Oh my god, my head was pounding. What the hell had I been drinking? I searched my mind before I dared to open my eyes trying to recollect what I had been up to the previous evening. My mouth was as dry as the Sahara and my tongue felt as though it had been replaced with foul tasting sandpaper. The pain threatening to split my cranium was so intense I couldn’t think straight. I opened one eye and the bright sun streaming in through my bedroom window assaulted my brain further so I closed it again quickly. I wanted to pull my down duvet over my head but I couldn’t move. What the hell? Was I paralyzed? I ran the sandpaper that was posing as my tongue over my lips, hoping to generate a little moisture. It was met with the coppery taste of my own blood.
The images from the night before came fast and furious, playing out like a horror film. The car that had broke down half a mile from my home; the handsome stranger with the charming British accent; the cut phone line; the raging thunder storm; stranded outside my home in the wind and rain after I ran; my golden retriever, Christine lying on the concrete patio bleeding a river under her soft long hair; and the shovel swinging toward my face. As the memories came back, I became aware of the whistle sounding through my broken nose. I ran my tongue over my teeth and was thankful to realize that they all seemed to be still intact. My heart was racing and I risked the daggers of the bright sunlight and opened my eyes again. They were swollen but I could still see through the thin slits. I looked down at my body to discover that I had been stripped nude, my legs spread open and my ankles tied firmly with two of my leather belts to the wrought iron end board of my bed. Panicked, I quickly looked from one side to other sending fresh waves of pain to my head to find my wrists had been tied similarly to the headboard.
“Ah, Sleeping Beauty awakes.” The sound of his voice would have caused me to jump out of my skin had I been able to move. “Well,” he chuckled, “perhaps beauty is somewhat of an exaggeration at this juncture.” He rose from the chair beside my bed that he had been lounging in obviously waiting for me to regain consciousness. I felt exposed and helpless as he towered over me and I squirmed trying to close my legs. He must have found my reaction quite amusing as he burst out in deep laughter. “Oh, luv,” he said “I have no interest in raping you. No, rape is the very least of your worries. Though, admittedly, I do wish to make you scream…..perhaps not in the same manner you’re used to though. The only reason you have been bared,’ he continued, “is because I prefer to work my art on a blank canvas.” His eyes sparkled with anticipation as he twirled the knife he was holding, the sun throwing reflections around the room as it bounced of the steel blade.
“I…I…I saw you drive away,” I stammered.
“Hmmmm, yes,” he replied. “I had speculated that you had run away and was just going out to find you before you caught your death in that horrid storm. I turned out of the driveway and you can only imagine my delight to see your pretty face poking out from behind the house. I assumed…and probably rightly so that if I turned back into the driveway, you would have run away again, so I parked behind the cover of the trees and let you come out. My concern was for you, dearest.”
I wanted to keep him talking. I had read somewhere that if your assailant could identify with you, or you could identify with him, he would be less likely to hurt you. “You never told me your name….”
“What’s in a name?” he said starting to pace back and forth, waving the knife as he expressed himself with his hands. “It could be Laurence or Morris or Peter! Peter, Peter pumpkin eater had a wife and couldn’t keep her. He put her in a pumpkin shell and there he kept her very well,” he sang then laughed. “That’s it!” he exclaimed. “I am your keeper! Yes, Keeper…I like it. Seems fitting, wouldn’t you agree luv?” Insanity shone through his eyes and I knew that I had lost. There was no sensitivity, no remorse inside his black heart.
My eyes had been watching the knife but now they moved to the gauze wrapped around his arm, stained a rusty brown from his dried blood and felt a certain satisfaction that Christine had done some damage to the mad man. I felt the smallest trace of a smile form on my parched, cracked lips. “Ah yes,” he said holding up his injured arm as if reading my mind though it was more likely he read my expression. “your bitch paid for her ill manners.” His smile returned as my face fell and tears sprang to my eyes. “That’s better luv. A much more fitting expression for your circumstances. Now, shall we get down to business?”
