–– 1 ––
It was unbearably hot. The air was so thick I had to fight to breathe. For the second time in less than a week, I had found myself in a strange place. A pitch-black veil enveloped my eyes and a warm sticky liquid saturated every bit of my weak trembling body.
A horrible odor filled the room. It was bad––oh, dreadfully so. It was like something had died––something rotting just inches from my face. Oh God, I cried from within, as I suddenly began to dry heave. My hands and feet were bound tightly to something. I think it was bedposts––yes, I was spread out like some submissive hooker ready for a grand ol’ time. The bed was hard, the springs broken, many driving deep into my flesh.
The sound of commotion captured my attentive ears. The sound of arguing. I could tell from all my tireless days and nights spent on the beat, back in the day, that these were some serious badass niggas. When I say niggas, I’m not talkin’ about color––that’s not my style; I’m talking about gangsters; ruthless tyrants; the world’s deadliest of cancers. I knew right then, I was in a hole heap of trouble, but I hadn’t a clue really, not then anyway.
The arguing seemed to come from a different room, but it was close. There was certainly no door or window obstructing the sound. I could hear everything. Every word. Every motion. Every breath. And it didn’t seem like they much cared that I could hear either.
“Yo shit brotha,” a voice said, nervously. “That’s some really fucked up shit right there.”
“You’re not kiddin' yo,” another voice replied.
“What da fuck we gunna do?” yet another voice shouted, this one familiar. “That’s totally fucked up!”
“We can’t just leave it,” the first voice said.
“Fuck!” shouted the familiar voice; then something smashed up against a wall, something close. Real close. “Why da fuck ya gutta do dat in heah fo’, Moddafucka!”
“Yo, chill bro. How was I ta know da shit was loaded?”
“What da fuck you sayin, Nigga?” replied the familiar voice. “How was I ta know da shit was loaded? You playin’ me moddafucka?”
“Yo man, it was dat fuckin’ Bitch. I had nottin’ ta do widdit. She had dat shit up wit ‘er.”
“Blamin’ it on da Bitches,” the second voice laughed.
“FUCK YOU!” It was that familiar voice again. Why can’t I place that voice?
Then abruptly there was a loud, whoosh. I recognized the sound from my married days, five wonderful years with that undercover narc, as they would call him. It was the sound of a bullet, as it silently made its way through chafed air. Most likely fired from a Glock-9, equipped with a silencer. Funny how good my ears are after all these years off the force. Then there was another sound. The sound of a body hitting the floor.
“Fuckin’a man!” the second voice shouted. “Why da fuck you go and do dat?”
“You wanna piece Moddafucka?” There was a pause. “Shut da fuck up!” There was another pause. “Clean dis shit up!”
Footsteps. They were heavy and coming rapidly toward me. But I could still see nothing. Still in total darkness. The footsteps grew louder and louder, then stopped. They seemed to stop right near me, couldn’t have been more than a foot away ... to my right.
“So, now it’s just us,” the familiar voice said. “Me and da bitches.”
Oh my God, I thought. What’s he gonna do? I squirmed and bucked, but couldn’t move. I was bound so tightly, so unyieldingly taut, that I began to lose feeling in my hands and feet.
He laughed. “Keep tryin’ Bitch! You look sexy when you squirm.” I knew he was close, very close; that familiar voice rang eerily through my head, but I couldn’t place it, and that awful smell, which filled the room, was now overpowered by a new smell. It too was familiar, and far less foul than the other. I found myself longing for him to stay close, just for that reason.
Then his footsteps rang out again, moving slowly away. They moved around the foot of the bed to the opposite side, then back toward me. But then they stopped again, this time just a few feet to my left.
It was then I noticed the breathing. A very heavy pant that one might imagine emanating from someone in fear for their life. Then, a click. It was a sound I recognized explicitly; the sound of a switchblade springing to life, readying itself for a plunge. For a moment, there was nothing but the sound of heavy breathing in the room, but those shallow pants spoke volumes. Something horrific was about to happen, and it was screaming bloody murder, in a breath.
