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Surprise

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My name is Chris, I won't give my full name over the internet for obvious reasons. I make this post because I feel the need to explain why I did what I did, to someone, even if its to some stranger over the internet. I post on this site specifically because here, I have the peace of mind knowing that someone, somewhere, will take the time to read it. Allow me to start from the beginning.

The root and source of all of my problems comes from what was once my addiction, cocaine. I started doing it when I was about twenty-three in Boston, I was alone, jobless, homeless, and well hopeless. Now I know what your thinking, how can some jobless bum afford something as expensive as cocaine? Well, the answer to that question is simple, I couldn’t. At the time I still owned a expensive suit, it was about the only other piece of clothing I hadn’t tried to sell to feed my addiction.

I didn’t sell it because it created the illusion that I wasn’t some washed up bum. I played this illusion well, and I managed to convince a lot of... unsavory people to loan me some cash. A group of loan sharks, to be more precise. I told them that I'd pay them back, with interest. Of course, I wasn’t actually going to pay them back. Now these loan sharks aren’t to be messed with, these guys were the real deal. Cut your arm off for not paying your debts within a week kind of deal. But I knew that if I could get out the city quick enough, I'd never have to deal with them again. As soon as I got my fix, I hitchhiked out the city and I never saw those bastards again. Until recently that is. Moving forward to present day, I actually did manage to clean myself up.

It's a miracle really, when I moved out of the city I hitchhiked my way down from Boston all the way to New York. It was far from a short and easy journey, but I got there. Once I arrived, I realized that I couldn’t do what I did in Boston a second time. I needed to settle down. And so I did. I managed to get a part time job at a Italian restaurant cleaning the floors and the kitchen. My suit and my way with people helped me convince the people there that I wasn’t some homeless bum that needed money to get his fix. After working for a couple of months of staying at a sleazy motel whenever I got the chance I finally managed to get enough cash to buy myself an apartment. It wasn’t the best place but hey, I finally had a place to call my own.

After working at the restaurant for so long I got to know a lot of the people that worked there. Their was Paul, Conroy, my closest friend Jeff, and there was Scarlet. Jeff and Paul were both waiters, Conroy was a chef, and Scarlet was the cashier. I’ve met a lot of beautiful women in my day, but none more beautiful than Scarlet. Her dad owned the place and she took a liking to me, like I did to her. I’m sure she was half the reason I got the job in the first place. I would often hang out with them all after work, because of the lack of anything better to do. Eventually we became great friends. Scarlet and I even started dating. I couldn’t hide my addiction from them though.

They found out eventually, I thought they would rat me out. But they didn’t, they found help for me. They all pooled their money together and helped send me to rehab. It was hard at first, but five years later and I haven’t touched the stuff since I left! Life has been great since, me and Scarlet got married, even had a kid together. Her name is Valarie, my little bundle of joy. She's only four but she has the mind of a middle school-er, shes gonna grow up to do great things. Scarlet would eventually stop working at the restaurant though, she took a liking to taking care of Valerie and I ended up taking her place as the cashier instead.

Lately though, things haven’t been so great. A while ago in the morning, I got a phone call on my personal cell phone. It was a restricted number. I hesitated to pick it up, but my curiosity got the better of me.

“Hello?” I said nervously as I hit the accept call button.

“Christopher?” answered a voice from the other end, it was a deep unnerving voice.

“Yes this is him, Who is this?” I replied.

“It has been years Christopher, did you really think you would be free from your debts?” Answered the voice in a calm but still threatening manner. Without responding I knew what it was, it was my past coming to haunt me. It had to be, there’s no other person I've borrowed money form. I couldn’t reply, I was speechless. The silence between the call went on for what felt like minutes but was actually just a couple of seconds.

“I will take your silence as you agreeing to pay what you owe, Christopher. Someone will be at your door tomorrow evening to claim what's owed, with interest.” The words echoed through my head. I knew that when he said “with interest” he meant that he was going to drain me dry for all I was worth.

