WHAT’S IN A NAME?
By Toneye Eyenot
“All you have to do is say his name. Just speak his name and He will come. Then, fiend… It will finally be over.”
“Rishhh…Rshh.” The blind man lay naked, prone and broken across the large wheel, positioned horizontally face down and bound with all manner of restraints. His broken left hand, manacled in a rusted iron fetter, dangled limply over the rim. The right; equally mangled, held fast with dirty copper wire. His fingers, swollen and purple from deprivation of blood flow had stiffened and now stretched helplessly toward some invisible salvation, as he unsuccessfully tried to give his torturer what he demanded.
The fact he was barely conscious, making it a struggle to form a coherent word, was compounded by the seven fish hooks attached to the wheel by short lengths of twine and roughly pierced through his lower lip. Countless times as he would begin to fade, his tormentor had pulled his head up by the fringe, ‘accidentally’ tearing a hook or two free. Soon, there would be no more lip to re-hook.
“His name,” the obese and foul reeking Merwin repeated patiently; this time, more tenderly lifting the head and bringing a flask to the dying man's mouth. As he tipped it up to pour the liquid, his victim gagged and spluttered as the burning taste of Merwin’s disgusting piss spilled onto his tongue, immediately running back out over his hanging disfigured lip. Merwin was taking great delight in this wretch’s suffering. He had spent months planning for this precious time with his captive. This deplorable creature who had left him without family. Who had walked free from the courts and from custody, acquitted of any charge.
This thing no longer had the dignity of a name. The man who lay bound and broken before him had once been a close and trusted friend to Merwin, his late wife and four year old son. That trust had been insidiously betrayed time and time again as Merwin and his dearly departed Marie lived the high life. Frequenting parties where they would rub shoulders with the society elite, whilst their young boy was left at home in the sordid care of this filth.
“His NAME!” Merwin screamed. He slammed the flask down on the top of the bastard’s head, driving his face into the wheel. Hooks tore through mashed gum flesh, already beginning to turn septic and the sting of metal, faeces and urine drew a feeble attempt at a wail from the man’s swollen throat. Merwin hoped with all his being that this pathetic creature would continue to hang in there. He had to control his rage and the near insurmountable urge to simply beat him to bloody death. His suffering was paramount to Merwin and he would draw it out for as long as he could contain himself.
Bent, rusted nails still protruded through the lids from each sightless eyeball. Those eyes had rested upon his dear boy too many times for Merwin to abide. They were among the first anatomy of this wretch to be disabled. Trembling with the wrath that churned his insides, Merwin walked around the wheel to his victim’s feet. Picking up the mallet and a six inch concreting nail from the nearby bench he turned back to his prey. Positioning the nail beside several more just above the ankle, he drove the mallet down hard. The nail penetrated the flesh and passed instantly through the already disintegrated bone, disappearing into the wheel rim. The man screamed and his body convulsed. The barbed wire wrapped up and down his body, holding him fast to the spokes, tore and wriggled deeper into his back and a sizable piece of lip detached and fell, swinging on the end of the disengaged fish hook.
“Rrriii-ih-ih-ih!” The broken man sobbed in hopeless agony as he desperately tried to speak his name. The child he had violated. The boy who he had subjected to humiliation and agony; at his own hands and those of the inhuman filth who visited while Merwin and Marie socialised, oblivious to the horrors that transpired in their home. Merwin shuddered at the sound of the man’s scream and heard the voice of his own son, imagining with impotent rage, his terrified, anguished cries and pleas. What inhuman monsters could be so callous with a child of such tender age? Then his thoughts turned to Marie. His devastated wife. Once they had learned of the atrocities performed on their son in the perceived safety of their home with the man they had entrusted with his care, had drowned the poor boy in the bath before dragging a razor across her jugular, and bleeding out swiftly into the tub.
