It was the sound of rocks hitting the windshield that woke him up. He felt like hell, barely opening his eyes. Everything he was seeing was blurred and it didn't help the pounding headache that was creeping up on him. Everything in his head started to throb, he could see black smudges in front of him with every beat his heart took. Still, he was too disoriented and weak to care about why he was sitting in an unknown car, driving God knows where.
The headache didn't stop after a while but he was seeing better now. Looking around, he studied the car as much as he could, his neck was stiff and it hurt to move. He couldn't turn around enough to see the driver, his mind still too clouded to care. His head rolled from side to side, hanging low. But the world was becoming a little more clear.
He gathered the last bits of strength he found, turning his head to a side and seeing tall ginger driving the car, not caring to give him a look, check if he's okay. Suddenly, all the clouds from his mind were lifted, they were now replaced with pure panic. ‘Who the fuck is this man?’ he thought, squirming in his seat but his body would only move so much. Just then he noticed his hands were up, tied up together with the inner door handle. As much as he tried, pulling and jerking them away from the handle, there wasn't much he could do. The only result was the skin of his wrists chafing, this injury only adding to his headache and how stiff he felt. It took him too long to understand there was no use in trying to rip the whole handle out, it won't budge. With every tug that did nothing, his heart went a little faster. Where is he even going? He's tied to a fucking car door with no way out, panic started to rise and boil up inside him.
He felt sweat on his forehead, his eyes quickly running around in the horror he was living through at that moment. He was ready to scream, yell, hoping that maybe someone would hear, save him. The moment he tried to open his mouth, he realized he couldn't. What's going on? He tried one more time, failing again. From what he could tell, there was a piece of duct tape stuck over them. Adrenaline was spilling over his body, he felt the rush of energy but had nothing to do with it. It was getting harder to breathe as if someone was choking him. He needed to get out.
A choked up cry left his throat, his eyes getting a little watery. With the last bits of the belief that he'd get out of here, he tried to get his hands out of the knot, twisting and turning in his seat. The man surely noticed that he was awake by now. Was he unconscious? Why was he unconscious?
Another scream fought its way out, this time he noticed the man gave him a little side look. He turned to the side, looking at the man behind the wheel. There was no time before to get a good look at him. Tall and fair skin and red hair and all that but all in all, he thought he could maybe fight or even outrun him. He was in good shape after all.
The man turned at him, giving him an amused look, watching him wake up and slowly realize the situation he was in. “Wondering how you got here, aren't you, pumpkin?’”
Stan was about to answer but was soon reminded that his mouth was sealed shut by the duct tape. Oh great, he thought and in a desperate moment just rolled his eyes and shook his head, looking away. The road was passing by fast, yet there were no other cars around. They were literally in the middle of nowhere, he realized and the last bits of hope in him died bit by bit, as his eyes traveled from one small green hill to another as they passed by. They were the only things moving around, he saw no animals, no people, no houses, no road signs, no nothing.
“Judging from your look, you have no idea how you got here,” the man beside him laughed, his eyes never leaving the road. Oh, I'm not even worth a look? Stan thought, humming an arrogant and sarcastic 'mhm', just to give some kind of an answer. His heart calmed down, despite him not knowing what the hell was going to happen to him. Taking the duct tape and ropes into consideration, nothing good.
Truly, what was the reason for him sitting here? His mind anxiously went over every even from the past two weeks that he could remember. Did he do anything that might have gotten him into a situation like this? Could it be because he broke up with that chick or he got some guy too jealous? He couldn't think of anything that serious that he did. That made him panic even more. Was he just a random victim from the street, is he going to get sold on the black market? Christ, are they going to harvest his organs or something? He couldn't think of anything less terrifying.