“I suggest you pay Christopher, I don’t think I need to tell you what will happen if you don't.” With that last word the line went dead.

I put the phone in my pocket, trying to think of what to do next. Its no longer just about me anymore, Scarlet and Valerie are both in danger now. I knew that it wouldn’t end though, even if I did pay them back, they would come back. After the way I walked out on them, they weren’t going to leave me alone so easily. I didn’t even know how much money they wanted from me. I pulled my phone out again and saw that I was going to be late for work. I put on my jacket and ran to the living room. I saw my wife Scarlet about ready to take Valerie outside to the playground. I decided now wasn’t the best time to tell her what happened, if I even was going to tell her at all.

I went up to Scarlet, pecked her on the cheek, “Im off to work hon, you two have fun at the playground, okay?” I said. I kneeled down to Valerie so that I was at eye level with her, “You be careful sweetheart.” I ruffled her hair and ran out the front door of my apartment.

Even though I ran I was still late to the restaurant.

“Hey, look who finally decided to show up.” Said Jeff in his usual sarcastic tone.

“Hey Chris! I was worried you wouldn’t show up!” Said Paul from the kitchen window.

“Honestly though, I'm glad you showed I don’t know who would replace you otherwise, being a cashier requires social skills, something most of us are severely lacking in.” Jeff said while glaring at Conroy. Conroy just glared back, he wasn’t the type to get into a conflict, verbally or otherwise.

“Good to see I'm wanted around here, now lets get to work.” I said, trying to forget about the phone call I just had.

“I’m sure your lateness will be forgiven, considering it's your birthday and all tomorrow.” said Jeff before he walked away to the kitchen to grab some plates. That’s right, it is my birthday tomorrow isn’t it. I had almost forgotten. I stood there thinking.

The thought of being killed by loan sharks on my birthday wasn’t very appealing. I didn’t know who to turn to anymore, I was half afraid of turning to the police. Who's to say they wouldn’t bring me in too? I wouldn’t be able to live with myself knowing that I left Scarlet alone and Valerie fatherless.

“Hey you got any plans for tomorrow?” Jeff said entering the cashier booth.

“No, I haven’t planned anything, why you got another ridiculous surprise party planned for me?” I said. Jeff, Paul and Conroy were both known for how they pull off the most insane surprise party’s for peoples birthdays. This one time, Jeff, Conroy and I all dressed up like robbers and pretended to rob Paul’s house. Paul noticed us and ran inside baseball bat in hand, only when he opened the door and heard “Surprise!” yelled in unison by all his friends and family did he put the bat down.

“Maybe,” Jeff responded.

“Wait and see birthday boy, it's going to be the best, most insane surprise party to date” with that he went off to serve the customers that had just arrived. The day went on as normal and as soon as work ended I went straight home.

I decided that in my life I had depended on others far to often. Never once have I stood up for myself to defend what I believe in. Tomorrow, on my birthday, all that is going to change. I’ve always owned a knife back when I had a reason to. Buying cocaine isn’t exactly safe. I’ve never used it before, but tomorrow I might have too. If the Loan Shark wont leave voluntarily, ill make sure that at least his body leaves my front porch.

I didn’t sleep that night, paranoia consumed my every thought. Thankfully Scarlet and Valerie slept soundly. I got up at about 6, it was a Sunday so I had the day off, and their was no real reason for me to be up so early. I didn’t feel sleepy at all, the thought of what was to come kept me on edge. I put my clothes on and sat in my living room. I turned on the TV and stared blankly at it. I was waiting for the inevitable knock on the door.

And it would come eventually, about three hours later. Scarlet and Valerie were still asleep, so once I heard the thump, thump, thump on my front door I slipped my knife in the its leather sheathe and slipped it into my back-pocket. The knife was small enough to not bulge out of my back pocket. I walked to the front door. My hand reached out for the knob but fear got the better of me and I froze with my hand hovering right above the handle. A second round of thumps got me moving again. I jumped startled at the sound.

