Quiet

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Maddy was an average woman, who never thought anything too bad could happen to her. But when the unthinkable happens, she has to be willing to do the unthinkable to survive.

Submitted: May 29, 2017

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Submitted: May 29, 2017

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Quiet

Madeline Spence, or Maddy to her friends, thought of herself as a typical American woman. She paid her taxes; she went to the gym weekly, at least she did when she felt like it; and even though she heard all the statistics, just like everyone else, she never really felt that she would be the victim of abduction.

She was wrong. But was she dead wrong?

~~~

Victor Potts never thought of himself as a typical anything. When he thought of himself, which was unusual, he thought that he was abnormal. He didn’t know if that made him more or less than average, just that it made him different. He saw things differently, and that allowed him to do the things that no one else seemed willing or able to do. Things like culling the herd.

Victor felt that anyone that wasn’t able to avoid him, either by using skill or blind luck, deserved whatever types of punishments he could come up with. And with a mind like his, he could come up with some amazing ones. He had been raised in a time when the television had been his main babysitter, and he and his brother had had access to his family’s full movie collection.

Where his brother preferred the comedies and the family movies, Victor felt himself drawn to the darker action films, as well as the few horror movies that were in the collection. His parents tried to hide the more grisly movies from him, but he always managed to find them, and watch them. Eventually, his parents got rid of them altogether, but that didn’t matter to Victor. He had already committed every gory detail to memory.

However, during the process of growing up, Victor came to realize that most, if not all, of his favorite scenes from those movies just couldn’t happen the way that they were shown. He began to weigh each scene against a number of criteria: physics, biology, logic, statistics, and psychology. He felt that there may be situations that could defy one of those, and still hold true for the rest, but the odds of a situation defying more than one and still be plausible was highly suspect.

After holding each of his favorite scenes against this litmus test, he decided to discard movies altogether and focus on creating his own scenes. At first, Victor tried his hand at writing, and found that he enjoyed putting his scenes to paper, and perfecting all of the details, even if he had to come back to each part dozens of times. He felt that each detail had to be absolutely perfect, but he never could figure a way to fit his scenes into a story. After all, without a story, all he was writing was a variety of torture-porn, and that didn’t sit well with him. It implied sex, which he had never really found an interest in.

Victor destroyed all of his writing, after he had committed his most realistic scenes to memory, and went out to find other outlets with which to explore his interests. He tried video games, because they could show gore and brutality that movies couldn’t compete with, but they failed his litmus test, as well. He thought briefly about learning to program his own games, but he neither had the inclination, or the education to do so. He moved on, yet again. Next he discovered haunts.

Haunted attractions appealed to him very much. Not going through them, because they also tend to fail his litmus test, but the prospect of designing them. He could work with each scene until it was perfect, and would meet each of his five criteria for realistic horror. For the first few years, his scenes went over well, and had a stark realism that made some uncomfortable, but balanced the over-the-top feeling of the rest of the haunts perfectly.

Yet that was not to last. Victor was eventually given an entire haunt to design, with a budget that would allow him to go a bit wild. He spent months designing his haunt, making sure that every detail was correct before he even placed the first prop. By the time he went to work in the space, he had a complete map of where to place each item, along with each monster and victim.

Construction took less than a month, and by the end, each scene looked like an individual nightmare from the mind of a lunatic. In other words, a possibly perfect haunt. Then he gave the monsters and the victims their scripts.

Half of his volunteers quit after reading the first three pages. Most of the others left after finishing the scripts. They were fine with the over-the-top gore-fest that people expected from haunts, but realistic horrors of hangings, mutilations, and murder were a bit too much for those behind the scenes, not to mention how they would be perceived by the public at large. His haunt never opened.

He didn’t take it as a failure, though. Victor took it as a sign that he was on the right track, but just with the wrong medium. He stepped back and continued to design scenes for area haunts, and eventually began to be sought out by haunts across the country. He was able to make a living by designing different scenes throughout the year, and selling them to the various haunts that wanted his brand of crazy. He had enough ideas that no two scenes were ever exactly alike.

That was how Victor paid for his newest hobby: abductions. He had saved up enough money to purchase both a secluded farmhouse outside of town, as well as a small brick house two miles away from his new home. Those that he took would never see the farmhouse, but would come to loathe the brick house. He made sure all the paperwork was in order for the farmhouse, complete with his name on the title and all. That house was completely legal, but the same could not be said for the brick house. He had saved up a bit more than needed to ensure that the paperwork for the brick house contained a name that could never be traced back to Victor.

Victor worked on both houses between sessions of haunt designs, but where he fit the farmhouse with rustic features that spoke to a quiet life in the country, he made sure that the guests of the brick house would have no clue where they were from the inside. After all, he had no intention of ever letting any of his guests see the outside of the house. In fact, they would never see more than one room of that house, if he had anything to say about it.

