Tree Hugger 2: The Revenge
by Bobby Fox
If you have read ‘Tree Hugger’ (a cruel childhood experience http://yareah.com/?p=1184), read now ‘Tree Hugger: the revenge’ and you we’ll know what happens to bad boys.
Andy Jacobs never quite got over it. And today was going to prove that more than anything. Even though he got over much worse treatment by his former classmates, being tied to a tree for several hours at the age of 9 was something he was never able to completely shake. Although there were much worse things done to him both prior to and following this incident, in hindsight, this was the one that did the most to drag him over the edge – an edge that he had been walking on. Twenty years later, at the age of 29 and with nothing left to lose, the time had come to stop walking on the edge. It was time to finally walk off it.
Shortly after midnight, on a crisp fall evening, Andy Jacobs approached the two story colonial in the cookie-cutter subdivision aptly named Pheasant Meadows. He parked in the driveway and headed up an obscenely long sidewalk littered with brittle, dead leaves until he reached the door. He then grabbed the brass knocker with the lion face and gave it three solid knocks, which echoed into the chilly night. Moments later, footsteps were heard descending the stairs. The porch light turned on and the door opened. And there he was: David Sampson. The person single-handedly responsible for everything that led to this most unfortunate moment for him.
David did not recognize his midnight visitor. He stood there with half-asleep three-quarter confusion mixed with a one-quarter dose of fear.
“Hello, David,” Andy said.
“May I help you?,” David asked.
“I think so.”
They stood there in awkward silence, as David tried to calculate the exact purpose of his midnight visitor.
“Who are you?”
“You know who I am.”
“Are you trying to sell me something?”
“Do salesmen come after midnight?”
“Why are you here? On my porch? At this time of night?”
Andy pulled a 9 mm. out of his pocket and aimed it at David Sampson’s face.
“This is why.”
David froze in panic.
“Please don’t kill me.”
“I’m not going to kill you.”
“Then why are you pointing a gun in my face?”
“Is there anybody else in your home?”
“No. Just me,” David said.
Andy did his homework. Following numerous nights of surveillance, he knew that David lived alone. But he just wanted to be make sure … just in case.
“If you’re here to rob me, take what you want. I don’t want any trouble. Okay?”
“I don’t want to rob you.”
“Please. Just tell me what you want.”
“I want you to keep your fucking mouth shut,” Andy demanded. “Now, see that car over there?”
“Now what I want you to do is walk towards it with the world’s happiest smile on your face, keeping in mind that I’m right behind you. And I sear to God if you even begin to open your mouth, I will blow your head off before you can finish closing your lips. Have I made myself clear?”
David nodded in understanding.
“The passenger door is unlocked,” Andy made clear. David obediently did as told and headed into the car. Andy hopped in and away they went.
Andy raised the volume on his stereo, fittingly playing Mozart’s Requiem. He let the music soak in for awhile before he finally addressed his prey.
“You know, it really pains me that you have no idea who I am – considering everything you’ve put me through.”
David gave Andy another look, before recognition filled his face.
“Andy? Andy Jacobs?!”
“Bingo!,” Andy gleefully proclaimed.
“How’ve you been?”
“You tell me.”
David tried to think of a fitting response. But there was none.
“Where exactly are we going?,” David finally asked.
Andy raised the volume on the stereo as he pulled into the entrance of park. He proceeded to park in a secluded are at the park’s edge.
“See that path heading into the woods?”
“Yes, of course. We used to play here all the time when we were kids.”
“Well, now I want you to pretend it’s the fucking yellow brick road and follow it. I’ll be right behind you. And if you dare scream for help, I will kill you. Sound fair?”
“Now get going,” Andy demanded. “Slowly. And don’t turn around.”
David got out of the car and started walking, taking refuge in the pleasant smell of autumn pouring out of the woods. Andy retrieved the following items from his trunk: metal wire, rope duct tape, a can of kerosene and a box of long matches.
Andy caught up to David, keeping a distance of about three feet until they arrive at a small clearing with a solitary, dead tree stands in the center.
David stopped dead in his tracks. “Now what?,” David asked, fearful of what was about to happen.
Andy dropped his supplies to the ground, pulled out his gun and shot David square in the foot, causing him to collapse in agony.
Andy grabbed the duct tape, quickly ran over to David, who was withering on the ground in pain.
“Why did you shoot me?”
“Shut the fuck up. I will shoot you your fucking nut sack if you scream or say another word without me first asking you a question.”