“Give me his fucking naaame! Give! Me! His! Name!” He emphasised each word with a savage stab into the back of the scum's thigh with a large screwdriver, ending his final word with a cruel twist that tore the flesh, the muscle and gouged at bone with a squishing, grating sound. This time, no scream escaped the man’s throat. The desecrated body just twitched and shivered in mild convulsion. He had again fallen unconscious. Merwin took shaky steps backwards and rested against his table of implements. He had to be careful. He had been at it for hours now. So many times he’d had to stop himself from taking it to an untimely end. His prisoner had lost copious amounts of blood and had passed out from the severe torture numerous times. If Merwin wasn’t vigilant, he would lose the wretch before he got the desired response. Cries and screams were secondary to Merwin. He wanted the name. He needed to hear his son's name pass from the lips of this despicable piece of worm shit.
Dejectedly, he pushed himself from the table and went for the hose. This fucker wasn’t going to die on him just yet. Pointing the nozzle at the lifeless lump's face, he turned the tap to full blast. What remained of his victims lip fell away on the ends of the hooks, as his head reacted violently to the drowning deluge of water shocking him into consciousness. Merwin turned the hose away and shut off the water. He looked at the pathetic creature before him with malice as the broken man spluttered and howled in unspeakable agony. The screwdriver still lodged in his leg and the barbs dug deep into the mutilated flesh of his back; inwardly, he prayed for Death.
* * * *
‘Had it been worth it?’ he mused through the haze of his delirium. The 'private' parties he had hosted at the abode of his old friend whilst they were away, catered to some of the wealthiest and publically well respected vermin from the highest echelons of a morally depraved society. A conspiracy of paedophilia, ritual sacrifice and murder ran rife through their ranks, and reached its evil fingers into nearly all aspects of the social order. Touching in every corner of the globe the organisation included everyone from presidents to priests. From magistrates to hospital matrons. To protect their secrecy and keep their anonymity, he was never going to be held accountable for his crimes… Or so he had thought.
Merwin and Marie had begun to suspect something was not right, as their son developed bizarre behavioural changes. Nightmares, bedwetting, bouts of screaming and a look of terror in the poor child's face when left alone for no longer than a minute. He would always refuse to talk about it when confronted. Instead, the boy would become hysterical and violent. When the horrifying truth began to come to light through psychologist and hospital visits, this scum became suddenly scarce, and the distraught parents knew instantly that he was the cause of their child’s torment.
He was subsequently found and arrested, was stood to trial and unbelievably, after all the evidence of his debauchery had been presented, walked away free. His ill-gained freedom lasted seven months. Only through the desolation and devastation of Merwin, who had gone into recluse, was he afforded such an extended liberty. With his beloved family taken from him, Merwin kept to his home for several months and let himself wallow in his insurmountable grief. When the grief eventually turned to emptiness, the void began to fill with thoughts of revenge.
* * * *
Merwin's basement provided him with the perfect torture chamber. He had begun to collect tools and various household items from around his home, to be assembled in his subterranean room of terror. He had spent the better part of a month building his sadistic wheel of torture, all the while fantasising about how it would be put to use. Once set up, his reflections turned to the scum who he would be accommodating in his torture chamber. Merwin sat in the basement, trying to recall all the favourite haunts of the man he would soon kill slowly. He had all but vanished after the court hearings and Merwin hoped he had not fled the area entirely.
The following weeks would be spent driving around the sleepy town where he resided. Bars, cafes, even the local library he knew this bastard would frequent, but to no avail. He had indeed seemed to have skipped town. Merwin refused to accept that his quarry was altogether gone, however. He would find him, and he would make him know the true meaning of suffering and agony.
He expanded his perimeter to the adjoining towns, determined to hunt him down. After another week of searching, Merwin's efforts were finally rewarded. He recognised the car, a silver BMW with dark tinted windows and personalized number plates that read, ‘BILL.ME’. A foolish choice of transport for one who was apparently trying to remain inconspicuous, were the immediate musings that crossed Merwin's mind. The hour was late. Nearing eleven pm. Merwin drove around the corner, locked his car and made his way back to the BMW. At the rear passenger door, he produced a claw hammer and was about to smash the window, before thinking to check if the car was locked. It wasn’t. He opened the door, then climbed into the back to wait.
Merwin wasn’t waiting long when his target returned to the car. Upon entering and inserting his key, he was surprised by his old friend appearing in the rear vision mirror. Merwin gave him a half-hearted whack in the side of the head with his hammer.