~~~

Maddy was coming out of the store when she noticed a man lurking close to the door. Normally, she wouldn’t have paid much attention, but this guy looked like he was trying to not be seen. To her, that was a sure-fire way to be noticed, but she wasn’t about to clue this guy into that fact. It was the middle of the day, and the parking lot was relatively busy, so she figured she was safe, but to be sure, she wasn’t about to linger to find out what the deal with the creepy guy was.

But it appeared as though the guy was going to try to make her his business, as he began to follow her out into the lot. He was walking quickly, so she tried to speed up her pace, but he was quicker. She had heard about the missing women from across the state, and tried to remember if any of them had disappeared from parking lots in the middle of the day, but just couldn’t remember. She reached into her purse for her keys, both so she could get into her car as quickly as possible, and for the defensive spray that she kept on her key ring.

Maddy flipped the spray nozzle to active and began to turn when she heard him come close behind her, but by the time she finished her turn, she saw him turn and hop into a truck parked next to hers. He wasn’t coming to kidnap her; he was just trying to get out of her as quickly as she was. She laughed at herself for being foolish, and reminded herself that it was never foolish to be aware of her surroundings. Still, something didn’t seem right. Why was he in such a rush? Why was he skulking around the entrance of the store in the first place? Why had he started his truck, yet not pulled out of the slot?

