Author's Note: Early Christmas gift for anyone who's out there. Not much to say other than that this story could take place at a number of points in the film previous to Tom taking Angela to see Jim herself. So, yeah, I decided to give Jim a little attention because honestly, he drew a pretty short straw in this deal.
Jim's head was spinning, and he couldn't remember what had happened, at least not very clearly. He'd gotten on the elevator to leave the office, god knows he just wanted to get out of there and be home, maybe even ignore all the shit that was going on his life for a while, and he'd made it to the garage and was heading for his car when…something happened. A sudden force to the back of his head and blurriness. He hadn't been able to identify the assailant, but he'd seen his shape before passing out, and as he came to he noticed the familiar shape standing a few feet away from him. It wasn't moving, and he couldn't make out a face, but he felt it was watching him.
He tried to speak as he picked up his head, his mind still muddled, but the murkiness fell away as he realized he couldn't move his mouth, at least not a significant amount. What on earth? Jim tried to shift, but it was hard. He could move his torso, but that was restricted and his hands and feet were bound by something that dug into him awkwardly as he tried to move. What was going on? Where was he? Why couldn't he move? He felt adrenaline start to pump through his body, his heart pounding in his ears as he breathed uncomfortably through his nose.
The voice didn't sound threatening as it came a foot or so forward, in fact it seemed unsteady, shaking as if scared or excited, but Jim still jumped as much as he could, moving the cheap, office, chair he realized he was tightly duct taped to. Who said that? The shadow had said it except he was wasn't so much a shadow now as he was just some guy standing a distance away in an already dark place. Jim wasn't sure, but he figured he was still in the parking garage. Or at least a parking garage. The figure took a few more steps forward, and Jim furrowed his brow, gripping the armrests of the chair tightly, which seemed to calm him down some. Maybe he was going to be let go. Maybe this was some other guy here to help him.
And maybe I'm just trying to be optimistic in a hopeless situation.
This thing, human, whatever, didn't just walk up to him. He seemed to sort of saunter…a strange forced kind of thing as if he was acting. Posturing like he had some sort of grand power over the other. Well, Jim had to admit he sort of did given that he had been rendered essentially immobile and incapable of verbal communication, but still, he knew he wasn't thinking straight as he noticed panic was starting to engulf his mind again as words tried to take shape in his mind for the situation that presented itself.
Kidnapped. Restrained. Danger. Confusion. Hostage. Hostage. He was a hostage or something like that. And who was it that held him? Even with more light on the figure's face he didn't recognize him. Not entirely anyway. He wore a uniform that Jim was fairly certain he'd seen on some sort of security in the office building. Not the front desk guy, but…oh, he didn't know, and he didn't have the patience to dig up the information. At this point he figured it really didn't matter. Who this guy was was of no importance. What was important was that whoever the hell this guy was had apparently knocked him out and had taken the time and wasted a lot of material to duct tape him to a chair somewhere in a dark, wet, concrete, underground, cave.
This really isn't how I'd go about making a good first impression.
On top of that Jim became all the more of the fact that he couldn't speak the more he stared at the other. He couldn't reason with this man. Ask him what this was all about. Silenced for the first time in years. He looked down at the shiny material covering his wrists and generously distributed over his feet and ankles. The sight made him want to whine, but what was the point? Who was going to hear him besides this guy?
"It's not nice is it?" Jim looked up again. The man was only about a foot from him now, and he could make out his features clearly for the first time. Younger guy, a few years younger than himself he felt, not that it comforted him any. Younger people had all that damned energy to do stupid things. Jim had heard of people being described as wolfish, but he'd never thought much of it until this point. If ever there was a wolfish person this man was it. He was smiling too widely revealing large, and what seemed like sharp teeth, fangs. His nose was doing some sort of twitching and flaring thing, wrinkling and relaxing, as he appeared to be sizing up the restrained man. His ears even seemed somewhat pointed. And those eyes, large, round, and vacant like those of a wild animal. Wolf.
Jim thought he shook his head, but he couldn't tell if it happened or if he just imagined doing it. He was too scared to know just what he was doing, but the other man seemed to pick up on something and nodded. "I knew you wouldn't like it…people like you don't like being shut up. Makes you feel, I don't know, inferior or some shit."
Whoever this was, Jim had never been more certain in his life that a single person had been such a threat. It wasn't just because he'd already kidnapped him, but this stranger had a weird way of speaking. Like there was something he was in on and Jim wasn't, but something not as obvious as that would imply. The other guy was looking behind him as if he had heard something, but the entire lot was silent as the grave, and Jim had started to believe that the damn place was going to turn into a grave.
"I just…wow, I don't know what I'm feeling," the stranger started up again, turning his focus back to the restrained man, looking at him like he was something in an exhibit. "You have no idea. I mean, shit. I just hate you so much, and now I've got you, ya piece of shit. It's kind of weird." The already wolf-ish grin got larger and Jim wanted to shy away from the force of self-righteous pride that seemed to be oozing from the stranger's presence, but there was suddenly a weight on his right shoulder. Five specific points of pressure, and he realized that the wolf was gripping his shoulder, leaning forward without leaning on him. "How the hell do you do it? You greedy fucker…"
What are you talking about?
