Back To Me
It’s not easy for me to think of that day. Yet, I remember every detail vividly, like it just happened yesterday. When I see their faces now, I see them the way they were at the end. Not filled with joy and life, the way I should remember.
No, now, I remember them only one way – filled with terror.
My head was throbbing when I finally came to. A groan escaped my mouth before I could even stop myself. I hadn’t wanted him to know I was up. Knowing I was awake, it could only lead to more pain. How did I end up like this? I was a good guy. I was blessed like hell, sure. But I never hurt anyone. What did I ever do to deserve this? I rubbed my wrists up against the rope again, ignoring the burning pain that came along with it. I needed to get out of there.
Correction – We needed to get out of there.
I wasn’t alone. We were all there. I was just the one conscious in the room right now. I don’t even know if room is the right word for it. I was pretty sure we were in a barn, a stable, or something. Just judging by the hay littered along the ground, the worn wooden walls, and some of the noises I thought I could make out from outside. It had to be nighttime, as I couldn’t see anything but the bits of moonlight that were able to filter in from the little holes along the wall.
It seemed for the moment though; I was the only one awake, the only one aware. For now. He had to be nearby somewhere, watching and waiting. Somehow, I just knew. It was him who brought us here. The last thing I remembered was going out with the fellas. It was supposed to be a chance to re-bond again. The cruise was coming up in a few weeks. And we were all busy with our own projects: Kevin would be filming a new movie, AJ was getting married, Brian was Brian, and Howie and I were promoting our solo records. And then there was the Europe leg of the NKOTBSB tour. It seemed like a good idea since we were all in LA with a rare moment of shared downtime.
We really needed to stop having “good” ideas.
I sighed as I opened my eyes again, trying to see within the almost impenetrable darkness. Not that it worked or anything. I kept inching the chair forward. It wasn’t easy, as the chair was steel, and my feet were bound. But I figured the more I tried to move, maybe my binding would get loose. I had to try. It did little skips that took a lot of my energy, but I knew I didn’t have long before our captor returned for us.
“Nick?” I could hear Brian call; I think he figured out what I was trying to do.
“Shhh…” I whispered as I started up again. A rock got caught from beneath one of the chair’s legs. Before I could even react (like I could really do anything) I felt myself fly forward. My face slammed up against the ground. My head pounded even more. I thought I could feel blood run slowly along my forehead. I spit the straw out of my mouth angrily.
“Dammit!” I screamed, knowing I was screwed. I couldn’t get up, tied up as I was. I was stuck on my side, bleeding and feeling helpless in a way I’d never been before.
“What’s going on?” I heard a deep voice ask, maybe it was AJ. Or Kevin. Thinking back, I’m not so sure anymore. Yeah, it was AJ.
Footsteps could be heard closing in on us. I know this’ll sound over-dramatic, but I swear with every footstep, it felt like my heart would stop. Because the monster who did this, who dragged us to some random barn in god-knows-where, was sick. Sick, and smart. We’d done our screaming hours before. No one had come to our rescue. No one had heard us. The psycho behind this, had been sure to make sure there would be no interruptions, that there would be no escape. We’d been kidnapped almost seamlessly. At that point, what little hope we had was fading.
So, you could imagine my fear when the doors opened. He knew at the moment he spotted me on the floor what I’d been trying to do. He strode forward, confidently, as he grabbed me by the neck and righted my chair. His grip on my neck stayed as I struggled for air. It only tightened as I did my weak attempt at flailing and fighting. It felt like everything got a little hazy, I could hear the fellas screaming in the background for him to let me go.
Just when I thought I was about to die, he let go. I gasped for air, relishing the feeling as it flooded my lungs. I was grateful to be alive, even in this condition. I hated myself for it. I glanced up at my captor who just laughed at me and how pathetic I was. I coughed and sputtered. No one said anything.
Maybe it was stupid, but his laughing grated me like nails on a fucking chalkboard.
So I spit on his shoes. Leather shoes, Italian or something. They shone in the moonlight. The laughing immediately stopped, and I could hear one of the fellas gasp. His face contorted with rage as I stared up at him defiantly. I’m a fighter. I wasn’t going to go quietly into the dark – or whatever that damn phase is.
“Oh Nicky, you shouldn’t have done that.”
That same shoe, still wet with my saliva, flew forward, slammed directly into my face. I could hear, feel, my nose crack as I flew backward and fell to the floor. My face was wet but I didn’t think about it. I didn’t cry out, I refused to. I knew I was a mess. I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to give this bastard the satisfaction. I knew him well enough to know that’s what he wanted most out of me. For me to keep crying. He’d have to kill me.
“Nick, are you okay?” Kevin asked, forever the big brother, no matter what situation we were in, or how much time has passed.
“Yeah…I’m fine.” I stared upwards, trying my best to look defiantly at our captor. “You know Howie; I would’ve thought you wouldn’t want to have my blood on your shoes.”
Howie smiled. It was cold and hollow. He winked at me as he started walking back to the door for something. It had all started off as a fun day out. Then, he slipped something into our drinks. Who would’ve thought to check something like that? It had just been the five of us. One by one, we dropped like flies and he managed to get us here. I considered him a brother.
And now, he was my living nightmare.
“Oh I’m going to have a lot more than that on me before the night is over.”
“Why?” Brian pleaded, just as confused as I was. As we all were. Except Brian never had the ability to be angry, not the way I could be. All I felt was rage at myself, the situation, and at the man I once trusted.
He continued walking, picking up an object he’d left by the doors. “It’s simple really. I’m sick of being the one in the background. The one no one cares about. Hell, Kevin leaves and fans still care about him more than me!”
That’s it? That’s insane! That was my only thought. Somewhere along the line, he had snapped.
“You’ve fucking lost it!” AJ screamed at him, his voice raspier than normal.
“Oh no, I was just waiting for the opportune moment. And now, now that I’m going solo, I need you out of the way. Once I’m the only pretty one left, you won’t be in my way anymore. You’ll still be alive of course; I’d never be able to kill you.” Another haunting smile. “You’re my brothers.”
“Then what will you do?” Brian’s fear only fueled my rage.
“Just make you unforgettable…in a whole new way. Help the fans move on from you, over to me. It gives new meaning to Back To Me, don’t you think?”
“You fucking bastard!” I screamed up at him. “This is stupid, you’ve gone psychotic! How can you hurt us over fucking fans?! Let us go Howie; you don’t want to do this.”
“Nicky…” He laughed. “Of course I do. I’m even saving you for last.” The roar of a chainsaw filled my ears. I could see his silhouette heading over to Kevin’s chair. Kevin, being the brave, strong person that he was, just stared up at him. I struggled more than ever. Brian and AJ started screaming out. It did no good.
The screams I heard that night, the pain, what came next…
They’ll haunt my dreams till my dying breath.