Thinking these thoughts, she reached for her car handle. She felt the prick of something sharp against her fingertips, and had time to call out in pain and surprise before the world started to swim away. She heard the door of the truck open behind her and felt the guy’s arms around her before she passed out.

~~~

Victor thought that this one had been easier than the rest. With the others, he had managed to hide himself from them, and they had no clue that anything was wrong until the moment they came in contact with the concealed needle containing the fast-acting sedative. But the news had managed to spook enough people that they were starting to be wary of anything that might seem out of the ordinary, even if that led them to jumping at shadows. After all, he was a shadow now, and someone might very well jump at him. That would not do. That would put an end to his fun, and he wasn’t ready for that at all.

So this time, Victor decided to try something new, and it worked perfectly. He let himself be seen and heard, which gave him a thrill he had not experienced before. It was one thing to be the hidden hunter, acting as the invisible force, but to be seen and still not stopped was amazing. He’d have to try this approach more often. As soon as he was sure that she was sufficiently freaked out, he had got into his truck and made a show of going through his glove compartment as though he was looking for certain paperwork. He doubted that she would look in at him, but it was better to go through the effort than not. Safer. At least, safer for him.

He had got her so worked up that she didn’t notice the needle taped on the inside of her car handle, even though the sun was casting its shadow perfectly for anyone paying attention. Her sharp cry was his cue to open his passenger door and bring his passenger in. She was out cold by the time he pulled her into the truck, and got the door closed. He knew that she would be out for hours, which gave him time to grab the needle from the door, wipe the handle down, even though he had worn gloves to both place and retrieve it, and cover her with a blanket while she slept in the massive floorboard of the truck.

Three hours after Victor pulled Maddy into his truck, he had her chained up in the guest quarters of the brick house. He never thought of the women that he brought here as his victims, but as his guests. After all, they were only with him for a short period of time, and he didn’t really hurt them. Well, not too much. And he was never the one to kill them. That was an act that he really had little control over. After all, who really controlled fate?

Victor was not an ungracious host. He saw to it that his guests had a modicum of privacy, plenty of food, bottled water, and sanitary facilities to use when the need arose. He knew that his guests would waste the first few days’ worth of food and water, but in the end they all wound up partaking of what was provided for them, thus sealing their fates. Thinking these thoughts, Victor smiled as he pushed the button on the machine that mixed up the bottles. Now, not even he knew which bottle was the fatal one.

Victor had carefully measured the length of chain attached to the belt locked around the waist of his guest. She would be able to reach the food and water dispenser, the toilet area, and the bed, but she would not be able to come close to the door. Not that he would go in while she was awake, not unless he had to. A few of the others had forced him to go in, and that had been a mistake on their part. They came to know that if they saw him, there would be pain.

Only one had required more than two visits, and all three times she had tried to win her freedom by hurting him. He respected that. He respected her. But fate had a sick sense of humor, for on the day he was going to offer her a compromise, he looked in to find her dead. He guessed she wouldn’t get the chance to escape, after all. Pity.

He looked down at his latest guest, and wondered how long she would last. There was really no way to know at this early stage, but he so loved learning all he could from his guests, when it came to personal survival. He would watch them, and make silent bets with himself about what lengths they would go through in order to attempt escape, or at least how they would try to keep the hope of rescue alive.

They had all tried the usual methods of escape. They had begged, pleaded, and try to bargain for their lives. They tried to break the chains, which was impossible; they had tried to break the belt about their waist, which was unlikely; they had even tried to pull the chains from the wall in which they were mounted, which was laughable. A few had tried to tempt him with their bodies, in attempts to either seduce him into releasing them, or lull him into a lust-induced stupor which would allow them to escape. He had no interest in their bodies, and each attempt to seduce him only resulted in him hurting them.

Victor knew that this one would try all of the old methods of survival, but what he didn’t know was what new methods she would use. All of his guests had tried unique ways to escape, from psychology, to escapology, to brute strength. He found it fascinating what skills these women possessed, even if they had had no idea that they would ever put the skills to use in such extreme circumstances. What skills would this latest guest reveal? He left her in her room, locked the door behind him just to be safe, started the cameras recording, and went to deal with a few issues at the farmhouse that required his attention.

~~~

Maddy heard the door shut and lock. She was unable to move, but she was starting to wake up. Her paralysis understandably freaked her out, but no matter how hard she struggled, her body would not respond. She managed to gain some level of control over herself, and tried to use her senses to tell her about her environment. There was light, but that didn’t necessarily mean that it was daytime. It was the cold light of fluorescent bulbs, so it could be any time.

She couldn’t hear anything aside from her own breathing, and when she managed to hold her breath, she heard absolutely nothing. From this, she figured that she was alone, wherever she was. This place smelled clean. Almost sterile. Was she in a hospital? She doubted it. There was no sound of diagnostic machines, or of the general undercurrent of noise that inhabits a hospital, no matter what time it was. She had to be somewhere else.

As far as taste went, all she could taste was how dry her mouth was. And the feeling was slowly coming back to her body, so she could tell that there was some sort of belt held tightly around her waist. It was against her skin, so whoever did this to her got close enough to get under her shirt. With that, she began to get angry. She had been violated, and she would not allow it to happen again. How far had the freak gone with her while she was out? She tried to take a personal inventory, searching for any signs that might tell her, but there was no soreness in any of her more sensitive areas, so she sincerely hoped that he (?) had only lifted her shirt to tighten the belt around her.

She was finally able to open her eyes and roll over onto her back. She immediately felt the pressure as something attached to the belt pressed against the small of her back. She tried to reach for whatever it was, but her hands and arms still weren’t fully under her control. All she could manage was a type of pawing that led her to believe that there was a chain attached to the belt. She shifted her head to the side, and confirmed that there was indeed a chain, and it appeared to connect her with the nearest wall.

