This is the second and final part of a story inspired by a portion of a song titled Simple Man, originally performed by The Charlie Daniels Band. If you are yet to do so, it is probably best to read the first part before commencing this. You can find that post here: The Myrmecia Genus.
Otherwise, I hope you enjoy this conclusion.
The shiver raked it's way over his body, making him look as if he were having some sort of mild seizure. It actually felt good in an odd sort of way. The breeze had picked up a little, and Paul was starting to feel the developing chill in the atmosphere. He hadn't noticed it while he had been struggling. Ironically, the movement that had been keeping him warm had now caused a flow of blood that would help speed the lowering of his body temperature if he lost too much of it. He didn't think he was losing too much too fast, so he would probably fare alright. He had already summised that he was being held outside. The gritty feel of the ground beneath his knees made him guess that he had been set down on some sort of dirt surface. There was something else on the ground as well. He couldn't tell for sure, but in his struggles, it felt as if he were slipping slightly, and in places, the grittiness gave way to small smoother sensations, so he wondered if he was also kneeling on some leaves. It was difficult to tell. Nothing was being given away by whatever it was that covered his head.
A noise to his left caught his attention. He snaped his head in that direction and held his breath, listening for any other signs of movement. His heart quickened to double-time, and he forced himself to concentrate. Another indistinct motion grabbed his attention. It was difficult to ascertain, exactly what it was, but it felt like the parting of the atmosphere - so subtle that only someone who has lost one of their senses was likely to pick up on. Paul went rigid. Held his breath longer and willed his heart rate to slow. Another noise to his left. This time a little closer. He definitely wasn't alone anymore. Paul felt the panic rising in the back of his mind again, and he stifled the urge to ask who was there. He figured that at this pioint it wouldn't do any good anyway. His thought was cut off by the covering being torn from his head with such ferocity that what felt like half of his hair came away with it. It was bright, and he instinctively closed his eyes tightly. After a few seconds, he slowly lessened the tension on his eyelids, cautiously splitting them open, ever so slightly, then shutting them again, repeating the process, allowing his retina's to adjust to the bright sunshine that threatened to roast his tender eyes after having been covered for however long it had been.
After his eyes finally grew accustomed to the light, and he could actually open them without squinting, Paul was able to see that standing before him were the two gunmen from his home. They stood stock-still once again, and each still had a gun trained at his head. Apart from the complete change of location, it was like they had not left his living room. To his left was the man who didn't have a gun. The smaller, yet more intimidating man, who didn't speak. Paul looked around a little. He had been stripped to his underwear, and his hands were certainly bound with rope - an odd sort of rope that he hadn't seen before, but it was effective, none-the-less. It had sliced through his skin, and the blood he had felt flowing moments before had already begun to congeal on his hands. The flow hadn't been as bad as he had thought when blindfolded. The rope wound from the knot at his wr ists, and snaked a few metres ahead of him, where it had been tied securely to a stump. There were trees encircling the little clearing that the four of them were in, and past the trees that lined the clearing, Paul could only see more trees. It seemed they had bought him to somewhere remote. Just beyond the clearing, past the small man, he could see a four-wheel drive. Idling, noxious desiel fumes pumping from the exhaust pipe at the rear of the vehicle.
The small man walked over to where Paul kneeled, next to the men with the guns and balaklavas. He still stared, eyes burning into Paul. Little spheres of hatred and fury. Paul, who had been moving in and out of various levels of fear, felt the damn inside him crack just a little more, and the trickle that commenced at his house became two trickles. He wasn't sure if there was any point talking. Didn't think he was going to get a response. He had heard of those times when someone was just randomly kidnapped and killed for no reason other than looking the wrong way at someone. Had he looked the wrong way at the small man? He couldn't remember.
'What do you want with me?' Paul's voice broke with a mixture of fear and dehydration. No answer. 'What do you want with me?' Paul repeated. Feeling more conifdent, but not hearing that confidence reflected in his quavering voice.
At long last, the small man broke his silence. 'You need to die.'
Paul had reasoned that this was possibly not going to end well, but hearing it for the first time bought waves of panic rushing to the surface. The damn cracked some more, and the trickles joined to became a river. His heart thudded in his chest so loudly that he could hear it in his ears. His mouth dried more than it had already been, and his whole body shivered again, only this time he wasn't feeling cold. 'I'm sorry?'
