The root of all evil? Humans, of course. A single obsession, a single thought seemed to have grasped Tony’s mind as he attempted to scrape the blood off his right thumb. Drip by drip, the red metallic fluid seemed to escape his body in a fashion disproportionate to the wound size. Screaming? Pointless. Noise is a two -way street; so far he had not managed to register a single sound, even when keeping his ear as close as possible to the ground. All those familiarities, the early childhood memories of distant grazing animals awakening him at dawn, now nothing more than a figment of his only ally: imagination. “How the fuck did I end up here? “, he thought.
Throughout the challenges of his secretive life, his minuscule circle of friends repeatedly urged him not to lose hope. That everything was going to be all right — this time however, no amount of forsaken cliches would ameliorate his predicament, rendered even more dramatic by an ironic twist of fate: having observed countless others lose their lives in the very same eerie manner, Tony would never have fathomed, not in a thousand years, that he was destined for a similar end. Someone had finally reversed the roles — from spectator to actor. Hunter to hunted. Executioner to executionee.
As the thought crossed his minds, he let out a significant little chuckle; it was no surprise he was bound to ultimately rot in that forsaken place. No, that made sense — even tapped into some perverted notion of logical karma. What w a s entertaining, he pondered, was that around him the whole wide world was going to shit; and instead of contemplating any meaningful last words or engaging in a desperate, muted last -minute confession in the hopes that whatever deity on the other side would absolve him from a lifetime of sinning, he could only assert one last regret. “I really wish I had smoked that last Marlboro”, he silently repented.
Struggling to choke out one last breath, he decided to give in to the poison in his veins, as it now prevailed in the battle with his immune system and his will to stay alive. Drawing comfort from the agonizing, slow death his poisoner would doubtlessly suffer at the hands of his avengers, Tony grinned from ear to ear and quietly uttered: “Go fuck yourself, Mr. Executioner”.