Maddy’s worst fears were now realized. She had been kidnapped. Some part of her mind had known it, but she had refused to believe it until she saw that chain. She had no idea what her captor had in store for her, or how long he might let her live, so she better put her mind to work. She had to try and remember how she came to be here. She remembered going to the store for some bottled water, but they were out of her brand, so she left. She was going to go to the other store across town, but something had happened. She couldn’t remember what that was. Wait, wasn’t there a creepy guy outside the store? She thought so, but maybe not.

Maddy finally had control of her hands, so she squeezed them into fists, and the pain in her fingertips reminded her of what happened. There had been a guy, and he had followed her out into the lot. She thought he was going to attack her, but he had got into his truck, instead. Yet, he hadn’t pulled out of his parking spot. It had to have been him. He was the one who grabbed her. She was sure of it.

She attempted to sit up, but the combination of whatever drugs were in her system, and the lack of food and water for however long left her feeling light-headed and on the verge of passing out. If she did, would that guy come to check on her, or would he assume it was some ploy to escape? Better to not find out. Maddy willed herself to stay conscience, and barely managed it. But she did manage it, which proved that she could still control something in this world.

When she was sure that she wouldn’t pass out, she raised her head slowly and took her first good look at the room. Her prison, which was how she was already thinking of it, was fairly large, with a bed, toilet facilities complete with a small sink, and what looked like some sort of dispenser. This last item was probably for food and drink. That meant that her captor didn’t plan to deliver those things himself. Maddy wasn’t sure if she should be grateful for this or not. After a moment, she decided that that was one of those things best not thought about at length.

Maddy eased herself off the bed, and slowly got to her feet. After a moment to make sure she had herself fully under control, she walked towards the door in order to confirm what she already suspected: the chain kept her a good four feet from the door, but she could see that there was a deadbolt set into the door, and had no doubt that it would be engaged.

While she stood at the end of her tether, she took another look at her prison, and noticed that there were several cameras placed on the ceiling at random spots in the room. So, she thought, the freak liked to watch. Not surprising, since there didn’t appear to be any windows in this room. Nor were there mirrors, now that she thought about it. Guess she couldn’t get all dolled up for him, after all. This thought made her snort in surprised laughter, before she could catch herself.

As though it was summoned by her laughter, the dispenser came to life and deposited a bottle of water in one slot, and a sandwich and a salad in the other slot. There was no sign of silverware, so Maddy supposed that she was to eat the salad with her fingers. As there was no salad dressing, she didn’t actually see a problem with that. However, she had no way of knowing what might be in this food, so she had no clue if she should eat it or not. She supposed that eventually, she would give in and eat, but not now. Desperation may lead her to give in, but she wasn’t there yet.

Maddy turned away from the dispenser and decided to take a look at the chain embedded in the wall. As she approached the wall, she realized that what she had taken for standard drywall was actually some sort of cork material. She supposed that it was to help make the room soundproof. That was why it was so quiet in here. The entire room was lined with the stuff, save for the door, and she supposed it may actually have some of this stuff on the other side, just to make sure.

She studied where the chain disappeared into the wall, and something caught her eye which turned her instantly cold. Scratched into the wall near the floor was a short statement. Stay quiet. He doesn’t like noise. The words were jagged, and appeared to have some sort of stain around them that Maddy was hoping wasn’t blood. She could all too easily imagine a woman lying on the floor after some gruesome torture, scratching those words with her torn fingernails.

She could barely pull her eyes off those words, but as she did, she noticed another set of scratches. These were simple lines, but she didn’t think they were done by the same person. At least, not all of them. There were seven marks. A set of four with a slash through them, making five, and two more beside them. They looked as though they were made by different people.

She knew that they were made by previous occupants of this room. But what she didn’t want to think about, which was all she could think about, was how many women were in this room before the running tally was made, or how many didn’t survive to place their mark with the others. The mere thought of this question convinced Maddy that she now knew what true horror was. It wasn’t the blood and guts that you see in movies now. It wasn’t even the menacing shape barely glimpsed across the street before disappearing. Horror was seeing mortality in all of its fragile glory. Horror is not knowing your own fate.

