The Renshaw’s

As the blood ridden canines lay littered across the STAR Dog Show arena, a silence loomed over the crowd. The now hijacked microphone boomed one of the masked men’s voices.

“Now that I have your attention, we are looking for Mr. and Ms. Renshaw. If someone will kindly point them out to us, you will not need to share the same fate as these adorable little show dogs.” The crowd remained awestruck as two dozen mutilated dogs and eight masked men stood at the center of the arena.

“Please don’t everyone raise their hand at once!” the masked man cackled. His voice was as steady as it was cruel. The smile was worse, a permanent smirk revealed a crack of porcelain white teeth. The charcoal masks of these eight men were peculiar, as they only covered the top half of their faces.

“Still no? Well alright then, seeing as all of you came here for a show we might as well get started with our first event of the evening.” The masked man announced with boyish vigor. The excitement in his voice resonated throughout the entire arena. He gave a nod and the remaining seven men began to start towards the crowd. The instinctual flood of adrenaline for everyone to escape was suddenly cut short with the realization that every exit was laced with explosives.

“You all paid good money for this! Don’t tell me you are trying to leave already!’ The masked man announced hysterically as if he was a ringmaster welcoming everyone to his circus. Thirty out of the four hundred crowd members were dragged from the stands and brought into the arena.

“Aaaannnnddddd for our first event of the evening we have a simple 100-yard dash… The rules are simple, run as fast as you can. Because I am feeling generous, I will make you a deal. If even one of you can run as fast or faster than the slowest border collie, your lives will be spared. So… do any of you think you can run faster than twenty miles per hour? Let’s find out!” As the final words left the masked man’s mouth the gun sparked. Only a handful of people could pull themselves together quick enough to run… fourteen miles per hour. The sound of steel being unsheathed was only matched by the multitude of screams and flesh being sliced.

“Now that’s fun for the whole family!” The masked man announced with open arms, as if he was expecting a roaring applause.

“How about our second event? Now that all our contestants Achilles’ tendons have been severed, let’s see how fast they can crawl through the obstacle course…Unless of course Mr. or Ms. Renshaw have had a change of heart or a moment of courage? No? Then let round two begin!”

Mr. and Ms. Renshaw were reclusive philanthropists that no one had seen in the past fifteen years. Publicly known as the founders of the non-profit organization “Open Your Heart Foundation”. This organization is known best for renovating old run-down schools and providing them with the necessary resources to thrive. They are far less known for their subtle child-trafficking business on the side. Nothing major, just a few children from a few run-down neighborhoods every few months. This was Mr. Renshaw’s true passion in life. His other passion was amateur film making. As a point of pride, whenever Mr. Renshaw kidnapped a child he liked to make a video. He then enjoyed sending this video, anonymously of course, to the mourning family. As for Mrs. Renshaw, well her passion in life was to be by her husband’s side, in sickness and in health.

The obstacle course was almost unrecognizable, tattered and stained with blood. Every mistake a participant made on the course was met with a broken bone. Some made it to the end of the course with tears streaming down their faces, some screaming in agony. There were a few who simply had nothing left in them. Maybe their adrenaline had taken over or maybe their souls departed early. Whatever it was, the look in their eyes wasn’t human, it was like gazing into an empty well. The grand prize for finishing the obstacle course was equally as gruesome. The prize wasn’t even so kind as a barrel of a gun and a brief taste of lead. It was nothing, the eight masked men just let all the participants lay there pleading for death only to have their prayers unanswered.

The unfortunate truth was none of these men knew what Mr. and Mrs. Renshaw looked like. These men learned the Renshaw’s were going to be at the fiftieth annual STAR Dog Show. This was found out only after a poor employee of the Renshaw’s foundation let their whereabouts be known. Not voluntarily, but after having your hands and feet pierced with over thirty needles, honesty is the only policy. Strange circumstances brought these eight masked men together and all of them had the same unique characteristic. They all used to be fathers.

“No!?! Still no-one…” The masked man gasped and suddenly all his charisma and showmanship faded. “If no one brings Mr. and Mrs. Renshaw to me, we will start shooting ten people every five minutes.” He spoke in a monotone voice; the games were over.

Mr. and Mrs. Renshaw never miss the STAR dog show, an equally shared hobby of theirs. Unfortunately, just half an hour before the show, their car blew two flat tires on their way there.

“Well darling, the tow truck is going to take two hours to get here. Looks like we won’t be making it this year. What would you like to do know sweetie?” Mrs. Renshaw said softly while caressing Mr. Renshaw’s arm.

“Hmm, well I know of this lovely Italian place just a mile down the road and it’s been ages since I’ve had some good pasta.” Mr. Renshaw said.