I mustered all my courage and reached for the handle. I grabbed it swung it open stomped outside and slammed it behind me. I did this all with my eyes closed and I slowly opened them to see a man a little bit taller than I. He almost didn’t look human. He wore a rooster mask that covered his entire head. A leather jacket and denim jeans It looked like something a high school mascot would wear. I was stunned, the second I opened my eyes I couldn’t move a single muscle in my body. I just stared at him in silence for what was about two seconds before the bag was thrown over my head from behind me.

The second the bag covered my head I tried to reach for the knife in my back pocket but before I could pull it out of my pocket, I felt a huge force smack the back of my head. It hit me we a resounding thud and I fell on my knees. The world was spinning around me. I heard what sounded like people speaking all around me. I lacked the strength to pull the bag out of my head. I fell on my stomach on the floor and that all I can really remember. I woke up with the bag still on my head on what felt like the back of a moving truck.

I wasn’t tied down or anything but I was locked inside the back of the truck. I removed the bag from my head and stood up slowly, while rubbing the bump on my head. It stung like hell, but I had bigger problems now. The back of this truck looked big enough to store a sofa or two, but was completely empty except for me. I walked to the back of the truck trying my best to keep my balance. I looked at the back door and saw a master lock connected to a chain that tied both doors together. This back door wasn’t opening without a key. The world was still spinning around me and I moved to the center of the truck. I sat down and thought about my situation. As I sat down I felt my knife in my back pocket, still there were I had left it. I pulled it out and stared at it.

I was furious. I thought about smashing on the walls trying to get a response out of the driver and anyone else in the car, but I held against it. I would save my anger. These people are demons, praying on other peoples addictions, leeching money off of people who are simply trying to live normal lives! If I let them, they will destroy me and my family. I thought back to Scarlet and Valerie. I wont let these demons hurt them. Right then and there I made my decision. I stood up, and the world stopped spinning. It was rare for me to make such a decisive decision. It felt as though everything was clear. My path was clear, at the time I didn’t think about what would happen after, what the consequences would be. I just thought about the now and the how.

I stood their for what felt like hours staring blankly at the locked doors, ready to pounce at any second. Eventually the truck stopped. I felt adrenaline pump through my body in anticipation. I heard three men step out of the truck, they were murmuring to one another. I heard giggling and snickering, they sounded like kindergarteners that were trying to pull a prank. I heard their footsteps as they walked to the back of the van.

I saw through a small hole behind the lock someone clipping the chain. It took a minute of effort but the chain fell and the right door slowly creaked open. I stood ready. I saw the man in the rooster mask slowly open the door and I sprung into action. I raced from the center of the truck to the back and I leaped on top of the man, without a moments hesitation I quickly brought the knife down and slit his neck clean. I didn’t pay him any more attention as I looked up and saw another man, this one had another rooster mask too, in fact so did the other man. I was full of adrenaline and momentum, as I sprinted to the other man in front of me. I grabbed his neck and pushed him into the wall nearest to him and stabbed at his ribcage again and again and again.

All the while the man screamed, “NO CHRIS, IT'S ME, CHRIS!”

I didn’t pay him a moments notice, and kept stabbing into his ribcage with all my might until he lost the ability to speak. Only when he fell over on the floor did I look at the last man. He was on the floor whimpering.

“Jesus, fuck Chris! What the fuck!” I looked at this face, and to my disbelieve, it was Jeff. He stared at me with eyes as wide as they could get, as if I was a demon straight from hell.

“Paul! Conroy! Oh my god!” He said as he crawled over to the last man I killed and pulled his mask off. It was Conroy, his eyes were rolled to the back of his head and his skin was as pale as it gets. Blood trickled down from his shirt onto the concrete floor below.

“You killed all of them you fucking monster!” Said Jeff weeping over Conroys body. I stood there, coated in blood, absolutely baffled and confused. There was a door next to Jeff and it slowly creaked open. At the doorway stood Valerie, with a party hat on. I started at her, blankly. I looked past her and saw a banner in the room behind her, filled with people I know.

The banner read, “Happy birthday, Chris!”

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