This story is by Zachary Searles and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
When he finally came to he was blinded by the sunlight that bled through a small rectangular window directly across from him. Squinting wasn’t enough, he lifted his hand to block the light, but it wouldn’t reach. It was then that he noticed the handcuffs chaining him to the furnace.
Panic set in. Where the hell am I? How did I get here? The more he thrashed around, trying to break the cuffs and free his hands, the more pain he felt in his wrists and shoulders. When his eyes adjusted to the dark, damp basement, he noticed blood trickling out of scratches that he had caused from all the thrashing.
There was no breaking those cuffs, whoever locked him down here knew what they were doing. He did the only thing he could think to do.
“HELP! SOMEBODY HELP ME!” He screamed. “GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!”
There was a rustling on the floors above him. It was in that moment he knew he wasn’t alone in the house, but whether whoever was here was friend or foe had yet to be determined.
The door to the basement swung open, shedding more light into the basement. He heard footsteps creeping down the stairs, a subsequent creak coming with each step. Three girls started to make their way towards him. With what little light was shining down there, he was able to make out that all of three of them had the exact same haircut, very short, not even touching the shoulder and if it weren’t for other defining feminine characteristics, one might assume that these were three boys coming towards him; but if they were here to help then he wasn’t going to second guess them.
“Be quiet, you must be quiet, you disgusting pig.” One of them said, kneeling beside him to make sure the cuffs were still firmly in place.
“If you disturb Joanna, you won’t be happy.”
And just as the words left the tip of her tongue, there was a creak on the stairs.
“Girls? Oh girls? Is our guest awake?” Joanna called from the stairs, making her way towards them.
The three of them exchanged glances. “Joanna, we didn’t mean to disturb you, we tried to keep him quiet.”
“Nonsense, girls. It was time for me to come down and wake this slimy bastard anyways.” Joanna said, kneeling in front of him. She placed her hands on his cheeks, then winded her right back behind her head and sending it right back across his cheek. “You disgust me.”
He winced in pain, trying to cower and protect himself but not being able to because of the handcuffs. “What the fuck do you want from me?”
She struck him again.
“Don’t you dare raise your voice at me, Jeremy.”
“How do you know my name?” He asked.
“I know all I need to know about you and your kind, you filthy, disgusting being. Enjoy your poor, pathetic, miserable male life while it lasts because come Sunday we will be giving your soul to Mother. Time is running out.”
“What does that mean? What do you want?” He pleaded.
She placed her hands on his face, her fingers gripping the back of his head. She stared into his eyes, he resisted but had no choice but to look back.
“Now that’s enough out of you. Go back to sleep.” She said, with her hands still on his head, she snapped her fingers and he fell unconscious. She rose and turned to the three girls who were still standing there. “Come girls, we have some preparing to do before Sunday’s sacrifice.”
When he awoke again, it was pitch black, and he was still handcuffed to the radiator. Joanna’s voice rang through his ears. Come Sunday we will be giving your soul to Mother. What did that mean? He had no idea. Who was Mother? But what made him think the most were two words: Come Sunday. What day was it even now? Wednesday? Maybe Thursday? He had no clue how much time he had left.
He tried to put the pieces together, thinking back, trying to determine just how much time he had spent chained up in this basement. It was all for not because he couldn’t even remember being abducted. The last memory he had was of leaving his office Monday night. The next thing he knew he was waking up chained to a radiator. In the midst of all of this thinking and remembering, Jeremy drifted back to sleep.
The next morning he awoke to the creaking on the stairs. He was startled, jolting upright against the wall, hard enough so that the handcuffs rubbed against his partially scabbed over cut and reopened it.
Joanna walked towards him carrying a plate of food. She set it down by his feet and crouched to be on the same level as him.
“Oh dear, did you cut yourself?” She said, noticing the blood trickling down to his fingertips.
She grabs his hand to examine the cut, squeezing it, forcing more blood to come out. It dripped off his fingertips and down to the floor. Jeremy winces as he is forced to watch his own blood leave his body. Before letting go of his hand, Joanna grabbed the fork from the plate and jammed it into the open wound, causing Jeremy to cry out in pain, clutching onto his hand.
“What the fuck is wrong with you? Why are you doing this?” He pleaded.
“You are not the first filthy pig to be down here and you won’t be the last. I will sacrifice every last disgusting male if Mother asks it of me.” She said, rising back to her feet.
“Please, just let me go. I won’t tell anyone about what’s happened.”
She lets out a big laugh, one that comes from deep in the stomach.
“Your kind can’t be trusted, you filthy heathen. Besides, you’re getting exactly what you deserve. Your time is running out.” She said, then turned and walked back towards the stairs. Seconds later the door at the top of the stairs shut and Jeremy was alone again.
It was Sunday, at least Jeremy assumed that it had to be Sunday since he was being led out of the house, still in handcuffs, by the three girls who had come to see him when he first awoke chained to the furnace. Joanna followed right behind them. There was a bag over his head, so he couldn’t make out any of the details of his surroundings. He was forced into the back of a van and they started to drive away.
In the last two days Jeremy had called out for help a dozen times and it all led to him being physically and verbally abused for disturbing Joanna. He tried almost twenty times to break free from the handcuffs, even as a last resort to break his own wrists, but all attempts had failed and Jeremy was out of options and out of hope.
The van started to slow, coming to a complete stop and Jeremy ceased to hear the hum of the engine. Seconds later, Jeremy was being removed from the back of the van and forced to walk through the woods, at least, he assumed it was through the woods since he could hear the crunching of leaves and had to step over many branches in his travels.
When the group had reached their destination, the black mask was pulled from Jeremy’s head and he saw that he wasn’t only completely surrounded by wilderness, but by twelve girls who all sported the same short haircut and wore black robes that covered almost their entire bodies. He didn’t know what to do, he could try to run but he had the feeling that would be useless. Before he could make any kind of decision at all, Joanna had her hands on his head, she snapped her fingers and he fell right to sleep.
When he awoke for the last time, it was dark. The only light came from the moon and the roaring fire that surrounded him. The girls had formed a circle around him and Joanna was standing directly over him, holding a rather large knife.
“Girls, it’s time.” She said. “We offer this sacrifice to the Mother and will continue to bring more until this planet is no longer plague with the disgusting male species.” Joanna brought the knife crashing down into Jeremy’s chest. He coughed up blood but he didn’t struggle.
“Girls, feel Mother’s power flow through your bodies.” She said, pulling the knife out of his body, which was quickly becoming lifeless.
All the girls cried out with joy. They felt the power.