Jim wanted so badly to ask him. That and about a million other things, but duct tape was not made to be spoken through. However, he apparently gave enough of a hint that that the stranger arched his distinctive brows, looking so smug that Jim couldn't help but wince. The wolf was staring daggers at him with the undeniable air of a sarcastic "you don't know?"
"I'm the eyes around here," he answered the unspoken question. Jim had expected to hear pride in the stranger's voice, but all he heard was weariness despite the rest of the man's features showing an unnatural alertness. "All your shit, all you don't want people to know about you, I see it every fucking day." Jim winced as the man's grip tightened on his shoulder; it was getting to the point where it was really becoming painful. He noticed the man glance briefly up toward a corner of the room.
So that's who this guy was. One of the security guys. No wonder his uniform seemed familiar. Jim must have seen him in passing about a million and a half times, but had never said anything to him. He'd never felt the need to. "You're greedy. I know you have a wife, a family…but you still fuck around with people like you're some sort of fucking gift to the world. Like they should feel honored to have you try to fuck 'em, and when things don't turn out how you'd like to you play the guilt card. Yeah, you greedy piece of shit, feeling entitled to everything just because you're 'that guy'. I don't get it." Jim did his best to keep a straight face, but as the man spoke his grip tightened more and more, digging bony fingers into him like needles. "I mean…how do assholes like you do it? How is it you have some many fucking people, but it's never enough is it? You're an asshole. Even I know that!"
Manic. This guy sounded absolutely manic with his irregularly paced words and awkward emphasis. Jim thought the guy was crazy to begin with, but he wasn't just crazy. He was manic, and it wasn't nearly as charming as pop songs had lead him to believe. No, this was the sort of jaunty emotions that occurred in anyone's description of the typical psycho. Still, he wasn't done.
"And yet you've got people…assholes get people. Why don't I get people? I'm a really fucking nice guy." Before he could stop himself, Jim rolled his eyes. Honestly, who was this guy making a point to? Certainly not him. Maybe to himself, but honestly now, nice guys didn't kidnap people or duct tape them to chairs in the bowels of city hell. Those things should have been on the list of the many things nice guys didn't do.
However, Jim regretted his decision as the pressure on his shoulder was removed and replaced by the sudden impact of the heel of the other man's hand hard upon his forehead. "Shut up." Jim wanted to make another face. Defend himself, but he knew it'd be useless. He'd been silenced, and on top of that he didn't want to get hit again. That had hurt quite a bit. But then something happened that he hadn't been expecting. The other man frowned, but it wasn't a frustrated look. He legitimately looked like he'd just had his feelings hurt.
"Look…I'm not apologizing or anything, it's just…I hate you. I really hate you, but it's not just you. You're not really fucking special or anything. I hate other people too, but I think I hate you just as much as I hate myself." The urge to respond became stronger, and Jim felt the tug of adhesive on his skin. If he could just say something... This guy was showing the littlest hints of humanity, and he was unable to use it to his advantage. Talk him out of whatever frenzy was going on in his mind. "You know what I mean? Fuck, I just…maybe if you're gone, and maybe if I do this for someone else…maybe, maybe I'll like myself. Like some kinda fucked up exorcism."
Gone? Gone? What the hell?
"Ok, well, maybe not gone…but something just has to be done. You can't just…get away with the shit you do." And there it was, the manic quality had returned to the man's voice, and Jim knew that he wasn't being spoken to. He hadn't been. This guy was talking to himself, and even if Jim hadn't had the duct tape on he realized it wouldn't have mattered. This guy wasn't listening. Jim couldn't speak wolf. Especially not oddly roundabout wolf.
If you're just going to kill me, please do. At this point I think I'm getting just as frustrated as you seem to be.
"I'm confusing myself, but well, I guess you're confused too. You don't even know who I am." The last bit has a sudden sharpness to it as if this guy had expected some kind of recognition. He looked as if he was waiting for a response, and Jim figured playing along wouldn't hurt this time around so he shook his head. However, the other's expression didn't improve, but rather worsened.
Stiffly the man straightened up and backed away, not once breaking eye contact as if Jim was the threat here. "Well, maybe you should know me, since I know you so well." The stranger narrowed his eyes seeming suddenly suspect, but all Jim could do was stare back at him. "My name's Tom, and you're going to be getting very familiar with me." Tom flashed his teeth again, his hands making fists, and for the first time Jim wanted to scream, really just scream for help, so he did his best, but it was hardly a scream so much as a muffled growl through the material over his mouth and keeping him firmly planted in the office chair.
"Jim…you know no one can hear you but me," Tom replied in an overly chummy way. "And really, shouting isn't very polite."
