; the third and fourth were equally vile. Finally I shoved my carved-off thumb into my mouth alongside its four horrid companions.
The man clapped as tears streamed down my bulging cheeks.
“Bravo!” he exclaimed with appreciation. “I'm impressed!”
Here's the part I've always withheld, my shocking admission: it isn't the memory of that grotesque taste that keeps me lying awake at night. It isn't my recollection of the terrible grin on that loathsome man's face or the chilling sound of his cruel, ghastly laughter. It isn't the fact that he was never caught, or the unshakable thought that he might have forced someone else to play The Five Finger Game.
Do you want to know what really haunts me? It's the final words he spoke before untying my feet and disappearing into the night.
“Hey, kid,” he giggled as he pointed at my unharmed right hand, “I never said they had to be your left fingers.”
Written by CertainShadows