How he had gotten into this situation was a blur. The day before was nothing but a mess of images and colors when he looked back on it. If only he could remember where he was and what he was supposed to be doing. Maybe it would shine some light on how he got stuck in the dark with his arms restrained to something that felt like a chair.
Fiddleford had tried to call out for help but there had been no answer to his calls other than the echo of his own voice. He had tried to wiggle his thin wrists out of the restraints. He had tried to throw whatever was on his head off so he could see and get a better idea of where he was.
Now he sat still and silent in the chair. The man desperately searching his mind to how he ended up here.
Fiddleford sat at the desk in his motel room in the late hours of the night. The flickering bulb of the motel lamp was not helping his scattered mind focus on the scribbled ramblings written out in his own writing. He did not remember writing this note to himself but the chicken scratch was undeniably his.
GUNS AFFECT GETTING WORSE!
NEED TO FIX!
The man groaned and hid his face in his hands. His leg bounced widely and made his thin frame shake. He was barely in control of his own Society anymore and now he was going to have to go in there and ask for the gun back. The newer members barely believed he was the founder seeing how he would go into fits of insanity.
The insanity. That was the worst side-effect he noticed. There would be times in the day where he would just black out. Whatever he did during those times he did not know but it was severe.
His voice had been getting hoarser, his hair thinning, and the loss of his home was enough evidence to back him up. The man did not even remember where he got the hat that was not perched on his head.
Fiddleford shook his head and crumpled the note into a ball.
“I won’ do it. I can’ do it,” he muttered, “They won’ listen ta’ me.”
He turned his head to throw the ball into a waste-paper basket but frozen when he caught his own reflection. He was barely recognized the hillbilly that stared back at him. Gone was the young man that had barely reached his thirties, the man that was just beginning to see what life had to offer, and in that man’s place was an old hick that was nearing the end of life.
“They gotta,” he said to himself sadly and looked at the balled-up paper in his hands.
Slowly, he unfolded it and read the last words on the page.
SOCIETY MUST DISBAND!!!!
The man let the paper slide to the ground and he hid his face in his hands. He had to talk to Ivan tomorrow; Ivan would see reason.
A loud bang broke him from the shakily regained memory and he honed back into the present.
Someone had entered the room he was being held captive in and their slow, sure footsteps were only driving wedges of fear into him. At least he had some idea on what was happening around him.
This must be the result of him trying to stop the very Society he had created. The simple talk must have gone in a terrible direction to lead to this. Maybe he had gone into another one of his fits in front of the younger members and freaked them out. He just needed to find Ivan and reason with him; the kid would understand.
The footsteps that had ominously getting closer to him had stopped and silence returned to the room.
Fiddleford could sense a presence near him and heard something get picked up. The sound of a dial turning meant it was the very device he needed to avoid using at all costs; the gun.
The southerner’s nails dug into the arms of the chair he was restrained to as the cover was pulled away from his face. The sudden rush of being thrust into a world of color was daunting; his eyes rushing to take in and put to sight what he had heard and felt.
Just as Fidds had suspected he was in the hidden room of the museum where the Society met. It had taken a lot of work and ‘unseeing’ to set this whole place up to his liking but it had changed since then. The chair had been nice once, one for willing customers, now it held him prisoner. He did not even remember having straps added to it but he must have given the ‘okay’ at some point.
In the dim glow of the troches he found himself faced with the one person in his organization he thought he could really trust; Ivan. The gun was in the man’s hand and he had a face that was hard as stone.
“Ivan?” Fiddleford asked the question cautiously and looked around the room, “What’sa goin’ on? I coulda sworn I came in here to talk to ya’.”
“I know why you came, McGucket,” Ivan said slowly. The man moved over to the box that usually housed the memory gun and gently placed it inside.
Ivan did not grace Fiddleford with a response; his eyes fully on the gun that sat in the torch glow of the room.
“I followed you when you began to form this Society,” he said slowly, “Did not question when you began to take and use the gun whenever you felt that you needed it. I watched as you slowly deteriorated and yet you come here to destroy everything we have worked for just because you think that your own faults and mal-use have made you what you are now?”
Ivan turned on his heel and narrowed his eyes at the man restrained to the chair.
Fiddleford stared at the man as if he had just come face to face with a stranger. He had been so focused on finding the negative side-effects on his constant use with the gun that he had not even considered what it was doing to these people. How it was tearing them apart.
The gentle soul he vaguely remembered meeting was now a hardened master of a group he had created for good.
“No…,” Fidds spoke slowly so not to mess up any of the word, “No. There is more than me bein’ effected here, Ivan. You are being all changified. All of y’all are being changed.”
He pulled on the restraints to see if they would give away and budge.
“Please, Ivan, let me take the gun and fix this. Let me give y’all yer lives back before ya’ lose them like I have.”
Ivan shook his head and turned his back to the trapped soul in the chair. He pulled his hood back up and seemed to school himself into the character he had created through this group.
“Ivan. Ivan please,” Fidds pulled more at the chair’s restraints, “You gotta listen to me! Ivan!”
Fiddleford felt the most nauseating sense of déjà vu as he pleaded with someone he considered his friend. Had he been in this situation before? Had it ended as badly as this all seemed to be leading towards?
Ivan picked up the memory gun again and then a well-used memory tube that the hillbilly in the chair knew all too well.
“I can’t let you destroy this,” Ivan said as he made sure the gun was set, “I thought erasing your memory of that conversation would give me a better chance to reason with you but I see you cannot be swayed.”
The hooded man seemed to be admiring the memory gun in the light of the torches. The way the red of the fire bounced off the blue and gold of the machine. He slowly turned to face Fiddleford and the gun was pointed straight at him; between the eyes.
“I do wish there was another way but we swore an oath to secrecy,” Ivan said. His voice was even and his hand did not even shake as he aimed. “I would say I was sorry but I will not remember this come tomorrow.”
Fiddleford pulled against the bonds. He had never thought his own device to take away his pain could be the very thing he was fighting to get away from.
“Ivan please,” he begged, “I’ll never bring it up again. I know what I need ta just ferget. Ya just gotta give me the gun and we can…can…let this whole thing just blow over.”
Ivan shook his head and pressed the cold blub to the older man’s forehead.
Fiddleford froze in terror feeling the glass. How had things gone so wrong?
The robed man’s finger hovered over th trigger.
“We can work this all out!”
It pressed down.
“Ivan! Listen to some reason! We don’t have to stop the Society but I do need to work out some kinks in the doo-hickey!”
The blub began to glow and the gun began to whir. Fiddleford panicked more when he realized Ivan was not going to move it back some from his head. It was going to be a direct hit. He had no idea what the effects would be from that.
“Ivan! Listen to me!”
The light encircled the main bulb and seemed to come racing towards him in slow motion. In the back of his mind, the southerner knew he should move his head. He knew he should try to get out of the blasts range but he seemed to be stuck still as the blue lightening came racing towards him.
It got closer.
It was so very close.
“Please! Please listen to me! This has to stop!"
Something snapped in his mind as the light hit him and he finally tried to move out of the way.
"Listen to reason! You can't do this! STANFO-!!"
The lightening hit his head and the world went white.