Taking Your Time By D.I. Jolly

“Did you know, it can take up to three days for a human body to fully dissolve in this type of acid? Which should give you plenty of time to think about what you’re going to tell me when I come back in the morning.”

“I…I don’t know what the fuck you want from me, who are you? Please, I’ll tell you anything just start asking questions, please!”

Jerome looked at the man struggling against his handcuffs and smiled.

“Patience, patience, all in good time I assure you. But for now, try breathing through your nose otherwise you might burn your vocal cords.”

He then bowed graciously and left the room to the sounds of desperate panic and terror filled screams. Waiting for him was his car and driver, a thin man with a concerned frown.

“Who is this guy anyway sir? And why are we doing this?”

Jerome’s smile faded and his usual look of controlled anger reappeared.

“Michael? Are you questioning my instructions?”

“No sir, never, I’m just trying to understand. This guy seems like a nobody, I’m convinced you have a reason, you always do, I just don’t see it this time.”

“Well, then I will ask you to continue to trust me, and make sure that if anyone started to think along the same lines that they are quickly and decisively put down.”

“Of course sir, without question.”

He opened the door to let his boss in, then hurried to the front and drove him home. In the morning when Jerome come downstairs his driver stood by the door to the car, as if he’d never left. And as usual he opened the door as his boss approached. .

“Did you have a good night sir?”

“Yes thank you, and yourself.”

“A few untoward questions were asked but as you instructed I made sure they didn’t go anywhere.”

“Goodman, anything else I should know?”

“William will no longer be attending meetings.”

Michael spent the first few hours washing the acid off the other man’s legs and torso then dressed his burns before he injected him with just enough painkillers to ensure he’d be able to speak. He then tied him to a chair and signaled for his boss. Jerome took a seat in front of the man and patiently waited for him to steady his thoughts. As the blur of pain slipped away tears began to stream down his face.

“W…w….what do you want with me.”

“Do you know where you were on June 13th 2004?”

The date didn’t sound familiar so he looked up blankly.

“During the afternoon specifically. Sunny day for the most part but a summer storm was rolling in.”

They continued to sit in silence for a few more moments and panic began to creep up the man’s spine. Every moment he didn’t have an answer was a moment that brought him closer to going back into the hell of the acid vat.

“You were in a car accident that day.”

The light bulb suddenly went off in the man’s mind as he remembered that he reversed into another car while pulling out of a parking spot. He remembered that the car looked far more expensive that he could afford and quickly fled the scene.

“I’m here because of a little fender bending over 13 years ago? Look, man, I’m sorry, I’m really sorry.” The tears fell quicker and he started struggling to speak and breath. “I… I didn’t have work, I … couldn’t afford that car…. I’ll do anything.” He heaved a deep breath in and managed to blurt. “Just don’t put me back in the acid!”

Jerome waited for a few more moments until the man was able to calm himself enough to be a bit more composed. He had, after all, waited for years, so a few extra minutes wasn’t going to be a problem.

“It’s not about the car, I’m rich and I’m insured.”

“Is it because I fled, is this a respect thing? What do you want from me!”

“Did you spare a moment at all to see who was driving the car?”

The man thought desperately, searching his memories.

“It was, it was, some girl, a woman blonde, blonde I think. Right?”

In that moment Michael, who had stood quietly in the corner of the room, had his own flash of memory and everything became clear.

“You do remember, that’s good. Anything else about her stand out?”

Again the man searched his mind, but this time came up blank.

“No? Well, let me tell you. When you started you car that afternoon she was also pregnant, with a healthy baby boy. But that ended after you forgot to check your mirror and reversed into her car.”

Jerome rose from his seat suddenly furious, grabbed the back of the man chair and dragged him kicking and screaming towards the vat.

“You know, it’s funny, the only reason I waited this long is because it took this long to find you. But it did give me the time to think about how I wanted to do it, and since I couldn’t find millions of spiders to slowly eat you alive, acid seems the next best thing.”

Then, with Michaels help, they lifted the chair and dropped it back into the acid, careful not to knock him over, but made sure his head an neck were above the acid line. Just enough to ensure that he wouldn’t die to quickly, that so that he would at least be able to scream for as long as possible.

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