The sound of a struggle swiftly intruded my ears, and almost immediately after, a female scream impaled my skull like a stake through the heart. Pure terror riddled my soul as the terrifying screams persisted on and on. Sounds of what I dreadfully imagined within my mind to be the ripping of flesh and the squirting of blood, filled the peripheral zone of my acute hearing.
After several grueling moments of mental anguish and torture, the screaming subsided. The sounds of cutting and tearing ceased, and for a moment all I could hear was the sound of something dripping, splashing into soupy puddles on the floor; and of my heart, beating so heavy, so fast, that I swore it would rip clear from my chest.
He touched me. My heart stopped and my stomach twisted into irreversible knots. He ran his fingers down my bare stomach, then over the crotch of my cutoffs. They were the shorts my hobby made for me the summer before he died; the frayed edges tickled my inner thighs, that’s the only reason I wore them as often as I did. However, there was no stimulation now. The only feeling striking me now was extreme panic. My stomach grew ill, and suddenly I felt faint. Passing out right now would’ve been a welcoming thought. But it would never come.
“Not bad,” the voice said. “Not bad at all, for a white bitch! We gunna have some fun ... you and me.”
My gut instinct was to shout, FUCK YOU! And I tried––oh yes, I so wanted to, but all that left my mouth was a mumbled mess. It was then I felt something in my mouth. A rubber ball, held in place by something that felt like cloth, wrapped tightly around my head. My face, covered by something––a bag perhaps. I had not noticed these things before that moment. My skin tingled. My arms and legs were numb. So was my entire body. In an odd way, I could feel, but then I could not. I have never felt this way before. Dreadfully unnerving. Suddenly had little doubt, I was going to die.
Something sharp touch my stomach. I couldn’t tell what it was, but it was sharp––no doubt about that. The familiar voice remained unnervingly silent. The sharp sensation struck me again, this time, a bit lower. No pain, really ... but it was so sharp.
I tried hard not to move. I din’t want whatever that sharpness was to plung into my stomach. Suddenly an image of a switchblade filled my mind and I recalled the sound I heard moments before. If I moved in just the wrong way, a blade like that could effortlessly enter my belly, spilling my innards all over the bed and I’d be a goner for sure. No, I lay very, very still. The sharpness returned, again a bit lower. But this time there was pain. It hurt––not terribly––but I could certainly feel it now. It was going deeper. Yes, that was the feeling, deeper.
My God ... He’s cutting me open!
“Relax,” he said. “Soon it’ll all be over, and we’ll have our fun. Don't want any little devils getting in the way of our dance now, do we?”
Devils? Dance? What the fuck is he talking about?
Suddenly the dull pain of the knife dissipated and something moved within my lower belly––just for a second, then it was gone. The straps holding my hands and feet sprung loose.
“To your feet, Bitch!”
I tried, but I could not. Weakness had total control over my body.
“I said, get your sorry white-ass up!”
Again, I tried. I pushed with all my might, but might I did not have. Powerless and confused, I began doing something I’ve never done before that day … I cried.
“Goddamn white trash Bitch!” he screamed.
A sharp blow to the right side of my head launched me to the floor. I hit hard. Oh, so hard. He kicked me, knocking the wind from my lungs sending my head crashing to the floor. I tried to stop the fall but my hands slid from under me. The floor was saturated with something warm and sticky. The odor that now filtered through my unwilling senses unquestionably could be only one thing, blood, and a great deal of it.
I reached for the coverings veiling my face, but before my hands could grab hold, I felt a stiff tug at my feet and swiftly I was back on the bed, this time sitting straight up. Crying.
“Get to your feet,” he said calmly, yet firm. “Don’t make me hit you again.”
I stood, nearly slipping in the blood.
“Put your hands behind you.”
I did. I was in no condition to be my normal argumentative self. I felt the ropes bind my wrists tightly together. He was relentless. My bones rubbed together in such a way that caused the most excruciating pain. I wailed; my eyes were a constant well of tears. My life was over, I knew that without a doubt. Crying was all I had left. My only release.
A sharp kick to my ass nearly sent me to the floor again, but I managed to stand.
“Move,” he shouted.
