Who’s Laughing Now

By John N. King

 

Miller sat at a bus stop and watched the people go by. He checked his watch with a sigh.

“Damn thing’s running late again,” he said with a huff.

Someone watched him. Someone fixated on his blond hair and blue eyes.

Miller adjusted his green jacket and shifted in his seat.

A man sat next to him. This man had ice green eyes and white hair. His entire suit was white.

“Hello,” the man said. “How are you?”

Miller glanced at him. “Well enough, you know, considering the bus is late,” he said. “How about you?”

“Quite well,” the man said. He shifted on the bench, his hands folding over his lap. “I must say, I don’t recognize you. You from out of town?”

Miller nodded. “Just here on some business. Going to try and catch a plane in the evening bound for Europe.” He motioned at the crowd. “America’s got its perks, but damn if it’s got its flaws too.”

“Yes, indeed,” the man said. “All nations have had their flaws and bad points when you think about it.”

“I guess,” Miller said, briefly noticing the icy glare the man had. “Then again, it’s less the nations and more the people.”

The two sat in silence for a minute. Miller then turned to the man in white.

“I didn’t catch your name.”

“Oh, of course,” the man said. “My name is Winters. William Winters. I run a small pawn shop just a block from here.”

“Sell any good things?”

Winters smiled. “The best snow themed trinkets you’d ever find, along with a bit of this and that. Whatever you need, I’m usually able to provide.”

“Neat,” Miller said. He extended a hand. “Miller. Frank Miller.”

“Miller,” the man said, that icy glare coming back as they shook hands. “What an interesting name.”

Miller just grinned. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

The two sat in silence for a bit. Miller kept glancing at Winters, who stared into the distance with a drooping gaze.

He suddenly turned back to him. “This business you’re on,” he said. “Is it very formal?”

“Aspects,” Miller admitted. “Fancy dinners where a bunch of famous doctors stand up and talk about how great they are for hours on end.” Miller grimaced. “If only my job didn’t hinge on me attending them.”

“I don’t suppose you have anything formal to wear?”

Miller shook his head. “Not really. My last suit got lost. The idiots at the airport sent my luggage to the wrong airport, halfway across the damned Nation. And I don’t have enough money to track it all down.”

“Well, I do have a few suits I’ve been looking to sell off,” Winters said, standing up. “I’d be happy to show you them, and for a decent price.”

“Really?” Miller asked.

“It wouldn’t be any trouble,” Winters promised. “You’d be doing me a favor, I hate to see good suits just sit on a shelf gathering dust.”

Miller hesitated, then he shrugged, standing as well. “Why not? I do need it.”

“Wonderful,” Winters said. He waved for Miller to follow him, and the two made their way down the block. “So, you said doctors. Are you a doctor?”

“Surgeon,” Miller replied. “Raised in Germany before I immigrated to England. Easier than America, what with all the paranoia.”

“Surprised you made it that far,” Winters said, his head locked ahead. “German Doctor?”

“Oh, it wasn’t like I learned it in Germany,” Miller said quickly. “I… learned in England.”

“I see,” Winters said. The two turned towards a small square building with a small wooden doorway. The words “Winters Pawn Shop,” were above the doorway in painstaking script, but there were no windows allowing anyone to see in.

“Yes, the English have some of the finest schools,” Miller said as Winters opened the door. “I learned everything about how to save lives from them.”

“I imagine the Germans wouldn’t be able to teach as well.”

As Miller walked in, he paused. “You don’t mean… because of them, right?”

Winters shut the door and turned to him with that glare again. “That’s exactly who I’m talking about.”

Miller’s eyes narrowed. He glanced back, seeing a few shelves with items on them and a few suits as well.

But turning away was a mistake.

Something suddenly wrapped around his neck. Miller gave a surprised gasp and stumbled back, only to feel a warm body against him. Then he felt the pinch of a hypodermic needle in his neck, as he had administered countless times. He smelled the familiar and sharp order of ketamine. The cold spread from his neck and he went numb.

Right before the world went dark, he heard Winters mutter, “Nazi scum…”

***

Miller awoke to find himself strapped down to a large table in a dark basement. He twisted and pulled at the straps, but the leather around his wrists and ankles held. If anything, it got tighter the more he struggled.

“What the hell is this?” he yelled. “What is…?” He twitched. His suit was different. It was rough and scratchy. “Winters!”

“I’m here,” the voice came from behind him.

Miller tried to look at him. “What’s going on here?” He yanked on the strap again.

In the darkness, he could barely see the white of Winters’ suit. His face was shrouded in shadows.

“Revenge.”

Then the basement lit up.

Miller gasped and his eyes widened. The walls were adorned with scalps. Blond hair hanging from blood soaked walls. On a shelf underneath the scalps, preserved blue eyes stared out from beneath cases of ice. And writing on the walls above the scalps. “Never Forgive, Never Forget.”

