The function of the TV is revealed.
Four: Why are you doing this to me?
Two people sitting on a couch, a man and a woman. The womanÂ´s weeping uncontrollably, the man has one arm around her shoulders and presses her head against his chest.
"I miss him. I miss him so much," the woman cries out under her sobs.
He closes his eyes, a few tears escape them and run down his cheeks, "I know, my love. I miss him too... We just have to be faithful and trust that things will get better."
She shakes his hand off her head and pulls away from his chest. Staring the man in the eyes, she yells at him, "How can you remain calm and collected in a situation like this?! CanÂ´t you see this is the most horrible thing that could have happened to us?"
He gently places a hand on her cheek and wipes off some of her tears, "I know it is, my dear. But I need you to stay strong. Have faith. Please. ThatÂ´s the only way we can get through this."
She shakes her head in disapproval but reverts herself to her previous position, resting her head against his chest. Her crying swells to new fortitude.
Then the TV screen went black. Seconds later a countdown appeared.
I was dumbfounded, not able to take my eyes off the tube. I watched how the numbers proceeded being counted down.
"Mom and Dad," I finally managed to mumble. I buried my head in my hands. What was happening here?
These sick bastards showed me how my parents were grieving over me being kidnapped. Obviously they wanted to crush me, break me to pieces so it would be easier to deal with me when they finally came in here. This was about revenge after all. Even though I felt a stinging pain in my chest, I tried to focus and attempted my best to not let Mom and DadÂ´s pain get to me.
"You FUCK-UP!" I couldnÂ´t help yelling at the door. They probably didnÂ´t even hear me.
Alright, focus. Focus, man. Maybe I wasnÂ´t that far away from my parentsÂ´ house. I mean how else could they channel these pictures into this room? This was good. TheyÂ´d find me. Help was on its way and it would be here soon.
"YouÂ´re not getting away with this! You hear me?!" I cried out again.
23:55:34. Almost a day.
Almost a day until what? What was gonna happen in 23 hours and 55 minutes? Would the door open and I would finally see the people who were responsible for this eye to eye?
About four hours later I was lying on the bed, my hands tugged underneath my head, staring at the cream-colored ceiling. I was forcing myself to remember what had happened before I had woken up in here. I could recall having gone to a friendÂ´s party. Joe had tagged along. We had had some beers, we had talked to people. I couldn't bring myself to remember who I talked to that night. Too many faces. Some of which I couldnÂ´t even match up with their names. I just knew too many people. ThatÂ´s show business for ya.
My talent at sweet-talking people had definitely helped our band advance. From the beginning I had always made sure to get and maintain connections to influential people in the music industry. If you wanna make it big itÂ´s not really so much about how good or original you are, itÂ´s about who you know. ItÂ´s about who likes you. ItÂ´s about who you trick into believing that you like them. I was the uncrowned king of tricking people into believing I gave a ratÂ´s ass about them. I wanted fame, I wanted the rock star life and I was willing to do almost anything that it took to get me there. You gotta play by the rules or youÂ´ll get kicked out of the game. ItÂ´s as simple as that.
That party. Who had been there? Maybe my tormentors had been there. I could hardly remember more than a handful of people. To the best of my recollection I had gone home after the party, had laid down on my bed. In my room. ThatÂ´s the last thing I remembered.
I checked the TV screen. 19:35:57.
How was I supposed to pass the time in here? There was nothing to do. I didnÂ´t want to ponder upon the subject of my last hours outside of this fucking hellhole. I wanted to erase the pictures of my suffering parents. Maybe I could sleep. I didnÂ´t feel tired but it would make time go by faster.
I rolled to the side, facing the wall and closed my eyes. Half an hour later I was still awake. My mind was racing, my thoughts circling around the questions why I was here, who had put me here and what it was they wanted from me. Questions that I couldnÂ´t find sensible answers to.
A thought struck me. What if the pictures I had seen of my parents had just been played from a tape? Maybe they hadnÂ´t been real time. Maybe I wasnÂ´t anywhere near my home at all.