“Drive, or the next one will spill your brains across this nice leather upholstery. We’re going home, you piece of shit.” Merwin didn’t say another word apart from “drive” or “my house,” when asked their intended destination, for the half hour journey back to his place. He just gazed at the back of this wretch's skull, ignoring the pleas for reason emanating from the front. As they pulled into the drive, Merwin raised the automatic garage door, and the BMW rolled inside to a halt. As soon as the engine ceased, Merwin gave the man three quick and savage blows to the head with his hammer, then alighted from the car on the driver’s side. He opened the door and dragged the stunned bastard out by his hair, hitting him haphazardly with the hammer as he did so. Throwing him to the ground, the image of his child danced vividly in his mind’s eye, and Merwin broke into a rage of solid kicks into the exposed ribs of this disgusting paedophile, coupled with a pouring of hammer blows to wherever it may land. Before long, the agonised cries for mercy stopped, as did his attempts to cover up from the vicious attack. He was unconscious and would not re-awaken until he was bound tightly and cruelly to the wheel in Merwin's basement.
His feet bound together firmly with a length of rope, he was dragged through the garage door into the adjoining house. Merwin felt an exhilaration course through his body at the thought of what lay ahead. At the top of the basement stairs, he paused for a moment. He was ready to just toss this garbage down them into the basement, but stopped himself. The fall may kill the bastard, and thus put an impromptu end to his sadistic plans. Instead, Merwin lifted the unconscious man under the armpits and dragged him down the steep staircase, into the dimly lit room below. Before he could begin with the retribution, Merwin would have to take the car back to where he had found it, and retrieve his own vehicle. There was still abundant time before daybreak, and he was very keen to get started… but first things first.
Grabbing another length of rope, Merwin proceeded to bind the hands tightly behind and wrap the remainder of rope around the inert body, securing it to the leg of his solid worktable. He then carefully placed some heavy shelving across the man, who lay face down on the stone floor, to prevent him from moving around and possibly escaping his bonds, tight as they were. Satisfied with his efforts, Merwin left him and returned to the BMW. He wanted to get this menial task out of the way as swiftly as possible, but maintained his composure so as not to arouse any attention. He slowly backed out of the garage, and left for the neighbouring town.
* * * *
As he drove, Merwin reminisced of the times he and Marie had attended these high class dinners and parties. The food and alcoholic refreshments at these soirées had been impeccable. The hosts and other guests, questionable but pleasant enough. Merwin and his wife had considered themselves very fortunate and honoured to be invited and included in these gatherings. At this moment, however, it began to dawn on Merwin that perhaps they had been invited merely as a ruse. A subterfuge that enabled their so-called ‘friend’ to use their home…and their only child, in degenerate parties of an entirely different nature. There had been evidence of activity of several people in their home while they were out, but they had overlooked it and put it down to their ‘friend’ simply making himself at home. That was fine. They had insistently assured him to do so, as he was doing them a great favour in taking care of their son. Who were these people? These scum of the earth, who had set Merwin and Marie up in this elaborate deception? He noticed he had begun to press his foot down on the pedal as he fumed.
“Slow down, Merwin,” he told himself aloud. “Let’s not get caught, ok?”
He arrived at his destination quicker than he had expected, much to his morbid delight. He stepped out of the car, leaving it unlocked as he had found it and returned to his own around the corner. As he fired up the engine, Merwin was brought back to his original resolve and without wasting another moment, sped off back home. His thoughts meandered as he drove, between the events that had led him to this moment and the events that this moment were to lead him towards. He once again began to wonder, who else would frequent these gatherings in his home while he and Marie were absent. The parasite in his basement used to be a mortgage broker with one of the big banks before the trial. He had connections with the rich and powerful across the country and indeed, the world. Quite often, Merwin had felt out of place at the parties he and his wife would attend. He felt like they were a part of some sort of charade. The people in attendance had a forced, somewhat artificial air about them. Merwin’s blood began to boil at the thought of being duped so thoroughly. He was only around the corner from home and he had many questions for his prisoner. He wanted names. Every name this piece of shit associated with. Above all, he wanted him to speak one name in particular. His son. His treasured little boy who these bastards had terrorised and treated like a faceless, nameless object. Pulling into his garage and the roller door closing behind him, Merwin was more than eager to get to work.
