As most of you know, I’m in the process of selling my home and moving from Brisbane to Melbourne – you can read about that here. Things are progressing quite quickly now and I will write about that all very soon.
I’ve been away from blogging while sorting out my place and continuing my full time job with travel. I have really missed photography and writing. Each Thursday, I see Andy’s Dark Side Thursday appear in my Reader but I am about 6 weeks behind reading it so, at the time of preparing this post, I haven’t managed to catch up yet.
Like Andy, I have been writing a dark story most weeks and most of the stories have been a continuation of the same ongoing tale. I’m looking forward to writing the ending very soon. For now, I thought it might be a good idea to put the entire story, in order, in a single post, in case some of you have missed one here or there, but also for my own benefit to make sure that it flows together.
The idea is that this story is composed of separate little chapters that are not the complete story, but give you a good outline of what’s happening. I plan to fill in all the gaps next year once I’m settled in Melbourne and can really get back into writing.
Each story had it’s own title, so here is my 8-part-so-far story, not for the faint-hearted, I hope you enjoy it!
I can’t hear anything but my own gasping breath and the pounding of my feet as they hit the wet asphalt. It’s late. I don’t know what time. But it’s dark and there’s nobody around. A misty rain is falling. It hampers my progress. I just need to get away from him. I shift position to run on my toes. The movement costs me precious time but I need to be able to hear him behind me. Where is he? I dare not risk a look for fear of tripping and then it will be all over. I can hear him. Far enough behind me thanks to the blow I landed on his side. Hopefully I’ve destroyed one of his kidneys.
There’s a corner ahead. I’m hoping there’s somewhere to hide although I’m loathe to stop moving after all this time. Two weeks. He’s had me trapped there for almost two weeks, tied up so tight my ankles are throbbing even now. My right arm is hanging low and screaming in pain. As I round the corner I risk a glance behind me. He is there. He is right there. Oh god, he is terrifying!
I cry out in fright and lose my rhythm, scrambling to get away from him, tripping over some garbage on the street. Keep moving! Get up! Go! I regain my footing and lurch away across the street towards the glow of the one streetlight that is working. I can hear him moving behind me. He’s not even trying to be quiet. He knows there’s nobody here in this industrial estate. He’s done this before. He knows what he’s doing. I’m just playing mouse.
I shriek as suddenly I feel his fingers brush my shoulder. Once. Twice. And then his fingers dig into my already damaged flesh. He forces me to my knees and I’m trembling, gasping for breath, chest heaving. As he leans in close to me, the heat and stench of his breath in my face forces me to turn my head away from him. And that’s when I feel the sharp pressure against my throat. As the blade cuts into me, I scream. And he covers my mouth. I can feel my blood gushing from the wound as my vision fades and I slump to the cold wet ground.
The morning sunlight filtered through the gauzy curtains, the golden glow landing on her bare skin. She was tangled in the white sheets, with an arm thrown back above her head and one foot peeking out from beneath the sheet. She looked peaceful and happy and was in that comforting, warm embrace of heavy sleep.
He watched her, from the corner of the room. Sitting in her overstuffed armchair, he was carelessly crushing the jacket that she had laid out the night before. His heavy boots had tracked dirt in a precise pattern from the open window. He remained hidden in the darkness, as if the sunlight could not penetrate the space that he occupied. He watched. And he waited.
As the rays of sunlight warmed her skin, she breathed in deeply, the sound breaking the silence of the room. On her slow and heavy exhale, her body stretched, the movement turning her so that she was facing him and the sheet fell away, exposing the long line of her thigh.
His gaze moved over her radiant skin and his eyes narrowed as the pace of his breathing increased with his excitement. His left hand clenched the armrest and he leaned forward, his fixed gaze never leaving that enticingly exposed skin. His right hand clenched the rope as he carefully stood and moved towards the bed.
The first thing that registered was the dry metallic taste. A singularly unpleasant but not unfamiliar sensation. And then the cold – she realised that she was in her underwear and a t-shirt, how she usually slept, but she felt a gritty dampness beneath her side. She heard herself moaning as she tried to lift her head. The effort was immense and excruciating. Letting her head drop back, she cried out as it hit what felt like concrete.
