Half the names on the list had already been crossed off. I had never heard of any of them, but now their names are on a half piece of paper in my hand. I found the paper in my mailbox last week. There was nothing with it. No reason. Only their names. I tossed it onto the counter and forgot about it.
When I arrived home today, a small package sat on the doorstep. I wasn't expecting anything. I set it on the kitchen table, open a beer, sit down across the table, and stare at the package. It must be connected to the list. It has got to be connected to the list. I stare at it for another two beers then turn off the kitchen light and head to my office.
"Fuck," I state out loud. I can't stop thinking about the package. I head back into the kitchen and rip it open. What the fuck? Inside is a black box weighing around five pounds. Inside that box are a knife, a gun, and a few extra clips. I stare in disbelief at what is in front of me. I have no reason to need these things. I walk away from it and get in the shower. I can't think about this right now.
After my shower, I grab the list and box and toss them in the trash. I want nothing to do with this. I'm not a bad person. I pay my taxes, wash my socks, even feed my cat on a regular basis. Are these people coming after me? Did I need to be prepared? Or am I supposed to kill these people? Why me? What did I do to lead anyone to believe I would do that?
The next morning, I wake up to the box and list both sitting on my front porch. How did they know? I walk into the kitchen as my phone rings.
"You must take care of the list, Mr. Nuhel. We chose you. You must follow our orders."
"What if I don't want to?"
"See those names on the list? Those are the others that wouldn't follow our orders. People do follow them. Do you want your name added to it?"
I hang up the phone before he can say anything else.
Others? There are actually people out there killing randomly because of a list? I grab the box and the list and sit back down at the kitchen table. I reach around and grab a beer from the fridge. Fuck it, it's ten on a Saturday. A six-pack later I stumble across the room and try to ignore the list, but it's impossible.
Do I just walk into their homes and shoot them?
Am I supposed to make it look like something?
Why is this happening and how in the fuck do I stop it?
I head for the couch. I can already feel the hangover tomorrow. I fall onto the couch face down with a huff. I need to think about this with some food and I'm out of beer. I head to the corner store, grab a couple of frozen pizzas and an eighteen pack. It's going to be a long weekend.
I spend the next three hours pacing my house while eating pizza and finishing off another four beers. I am feeling a bit tipsy by now and I just go to bed.
When I wake up the next morning, I have three missed calls from the same number. It is the number they had called me from yesterday. I wait for another call. It only took twenty minutes.
"Your running out of time, Mr. Nuhel. We won't wait long."
"How do I even find these people if I wanted to do what you say?"
"You have to figure that out on your own." They hang up the phone before I can reply.
I know I have to make a choice. The headache I have is pounding from inside my skull. I take a couple pain pills with a swallow of beer; the only way I know how to cure a hangover.
Do they really think I would just kill someone? They have no reason to believe so. I can't. I won't.
I throw the box and list back into the trash. I do my best to forget about it; to forget about 'them.' I don't know how they knew, but now they know my answer. Little do I know how big of a mistake I am making.
Two months have passed since I threw away the box and the note. I am going about my Saturday. Grocery store, gas station, and some cleaning around my house. Everything is perfectly normal. I haven't even thought about the box in weeks. I figured it was someone playing games. The names are probably fake anyway.
After I leave the gas station, I walk downtown before going home. I turn a corner and see a woman in a long coat. It's almost 70 degrees out, why is she wearing a coat? I brush it off. Two blocks later there she is again.
I duck into a bookstore and hide within the shelves. She enters in next and starts looking around. As I watch from the back corner, she gets closer. I have to make a run for it. I don't know what she wants or who she is, but I have to get away. As her back is turned, I slide out from the aisle and make my way to the front door. I look back and she spots me. I run down the road and make my way in the alleyway. I stop to look around and don't see her. I hope that I lost her.
I keep a fast pace as I make my way back to my car. I see it only a hundred feet away. I take one look around and see nothing. I made it to the door. I stumble with my key and barely get it into the lock. I hear a bang and feel a pain shoot through my back. I fall to the ground as I see the woman get closer.
As she points the gun to my head, she shakes.
"You should have listened. You should have taken care of the list."