I hadnÂ´t managed to sleep. My insomnia. Combined with fear.
All I had done was lie on the bed and stare at the screen. A couple of times I had gotten up to look at my reflection in the mirror. I wondered how long it would take until I started smelling bad.
What was I supposed to do when natured called? Just go in a corner?
The screen flimmered for a moment, then a new picture came on.
Two young men in a kitchen.
"What will we tell the media? What will we tell our fans?" the one asks.
The other shrugs, "I really canÂ´t think of this right now. I still canÂ´t believe this happened. I should have seen the signs..."
"Please donÂ´t blame yourself," he puts his hand on the other guyÂ´s shoulder reassuringly. "None of us couldÂ´ve seen this coming. ItÂ´s not your or our fault."
"I wish he was here now. I wish he would tell me what to do..."
A third young man enters the room, he greets the others quickly. His countenance resembles the other two: exhausted, tired and melancholic.
"PeterÂ´s parents just called me. They want to talk to us..."
The one who self-doubted himself earlier starts crying and leans against the man who is still comforting him, now putting his arm around his shoulders.
Black screen. Countdown again.
Joe. Patrick. Andy. My friends. My band. My life.
"ARE YOU GONNA SHOW ME CLIPS OF THE ONES I LOVE UNTIL I ROT TO DEATH IN HERE, YOU SICK FUCK?!" I screamed at the top of my lungs, not caring if my vocal chords would be able to sustain the strain or not.
"What is this about? What do you want from me? Why are you showing me these pictures?" I yelled at the door.
No reply. Just nothing.
I stared at the TV screen.
I knocked the TV down, the glass hitting the floor. I wasnÂ´t gonna watch anymore of this. How they all suffered. I didnÂ´t need to see that. I was suffering enough already. Why would they show me these scenes? How did they record them? Nothing was making any sense.
I kicked the TV. It slithered a few inches back until it hit the wall. I set it back up, exposing a slightly cracked screen.
Another day, waiting for the next screening. Not with me.
I yanked the cable out of the socket and grabbed the medium-sized appliance with both hands, raising it off the ground. Huffing heavily, I tried to hoist it up to the level of my head. No chance, I was too weak. When was the last time I had eaten? I couldnÂ´t say. My knees bent, the TV elevated to the height of my stomach, I flung it to the floor with all my might. A thump. The screen was facing me, black now, but hardly damaged.
I walked over to the table and chair and grabbed the latter. Started smashing the glass with the chair. It shattered, sending millions of tiny glass splinters in every direction. I felt them hitting my face and closed my eyes. I didnÂ´t care, I couldnÂ´t stop. I raised the chair again and I brought it down again. Hard. Every time harder than the time before. Clangor filling the room.
I finally stopped and opened my eyes to inspect the mess of broken glass, slightly deformed black frame and multi-colored wires. There had to be a camera in there. They were watching me. Of course! They were watching me through a device planted in the TV, thatÂ´s why nobody came in here.
I took off my hoodie, smoothed out my t-shirt and sat down on the floor. Using my hoodie I wiped off the glass splinters, then tossed it aside. Slowly I started taking the TV apart, ripping out several electronic boards. I proceeded until there was nothing left to pull out of the body. I ran my hands over the electronic debris that had gathered around me. Nothing. None of the pieces looked like a camera to me.
I got up and looked at my bare arms and hands. Not one scratch. The reflection of my face in the mirror confirmed that my face wasnÂ´t injured either. That was funny. I even managed to cut myself with paper every now and then when I was reading a book.
I stared at my own eyes for a moment, wondering if I should smash the mirror as well. I lifted it off the nail and had a look at the spot that it had covered. Nothing. I hung it back on the wall. So much for my camera theory.
I sat down on the bed and glanced at the broken TV. I had to sleep, this was too much for my brain to process at once. Was I already showing signs of paranoia? I lay myself down on the bed, rolled over so that I was facing the wall and closed my eyes.
Moments later I was still awake. I decided to turn off the light. Maybe that would facilitate drifting off. What did it matter if I could see or if I was enveloped in darkness?
I was left with nothing.