'You need to die.' The small man repeated. Paul didn't, couldn't respond. So the small man continued, 'have you heard of the Myrmecia genus of ant?' Paul shook his head. Unable to understand where the man was heading with the question. The small man nodded.
'The Myrmecia genus of ant is known to be one of the more dangerous ants on the planet. It contains nine species. One of which is commonly known as the giant bull ant. It grows up to forty millimetres long, and the venom from just one of these creatures has been known to cause anaphylaxis in a small human.' He gestured to a tree next to the stump that Paul was tied to, 'that tree contains an entire nest of giant bull ants.'
Paul looked past the stump he was bound to, horrified. He wasn't exactly a genius when it came to maths, but he figured that a tree of that size must contain hunderds of thousands of ants. 'You can't,' he pleaded. Panic quickening his speech. 'I mean, you can't. What're you going to just leave me tied, tied here. Why? What possible reason could you have?' His voice was reaching breaking point, but the small man wasn't listening. He had already made another gesture, and the men in balaklavas were approaching Paul each with a bucket in their hand. Their guns stowed for the time being. They walked brisquely over and upended each bucket above Paul's head. The contents flowed out and hit Paul over the head and shoulders before slowly drizzling down the rest of his body. With his hands tied, he was unable to wipe the gooey substance from his face, and found that it got into his eyes, causing them to sting badly. His mouth formed a scream, but it was filled with the viscous fluid, and Paul realised, as he was about to gag, that it was honey. They had poured two buckets of honey over him.
He waited, eyes closed until the honey had flowed past his mouth enough for him to talk. 'Why?' He pleaded again, 'Why?'
The small man didn't respond again, but another gesture with his head sent the balaklava men hurrying back to the four-wheel drive idling just outside the clearing. They returned and this time, Paul could make out through sore stinging eyes, that they were each carrying one of those cardboard archive boxes. Like the ones that the police always stored evidence in on those television crime dramas. The men upended these over Paul too, and paper fluttered all around him. Some stuck to the honey that coated his body and was now pooling around him. Some got caught by the breeze and flew into the trees around the clearing. Paul couldn't tell what they were, but they contained a lot of text. He couldn't read it through the honey, but could see there was a great deal of writing on the pages within his vision. The small man knelt in from of Paul, honey oozing over his shoes. He got as close as he did back at the house, but Paul couldn't smell butterscotch anymore. All he could smell was honey.
'What are all of these?' Paul asked, 'Please don't kill me.' He added. The man continued to stare. That unnerving stare. Could Paul get tears through the honey, and out of the ducts in his eyelids, the man would have seen him crying. He spoke to Paul. His gaze never wavering.
'I am going to kill you.' And with that the balaklava men picked up a sledge hammer each and began to hit the tree that contained the ants. It splintered and cracked with a crunch that was absorbed by the air around them, and deadened by the honey that had flowed into Paul's ears. Some of the trunk fell to the ground, and Paul could see some small brownish-black things hit the ground too. The second impact sent more shards flying into the air, and more of the black pellets fell to the ground. It was an eerie thing to watch. Paul knew there was sound, but couldn't hear it properly - it was more like dull thuds - like punching a pillow. They hit the tree five or six times, opening up a large hole about two feet off the ground. There was a pile of pellets at the base of the trunk now, and Paul thought he saw them move, but couldn't be sure through the honey haze. The balaklava men stopped what they were doing, collected their belongings, and walked brisquely past Paul. They didn't say a word. Didn't even look in his direction. He realised that he had not once heard one of thse two men speak, and despite himself, he was realising that he never would.
The same black pellets that had gathered on the ground had now started to flow from the hole in the trunk. Paul could make out the small items falling, no wait... they were moving, not because of gravity, but of their own accord. Paul suddenly felt sick to the pit of his stomach. He felt bile rising in the back of his throat, and he gagged, although nothing came out. The sickening realisation that the 'pellets' he had been watching fall from the tree were not actually pellets at all, but the giant bull ants the small man had referred to earlier struck him like a tornado. His mind whirled and spun faster and faster. He again felt the need to vomit, but nothing came as he coughed and wretched against the bile in his mouth. The ants were leaving their nest, flowing down the tree like the honey that had just recently flowed over Paul. He didn't know a great deal about ants, but he knew that they were attracted to nectar - the sweetness of it, and he was covered in a nectar of sorts. Panic rose like a tidal wave in his chest, and the damn came crashing down. Fear swept through his body, riding the wave of panic like a sufer. His mind swam and he actually vomited this time. The acid from his stomach stung his throat, and he watched in horror as the ants spread out from the tree, moving towards the sweet smelling honey that was all over and around him.
