After everything you went through… you took the money.
A pounding heart and burning lungs float upwards into Jonathan’s head, ingraining their roots. His brain seems to be pulsating, the ache in his head pounding away like knuckles knocking on a wooden door, and his eyes burn even before he opens them to the force of the bleak white light bearing down on him from above.
“Where am I?” Jonathan mumbles, his voice pitched high like it was when he was a child. He tries to wriggle about but seems to be strapped down. “What’s happening, whe–”
“Your parents had a police cruiser in their garage?” asks a voice, familiar and aged from behind him. “What was it doing there, Jonathan?” No, above him. “Why did they say it wouldn’t be their last?” From… everywhere? From all around him?
“Who are you?” Jonathan moans, his eyes clenched shut like uncracked pistachio shells. Tight straps bite down on his wrists when he jerks his shoulders, making him yelp, mostly out of fear.
“Relax, Jonathan Knox,” warns the voice. Two slimy hands press upon Jonathan’s head from either side, the long fingers laying horrifically against his cheeks. This relaxes Jonathan immensely; for a second there he felt like he would get all worked up and start screaming at the top of his lungs, but it passed… though it felt more like it was swept away. “Answer my question, Jonathan.”
“What do you want to know?” he asks the ubiquitous voice.
The headache sends a vicious spike of red through Jonathan’s brain, but it quickly melts off like morning frost after the sun rises.
“Why did your parents have the police cruiser in their garage?”
“They were mechanics,” Jonathan answers, his voice weak now, teetering on the edge of a mumble. “They had a contract with the local police station. They didn’t tell me about it, I had to find out.”
“I was too y–”
“Why did they have the contract, I mean?” The voice does not sound impatient, but still Jonathan’s misstep feels unforgivable and worthy of a flogging. A flogging and a lynching. “Did your parents own a business?”
“No,” Jonathan says. He tries to shake his head but the horrible steadying slimy hands do not let him. “They did it for fun. It was a hobby. My parents had a hobby, that’s all.”
“So why did the police have them working on their cruisers, Jonathan?”
Jonathan opens his eyes and stares up at the light, the bleak pale light emanating without mercy from the ceiling in a terrible circle. Tears well up and spill out the far corners of his eyes, wetting the already wet hands grasping his cranium. His mouth opens but he does not speak, only quivers his bottom jaw.
“Answer my questions, Jonathan,” the voice growls. The slimy hands press down harder and more spikes of pain, crimson like blood and sharp like shattered shale, slice through Jonathan’s mind, or maybe his brain, or maybe both. Maybe both. “I don’t like to be ignored.”
“The Jockers,” Jonathan moans. On the inside he is eerily still, calm as a sleeping cat… although he doesn’t think the cat is sleeping. He thinks the cat in the back of his mind, the one that paws and bats at him and gets him all worked up… wait, Jonathan hasn’t thought about that cat in a long time. Not since he was a kid. “What’s going on, what are you doing to me?”
“Shhhhhh, easy now, Jonathan,” whispers the voice. “What are the Jockers?”
“Not a what.” Jonathan closes his eyes, trying to stop the tears from wetting his ears. It doesn’t work. “A who. The Knockin’ Jockers are a who.”
The hands come away for a moment and Jonathan’s mind goes blank. Then he feels them again, but not the entire hands. Just the fingertips, two of them, slimy and cool and wide, so very wide, held gingerly on his temples.
“Tell me what happened with the Knockin’ Jockers, Jonathan Knox,” says the voice in its soothing way. “Tell me what they did to you.”
Jonathan opens his mouth but again, no words come out. The darkness behind his eyelids gets darker, darker, forever darker as what is slips blissfully away and what was comes rising slowly back to the surface… yes, it’s all coming back to him now… it’s all coming back…
Hello Commons, this has been the second subchapter of the fourth chapter of Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox, a novel about a man who likes to eavesdrop on his neighbors.
Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox is the second book in the W-2222 series, a series of books which take place in Universe W-2222.
Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
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If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~