He brought the blade of the knife to rest on my breast bone over my right breast. “Such lovely breasts for a woman of your years,” he whispered as he slid the blade over my skin, circling each breast, the knife slicing through the layers of epidermis, the blood instantly flowing, the warm scarlet liquid running in rivulets down my sides to pool under me and soak into the white duvet. I bit down on my bottom lip to stem my scream of pain. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction but couldn’t stop a deep guttural groan from escaping my lips.
“Such control! I’m impressed!” He exclaimed, his smile widening.
“You sick fuck,” I muttered as I drew in deep breaths, trying to control the searing pain flowing over my chest.
“What was that luv? I didn’t quite catch that,” he asked leaning over me, bringing his ear over my mouth. His ear adorned a hoop earring and as he hovered over me, smelling of my shampoo and soap, my hate and disgust became red hot. Without a second thought I clamped my teeth onto his earlobe around the black hoop and tore the earring out of his ear. He howled and stepped back, his hand clenching his ear. I spit his earring and his blood at him.
“I SAID YOU’RE A SICK FUCK!” I screamed at him.
“YOU FUCKING BITCH,” he yelled back at me, dropping the knife and swinging his fist at my jaw. My head exploded in pain as my teeth rattled with the blow. I spit out the tooth his blow had knocked loose to join the earring laying on the duvet, once snow white and now splattered red with blood. So much for having all my teeth.
He ran from the room howling and holding his ear. When I was alone, I desperately tried to work my wrists to loosen the leather bonds without success. When I realized my efforts were only tightening them I stopped and lay there, helpless and crying deep body shaking sobs. The knife, it’s blade now crimson was on the bed beside me and completely useless to me in my bound state. I gave up all but one hope…the hope that I would bleed out and die before he returned to do more damage.
Luck was not on my side. He had not cut deep enough to kill me and when he returned the bleeding had already slowed considerably, the blood beginning to dry in the wounds. His ear was bandaged to match his arm and his shirt was splattered with blood. I wasn’t sure if it was his or my own. Full of hate and anger, I hoped it was his. What he held in his hands caused my fear to overtake my anger and I started to plead with him.
“Please, no,” I cried, fresh tears of terror flowing. “I won’t do anything like that again. I promise. Please!”
His delight came back as quickly as it had exited him when I bit him and he almost seemed chipper when he said, “Now, luv….it’s a little late for that. Besides, begging does not become you.” In one hand he had my large gardening shears, in the other he was carrying my small propane torch. He moved to my right hand. I clenched my hand into a tight fist. My knuckles went white with the pressure. I could feel the slivers from the shovel I had grasped so tightly the night before driving into my palm along with my fingernails…. so hard they drew blood. I continued to beg as he tried to pry my fingers open. It took every ounce of strength I had and he finally gave up.
“No bother,” he said shrugging, “one pinky is as good as another,” and moved to my right foot instead. He opened the shears and placed the tips of the blades around my baby toe. Without a moments hesitation he forcefully closed the blades loping off my toe. I couldn’t hold back my scream and let it loose, my shoulder blades rising from the bed nearly dislocating both my shoulders and reopening the slashes on my chest. He giggled and danced a little jig as my blood spurted in a fountain from where my baby toe had been only seconds before and fresh blood flowed down my chest and stomach. I started to shake violently, my body going into shock. He lit the torch and heated one of the blades of the shears. “Wouldn’t want you to bleed out before we’re finished our fun, now would we?” he said and placed the red hot blade on the gaping wound. I screamed again, the smell of burning flesh and blood filling my nostrils before I passed out.
I woke to the sound of a distant voice. Snapping out of my dazed state, I looked around the room frantically to find myself alone. “Miss, are you here?” A male voice coming from the back door. At first, I thought I was imagining it. “Miss?” louder now, coming closer.
“Here,” I croaked, my voice barely a whisper. Taking a deep breath I called out again, much stronger this time, “Here! Help me please!”
“Thank god, miss,” he was saying. “I saw the dog and….” his voice trailed off as he entered the room and saw me. His face turned ashen as the blood left it at the sight of me. It was Bob, the gas man obviously come to read the meter. He was a few years older than me and though I didn’t know him well, I was acquainted.