Maddy backed away from the wall on legs that felt like stilts and bumped into the bed. She sat down hard and reminded herself to breathe. She did, and turned her back to the majority of cameras so they wouldn’t see her cry.

~~~

Victor was sitting on the front porch of the farmhouse when he got the feeling that he was not alone. The area around the house sounded different. He knew the patterns of the birds with their songs, and too many of them had suddenly gone quiet. He also knew the sounds of animals in the woods, but the rustling he heard sounded too well organized and too hushed to be animals. He was being hunted. This was the second time today that he had felt an unexpected thrill. Definitely a red-letter day!

He made a bit of a show of examining his drink as though to show that it needed refreshing, and walked calmly back into the house. Once inside, he pulled his phone from his pocket, quickly took it apart, and tossed all of the components into the fire that he had going in the living room. With any luck, it would be so much melted slag before the cops could get to it.

He didn’t know how they found him, and at the moment he didn’t care. All that mattered right now was getting away. He couldn’t just run wild, though, because that was an excellent way to get caught. He had to keep his wits and enact his best escape plan. There was one side of the house that didn’t appear to have any doors or windows, and officially, it didn’t. However, one of the first things Victor had done after purchasing the house was to install a hidden door for emergency use only. He had never had to use it, so the grass on the outside of the door didn’t betray its existence.

Victor opened the door slightly and peered out. The coast looked clear. He had hoped that no one would have bothered to cover a side of the house that was barren of any obvious escape routes. He opened the door and silently slid out before setting the door back in place. Once he got to his truck, it wouldn’t matter, but until then, he wanted the cops to think he was still inside the house.

He was halfway to his truck when an officer came around the side of the house and spotted him. He was told to stop, so he broke into a full run. He was only a few steps from the vehicle when he felt his left leg give out under him in unimaginable pain. Then he heard the shot. Now panic set in, and he lunged for the truck. He yanked the door open, pulled himself inside, started his truck and slammed it into gear. If they wanted him, they’d have to do better than a bullet to the leg.

There were a dozen cops waiting for him at the end of his driveway, each with their weapons drawn. Sensing the end, Victor decided that a blaze of glory might not be so bad.

The truck rolled to a stop just shy of the police officers, the bloody remains of Victor Potts unrecognizable due to the massive number of bullets his body had absorbed.

~~~

Maddy had no way of knowing how long she had been in her prison. It could have been hours or days. Since the overhead lights never went out, she had completely lost her sense of day and night. She had finally been driven by hunger to take the food and water offered by the dispenser. Three times she had refused to take the sustenance that appeared in the two slots, and shortly after it appeared, it had disappeared. She wasn’t sure if that meant that she had been here for three days or not, but she had stopped caring.

After her initial crying spell, she had fallen asleep out of pure emotional exhaustion. When she woke up, she found that she was still alone, which was a bit of a blessing, and went to use the toilet. She took her pillow to place over her lap, because even though some freak had her locked up, she wasn’t about to give him a free show. Through it all, she still had her pride.

Maddy had spent more time exploring the room, but didn’t find much that she had missed on her initial sweeps. She had pretty much free reign of the room, save for the door, which was the one thing she desperately wanted access to. She had no clue what could be on the other side of that door, but she would have given anything to find out. Since the door was out of the question for the time being, she turned her attention to the belt around her midsection.

It appeared to be heavy-duty leather that she had no hope of tearing through. She might be able to cut through it, if she had anything sharp with which to cut, but obviously nothing like that was available. She couldn’t turn the belt in order to see how the chain was attached, but she could feel what could only be a padlock. There was nothing in the room that she could use to break the lock, since all the edges were rounded and fairly soft, so she examined the chain and the wall.

Neither appeared to have obvious weaknesses, so Maddy sat against the wall, and added her mark to the other seven. Doing this made her ordeal seem more real somehow. It was like she was now initiated into a sisterhood that she had never had any desire to be part of. After another session of sleep, the hunger and thirst overcame her wariness of the food and water offered. She tried both tentatively at first, trying to taste any hint of poison or drugs that might be hidden inside. Both tasted fine to her, and she eventually finished both.