She was still dazed and unaware of both her surroundings and her situation. She lifted a hand to the stabbing pain in her head and was shocked to notice how heavy her hands were. And then she realised. Her hands were locked together. What? How did..? Finally she jolted awake and the horror set in. She was handcuffed!
At this point, adrenalin kicked in and she lurched into a sitting position, her head screaming and it was then that she felt the massive pain in her side, causing a dizzying wave of darkness to cross her vision and her whole body wavered back and forth as she fought for control. She wept. She wept as she realised that she had no control right now.
She looked around the room, carefully, as each movement caused the stabbing pains in her head and ribs to intensify. There was very little light. But she could see that she was in a cavernous room, with little else besides two tables and a couple of old wooden chairs.
Her legs were unchained, but she couldn’t stand. The pain was too intense. She shuffled herself backwards to lean against the wall behind her, the movement slow as she tried to cope with the sharp stabbing pains in her side. She thought that her ribs might be broken. As she breathed shallow breaths, leaning against the wall, she noticed that it was stone – rough stone. And there was water dripping beside her – she couldn’t see the source, it hurt too much to look up.
She slumped back, trying to remember what had happened. She’d gone to bed quite late but had the next day off from work so was planning a leisurely sleep-in. She’d spoken to John just before she went to sleep. She remembered lying in bed, settling against the pillows. She’d changed the sheets that day and had loved the feeling of sinking into fresh crisp white sheets, the voice of her lover on the other end of the phone. They’d been talking about the house that he’d found for them and she couldn’t wait to move. They’d been apart for almost three months now as she finished up her projects while he scouted out a place for them and started his new job. She felt blessed to have him in her life and couldn’t wait to begin their next chapter together.
Shaking herself out of her reflection, she looked around the room again. Whatever the hell was going on, she was going to figure it out. She was going to take back control. She had no idea how, given that she was shackled and alone but she resolved to get out of here.
Her head whipped to the right as she heard footsteps echoing in the overwhelming space. Terror filled her as she suddenly remembered heavy gloved hands roughly dragging her out of bed, her head hitting the timber frame as he let her drop heavily to the floor. She remembered screaming and then a series of rough kicks to her side forcing her into a whimpering curled-up mess. After that, she didn’t remember much, except a cloudiness and heaviness. Darkness and movement. Roughly shoved into a confined space. And then nothing until … here.
The footsteps were closer and she started to shake. She was terrified. How was she going to escape?
She slowly awoke. How long has she been out? What the hell had he done to her this time? She stilled her body, afraid of alerting him to her wakefulness. She worked at calming her breathing as she very cautiously opened her eyes to slits to survey the room as best she could from her position.
She was, as usual, strapped to the table, her arms back behind her head, her legs apart. A single tear slid down her her temple – all the pity that she allowed herself for the loss of her dignity in this godforsaken place. She still had her underwear thank god. He hadn’t touched her like that, but she had seen him looking at her body, a predatory look in his eye and sometimes he would let out a small rasping sound when his hand accidentally brushed against her body. Her shirt was in tatters, just scraps remaining, leaving her exposed and vulnerable. And providing him easy access to her bare flesh.
He was definitely drugging her, her mind was often clouded. Every few days he would approach her and drag her to her feet. The first few times, he would press his fingers into her wounded side and that would be enough to knock her out. More recently, he was resorting to a sharp blow to her head to put her out. She would wake up either strapped to the table or still slung roughly over his shoulder. He was big, really big. And strong. She tried to fight back every time but was unable to make the slightest impact.
She could see his broad back now, his massive shoulders hunched as he sat on the chair facing away from her, writing in his notebook. She heard a pinging sound and was startled out of her thoughts to see him reaching into his pocket for a phone as he turned quickly to see if she was awake. She snapped her eyes closed and fought for a calmness to settle over her body. She didn’t want to draw further attention to herself. She couldn’t make out what he said on the phone, just the sound of his voice in a low growl.
