The title's inspired by the Misfits song, o' course:
As always, here's the table of contents if you want more.
SOME KINDA HATE
"Don't worry about what was in that tranquilizer dart," the man said as Ted drifted into wakefulness. The light came to him like layers of gauze being peeled away. His eyes felt fat, his head stuffed with cotton, and the voice was clear but seemed distant, echoing. "I was very careful. I did a lot of research on the drug and measured it exactly for your size and weight. I wanted to be very sure. Wouldn't want to kill you."
Ted squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed his head, forcing himself to focus on the man on the other side of the bars. He knew the face and for a second he couldn't place it but then the memory came rocketing through the tranquilizer fog, blowing it all away in a cold wave of terror. "Like hell you don't want to kill me. How could you not want to kill me?"
The man smiled. "Hard to believe, isn't it? But I really don't. I did, for a long time. But that was just impulse, and I’m past that. Now, killing you is the last thing I want to do."
"Then why did you bring me here? And what is this place?" He reached out and pulled at one of the bars. Solid.
"It's an old bomb shelter. Laid in, oh, about the time of the Korean War, I’d guess. Lots of paranoid people back then. Nobody remembers it exists. The man who owned the house died and the thing was buried. I had to dig to find it.” He walked back and forth, although the space in front of the bars didn’t leave much room for pacing. “I've hidden a few solar panels around to keep that light going a few hours a day. Hooked the water back up, so that toilet and sink are good. I gave myself a course in plumbing to make them work. I learned welding to install those bars. I did a lot of work for you." He smiled the kind of smile you get if you bite into a lemon. "As far as why I brought you here... " He shrugged. "Maybe to offer you a chance at redemption."
"I served my time in prison already."
"Three years," the man snorted.
"It was what they gave me." Ted rubbed his face and squinted in the dimness. He was hemmed in by cement on three sides, with rebar welded in front of them, quite unnecessarily, and the front was a door made of more rebar. The space was cramped by a sink and toilet and piled high with boxes, mostly full of pork and beans if the stenciling on the cartons was to be trusted. The space was smaller than his old cell, barely enough room to lie down. "From the looks of what you've built here, and the sneer in your voice, I'm guessing you don't think three years was enough."
The man -- Warren Osgood, Ted remembered, although throughout the trial he'd thought of him as Julie's dad -- sat down in a ratty lawn chair that grated on the concrete as it took his weight, which was considerable. He'd put on about thirty pounds since Ted had seen him at the trial four years ago, maybe five. He was still short, still had the mustache, but it was grayer now, as was his hair, and there was less of that. The half-decade had been unkind to him.
He sighed. "After you went to prison for beating and raping my daughter, it wasn't over for her. She had problems, my Julie, even before she had the misfortune to run into you. Those problems were why she went out with guys like you, I guess. Perhaps due to luck, or maybe just because people of your level of shittiness are fortunately rare, none of the others treated her the way you did."
The old guilt flowed back into Ted like a blanket lined with lead had dropped onto him. It had never left, but sometimes he felt its weight more, and, seeing Julie's dad, he felt every ounce. He'd been drunk when he did what he did to Julie, and he’d been miserable, desperately miserable. She had been a sad kid, full of need, and he'd given her the worst thing he could have given her. He hated himself for it, but, he'd had problems of his own. That, of course, didn't excuse anything, and he didn't even bother bringing any of it up to Julie's dad. The reasons had always sounded weak even in his own head, and only worse now that he was confronted. They would only enrage Julie’s dad if he spoke them. So, he sat and listened.
Julie's dad rubbed his palms together and gritted his teeth. Even in the gloom Ted could see him trembling with rage, talking about this.
"Yeah, Julie had troubles. She didn't think enough of herself, and I, and her mother, were unsuccessful at making her see herself the way we saw her. I know you didn't think much of her -- you coudln't've, to do what you did -- but that girl, my Julie, was my world. You've never loved anyone or anything a tenth as much as I did my little girl. And I couldn't make her see it." He cleared his throat, which sounded tight.
Ted stared down, not wanting to hear any of this but knowing that interrupting would be a bad idea. So he sat and took it, the way you took punches.
