Russian Roulette

A Short Thriller

A naked bulb hung above the table for two, lighting nothing but that and the two men on the chairs, positioned squarely in the centre of the room. Two others stood to either side of the table. The two on the chairs were tied to their chairs, bags over their heads, tape on their mouth. Their knots had been tied so that the more they struggled, the tighter the rope got.

The door slammed open, momentarily lighting up the room. But that was soon gone when a man walked in. He carried a walking stick, but didn’t seem to be too dependant on it. Without breaking stride, he clicked the door shut with a flick of his cane. Irritably, he made a gesture to the two men by the table – probably his subordinates. They pulled the bags off of the men’s heads and ripped the tape off their mouth. Immediately, the one on the right began to shout and the left one’s sobs became more pronounced.

‘You’ve got the wrong guy. I haven’t done anything – nothing wrong. You’re definitely looking for someone else. Please, you have to believe me – I don’t know anything.’ The man with a limp spoke in a calm voice. A voice that one only uses when they hold all the cards, have all the power. A voice that is outwardly less threatening than screaming or a maniacal yell, but one that frightens more thoroughly than anything else.

‘What’s your name?’


‘Well, Timothy. Let me tell you something. You may very well believe that I have the wrong guy, and it may just be so. You’d want it to be so, wouldn’t you?’ Timothy whimpered. The man continued. ‘But, it’s more than likely that I don’t have the wrong guy. Also,’ the man paused as he brought out a cigarette, lit it, and took a puff. ‘let me make another thing clear – you would be wise not to challenge my decisions ever again. Not that you’ll have too long to anyway.’ He gave a nod to the man to Timothy’s left; the man punched him in the face, partially dislodging a tooth, filling his mouth with blood. Timothy spat the blood onto the floor.

A man with a limp isn’t meant to be threatening, but as this man with a limp moved towards the table, Timothy grew more and more scared with each passing second. His heat beat doubled, then tripled when he saw him reach behind his back and pull out a gun. His body have a lurch when the man slammed the gun onto the table and gave him a little smile. The man picked the gun back up, and Timothy started to silently hyperventilate. He calmed down a little when he saw him open the chamber and empty it. Russian Roulette. The man put in one lead stud and gave the .22 a spin. The men standing by untied the two in the chair.

Timothy relaxed a little. Russian Roulette was a game of luck and guessing. And no one could beat him at either. Growing up, he always drew the longest straw, and never failed to guess the exact number of jellybeans in a jar. He won every round of rock-paper-scissors, and always rolled favourable numbers. As a teen, he would buy lottery tickets when he needed extra money, and didn’t have to take on any student debt when he went to college. Instead of continuing like that though, he decided to become a stock trader and put his skills to good use. Currently, he’d been number one employee for five years.


The gun stopped rotating. The barrel was pointing at Timothy. Less scared than he would have been, he clutched the handle and slowly brought it to his temple, the cold metal touching his skin. His head shook, and his vision became cut up, as if he was in a picture and someone had sliced the area in front of him using a jagged knife. A circle cleared up in the centre. It slowly turned black before a six-bullet barrel with only one bullet in it materialised in it.  Then, everything went back to normal.

Confident, Timothy pulled the trigger. A powerful gust of air came out, but he was mostly unharmed. The man with the limp laughed.

‘He lives!
‘Now, onto the next.’

Timothy put the gun down and the man picked it up. He put another bullet into the chamber, spun it, clicked it shut, and put it on the table. He spun the gun again, and it landed on Timothy again. The same sudden vision played across his eyes, and Timothy pulled the trigger again. The same gust pushed against the side of his forehead, and he was once again, unharmed. This time the man with a limp gave an irritated laugh and was visibly pissed as he loaded the third bullet.

This time round the barrel pointed at the other man who had been silently crying the whole time. As he raised the gun to his head, Timothy knew that he would be safe – the bullet was in the slot next to the current one. The man with a limp was calmer this time round, but Timothy was aware that he was angered. One of them needed to die, and they needed to die quickly.

The fourth bullet went into the chamber and the barrel pointed at Timothy. The man cried out triumphantly. The odds were stacked in the man’s favour – only a one in three chance Timothy would live. The vision flashed before his eyes again, but this time Timothy froze when it ended. If he pulled the trigger, he would die. All four bullets were lined up one after the other.

‘What’s wrong boy? Not so quick to act this time? Don’t like these odds?’ The man with a limp mocked him, and evidently enjoyed it. Timothy gave a cold, hard stare at the man and looked him dead in the eyes. His face was completely expressionless as he gave his response.

‘You had the right man, Denker.’ In a flash, Timothy whipped to the side and pulled the trigger. He adjusted slightly, then pulled it again to kill the man who stood to his left. The one on the right punched him, causing him to fall out of his chair, then drew his own gun. He took a shot at Timothy, but he rolled out of the way, only being grazed a bit. Timothy stood at the other edge of the table and quickly squeezed the trigger, ending the man.

He strutted towards the door, but just as he was about to open it, he turned around.

‘Sorry, got to clean up all loose ends.’ He pulled the trigger one last time, killing the man who was frozen with shock in the chair.

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