TV's on again and the same bland decorator bullshit is catching no one's eyes. We're all doing what we have to do to get through the day in this crappy living room. Eating, typing, jogging in place, making calls; it is the way of the average life.
The screen begins to blur, but nobody seems to notice, or care, that much. Bite, chew; click C, click L; left foot, right foot; hang up the damn phone. But then something starts, something happens that catches everyone's unshakable attention: the television program switches off and the designer landscape of the week is transformed into a textured wall, a deep tomato red in hue. Every channel is the same transmission, this rich, freshly painted red wall that silently speaks of something eerie, something indigestible, something foul.
All eyes remain settled. No more daily rituals to be practiced, no more food to be stuffed, only pure, questioning attention dripping with the sweat of suspense.
The sound of sobbing and muffled screams begins to emerge from the shitty speakers of the ancient Sony. A lean man appears. He is dressed in black, he is dressed like a ninja with only his black-as-black-can-be eyes shining through the slit of the face covering. An AK-47 slung over his shoulder, he merely paces back and forth as a panther may against the backdrop of a blood-red sunset. No longer does sound come from the transmission. No, this program is only for the eyes, for the silence is what makes anything most unbearable.
Mr. Cameraman zooms out so that regal gold-leaf candle sconces and console tables are visible and lustrous against the red wall. A gilded crystal chandelier dangles from an invisible ceiling and although it sways and the crystals collide with each other, there is only the beautiful, haunting silence of fear.
Pan left to a line of obviously affluent business men and women, most of whom seem hardly conscious due to the whiteness of their waxy, sweating skin. No longer do their gold cuff links and diamond earrings bring them good looks. These things are of no importance to these people anymore and this fact is pinpointed in any of their all-knowing eyes. They are all going to die. Innocent, they are all going to die at the hands of terrorists, and repulsively attracted, anyone with a television will view their deaths.
The gunman on screen begins to direct the group to form a single-file line in which the women are to be first. He handles roughly those who are too jarred with tears or screams to move their bodies; pushing, dragging, kicking. Another gunman appears on the right of the screen holding a thirty-eight caliber. He beckons the first woman in line to him while a third gunman pushes her toward her execution. One bullet, straight to the temple, and blood spatters on the red wall. The women and men in the line are hysterical while the gunman is mechanical and unflinching.
The second woman is dragged up, although she can barely stand up. The gun is to her right temple. Two of the captive men run out of line and try to tackle two of the gunmen, but their efforts are quickly foiled by gunshots to each of their legs. As they writhe in pain, each of their limbs is subsequently shot. They are left on the floor to slowly bleed to death as each of their friends is still killed despite their efforts to save them. Each time one of them is killed, the camera reveals the horrified mouths and eyes of the hostages. Empty, open mouths are devoid of sound or shrill, and the silence is all too telling that their screaming is moot.
As the executions continue, the camera lens closes up on one woman who is wearing a fancy baby blue polyester business suit accented with brass buttons. She is as calm as a clear seventy-degree afternoon. Her eyes blink more noticeably at certain moments, moments at which one may speculate that shots have been fired, but her face remains stagnant while the others swoon in hysteria.
Viewers everywhere are riled with fear, nausea, horror. Difficult it is to describe these unflinching reactions to this true spectacle of brutality. It is for this reason that the silence is the only sound that can transpose the fear into reality.