By Marshall Thornton
© 2008 Marshall Thornton
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At first, there was only pain. Thick, heavy, pain radiating from the back of his head until he could feel it in his jaw, his cheekbones, the backs of his eyes. He longed to take great gulps of oxygen to tamp down the pain, but his mouth was taped shut with a wide strip of duct tape. His arms were taped behind him, his legs at the ankles. When he forced his eyes open, there was nothing but soupy darkness. His forehead rubbed against a scratchy, low pile carpet. Behind him, he could hear the drone of tires on asphalt and, dimly, the hollow sound of country music on a car radio.