This story is by Gloria Wright and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
I blink my eyes trying to make out the dark figure hovering over me. As I struggle to wake, I am horrified to find my arms and hands bound to the reclining chair sitting in a room I do not recognize. My mouth and lips are numb, and I try to move my jaw. Nothing. When he looks away, I try breaking free from the cloth restraints, No success. My breathing increases, and my heart begins to beat so loud I fear it’s going to jump out of my chest. In the distance a doorbell rings. The tall man dressed all in black gazes at the door and growls.
He heads for the door leaving me alone in the damp, cold room, so I struggle to free myself from the restraints. I try to remember how I came to be in this room, but my mind seems as numb as my mouth feels. Where am I, and who is this monster?
Muffled voices that I am sure belong to two men talking in the distance breaks the eerie silence in the room. I struggle to listen to what they are saying, but the words are inaudible. I try to scream. Nothing comes out. I attempt a swallow, but I cough instead. The sensation of warm fluid flows down my neck.
I look to my left. To my horror, a large metal cabinet with glass doors displays a frightening reflection. A stream of blood is flowing down my neck and a contraption is secured to the outside of my mouth, one that is designed to keep my mouth open. I gag and cough again. What did that monster do to me?
A small surgical table loaded with instruments is siting off to the side of the recliner. I tremble. A pair of small scissors covered with blood sit among the instruments.
I try again to loosen the ropes, and this time I manage to create a little give around my right hand. I wiggle my hand out of the tie with as much speed and force that I can muster, and then I free my left hand. I fumble with the contraption around my mouth freeing myself from the instrument. An amplified crash sounds as the retractor hits the cement floor. I untie my feet and run to the door. I can hear the men yelling, but I can’t recognize any of the voices.
One of the men has a deep southern drawl, “Next time, call me before you come! You know Junior is sick, and I don’t want people disturbing him!”
“I have every right to check on my nephew!” Says the other man. “My sister may be gone, but that doesn’t mean you can keep him all to yourself!”
“You people stick your nose into my affairs way too often, and I am going to get my lawyer to stop this harassment! Do you hear me?”
“If you don’t allow me to see Arthur, I will be forced to go to the police!”
“You do that, and me and my lawyer will be here waiting! Now get off my property!”
“You’ll be sorry! And one way or another I’m gonna prove that you had something to do with Jeanie’s accident! Mark my words!”
The sound of metal crashing and cries of pain follow the heated conversation. I try to scream, “HELP!” But all that comes out is a whisper. I cough, blood spatter lands on the surgical table. My eyes scan the table. Two blobs of flesh soaking in blood are sitting in a small metal bowl, along with some other strange-looking instruments. What did he do to me?
Panic grabs my chest, as I search for another way out. I need to escape before the dark man returns! I scan the room and find a red door. As I open the door, a dark hall comes into view. Please, Lord, let this be the way out! I close the door behind me. It’s so dark I cannot see my hands in front of my face! I check my pant pockets for the flashlight that is attached to my car keys. Thank God, I still have my keys!
A rush of exhaustion flows through me, but I manage to pull up enough strength to head down the hall. A large metal barrel sits on the right side of an otherwise empty hall. I open the empty barrel. The inside reeks of rotten meat, and bloody streaks line the inside and top of the container. A dried pool of blood covers the bottom. What was in this barrel and why is it here? A dim light escaping through the crack under a wooden door at the end of the hall catches my attention. I open the door with extreme caution.
The Beatles’ song, “Hey Jude,” greats me as I step through the door. The coast is clear, so I run through the room. Pictures of old people and a stuffed moose head that is mounted to a wall adorn the room. A window hidden by a curtain is in the next room. I run to the window. Oh, my car is still in the driveway. Wait, did I drive here by myself? Oh, yeah, that’s right. I got a call for a delivery after everyone else had left. I said I would deliver a large pep pizza on my way home. The guy promised me a $50 tip if I delivered tonight! I can’t believe I fell for that. I don’t remember getting out of the car, though!
Oh, no, wait, No one knows I’m here!
In a renewed panic, I search for an outside door, but I am startled by the dark man as he bursts through the front door. This time, I manage to let out a scream. The numbness in my face is beginning to subside, and my throat is burning. He glares at me. The dark man comes at me as a door on the other side of the room opens. A little boy around the age of four enters the room. He has bandages around his head and is carrying a battered old blanket.
Glancing at me, the boy says, “Who are you?” He faces the dark man and says, “Is this my new mommy? I don’t want a new mommy. I want my Mommy!” He starts to cry.
I look at the man, and he glares back at me. He faces the boy and his eyes begin to soften from a dark angry blue to a light gentle blue. He rushes to the boy’s side to pick him up.
“What are you doing up this late, Arthur? You know you need your rest.”
“I was hungry, Pa. Is Uncle Greg here?”
“No, now go back to your room, and I will fetch you something to eat.”
Pointing to me, the boy says, “Who is she?”
“Never mind about her.”
As the dark man is holding his son, I run for the door that I hope will lead to the outside. I jump in my car and start it up. I lock the doors and drive away as fast as I can. As I peel out of the long driveway, I glance at my rearview mirror. The dark man is running toward me holding a large axe! Where am I going to hide? What if he follows me?
My heart is pounding as I drive down the back roads. Where am I? Oh yes, I know this area. I take a sharp right down a hidden drive and park my car behind some trees. Maybe he won’t find me here! I must have lost too much blood, because I feel lightheaded. Who is that woman coming out of the house? Oh, Thank God, I’m saved! I see stars, and everything is turning white.
I can hear voices muffled in the distance. I try to open my eyes, but my eyelids won’t move. My eyes feel gritty, so I try to bring my right hand up to my right eye, but I can’t move my arm. I try my left arm, the same. In fact, I can’t seem to move at all. Panic grips me.
“She’s breathing heavy, Nathaniel, I need a set of vitals right now. While you get them, I’ll call the doctor and her mother. She said she wanted to be called as soon as her daughter’s condition changes.”
I feel someone standing next to me. A male voice in a deep southern accent speaks into my right ear, “Hello, Jane, we meet again.”
Hold it, I know that voice. Oh, God, It’s him! Where am I? Oh, God, please help me!
“You think you can hide from me? No one hides from me! Take this, you bitch!
I manage to open my eyes. A pillow is coming at me.
I can’t breathe!
Everything is going fuzzy.
I’m suffocating! I try to scream but only muffled sounds come out. I see stars.