Upon entering the basement, he was pleased to see his prisoner still unconscious and bound, just as he had left him. Lifting the shelving from the man, a short gasp escaped his lungs from the release of pressure, but he did not stir. Merwin stood over the man and lifted him under the arms to the wheel, placing him face down across it. Removing the rope and the bastard’s shirt, he positioned him on the wheel. Securing the left hand tightly in the manacle, he stretched the right arm across and proceeded to wrap the other hand mercilessly with the attached wire. Before securing the feet with more copper wire, Merwin removed the mans shoes and pants. Once bound with no hope of escape, Merwin set about reviving the scum so the real business could get underway.
“Wake up!” Merwin yelled into the mans face as he held his head up by the hair. “Wake up!” he repeated with two sharp slaps. His eyes opened to see the determined scowl on Merwin's face dominating his vision. Fear began to spread across his visage as he became aware of his predicament, and for the briefest moment, Merwin balked.
“You are not human,” he said in disgust. More to reassure himself than anything. The atrocity strapped to his wheel shivered and winced in pain as he tried to hold Merwins gaze. He knew it was all over. There was nothing he could possibly say to the vengeful father that would release him from this retribution. Without a word, he lowered his face in shame.
“We are going to systematically address my concerns, regarding your involvement with my dear son, may he rest in peace,” Merwin began. The man groaned and kept his gaze to the floor beneath him.
“Look at me!” Merwin howled at him and the man raised his head, unsteadily. Shocking pain shot through his skull and limbs from the hammer blows he had already endured, but this had been nothing more than the precursor to the agonised end of his life. Tears welled in Merwin's eyes and began to fall.
“I trusted you. We trusted you! What kind of creature are you? He was four years old, you bastard. Four fucking years old!” The hammer still in his hand, Merwin brought it down onto the left wrist with a sick thud. Bones split and crumbled and an inhuman wail of torment sounded throughout the chamber. It had begun.
“Please,” the desperate man begged, “Please stop. I’ll do whatever you want. Please, just stop.”
“I imagine you’re using the very words my son used when pleading for mercy. I should rip that filthy tongue right out of your head, but you are going to talk first. Who else did you have in my house while my wife and I were away? Who else had their disgusting way with my little boy?” No response resulted in another hammer strike on the same, destroyed hand and the howling scream that ensued turned Merwin's blood to ice.
“You will talk. You will tell me everything and you will be spared an agonising death. Remain silent, and silence will be your eternal companion. Now, who else was in my house?”
“I don’t know who they were. Everybody would arrive wearing a mask. Anonymity was a prerequisite. Please, Merwin. I beg you, please, let me go.”
“If I were to show you pictures, could you identify them?” Merwin asked the baiting question.
“No, I couldn’t. They were always in disguise.”
“I see,” Merwin replied. He dropped the hammer to the floor, which gave his prisoner a jump, then walked around behind him to his table.
“What are you doing?” the man cried desperately, but Merwin said nothing. He returned to the head of the wheel and squatted down before his prey. The nails in his hand were rusted and crooked, but he had prepared them specially, weeks before. Sharpening their points with a grinder until they were needle thin and keeping them in a container of his son's grave dirt, he had plans for these two nails. He grabbed the man by his ear and pressed his thumb down over his eyelid.
“Your eyes will serve you no purpose, then.” He slowly poked the tip of the nail through the eyelid and the man began to thrash about wildly, screaming in terror. Merwin was unable to push the nail through with his prisoner carrying on like this. He was planning to save this for later but, what the hell. He dropped the nails on the floor and grabbed the man by his fringe. With three solid face slams into the wheel, the man became still and silent. Now Merwin went to work with the fish hooks. No sooner had he fed the first hook through the flesh of this parasite's lower lip, he awoke with another scream and more wild thrashing. Merwin held his head still as, one by one, he roughly pierced the hooks all along the lip. Maybe now, he wouldn’t be so keen to throw his head around.
“Let’s try that again.” Merwin announced and retrieved the nails from the floor. Once more, he took the man’s ear, pressed his eye shut and pushed the nail straight through the eyelid and into the eye.