“Please, Bob, untie me, quickly, before he comes back,” I sobbed at him. It was enough to break the spell of shock he was under and he moved quickly to my side. Before his hands started working the bond that held my wrist he took the time to grab the throw that was tossed on the chair and gently placed it over me to cover my nakedness. Once my wrist was released he started working on the bond that held my ankle. He choked back the gags that threatened to bring up his lunch at the sight of my tortured foot. Once freed, he gently placed it on the bed, cradling it by the heel before quickly moving to the other side of the bed to begin working the tied leather that held my other wrist. Before he could finish, Keeper once again made an appearance in the doorway of the bedroom.
“Now isn’t this just typical,” he said casually. “I run out for a deck of fags and come back to find you have another man in our bedroom.” This time he was toting my largest carving knife.
“Now, wait a minute mister,” Bob said, moving toward him, holding his hands out in a halting motion. “I’m only interested in getting the lady some help. I don’t want to be a hero and I have no beef with you. You could get a good head start if you just turn around and leave now.”
“Devine and I were just starting our fun. I have no intention of leaving in the middle of our game,” he replied. “And I certainly resent your interference. That’s cheating.” He directed at me before turning his attention back to Bob lifting the knife toward my would be rescuer.
Bob hadn’t completely untied my wrist but he had loosened it tremendously and I was able to shake my wrist free of the belt. My fingers fumbled, unable to make purchase over the knot that held my one remaining ankle hostage and I cried with despair.
My eyes darted back to the men, now struggling with each other for control of the knife. The knife! I looked to my side and sobbed with relief as I saw the knife he had used to carve my breasts was still beside me on the bed. I grabbed it and started sawing the leather holding my ankle tight. I freed myself just in time to witness Bob’s eyes widen over Keeper’s shoulder as the butcher knife entered him upwards between his ribs. Blood spurted from his mouth in a cough as Keeper shoved the blade deeper and twisted.
I screamed and ran at them, ignoring my own pain and driving the knife into Keeper’s back forcing him to let go of poor Bob. Bob fell backwards the knife still protruding from his upper abdomen. Keeper forcefully knocked me back as he tried to reach the knife in his back, twisting and turning in his attempts. I slid across the floor stopping next to the bed. My eye caught the sight of my baseball bat under the bed. I had put it there as a safety measure when I first moved in, still afraid of intruders that may break in during the night. I had forgotten all about it. Now I reached for it. First using it as a staff to help myself to my feet, and then lifting it over my shoulder in true hitter fashion. I swung it at the distracted mad man with all my strength. The fear of death and my hate and anger instilling a power in me I wasn’t even aware I possessed.
“HOME FUCKING RUN, BITCH!” I screamed when the bat made contact with his head, sending him reeling backwards and causing him to trip over Bob’s prone and now lifeless body. I hobbled to his side quickly to stand over his head and brought the bat down again and again and again… I only stopped when what was once his head was a bloody mound of mashed bone and brain and his body had finally stopped twitching. My adrenaline spent, I dropped the bat. My knees buckled and my stomach cramped. I spewed what little food and wine I had in my stomach along with blood over his dead body. The sight of him covered in my puke struck me as fucking hilarious and I started to giggle madly.
I couldn’t stop, I had a serious case of the giggles and I was still laughing as I limped into the kitchen to retrieve my cell phone from my purse. I stepped out on the patio to one of the few ‘sweet spots’ for a cell signal, watching the signal bars on the phone light up. My laughter turned into outright guffaws at the sight then stopped abruptly when my eyes caught the image of Christine, my beloved friend and companion, still lying on the patio, the flies buzzing around her, feeding off her, nesting in her stiff lifeless body. I started to cry uncontrollably, my vision blurred through my tears as I tried to dial 911 and shoo away the flies at the same time.
On my third attempt I got through, “911, what is your emergency,” a voice said at the other end of the line.
I collapsed to my knees by Christine’s side and sobbed quietly into the phone, “Please help me.”
Home Sweet Home – The Aftermath – Epilogue coming soon.
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