The Man He Used to Be, ch. 7

by: Marty Chrisman

            Luke hung limply from the post that he was tied to. He was conscious but barely. The Porter brothers had beaten him badly on Christy’s orders. His mouth was busted open and a couple of teeth had been knocked loose. And he was pretty sure that his nose was broken. His chest and stomach hurt from the vicious punches to his ribs and midsection. His vision was blurry and he couldn’t seem to focus his eyes. Luke knew that if Christy had her way, he wasn’t going to make it out of this alive. Luke wasn’t afraid to die, he had faced death before, but he didn’t want to die like this unable to even defend himself.

Dimly Luke was aware of the Porter boys and Christy coming back into the barn. He wondered what else they were going to do next to hurt him. He didn’t bother raising his head, it would have taken too much of an effort and he didn’t have the energy right now. He heard a third male voice that he recognized as a local boy named Pete Madison.

“He don’t look too good….” Pete was saying in a nervous voice. “You said you weren’t gonna hurt him bad….just knock him around a little.”

“It’s none of your business what we’re gonna do to him. What’s going on in Hazzard?” Christy said

“They know these two grabbed him. Some girl saw ‘em do it and hightailed to Jesse and told him what happened.”

“What girl?” Christy demanded angrily

“I don’t know, just some girl. She gave the sheriff a pretty good description of these two and of the car they was driving.”

“That don’t matter, the car’s long gone. They ain’t never gonna find it. And nobody knows Billy and Bobby here.”

“What if they find out I had something to do with you grabbing him? I don’t wanna mess with them Dukes.”

“Just keep your damn mouth shut.” Christy told him sharply “Or you’ll end up 6 feet under with Luke. I’ll make sure of it.” The threat was given in cold, deadly voice that sent chills down Pete’s spine. This was more than he had bargained for. He may not care much Luke Duke but he didn’t want to have no part in killing him.

“Yeah, nobody knows where we are but you.” Billy snarled “So if anybody finds us before we get a chance to finish him off, we’ll know who squealed on us.”

“Yeah, but…”

“No buts.” Christy said cutting Pete off in mid sentence. “Just keep an eye on what’s going on in town and let us know if they start getting too close to finding him. Now get out of here.”             Pete didn’t need to be told twice. He scurried out of the barn and climbed into his car, roaring away at a high rate of speed.

Christy walked over to Luke. “Come on, Lukas.” She said in a no nonsense voice “I know you’re awake so stop trying to play possum.”

Luke slowly raised his head and stared at her with ice cold blue eyes that were filled with hatred. A thin smile tugged at Christy’s mouth as she examined the bruises and cuts on Luke’s face from the earlier beating. His bottom lip was swollen and split wide open and there was a deep gash over his right eye. His nose was obviously broken and one eye was starting to turn black and blue. The Porter boys liked their work just a little too much, it was a shame they had messed up his face. Not that it really mattered much considering the other things Christy had in mind for Luke.

Luke jerked his head, startled as a black hood was suddenly slipped over his head from behind. Not being able to see what they were doing (or planning to do to him next) scared him and his heart began to pound frantically, but he refused to let his fear show.

The hood made it hard to breathe and Luke knew he couldn’t panic. He felt someone ripping open the snaps on his shirt and then tearing the shirt from his body, leaving his bare chest exposed.

He heard someone to his right moving something closer to him. It sounded like a cart or something on wheels. Suddenly, he was hit with a blast of cold water that immediately drenched him and chilled him to bone, making him shiver. Luke gasped with the sudden, unexpected attack. He suddenly had the feeling that whatever they had planned next was going to be something bad, really bad.

The blast of water stopped, then Luke felt a sharp pinch as something was clamped to his skin just below his ribcage, first on the right side and then on the left side. Luke’s heart began pounding harder and he felt the fear rising in his throat, almost choking him and he had a sudden sick feeling that he knew what they had in mind. Almost before the thought even finished forming in his mind, Luke got his answer as an electrical shock surged through his body, the effect heightened by the water.

Unable to hide his pain, Luke screamed in agony, his body bucking and jerking as the current flowed through his body. His heart was racing wildly and he was breathing in deep gasping breathes. Again and again he was shocked, the torture seeming to go on forever. By the time they finally stopped, Luke’s heart was racing so fast it felt like it was going to explode inside his chest and every nerve ending in his body seemed to be screaming with pain. His head fell forward, his chin touching his chest as he struggled just to breathe. Every system in his body seemed to be quivering. His knees were weak and he would have fallen if it hadn’t been for the ropes tying him to the post.

“You like that, Luke…..” Christy whispered his ear, startling him. “I think we’re gonna just leave you alone for awhile. Let you wonder what we got in store for you next.”

Luke barely noticed when they left. He was too exhausted and in too much pain to care. Lack of sleep, no food or water, and the tortures he had already been subjected to was taking its toil on him, both physically and emotionally. He didn’t want to be hurt anymore but he knew that there was no way he could stop them. He just hoped that when the time came, the end would come quickly, like a thief in the night. He knew that unless someone found him in time he was going to die at the hands of a lunatic.

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