If that single package hadn't come, Jared wouldn't have had to deliver it. And if he hadn't had to deliver it, he'd never have seen what he saw.
You see, the Warden had a rule that no one was to enter his office unannounced. But Jared didn't realize why it needed to be upheld. With little regard given to polite society, he opened the Warden's door without knocking.
It was a lucky thing for him, at least for the moment, that he didn't go in right away; he would have been caught. But as it was, he had the door open just a crack, just enough to see the Warden's near-seance.
The room was dim, lit only by lamplight in the center. That was where he had dolls of all kinds, lifted straight from a nursery, seated like people in front of - of all things - a small-scale, handmade guillotine.
"There's much hoopla in Toy Town today," he narrated the macabre scene, "because there's to be an execution. After many years and thefts, Trish Bear is finally going to be beheaded, as the privileged townsfolk wished." He brought out the teddy in question, laying it in the guillotine. "Trish has been a naughty bear, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Now just because the criminal has robbed for the benefit of the less fortunate doesn't mean the law should make exceptions. Because where would the line be drawn? When would it end?"
Slowly he untied the string holding the weighted blade up. "As always, Trish is entitled to his last words. He says only that he wished he'd skipped town while he had the chance. Oh, isn't that what they all say?"
He giggled, somewhere between a child's and a madman's. "Down comes the blade... Slice! And the onlookers cheer, coddling their moneybags. Dancing in the streets and stepping on the toes of the unworthy poor, they sing: 'Trish heads, Trish heads, roly-poly Trish heads...'"
Jared backed away. That spectacle, it was wrong, wrong on so many levels.
He shut the door, left the package just outside, and ran. Futilely he tried to convince himself it wasn't such a bad thing, that the Warden was just reliving a little play he'd acted out in his childhood. Surely nothing was more innocent than reaching back to one's glory days.
But there was nothing innocent about what he'd witnessed.
Mere hours later, the Warden took Jared for a walk in Superjail's botanical gardens. There was, as he put it, something unfortunate that needed to be discussed. But they were at the rosebushes already - the garden was in alphabetical order - and not a word had been said.
Jared was a nervous wreck. He was certain this had something to do with that game he'd seen. There were going to be consequences for his invasion of the Warden's privacy.
"I'm sure you've figured by now," the Warden began nonchalantly, leaning over to sniff one of the blood-red flowers, "that the matters that need tending to arose from the package I received."
Jared tried not to jump to conclusions. Possibly his accidental mutiny went unnoticed. "What was it, Sir?"
"Oh, not much." He plucked one of the roses, not minding that the thorns pricked him. "Just a pin set I won in a contest. But when you delivered it, I couldn't help but notice you didn't knock first." He twiddled the stem absentmindedly, spreading blood over it in the process. "I ask that visitors announce themselves for a reason, Jared. There are some things I do that no one can know about... Ever."
Jared couldn't take his eyes off the blood-coated rose. All day, everything the Warden did held some twisted meaning, even if Jared didn't know what. But he got the feeling he was going to die today. "I-I don't see what the problem is, Sir. So you still play with dolls. There's really nothing wrong with that..."
"Don't lie to me, Jared." He let go of the flower, deliberately stepping on it when it hit the ground. "You know exactly what you saw. And you might not realize it, but now you know something about me that must never come to light. If it did... I hate even to consider what could happen."
Even though he knew it was useless, Jared tried to run. The Warden caught him by the scruff of his neck with his injured hand, and dragged him unceremoniously to a secluded stairwell hidden amongst the snapdragons. Like a piece of luggage, he pulled the little man down the stone steps, bruising him in the process.
"There is only one fate for those who find out what I do behind closed doors. It always takes place here." He held Jared at arm's length, suspended in the center of the murky, cobweb-covered room. "Look, Jared. Take it all in, because this is your final resting place."
Jared didn't want to; but he didn't have a choice. Most striking was the large, ancient guillotine towards the back wall, its rusty blade stained with the blood of hundreds, perhaps thousands of victims. Off to one side lay an unsettlingly large pile of dry bones. And to the other side... A clump of metal?
"What is-" Jared asked as the Warden set him on the ground.
"It may seem like overkill to you, but I don't just exterminate humans who walk in on me. I've had to replace Jailbot ten times already because of impromptu visits. Anything at all, whether it's Jailbot, or an inmate, or even just a fly; it must be brought here and killed."
Still Jared struggled against the inevitable. "Sir, you must make exceptions. The twins must know about your secret. A-and if Alice had walked in on you, you wouldn't, right?"
"I'd kill her without a second thought. It's that important, Jared. And the twins are smart enough to know that; they never watch me while I'm alone. Now, no more stalling; I've left you alive for too long." With that, he snatched Jared up and shoved him into the shackles.
"Sir, please! I don't even know what I know! And even if I did, I'd never tell anyone!"
Slowly the Warden untied the rope holding the rusty blade up. "You're a smart boy, Jared. You'd figure it out. And when you did, you'd make it your mission to tell the world."
Down came the blade, and Jared wracked his brain trying to figure out just what he was being killed for knowing. And then, as his head fell, he realized what the Warden's dire secret was.
If Jared's vocal cords still functioned, he would have screamed.
The Warden shook his head sadly. "I lose more accountants that way..."
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