He ended the call and stood, turning to look at her prone body. He moved to stand at the end of the table so that he was looking up her body over the long lines of her legs. She gave up all pretence of unconsciousness now as she realised he was going to touch her. He stepped forward and reached towards her right leg. She shrieked and instinctively tried to pull her legs up and he smiled cruelly, his lips pulling back and revealing yellowed teeth. He laughed softly and released the bindings at each ankle. As he walked around to her wounded left side, he trailed his hand up her leg and over her thigh, coming to rest at the base of her stomach. She was breathing rapidly now and could feel her stomach shaking in terror under his gloved hand. What was he doing? He didn’t usually touch her like that! With one hand on her left shoulder, he pressed down on her flesh with his right hand as he moved it towards her wounded ribs. She couldn’t help it, she whimpered in pain. She didn’t want to make a sound, didn’t want to give him that satisfaction but it was unavoidable, the pain was unbearable.
She fought for consciousness, she did not want to pass out with his hands on her. She closed her eyes and clenched her teeth as she slowed her breathing. She was still shaking, but she was regaining control and was not going to lose herself to this man. Just as she was starting to breath normally, she registered movement on her right side and the world descended into darkness again as he leaned heavily into her left ribs and at the same time, she felt the needle puncture her other arm.
She squealed, laughing, as he came up behind her to wrap his arms around her waist. As he leaned in to kiss her neck, she let her head fall back to rest on his shoulder. She couldn’t remember ever feeling this safe and she couldn’t imagine living her life without him. She couldn’t wait until they moved in to a new city, a new apartment, a new life together.
He turned her in his arms and as she looked up into his eyes, she was horrified to see dark, reddened eyes leering back at her from a masked face. She screamed in terror, forgetting briefly, lost in her dreams, not remembering the horror of her current situation. Her captor laughed and turned her again so that her back was to him and he walked her roughly back to the corner where he had been keeping her chained.
She was whimpering now, unable to stop herself. She missed John so much, but more than that, she was terrified of not ever leaving this place, of never seeing him again. She had finally figured out that there were two men keeping her here. They seemed quite similar, although they were always masked. She felt like one was responsible for moving her to and from the table and the machines and the other only appeared when she was unconscious or almost unconscious. There was that one day when she was lying on the table and had not quite passed out when she saw the other one out of the corner of her eye. That had been a horrifying and hopeful day, all rolled into one. Any slight variation in routine made her think two separate things almost simultaneously – either they were going to kill her, or it was a chance to escape this place. And she was damned sure it was going to be the latter.
He spun her around again so that she was facing him. She looked into his eyes again and the heat that she saw there revolted her. She shrank back and dropped her gaze. And that was when she saw the loop of the keychain protruding from his pocket. He reached out and roughly grabbed her chin, forcing her to look at him. She drew in a sharp breath and feigned stumbling forward. He moved his hand down to forcibly encircle her throat and began to lift her up before roughly pushing her back against the wall. Her head hit the stone hard, causing her more pain. She shook her head, tears falling. As he let her fall to the floor, she forced herself to fall forward and drag herself down the front of his body, wincing as her ribs bumped against his belt, but also joyous when he didn’t notice her taking the keys from his pocket.
She gripped the keys tightly to silence their clinking, the metal cutting into her flesh. She didn’t have much time. She needed to be smart with her next move.
“So how do you want to handle this?” Mike was tired. This was the third woman they’d found. Beaten, filthy, with ligature marks from being chained. And always with their throat savagely cut. It was a tough case. He had a sister about the same age as these girls and he hated to think it, but she fit the profile – in her twenties, blonde, tall, athletic and living alone. He was planning to give her boyfriend a call and ask him to stay with her until this was over. He knew she would be furious with him for making that call, but he didn’t care, he wanted her taken care of.
Mike’s partner, Amanda, looked over at him. “Let’s go see the ME, maybe she can give us something new on this girl”. She could see that this one was hitting Mike hard. It was tough on all of them. While they weren’t in a small town, there was still a sense of community here, and things like this always hit hard. Mostly because they were so rare. They had pressure from the media and were all working overtime to close this one.
They headed to the basement and met Maria who talked them through the particulars of the condition of the body. Mike always found this part difficult. The ME seemed so clinical, just seeing a body, but Mike had met this girl’s parents and friends, had seen her room, her photographs, her favourite things. She was more than just a case. She was Juliana, college student, working in a bookstore to cover some costs, her family so proud of her and so devastated by this vicious loss. He’d spent quite a bit of time with them, having met them a few weeks ago when they’d come in to report her missing.
