Opening Chapter by Ward Eli Butt

This is the opening chapter of a currently unnamed story by Ward. Any feedback would be much appreciated! 

“Welcome Johnny,” came a metallic and dark voice. The bag over Johnny’s head was removed and a sickly man with a face a mother couldn’t recognize was revealed. Blood seeped down from his mouth, nose and brow. The gashes wore down on his eyes as he struggled to look around at where he was. The room was dark. One light shone upon his face from above him –  it looked like a damp cellar of some old house that he was in. The walls were a dark lime colour with old paintings of lords and mayors hanging from them. That was all he could make out.

The two men beside him were big from what he could tell, stocky and tall. The man in the suit ahead of him, cast in the darkness, was square jawed. Handsome even. He didn’t look as though he belonged but Johnny knew him. He was in charge of the two mugs beside him. Edward Lester was his name. He stood there, black gloves raised up in a welcoming posture towards Johnny.

“Nice night. Warm it is. Nice to be down here in a cool cellar. Could freeze down here in the winter I reckon though,” said Edward. “Now Johnny, what on earth happened? Did you forget who I was? Well here I am to remind you.”

He crept forward like a snake slithering on the surface, and a shade, a darkness, came forth into the light.  Infected it. He took shape and held out his hand to take a knife from a box held out by one of his lackeys. He lent forward and pressed the knife to Johnny’s neck.

“You remember me now? Good old Ed? You forgot your place Johnny. You stole from me. But don’t you worry. I ain’t going to kill you. No. No. Just gonna take an ear so I can whisper into it when I need your services again. Because I will need it again.”

Johnny sat there trying to find the words, he stuttered and shook. He was scared. “Eddie, mate. I was gonna give it back I swear, I just needed the money a little longer, this investment I-I got it all figured, I just…”

Edward hushed Johnny. “Need more time? Well unfortunately, you miss a deadline, you pay the price mate. We don’t want the money anymore, too little too late.” He swept the knife carefully across the skin, going at a slow pace. It made Johnny quiver in fear. “You will lose your ear. And you will go out and skulk around hunting for someone who wronged my father. His life for yours. But obviously, the catch being you lose a limb.”  He grabbed Johnny’s head suddenly, and violently. “Now hold still.”

Johnny moaned and yelled, “No!” He made noises he didn’t think were remotely possible from his lungs. He screamed like a tragic widow losing her husband. He cried and took bites at his own tongue in agony writhing around like a worm. Until a strange, silky noise echoed throughout the cellar. It had echoed for only a fraction of a second, but that made it ever more haunting. Johnny was now crying, Edward’s black gloves stained in a juicy thick red, and he was holding the ear in his hand. “Now Johnny, venture out into the world, I’ve got me a walkie-talkie now to speak to you if I need anything else. Have a nice day.”  Edward said. Johnny was still crying and writhing on the ground kicking and screaming like a newborn babe.

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