Stomach full, she could finally think with a clear head for the first time since she first woke up in this room. She tried to imagine what the man outside this room wanted with her. Was it ransom? Possibly, but neither she nor any member of her family was financially worth much. Did he want to torture and kill her? She had to accept that this was a possibility, even if she had no way to mentally prepare for such events. Could this all be part of some sort of horrible nightmare that she was having in her own bed? She would love nothing more, but clinging to that hope in the face of danger would likely get her killed. If it was a dream, she’d wake up and all would be well no matter what she did, but if it wasn’t a dream, she had better try to be ready when that door opened.

Again, it all came back to that door. She had to see what was on the other side of that door. That probably meant forcing an encounter with the man on the other side. At the moment she only had one real piece of information on him, and this was that he liked things quiet. She had not uttered a sound since that surprise laugh however long ago, so she felt it was time to make some noise. She drew in a deep breath, and released it in a scream so loud that she could feel her throat burning. When her voice cracked, she closed her mouth and waited for the door to open. She kept her eyes trained on that door, since she knew that she may only have moments to see what lay on the other side.

The door did not open.

She waited, only blinking when her eyes began to burn from dryness, for what felt like hours. At first, she stood, but eventually, she sat in the floor with her back against the bed. Maddy considered sitting against the wall, but she decided that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have some space to use for a retreat if needed. However, no onslaught came. She thought that this was most likely a ploy to make her drop her guard, so she would not make that mistake.

She sat for hours, waiting for the door to open, until she eventually fell asleep. The sound of food and water being delivered woke her up, and she fully expected to see him in the room when she opened her eyes. She was so convinced that it would happen that she actually thought she saw him coming through the door, and she jumped to her feet ready to fight. However, with her heart racing and adrenaline pumping, she realized that she was still alone, and walked over to collect her rations while trying to get her body to calm down. She did this while keeping her face towards the door. She had a feeling that as soon as she turned her back, she was done for. She was too smart for that.

Maddy continued like this for days. Surely she had been reported missing by now, and someone must be looking for her, but that was an abstract thought at this point. As she had no way to help anyone find her, it was futile to think about it. She had done all that she could think of to get a response out of her captor. She had tried to make a deal; she had been insulting; she had feigned weakness; she had even tried screaming like she did before, but her voice didn’t last near as long. She felt that she may have done some major damage to her vocal chords.

Eventually, she started to wonder if there really was anyone on the other side of that door. Maybe it was just one big cruel experiment to see how far a person could be pushed. But there had to be someone putting the food and water into the machine, right? If she didn’t get answers soon, she’d have to resort to drastic measures.

All the while, the tainted bottle worked its way towards being served.

After being imprisoned for a week, Maddy decided it was time to take action. The belt felt as though it might actually be coming loose. Whether that was due to her straining against it, or from weight loss, she had no clue. It may have been some combination of the two, honestly. Either way, it was the first true glimmer of hope that she had seen in so long that she grabbed hold for all that she was worth. She couldn’t slip the belt off, as it was still too tight to go over her hips or up her body. But she kept working at it. She knew that her actions may cause some sort of response from the guy that captured her, but at this point she would almost welcome the confrontation.

Maddy began to lunge towards the door in hopes of stretching the leather of the belt enough to slip it off, but all she managed to do was pull the belt tight enough against her stomach to knock the wind out of her, and make the area extremely tender. She thought on it, and decided to try a different approach. She sat down and allowed her body to recover from the abuse that she had inflicted upon it, while she waited for her meal to arrive. All she had received had been bottles of water, with sandwiches and dry salad. Having the same diet continuously was contributing to her weight loss, but she was sure that anxiety had its own role to play in it, as well.

After finishing her meal and allowing it to settle, she put her plan into action. She could now wiggle the belt around her body a bit so that she could see the padlock keeping the belt latched, but she had no way to open it, so she forgot about it for the time being. Instead she stood at the end of the chain, and started to twirl towards the wall, wrapping the chain around her as she went.