Jim had thought that maybe knowing this guy's name would make this less terrifying, but it did just the opposite. This creature that had too many teeth, postured awkwardly, and stared much too intensely with much too large eyes was in fact not a creature but a human. A fucking crazy human being. Somehow that was entirely more frightening. Humans were tangible, real, and dangerous. At least creatures were make-believe. They couldn't get you. People could.
Again the screaming began. A desperate hope that there was someone around to release him and kill this weirdo or at least knock him out. Heck, Jim vaguely entertained the idea that this was all a practical joke on him. That someone would jump out from behind a pillar telling him he was on CandidCamera or some shit. If it was, this Tom guy was an awfully good actor. Still, he couldn't kid himself for long as the wolf, Tom, moved toward him again.
"Must you yell?" Tom sighed, seeming to lose some steam. "I can't babysit you all night. I have so much to do." The wolf's teeth are no longer bared, and he appeared to be in some sort of state of practiced calm, expression slack save for those eyes. Still, Jim didn't stop, increased his volume as much as he could, and kept yelling, looking past his captor into the inky blackness behind him.
Jim heard a small sigh of annoyance from in front of him as he paused for a moment to breathe, and before he could start up again there was a hand over his face, threatening to crush it. He could have sworn the blood drained from his face, as he looked through Tom's fingers, too afraid to move away, at the others face. Any ability to make sound had been snuffed out by the sudden dominant action, and that was just what it was. Tom had no tail or hackles to raise, but he was making it clear just who was in charge here. He was, and if Jim wanted to change that there was hell to pay before any progress would be made.
"I told you I don't have time for this," Tom said firmly, pushing the man forcefully away from him, releasing Jim's face so that the chair could roll freely down the small slant of the floor. Jim's heart started to pound harder as he moved back toward a wall that could have been anywhere waiting for him to crash into it. Tom seemed to revel in the obvious terror on the other man's face, grinning ear to ear with those teeth, those fucking wolf teeth, as he jogged to meet the chair, stopping it with his hand suddenly so that Jim hit up against the back. "Now, I really gotta go. I don't want to waste anymore time and energy before the surprise," Tom continued bringing his face in front of Jim's once more.
Jim thought was certain he was about to have his throat ripped open, but Tom simply smiled. However, it made Jim's stomach drop. Tom had mentioned a "surprise". There was more? What more could happen after this? Still, he couldn't ask, and he figured Tom wouldn't tell.
Suddenly, Tom straightened up; eyes eerily clear as if he was watching something on the wall in front of him. Jim would have said he looked possessed had it been any other situation, but instead the far off look wasn't only freakish but terrifying. Just as suddenly as he'd straightened up, Tom was back in Jim's face, his hands gripping what would have been the arm rests of the chair had Jim not found his wrists thoroughly duct taped to them, and thus the wolf's claws were digging into his arm, embedding deep into his skin once more. For half a second there appeared to be a flash of something other than wildness and hunger in the wolf's eyes, and Jim felt his heart skip a beat with reflexive hope that something in this psycho's head had snapped in his favor.
Unfortunately, he had no such luck. Though the wolf's teeth were bared once more and it's nose wrinkled in a silent snarl before he released his grip, turning sharply and walking away stiffly with it's ears flat against its head and its hackles raised. No words, but deafening body language.
Jim watched him disappear into the blackness of the parking garage in strangled silence. He could not yell, but this time not because of the duct tape preventing efficient movement of his jaw, but because of the huge lump that had formed in his throat. The claws were deep inside of him, squeezing the air from his lungs as he stared into the infinite blackness, immobile and alone. The teeth had ripped out his throat with jagged tears. And those hungry, feral, eyes, had stolen away his mind. Stolen away his pride and his memories. Job? What'd he do? Family? What family? There was nothing in his mind but blankness and a familiar and unwelcome tune.
Who's afraid of the big, bad, wolf?
The big, bad, wolf. The big bad wolf…
Raising his head up, Jim let out a groan, ignoring the muffled sound of it for whatever was left of his personal sanity. Who was afraid? He was afraid. He was horrified. He was helpless. As helpless as a rabbit in the jaws of some nasty beast with dripping fangs and a long forgotten humanity. This big bad wolf was not only Tom, but this building with its glowing lights for eyes and the uncomfortable, distant, dripping, sound of its teeth and the darkness of its bowels that were ready to swallow you up without so much as a second thought.
His eyes scanned his surroundings, taking in the hopelessness it gave off until he could no longer hold back a sob that shook him and made his stomach clench. He closed his eyes to keep the room from spinning and looming over him, but it did not help for his imagination filled in the gaps. A surprise was coming. What that meant he didn't know. He was trapped far from the comforts of home, probably for whatever remained of the rest of his life, and on top of that his captor was the monster under his bed that he'd long since forgotten about with its gnashing teeth and glowing eyes. Another painful sob struck him as leaned his head back to the ceiling, his mind pounding out a silent chant in hopes of an unlikely redemption.
I'm afraid of the big bad wolf. I am, I am, I am…