"What you did was like pushing a rock off the top of a mountain. Julie never recovered from it. She lasted seven months after you went to prison, miserable every hour of it. I don't know if they told you in prison or not, but she posted a goodbye on a blog at three a.m. when she knew no one would see it in time to try stopping her, then she drove into an overpass support at, they estimate, a hundred and forty miles an hour. Who even knew her car could go that fast?" He chuckled bitterly, a man who'd lived with this heartbreak so long he couldn't even cry over it anymore.
Ted thought of saying "I'm sorry" but knew it would go over worse than a fuck you. The damn thing was, he was sorry. He'd been sorry even before he knew about this. But they were past the place where being sorry does any good, so he just sat, quiet. A fly crawled along his arm, tickling his tattoo. There were lots of flies here, slow and fat in the heavy heat. It should be cold here, underground, but Julie's dad had hooked the solar panels to some heaters, too. He wanted the place uncomfortable, Ted supposed.
"We didn't even get a last look at our little girl, her mother and I. A hundred and forty meeting reinforced concrete doesn't leave much to look at, even without fire. And there was fire." Julie's dad nodded. "Lots of fire. Losing a child is bad enough without a closed casket. Casket, hell, it was an urn. My sweet little girl, who I taught to ride a bike... who I taught to drive, and don't I wish I'd never done that... a coffee can full of her. That's what was left at the bottom of the mountain when the rock you pushed reached it."
He looked down at Ted and smiled the least-smile of a smile Ted had ever seen. "Turns out it wasn't a rock, though. It was a domino. My wife, Sheryl, I guess she lasted, oh, not quite a year. Then she couldn't take it anymore and I came home and I couldn't wake her up. Pills. A hundred and forty miles an hour worth of pills. At least I got an open casket for my second-best girl." He laughed, and Ted wished he wouldn't.
"What happened to me after that doesn't really matter, because I don't care, but I've lost jobs, I drink, I don't sleep worth a fuck. I got a dog, but it ran away. Hell, I don’t blame it. I’d run away from me, too."
He laughed and it echoed. Everything here echoed.
"So, you've heard my tale of woe. I'm sure it doesn't really matter a damn to you, but do I have to ask you, in all honesty... would you think three years was fucking ENOUGH?!"
Ted winced. Julie's dad was leaning on the bars, smiling that not-a-smile in at him.
"Probably not," Ted sighed.
"Well, thank you, Mr. Rapist, for your honesty." Julie's dad laughed and paced up and down in the dark. Step-step, turn, step-step, turn. Ted sat, feeling dread build. The talking was done, so, now what?
"So, here are some things you'll need to know, going forward," Julie's dad said, stopping. "You have water. You have sanitation. You have food. Those boxes around you have enough food to last several years. You'll get sick of beans, but, you'll live. What you won't do is get out. Nobody remembers this place. Nobody can hear anything. I've tested all of it. Led Zeppelin could play a gig down here and nobody in the back yard would know it. But, yell if you want. Maybe it’ll help pass the time."
Julie's dad took out a key and approached the cage. He opened the door, stepped in, and locked it again and flung the key off into the dark. He took padlocks out of his pockets and fitted them into slots on the door, snapping them shut. Ted stared at him.
"What the hell are you doing?" He backed against the boxes, and there was still barely room for him to squeeze in with Julie's dad's bulk. He thought about fighting him, but it was too late now, they were locked in together. Besides, the tranquilizer had left him feeling so weak he wouldn't stand a chance.
"Locking myself in with you," he said. "Isn't that obvious?"
Julie's dad reached under his coat, behind his back, and pulled out a snub-nosed .357 Magnum.
"What the fuck?" Ted asked. "What're you..."
"Relax," Julie's dad grinned. "I told you I wasn't going to kill you, and I'm not. I hate you far too much to kill you."
"Then why the gun?"
Julie's dad laughed. They were almost chest-to-chest in the confines of the cage. The heat was terrible and flies buzzed around them both. "If I were you," Julie's dad whispered, "I'd eat as much of me as you could, so there'll be less to rot. It's going to get awful close in here as the months go by and the heat gets bad and the flies get busy."
Then, while Ted screamed, Julie's dad stuck the gun into his laughing mouth and fired its single bullet.