The man glanced at him again, taking a better look at his face. He could feel it. “You look pale, you know?” Yeah, no shit, Stan thought but still had no way of answering. The car suddenly went off the road, stopping abruptly on the grass nearby. Stan was so confused, he had no idea what was going on. Oh, Christ, this is the end, why else would we be stopping in the middle of the road. His thoughts were racing more than before. “I guess you should drink something. They wouldn't want you to be half-dead when we get there,” the man beside him mumbled to himself, stepping out of the car. Stan completely ignored the first part, rather focusing on the second one. Who wanted him alive? What the fuck was going on? His heartbeat went through the roof again, at this point he wasn't even capable of producing a competent though, he was so terrified.
The door he was tied to swayed open, jerking him forward too. The man probably didn't realize that he was still tied up. Hardly catching himself mid-fall, he managed to sit up straight once again. Not even a smile appeared on the man's face, he just reached over and pulled off the duct tape in one swift motion. Stan didn't expect this to happen, the sudden stinging pain forcing a yell out of his throat. He felt his eyes water a little bit, the pain didn't seem to go away anytime soon. In a moment of immense pain and fear, he bent down, laying his head on his thighs. “What the fuck?” he yelled into his jeans, not even bothering to sit up properly.
“Get up,” he heard a strict voice in front of him, a light kick on his shin to wake him up. It was clear to him that he's going to end up in a grave sooner or later but he was still so horrified. Hearing that voice, he felt his lips tremble as he looked up, seeing the man that drove the car. Hovering over him, he looked even more intimidating than before. From the scars, he saw to the look that was staring down on him. He couldn't move, he almost forgot how to breathe. “Drink,” he ordered him and handed him a water bottle. He reached it right into Stan's hand but it was still tied to the handle, now with the door wide open even stretched out in front of him. “I-I can't-” he couldn't finish his sentence, words getting lost in his throat. Just now he noticed how dry his throat and mouth was, no wonder words couldn't come out. He heard the man mutter something, rolling his eyes and grabbing the bottle back. He brought it up to Stan's lips this time. “Drink,” he ordered, looking away.
“This is fucking embarrassing,” Stan heard the man say when he tilted the bottle back, pulling on a cap tightly. He threw it at the backseat and grabbed a cigarette pack from his coat, pulling out one and promptly lighting it. He really needed it, he thought. It has been a long day on the road and now that this one was awake, it was bound to be even worse. He wasn't in this for the bother of taking care of another person.
He was about halfway done with the cigarette when he noticed the boy looking up at him with big eyes, trembling and barely blinking. Dealing with a nervous mess was not something he was up for. With a sigh, he asked him if he wanted one too. He nodded, the man grabbing another one from his jacket and putting it between the boy's lips.
‘I have to get out,’ Stan thought, his mind going through every escape route he could think of. There wasn't much he could think of, his mind still clouded with fear and dread. When he saw the man's hand near him, he tried to bite it. He didn't know why it was just an instinct of sort. Maybe it'd hurt him, get him some time to undo the knot and run away. It seemed like a good idea until the man quickly pulled his hand away and gave him a disappointed frown. “Oh so baby wanna bite?” he asked him and reached out behind his jacket.
Next thing Stan knew, he had a gun lightly touching his chest, the coldness of the metal getting past his shirt onto his skin. The man's expression turned from utter annoyance to irritation and impatience in a matter of seconds. He was staring him right into eyes, slightly bent down to look him right into his face. The look he gave him was so empty yet had so much to say. Stan's words got lost once again, he was sure this was the moment when a bullet is going to fly right through him. He saw it in his face. “I could have you dead on this seat in this very moment,” the man whispered, bumping the end of the gun's barrel against his chest with every word. “Only reason you're alive is that I'm getting more cash if I bring you in still breathing.”
That was complete and utter bullshit and the man knew it. He couldn't kill him, he couldn't seriously hurt him though that's what he did the best. He was a hitman, not some kind of taxi service. But his orders were clear, bring Stan Marsh and bring him alive. It didn't leave his mind, he had to look into it and search a little bit more about this situation. If he was going to kidnap and drive away this kid, he wanted to know why. Why they needed him so suddenly, why him.