“Mike, did you see that?” He shook himself and tried to focus. Maria was leaning over Juliana’s right side, peering down at the inside of her elbow. Needle marks again, so many this time, and in both arms, which was different to the others. “Have you run a tox screen yet?”
The ME nodded. “Results should be in this afternoon. I hope there’s enough of the drug still in her to give you something this time.”
She waited for hours. And hours. She tried to force herself to stay awake but her eyes kept shutting and her head was nodding. Each time she awoke, her eyes darted to see the table on the other side of the room to see if he was still there. She knew that he occasionally left for 10 minutes at a time, perhaps to use the restroom. He never ate in here but the air was heavy with the smell of cigarettes. She was taken to the restroom twice a day. She had no dignity left, relieving herself under his leering stare.
By her reckoning, she probably only had another hour before he came to take her, which meant he would need the keys. The keys that were stuffed into the waistband of her underwear. She was both exhilarated and petrified. Sure that she would escape. Sure that he would discover that she’d stolen the keys.
She was alerted to his movement by the scraping back of his chair. As he stood up from his seat in front of the computer, he looked over at her and she quickly feigned sleep, her head back against the wall, her legs tucked under her right side.
She listened as his footsteps came closer, coming to rest as he stood over her. She heard his knees creak as he squatted beside her and could smell his putrid breath as he leaned down and ran his fingers down the side of her neck, travelling down further and roughly cupping her breast. She couldn’t help but groan and try to scoot away from him. Now he knew she was awake. He squeezed her breast hard and twisted it in his fingers before pushing her away and standing up abruptly. She looked up at him as he kicked her hard, high up on her thigh. She cried out in pain and he laughed cruelly and kicked her again before walking away. He went out the far door, as usual, and she took a few deep breaths, getting control of herself.
It had to be now. He would usually come to fetch her shortly after his break. She figured she had about ten minutes to be gone from here. Her heart raced as she reached down and removed the keys, trying to be as quiet as possible.
She was chained only at her left ankle so removing her binding was relatively easy. With her efforts to be as quiet as possible, it felt as if it took hours to get free but in truth it was less than a minute.
Carefully, she stood, her own knees creaking this time and she surveyed the all too familiar room. He had gone out the furtherest door and she was almost certain that it did not lead to freedom. It was the door closest to her that she was sure that her other captor used. He always smelled clean and fresh, it was if she could smell the fresh air from outside clinging to him.
She inched her way towards that door, creeping along with her back to the wall, her thigh throbbing where he’d kicked her. She reached the door, a narrow rusting thing which she thought must have well-oiled hinges since she never heard the other man entering the room.
She tried the handle, twisting it to the right. Nothing. Then to the left. Nothing.
Her heart sank. The door wouldn’t open. She twisted the knob wildly, hoping it would just open and let her out of here. She almost crumbled when she suddenly remembered the keys. Maybe one would fit?! She reached down to get them before realizing she had left them in the lock on her chains. She sprinted back, not caring about noise now, she just had to get out. Please God let her get out. She struggled to get the key from the lock and almost cried out in frustration but stopped herself just in time.
Back at the door, she tried one of the keys. Nothing. But the second key worked and she sighed heavily, releasing the breath she didn’t realise she was holding. Cautiously, she opened the door, pushing it inwards and carefully peered around into the hallway. Caged lights were centered on the ceiling, stretching down a long hallway, some bulbs not working, but there was light enough to see puddles of dirty water on the rough ground. The hallway seemed to curve around a corner at the end and she wasted no time in closing the door quietly behind her and making a start.
She moved cautiously at first but soon began to jog, eager to put as much space as possible between herself and the cage that she’d been in. As she rounded the curve of the corner, she heard a sound in the distance, it sounded like a shout and she stopped dead in her tracks, the blood draining from her face. She heard the door handle twisting back the way she had come and was thankful that she had re-locked it.
She started to run, her bare feet hitting the ground, splashing cold dirty water up her bare legs. By the time she heard voices echo through the hallway behind her, she was running as fast as she could, her breathing heavy, pain in her ribs with every breath and the blood pounding in her head.
Thanks for reading. I hope you like this, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What do you think of the prologue?? There’s a little more to come now to finish this off and I can’t wait to see the ending. If you have any ideas about a title for the full story, please let me know!