“These eyes have seen more of my son than I can bear to imagine. They will see no more.” Merwin's voice was drowned out by the anguished screams as his prisoner’s eye popped and squelched at the intrusion. In his struggle, all that was achieved was a fish hook ripping through his lip, to hang swinging below his face. The other six remained painfully intact. Merwin pushed the man’s face into the hard wooden rim of the wheel.
“One down, one to go. But first, let me fix this for you.” Holding his head still, he re-attached the fish hook and brought his face up until his lower lip was pulled taut. Pressing the other lid down with his thumb, Merwin repeated the process with a bit more ease. The searing pain was too much for the maggot and he passed out cold on the wheel. Merwin felt mildly satisfied with the proceedings thus far, and relished the momentary peace and quiet, whilst contemplating the next step. He was far too unrestrained for Merwin's liking, so he fetched a long length of barbed wire from the far corner of the room. Wearing a pair of welding gloves, he attached the wire fast to the wheel and pulled it across the man’s shoulders, reached beneath him and yanked it tight around him. Again, the screams began. Partially ignoring and at the same time, greatly enjoying the terrible sounds of suffering, Merwin continued to wrap the barbed wire around the entire torso, giving a solid tug at each round. The barbs dug into and tore at the flesh of his back and sides.
“Who is behind all of this?” Merwin asked. “These parties that Marie and I attended… Were they involved?”
“Yes… Yes. I don’t know who the organiser is. Nobody does. It’s a vast network that spreads all around the globe.” Speaking was indeed difficult with seven pieces of metal securing his face to the wheel, but he was determined to tell Merwin what he knew, which wasn’t very much. The secrecy of this demented society was of the utmost importance. In instances such as the one he had now found himself, secrecy was an obvious necessity. “If you let me live, I can take you to where they meet.”
“How about you just tell me,” Merwin replied. He wasn’t buying this. Not for a second.
“I don’t know,” the pathetic worm broke into sobs. “All I know is it’s a warehouse a few streets away from the docks. I couldn’t tell you the address.”
“I think I have just the thing to refresh your memory,” Merwin said. As he walked around the wheel, the man lay still, trying to hear what his captor was doing. He felt a cold tickle on his left ankle as Merwin placed the nail. The next moment was filled with blinding agony. The nail pierced straight through his ankle and into the wood with the first hit. Two more strikes for good measure pushed it the rest of the way through. Once again, he fell unconscious. A horrid stench began to make itself apparent. The bastard had shit himself and pissed himself all at once. Unpleasant, but Merwin didn’t allow the reek to ruffle him. Instead, he used the glove to collect a small specimen and returned to the head of the wheel and wiped the excrement roughly over the man’s savaged lip.
“Wake up!” Merwin bellowed and rapped his knuckles soundly atop the man’s skull. He roused suddenly and pulled his head back, tearing two hooks through his shit smeared lip.
“Now, we’re going to do this again… and again, and again, until you give me what I want,” said Merwin as he found some un-torn lip to re-hook. He sounded almost playful, but it was the voice of somebody nigh on losing his patience. He picked up the claw hammer again and with no further warning, commenced a frenzied hammer attack on the as yet untouched right hand, until it was split, swollen and contorted, wrapped tightly in copper wire. Once again, the screaming was intolerable. In his struggle to escape the onslaught, he had torn all but two hooks from his degraded mouth, and now struggled to remain as still as possible. Merwin had stopped mere seconds after he began, but for his victim, it seemed to have gone on for minutes.
“So, you can’t tell me who is involved in this sick little circle of yours? That’s ok. I will find that out on my own.” Merwin squatted in front of the broken man, the hammer held dangling between his legs. “I have your wallet. I have your phone, your house keys. I will find out what I want to know before anyone even realises you’re gone.”
Merwin pressed the hammer on the forehead of his prisoner and pushed his head up to meet his glare with nailed shut eyes. In a quiet voice, trembling with unmitigated contempt, each word delivered like a hammer blow.
“There is one name I know you can give me. Did they know my son's name? Or was he just a nameless plaything? I want to hear you say his name, you fucking parasite. Tell me my son had a name!”