David did as told, despite the excruciating pain. Andy grabbed the metal wire, crouched down next to David and proceeded to tie his hands behind his back. David didn’t even resist. It’s amazing what the threat of death can do to motivate someone.
Andy then grabbed David by the ankles and pulled him toward the tree. When he had David lying under the tree,
“Now stand up and lean against the tree.”
“You just shot my fucking foot!
Andy aimed the gun at him, which motivated David to stand up, fighting through the worse pain of your life. He hopped on his one good food, keeping his wounded foot up in the air as he leaned against the tree.
“Please, don’t do this to me,” David pleaded.
Andy ignored his plea and proceeded to tie both the rope and the wire around David and the tree, making sure it was good and tight – just as David and his cronies did to him 20 years before. They were next on the list. Andy made sure to leave about three feet of slack on the rope.
“Please. I beg of you.”
“You didn’t exactly listen to me when I was begging you, did you?”
“Begging me for what?,” David said with genuine confusion.
“You don’t remember?”
“What you did to me in fourth grade?”
“I was just a kid,” David said, grasping for a good excuse.
“Do you really think that matters right now?,” Andy said in reply.
“This is a joke, isn’t? You didn’t mean to shoot my fucking foot, right?”
Andy shot David’s other foot to prove he meant business.
“Nope, my bad,” Andy said.
“There were others, I mean, I wasn’t the only one there that day.”
“You were the ringleader. You were always the ringleader.
“Please, I’m sorry! I was stupid. We were just kids. I was just trying to fit in.”
“Bullshit,” Andy retorted.
“At the time, it’s how I felt,” David tried to justify. “I could never do that type of thing now. What kind of person are you now?”
“I’m exactly what you made me.”
“We can work this out. Let me buy you a drink and we’ll talk. I’m nothing like that now.”
Andy wasn’t going to let him persuade him to stop him from achieving what he had hoped and dreamed and fantasized about for almost 20 years.
“Remember how you kept trying to light the rope on fire, but the rope wouldn’t light?”
“I did that?”
“Yes. You did. And your friends even tried to get you to stop, but you pushed them down and threatened even them. Your own fucking friends!”
“I never would have hurt you.”
“What if rope caught fire? Would you have put it out?”
“I’m sure I never would have let it get that far.”
“You tried and you knew it!”
“Allow me to let you in on a little secret.”
Andy reached for the can of kerosene.
“This might have helped,” Andy said, proceeding to douse not only the rope, but David’s entire body, including his bloody, mangled feet. Despite Andy’s threats, David was unable to hold back screams of agony. In fact, the pain was so immense, he would have preferred death.
Andy grabbed a match and lit it. A gust of wind blew it out. He promptly reached for another one, cupped his hand around it and lit it.
David looked at him with the fear of a trapped, wounded animal.
“Please,” David pleaded a strained, painful whisper.
“I was just a kid,” David added.
“So was I,” Andy said in reply, before lighting the rope. David attempted to extinguish it with his mangled stump of a foot, but it was too late. Within seconds, he was engulfed in flames – no longer a man, but a screaming pillar of fire.
Adding proverbial fuel to the fire, Andy shot both of David’s flaming kneecaps, then his shoulders, transforming David’s screams into yelps.
When Andy couldn’t take the yelps anymore, he shot David in the head. Chunks of brain matter erupted above the flames. A brain volcano, Andy thought to himself and smiled. He then gathered his supplied, threw them into his trunk and drove away.
By the next day, the forest was gone. A clearing stood in its place.
Bobby Fox is the award-winning writer of several short stories, plays, poems, a novel and 15 feature length screenplays. Two of his screenplays have been optioned to Hollywood.
His works have been published in the The Naked Feather, The Medulla Review, The Path, The India Contemporary Review, The Lyceum, Detroit News, Dearborn Times-Herald, TravelMag and InTravel Magazine.
He is also the writer/director/editor of several award-winning short films. His recent stage directing debut led to an Audience Choice Award at the Canton One-Acts Festival in Canton, MI.
Fox graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English and a minor in Communications and received a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Wayne State University.
In addition to moonlighting as a writer, independent filmmaker and saxophonist, Fox teaches English and video production in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, where he uses his own dream of making movies to inspire his students to follow their own dreams. He has also worked in public relations at Ford Motor Company and as a newspaper reporter. He resides in Ypsilanti, MI.
His website is http://www.foxplots.com