Miller whimpered as he took in the bloody trophies, but then he saw what he was wearing. His green jacket and jeans were gone: replaced by a dark green military uniform. On the side were military patches. One patch had a skull insignia. And the other had a swastika.

“No…” he whimpered. He looked up at Winters as the man began taking knives out of a drawer next to the eyes. “You…?”

“Don’t bother trying to work your way out of the straps, Nazi,” Winters said. “Nobody has succeeded yet.”

Miller looked down at the uniform. “Where did you…?”

“Oh, you like it?” Winters asked. “That belonged to my first victim. I must make sure that each Nazi I capture, remembers why this is happening to them. Of course, they’re never the same size, but it seems that one fits you like a glove.”

“Those days are behind me, I swear,” Miller said. “Please, don’t…”

Quick as a viper, Winters drew out a machete and slammed it right into Miller’s hand. Miller shrieked, but the shriek was somehow drowned out by Winter’s quiet words of cold fury.

“If you say, ‘don’t kill me’ or ‘I won’t tell anyone,’ I swear to Jehovah I will make your last hours more miserable than you can imagine.”

Miller gasped as Winters yanked the blade out.

He examined the blood on it. “I can’t stand when Nazis say that to me,” Winters said, turning away. “As if my little decorations aren’t enough, they try to deny the things they did to get here. It’s idiotic. Foolish. And I’m too tired to tolerate it anymore. This one, for instance?”

Winters indicated an older scalp hanging on the wall.

“He denied his involvement with the Nazis even after I sawed off his legs. Really, there comes a time when you just need to stop running and accept it.” He turned back to Miller. “You’re not men. You’re not even humans. You’re monsters. And you’re going to be put down like the monsters you are.”

Miller looked up and screamed. “Help! Somebody help me!”

Winter’s eyes narrowed, and he picked up a small razor. As Miller breathed in to scream again, Winters held his jaw open and shoved the razor into his mouth.

Miller’s screams were muffled, and his eyes bulged as Winters went to work. Winters pulled the razor down, tearing a hole right through the skin on his jaw under the bone.

With a sickening slicing sound, Winters yanked Miller’s severed tongue out from his mouth. Blood poured out of the man’s jawline as he choked on both the blood and his swelling stump of a tongue.

“The screaming doesn’t matter, really,” Winters said. “This room is sound proof. And the only one that can hear you is me. But I’m not going to lie,” he turned back, blood spattered over his white outfit. “The dying screams of Nazis is the greatest sound I’ve ever heard.”

Miller gagged as the blood kept trying to run down his throat.

“Now, before the blood and swollen tongue suffocates you, I want you to understand,” Winters said, picking up a carving knife.

He walked over to Miller and ripped the uniform open, revealing his bare chest. Dragging the knife along his nipple, Winters flayed the nipple and skin from his body as Miller gave a choked cry of pain.

“You may have thought you could run from your sins,” Winters said, dragging the carving knife through the other nipple. “You thought that you could get away with the cold-blooded murder of every man, woman, and child that didn’t fit into your society of monsters. But…” Winters looked into Miller’s eyes. “You didn’t count on one of the survivors not being happy with just surviving, did you?”

Winters looked down, as he continued to slice through Miller’s chest. “I remember the looks of pain and fear in my fellow prisoners. I remember the brutal work we were put through.” He looked up again. “I remember you and your Aryan shits looking down on us.” He sliced deeper. “How you smiled at how we were ‘put in our place.’ How we died for the progression of your filthy crusade.” He tore at the skin as Miller gagged, trying to scream with lungs full of blood. “How we were reduced to animals, scraping and starving.” His voice grew quiet. “How I… had to leave my brother to die in that place.”

Tears fell from Winters’ face. They mixed with the blood slowly pooling on the ground.

“But most of all,” Winters said. “I remember every fucking Nazi I saw. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. They killed and tortured my friends. My family. And they laughed!”

Miller twitched, his face blue. His chest resembled a pack of ground beef instead of a human chest. As Miller’s life faded in agonizing pain, fitfully trying to breathe past the blood in his lungs, Winters leaned close and whispered into his ear.

“Who’s laughing now?” Winters asked.

 


About the Author
John N. King is an aspiring novelist and flash fiction writer. He has earned an associate’s degree in theater from the College of Southern Maryland, and a bachelor degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. His short stories of fantasy, science fiction, and horror have appeared in Story Shack Magazine, Jakobs Horror Box, the Writing Contests of becomewriter.com, and now Aphotic Realms. King takes great pride in his characters, whom he almost considers family. You can find out more about them at his website here. King can be contacted on LinkedIn or Facebook.