Something sharp pressed against my back, I’m sure it was the blade. I walked, slowly at first but his constant drilling increased my speed as he guided me through what seemed like several rooms and then out a door into what must have been the hallway. There were stairs. My feet were slick with blood. With the knife on my back and my hands still tied behind me, he forced me to descend. I tried my best to concentrate, feel my way down the steps. But then he stuck me in the back; the blow nearly sent me for a ride––the last ride of my life. I increased my pace down the steps, my feet slipping on the edges as I went. I can’t believe I didn’t fall.
Suddenly a peaceful warmth graced my body. Even with my eyes veiled in darkness, I knew it was sunlight. Nothing else could possibly feel so wonderful. But that feeling wouldn’t last. I took one last step and the man shoved me out into the engulfing heat. It beat down upon me in the hardest way and instantly I felt beads of sweat forming my face.
Laughter … evil, demonic laughter, surrounded me. Taunting me. No voice was recognizable, not one voice stood alone. It was an evil mass of hysterical laughter, the like of which I had never experienced before and prey I never hear again.
In a sudden flash, my eyes were flooded with light. A blinding light that seemed to burn my soul. The veil was lifted and as my eyes struggled to adjust I began to see. I was in a very strange place indeed. Part of the city I had never been to, surrounded by total strangers. Hundreds of vultures, eager to tear the head off my shoulders. Then I realized. I was naked. Completely nude, from head to foot. And just as I feared, I was drenched in blood. Terror swiftly took over as I gazed at my stomach. All that remained was a gaping hope. My intestines seemed to bulged out slightly and something that looked like a bloody cord, dangled down by my knees.
I gazed at the man who had shoved me down the stairs. He was now standing to my right, holding a large blindfold in his left hand and the bloody switchblade in the other. In a rush of emotion and gut wrenching pain, the familiar scent of his cologne and the eerie sound of his voice began to rush back.
It’s him, I thought, but how could it be? He’s in prison.
The man laughed, then held up the blood-soaked fetus.
I could feel my eyes swell as burning tears flooded my face. The painful memories flooded back like a massive slap in the face; the rape, the baby, the murder of my husband. My knees hit the hot gravely pavement. I could feel them pop as they struck; blood saturated everything. The painful sobs, crying within my throbbing head grew louder and louder and louder still, until it began to drown out relentless laughter that still carried on around me.
Soon the crying became screaming.
It was my own voice, screaming, GET UP!
Her eyes bolted open wide as she rose from her sweat drenched bed sheets screaming. Tears ran the length of her sodden cheeks, falling solemnly from her drawn countenance, gracefully finding homage at her scantily covered thighs. She sat in her bed shivering, covered––just barely––in the simple lace of her pale peach nightgown. She stared wearily at the barren walls of her bedroom, then at her belly––large and full with life. She smiled.
Then assertively, that familiar scent assaulted her heightened senses; it was the scent of cologne; his cologne; a consuming stench that would never leave her memory. A light clatter from the hall arrested her consciousness. All at once, the feeling of safe seclusion and calm withered. Blood rushed viciously through her throbbing temples and the acute sensation that suddenly she was not alone took over.
Ever-cautiously and frightfully unhurried, she scanned the dimly lit room. She removed the sodden bedding from her nude legs and swung her bare feet onto the chilly hardwood. The hairs on her arms and neck rose to an almost cognizant state of alertness. She stood, gazing apprehensively into the darkened hallway that stood hauntingly silent just beyond the doorway.
Then panic and fear struck as the unexpected click and screech of her radio screamed to life. She turned to look; it was 6:00 am. She’d promised to pick up her mother at the airport by eight. Swiftly she snapped from her fluster and reached for the radio. As she placed her finger on the snooze, the nervous words of the local news anchor accosted her––
“––Two men, convicted last September in the brutal double homicide of respected off-duty Police Officers, Jody Hague and Vincent Freeman, and also the brutal rape of Officer Freeman’s estranged wife, have managed to escape from their high security cells at the state penitentiary this morning. Sources claim they had inside help and are to be considered armed and extremely dang––”
She watched in terror as a man’s finger pressed the snooze button.