Troubled: with a capital “D”


When the world seems crippled by bad news, we as people distance ourselves from the fear and survive in a shelter of blissful denial. “Things like that don’t happen in places like this.” We say to ourselves when the news broadcasts speak of hideous acts of terrorism and violence. No one is ever truly safe from the dangers the world holds. We can only be careful in the choices we make, and be wary of the situations we put ourselves in.

The following story is 100% fiction.  A sideways taste of what can happen when someone else’s demented mind and will invade the life we tell ourselves is safe.



What started as a viral video, of the so named STOA (Sexual Terrorists of America) Performing a robbery turned hostage situation, turned bondage slave porn filming.   The news had a field day, calling it shameful, and deprived but everyone passed it off as a gimmick to obtain viewers.

Until they did it again, and again. After a month of videos spanning the country the nay-sayers finally admitted the crimes were real. These were real robberies. These were everyday people thinking they were safe being help up at gun point or with handmade bombs being first robbed blind, then forced to do unspeakable acts to one another on camera.

Three people had been hospitalized for noncompliance to these terrorist’s demands. It was rumored that one man who tried to fight back actually died.

As time passed there were interviews with so-called survivors, their faces blacked out, their voices altered. Explaining that it was the single most terrifying event of their lives.  That these masked men making these videos were the worst kind of terrorists, the kind who don’t care how they reach their goal only that they reach it.

After being plagued with the nightmare of the STOA, on a nightly basis for almost three months, I stopped watching the news. Twice a week they would strike some big city and a video would surface in too many outlets to shut down before it went viral.  Security alarms sales were on the rise. And to be honest I didn’t care anymore.

Like most people, I had a choice to make denial, or hysteria. I was comfortable in denial. I lived in a small town. I worked in a city so small most maps neglected the ink dot wasted to mark its location. Being robbed by the STOA was unlikely.

One Friday, we were about to close shop, when you came to me with your phone in hand.

“Look at this,” you said shoving it in my face.

A swipe of the screen and a masked man began to speak. “We of the STOA need you to understand.” The cheap voice box altered voice stated. “No one is safe. To prove our point, we will be releasing the lower profile videos we have made … the news only reports on the richest companies, and the biggest cities, but we want you to know. WE ARE EVERYWHERE.”

In front of the masked figure was a plain folding table, covered with disks and tags each tag had a date, and a location. There had to be 120 or more disks.

“Why did you show me this?” I asked you trying to return to my blissful stage of denial.

“They could come here. They could hold us up.” You said obviously hysterical.

“What’s wrong?” I teased.  “Afraid of losing the money? Or, self-conscious that you may have to fuck one of us?”

My co-workers laughed for a second and then went back to their closing duties.

As they left one by one you offered to walk them to their cars, or suggested they leave in pairs. “You be careful.”  You hollered after each one.

I just shook my head at your paranoia and kept doing the evening paperwork.

I finally managed to finish counting money for the safe drop and bank deposit when you appeared at the office door, pale and terrified.

“I think we have a problem.” You said in a shaky tone as you pointed to the monitor on the desk that showed the security camera feeds.

There on the sales floor were no less than eight men, all masked and wearing black. Rummaging through merchandise, checking the already emptied registers, they fanned out across the sales floor in an almost military fashion.

“What if it’s them?” you asked. “We’ve got to get out of here.”

Before I could respond a strange mechanically altered voice spoke from behind you. “Well, well, what do we have here?”

A thudding noise, and you dropped to the ground. The masked man had hit you with something. Then he came for me.

Way too close, he got up in my face, his body pressed against mine, one hand between my thighs, the other trailing along my face. “We could have some real fun with you.”

Grabbing a handful of hair, he pulled me out of the office to show his companions the catch of the evening.  Stepping over your body, unconscious and lifeless of the floor I wondered if my denial had been the right way to go.

“I found the next star for our video collection boys.” The masked man said as he pulled hard on my head to stand me upright. “Let’s get the dog from the office doorway, and our new play thing here back so we can start the show.”

With that another came up behind me covered my face with a rag I can only assume had some chemical like chloroform on it, and the world went black…

(Click here to go straight to part two)

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