'Please. Please. I'll do anything.' Paul begged the small man. 'What is it you want from me? Money? Cash? I've got it. Cars? I can get them.' The small man stood immobile in front of Paul, half watching the ants, half watching the reaction of the man kneeling in front of him. 'Please.' Paul begged again. 'What do you want from me?' He screamed hysterically. But the small man remained stoic. Then, just as Paul thought he was going to get no reaction at all, the man bent down in front of him again, levelling his gaze with Paul's.
'Do you know why you're here?' A simple question, and before Paul could answer, the small man, with a sweep of his hand, posed another one. 'Do you know what all of these are?' He was referring to the papers that the balaklava men had tipped over Paul. Paul shook his head. The man continued. 'They are forty-seven different rape cases. All unsolved. All committed by you, Paul Mason Brown.' Paul's eyes widened at the statement.
'I know who, what, you are.' The man said simply. 'You are a rapist. A nothing.' The small man was beginning to get worked up now. He was staring directly at Paul, boring into his soul with those eyes. 'You are a serial rapist, and I know what to do with scum like you. I bought you out here and tied you to that stump, and now, I'm going to let the snakes, and the ants, and other wild animals do the rest.'
The man stood, and looked at the ants that were swarming out of the tree. They had covered about half the ground between their home and Paul. They looked like boiling lava as they crawled over each other, making their way to the honey that was enticing them. They would be angry too - their home had been invaded by the sledge hammers, and their queen threatened. The man turned to Paul again and reached to his back pocket. He removed some more papers - files like the ones dumped earlier - and held them directly in front of Paul. There was a name printed on them in a large typeface. Paul could clearly make out the word, and he scrunched his eyes closed as tightly as possible.
'Read the name.' The man said coldly. Paul hesitated. 'Read the name.' The man screamed, violently. Spittle flew from his mouth and landed on Paul. Trembling, Paul looked up at the man. Fear had completely ensnared him.
There were tears flowing freely down the small man's face, and through them, Paul could feel the hatred. It was burning into him. 'Rachel was my daughter,' the man whispered, 'she died from injuries sustained after being raped at her university. The police were unable to find the person responsible, but I did. After months of tracking, I found you.' He spoke through clenched teeth. 'You raped and killed my daughter, so now, I'm going to leave you here.'
Without hesitation. Without warning, the man pulled a wall stapler from another pocket and held the file to Paul's forehead. He pressed the stapler against the papers and squeezed the trigger. A staple, about half an inch long, dug itself into Pauls skin, attaching the file of his last victim to his head. The name of the girl printed clearly for him to see. Paul couldn't see past the file hanging from his forehead, but he could hear the small man walk out of his life. Dry leaves and small twigs crackled and broke under his feet as he walked to the four-wheel drive idling nearby. Paul heard a door close, and then the engine revved as the car pulled away. The noise of the engine slowly receeded, and then was gone. Paul was alone.
About two hours passed from the time the men departed and the time that Paul felt the first ant on his skin. In that instant, his heart raced, and he instinctively moved, bucking his body trying to fling the insect onto the gound. That was a mistake. The movement caused the other ants on him to stir - react to a percieved threat, and their instincts kicked in too. All at once, thousands of ants began to attack. Paul felt his body flare in pain and he writhed on the ground, contorting himself in an effort to remove the hoarde that was punishing him. He screamed out in agony. Ants streamed into his screaming mouth, filling it to the point where the noise that was emanating from deep within was cut off completely. They raced down his throat, biting him there too. Paul's body was savaged by the angry ants. Every inch of him had been bitten, and the venom invaded his blood stream, beginning it's deadly voyage around his body.
The swelling in his mouth began almost instantly, and the man who had lived his life as a predator, lay in the wilderness, gasping for breath, as the predators, that would kill him, continued their deadly voyage over his grotesquely misshapen body.
Well, there you have it! I hope that you enjoyed this creation. I thought I'd try my hand at a Jeffrey Archer-style twist in the tale. So having said that, if you would rather see how a professional does it, his book A Twist in the Tale is an awesome read. I highly recommend it.
Apart from that, again, I'm always happy for feedback, comments, suggestions, and anything else you'd like to say, so please leave a comment.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you again soon.
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Animation By @zord189