His demand was again answered with a shame filled, downward blind stare. His raspy breath and the rising and falling of dribbling whimpers and moans, grated on Merwin's nerves. It was one thing to take out his rage on the man who committed the ultimate betrayal of trust, but just being in the presence of this oxygen thief filled Merwin with such disgust. Every moment was a tax on his patience, and that time was imminent where patience would no longer exist.
With a sigh, Merwin stood up and quietly walked around back. Moments later, a concreting nail was driven through the flesh, muscle and bone of the intact ankle. The ensuing scream was promptly cut short, as the man began vomiting fiercely and then passed out. Merwin continued to drive three more nails through the man’s leg.
And here, Merwin stood. He had reached an impasse. He will have to find the names himself, and he was unsure whether his prisoner would even be capable of speaking his beloved son’s name. The suffering and torture being inflicted was near inconsequential. Merwin had an overwhelming obsession to know that his child was not nameless throughout his ordeals. It seemed, the longer he kept this filth in his basement and the more Merwin dismantled him, the less likely he would get what he so desperately needed to hear. The remainder of the session from this point on, had Merwin in a haze of dark and fleeting emotions. He would switch back and forth between in and out of control. Two more times, Merwin attacked the already destroyed hands. What those hands had done to his son boiled Merwin's blood. They had left their son in these, what they thought were capable hands. Merwin hated himself. How could he not have known…? That was enough musing. This bastard had had more than enough respite. It was time to hear his dear son’s name.
He dropped the hammer at his feet. The man on the wheel didn’t flinch. Merwin went back to his table of torment and picked up an old saw. He crouched down and reached beneath the wheel with his gloved hand, grabbing hold of the man’s cock and balls in a maliciously firm grip. Shocked back into consciousness, the screaming began again in earnest.
“Shut Up!” Merwin shouted, with a harsh tug. As the screams faded to terrified moans of pain, Merwin continued with a partial release of his cruel grip. “Tell me, fiend. What is my son’s name?”
At this point, the damage done to the face and especially the mouth of this wretch had rendered him incapable of forming a word, no matter how hard he tried. He was so near to Death, and this was not going to stop for as long as he kept clinging to life. He was blearily unaware of what Merwin held in his other hand, and was at this point, beyond caring.
“Did you put this in my boy?” Merwin asked in a supressed rage, tightening his squeeze and pulling slowly downward. The broken man threw his head back, his lip already gone from his face, hanging in a display on seven separate hooks. A high pitched squeak followed by spastic gurgling was all that he was able to produce.
“His NAME!” Merwin screamed and began tearing through the base of the pervert’s scrotum. It took him five swipes, back and forth, with the saw. On the severing swipe, he almost followed through to cut into his arm, luckily managing to stop himself in time. Blood pooled on the floor beneath the wheel in several spots. The gushing wound he had just inflicted made Merwin gag. He pulled himself to his feet and went back to the head of the wheel. He stood there for a full minute, staring at his handiwork. Merwin held his breath as he gazed intently over the inert form before him. The man was dead. He had escaped Merwin’s wrath, freed from the earthly responsibility to give a name to the human child he had used as an object. Merwin sat down heavily on the floor, knocking the wind out of himself in the process. If there was a Hell, Merwin hoped what he had put that maggot through was just a brief taste of what was to come for him. As for Merwin… He didn’t know what was real. Heaven. Hell. God… For all he knew, there was nothing. Nobody.
But maybe, just… maybe. Maybe it is true what they say. Our loved ones are waiting for us on the other side. There was nothing left for him here, so Merwin took his pistol from his coat pocket as he contemplated the unthinkable. Turning the piece over in his hands, making sure it was loaded… One in the chamber. He sat for quite some time, recalling every moment he could, of his beloved wife and son. He called to them with his heart, cried out their names. They didn’t answer his cries, or maybe Merwin just couldn’t hear them.
“Marie, my dear Marie. Wait for me, please...! Richard, my boy. My beautiful little Richard! Daddy’s here! I won’t let anything bad ever happen to you again!” He had the pistol pressed up under his chin and Merwin closed his eyes. Richard smiled his biggest, brightest beam and waved emphatically to his father, and Merwin pulled the trigger.