The only thing there was left to do is seriously frighten this kid into believing that he could put a bullet through his brain at any given moment, even though he couldn't. Judging from his look, it was working well so far. He slammed the passenger's door shut and made his way to his own seat. It was already getting dark and he didn't have much time left to deliver this kid to the people who were paying for him. But he guessed he still had enough time.
The ride was quiet, even though he pulled the duct tape off of Stan's mouth. With a gun against his chest, Stan had no idea what to do. He was scared stiff, had no guts to make even one tiny move. And he firmly believed that this guy will pull the gun out again if needed. Slowly but surely, he thought, he was making peace with the fact that these were his last moments. Locked up in a car with a guy who's bringing him to his own personal guillotine or whatever. He wished that the man next to him won't see the little tears that were trying to escape his eyes. They never did, always wiped away by the fabric of his hoodie. As much as he tried, he couldn't make peace with the fact he was going to die, most probably.
The only thing that brought him out of this deep existential dread was a few bright colorful lights flashing into his face. He looked up, they were driving into a city now. He couldn't figure out why or how they got here, where they even were but a little flame of hope was sparked up in his heart. “Shit, we're low on gas,” the man beside him said to himself, looking around for the nearest gas station.
It took him a while before he found one, not too far away. He pulled over there, stopping beside a fuel dispenser. The car stopped and the man was about to step out when Stan cleared his throat. “I-I need to like... go,” he whispered, awaiting an answer. He was still too anxious to speak around him, his voice trembling. With a deep sigh and a clearly annoyed look, he got out of the car and a little while later, Stan's car door opened too. With a few swift movements, he was untied. The first thing he did was pull his wrists closer and rub the injured skin, looking closely at the damage that has been done. A few bruises, redness, burns. He got out of the car and wondered whether he had a chance to run away and escape. The chances were great, he thought. How will he be able to find him? While looking for some courage, he felt the same cold metal gun barrel pressed against his back. He completely froze still, his thoughts stopping immediately. “I found you once, I'll find you again,” the man quietly said, slowly and making sure Stan understood every word he said. It was a clear warning, telling him to not even think about escaping. It took a lot of strength and courage to take the first step towards the gas station. He tried so hard to hide the fact he was quivering, yet his pale face and dark bags gave away the look that something wasn't right.
He convinced himself to return to the car. It'd do him no justice to run away, even though that's what a sane person would've done. Getting lost in a strange city with no belongings whatsoever, no way to reach someone you know, completely alone. It sounded terrible. It would only cause more problems, he thought. And with slow steps and his head hung low, he made his way back into the car.
All spirit has left him, fright and despair, everything. He was sitting in his seat, dully staring out of the window as they took a few sharp turns. Probably to shake off whoever might be following them. The car was making its way out of the city into what looked like the suburbs and then the most run-down parts. Normally, it'd scare him. Now he kind of just accepted what was happening. The man beside him seemed to like it more this way too. They passed a few burnt-down buildings before stopping on a huge empty parking lot, standing next to an old, disintegrating warehouse. The moment he stepped out of the car, all feelings were back in their places.
“Okay, we're gonna have to do a few things,” the man stopped him in his steps by grabbing him by the arm. He stumbled back but still turned around to face the man. He was holding the piece of rope again, this time tying his arms behind his back. It hurt more than before but he didn't fight it. Before he knew it, the man pulled a blindfold over his eyes. If his heart wasn't ready to burst out of his chest, it sure was now. He felt his hands getting cold, sweat creeping up on his forehead. He was firmly grabbed by his arm, the man's fingers digging into his flesh. It hurt.
He could smell the old, dusty air and mold as they stepped in, cold wet air hitting his cheeks. He was harshly stopped by the man grabbing his arm tighter, not letting him wander on his own. He was completely helpless at that point. Stan felt a forceful push on his back, losing balance and falling onto his knees. He felt them scraping, hardly managing to sit up straight. He heard a few men talking but didn't understand a word they said, their voices were muffled and distant. The ground he was kneeling on was cold, very cold. There was a moment of silence and it was ripping him apart, he wanted this to be over already.
“Here's what you ordered.”