Heart of Ice

He shuffled nervously forward, wringing his hands together and constantly looking side to side. Armed men stood sporadically spaced out along the walls beside him, standing perfectly still yet ready to start shooting at a second’s notice.

He stumbled, tripping on a crack in the stone floor. His face hit the ground hard, and blood began pooling out of his nose. He let loose a whimper of pain before one of the two men behind him grabbed him by the collar and forced him back up.

“Move,” he said softly but sternly. The anxious man walked forward again, shaking. One of the guards behind him shoved him forward when he walked too slowly. He was falling. Falling toward the ground again, but caught himself, staggering forward before walking “normal” again, still shaking and nervous.

The large hallway seemed to last forever. He pleaded inwardly that he wouldn’t die today, even though he knew the chances of getting back out alive were slim. He prayed to a god he didn’t believe in – tried anything that might help. But he knew it was hopeless.

When at last he came to the long corridor, a final two guards stood on either side of a wooden door. As he approached, one turned and opened it, allowing them to pass. The doorway spread into a large room, and in the center stood a single man dressed in an expensive black suit. Another sentry stood on the far right.

He didn’t want to enter, but the push with the butt of the guard’s gun behind him sent his feet moving again. As soon as he and the two guards entered, the door slammed shut behind him. He jumped and was shoved forward once again.

He approached the well-dressed man as slowly as he could, having to forcefully control his body to keep moving when his mind told him to stop.

“P-please, please,” he begged, “don’t kill me. I-I d-didn’t know!”

“Shut up,” one of the guards behind him said as he kicked him to his knees.

“M-my wife, my k-kids!” he sobbed, his head downward toward the floor and shaking back and forth. “They can’t survive without me.” His face was wet with sweat and tears, dripping down onto the cold stone before him.

After seemingly ages, the well-dressed man spoke. “You won’t make that mistake again.”

“No, no, I won’t, I swear!” But it wasn’t a question.

“No, you won’t,” the cartel leader said before putting a bullet through the man’s head. His heart was ice.


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