When she was close enough to touch the wall, she wrapped her hands around the chain and wedged her feet against the cork covering the wall. When both feet were planted firmly between herself and the wall, she began to pull on the chain while pushing away from the wall with her feet. At first, she thought the chain was pulling out of the wall as she was moving away from it, but she soon learned that all she was doing was pulling the chain tightly around her. She continued pulling, in spite of the pain in her midsection, hoping there would be some give from either the chain or the wall. The first thing to give was her lungs.

Maddy began to see bright spots in her vision, and they began to overtake her before she thought that she might want to stop, yet it was too late. By the time she decided to stop, her hands had slipped from the chain and she found herself falling. She tried to catch herself, but the chain was pulling even tighter, cutting off the last of her oxygen. At the last moment, she managed to get her body twisting so that the chain might unravel from her, but she was unable to get her hands up in time to save herself from hitting the floor.

Maddy’s head hit the floor with a sick THUNK. She was unconscious for the better part of a day. When she finally came to, she had a large tender area on the left side of her head, and she could barely breathe. But she could breathe, so her twist in midair worked. She couldn’t make it to her feet, so she decided to roll across the floor in order to uncoil the chain from around her. She had to do so slowly because her head was still swimming. She had no doubt that she had a concussion.

She knew which direction she had to roll, so she closed her eyes, held her arms around her head to keep from hitting it against the floor again, and rolled. As soon as she got halfway across the floor, the chains had loosened enough so that she could breathe deeply, and the rush of oxygen to her system made her head spin further. She continued to roll, since she didn’t have it in her at the moment to stop. However, she did stop as soon as she rolled into the door.

It was so unexpected that she called out in surprise. She sat up, and with her back to the door which had been her focus for so long, she looked at the belt that had held her since she woke up in this hell. It was still attached to the chain, but it was unraveled on the floor, with the lock that had held it closed broken beside it. Maddy had no idea when the lock had broken, but thought it may have gotten caught on the chains when she fell. Either way, she was free of the belt.

Now, to get through the door. Maddy reached up and touched the doorknob, ready to pull away from it if it showed signs of being turned from the other side. The knob turned freely, but the door did not budge. She figured the deadbolt would be latched, but it was still a bit of a letdown to have it confirmed. She thought for a moment, and crawled over to where the latest offerings of sustenance were waiting. She ate and drank until she began to feel better. He head still hurt, but only time could fix that at the moment. That, and maybe a pain pill the size of a phone. Since she didn’t have access to pain meds, time would have to do.

Maddy sat on the bed thinking about that door. It wasn’t fair that she should make it out of the belt, just to be caught by a door. She was sure that she had heard an old joke at some point that sounded like this, but she didn’t care to go digging through her memories for it. The more she thought about it, the angrier it made her. Soon, she was clenching her fists and grinding her teeth. She had been stuck in this room for however long, at the whim of a madman that hadn’t even had the guts to face her. It was a sick joke, and Maddy was tired of being laughed at.

She launched herself from the bed and ran directly at the door. As she approached the door, she jumped and hit the door squarely with her shoulder. To her surprise, the door shuddered, and she heard part of the frame give way. She was so shocked that the anger went right out of her. She had expected the door to have some major reinforcements to keep people in, but she guessed most people didn’t survive long enough in the room to make it to the door. This thought brought back the anger, and it boiled over into pure rage.

Maddy ran away from the door, bounced herself off of the wall that still had a chain protruding from it, and ran full-speed at the door. She once again jumped and hit the door with her shoulder, and this time, the door collapsed on itself, sending her falling through the doorway.

She had spent so much time in the light of her prison, that the darkness of the other room completely blinded her. Maddy was so pumped full of adrenaline that she was up in an instant with her fists up, ready to fight anyone that came close, yet there still appeared to be no one there. Was he really gone? When had he left? When would he be back? Would he be back? She had no answers to these questions, but she had to assume that if he was gone, then he could return at any time.

Maddy began to feel her way through the house, trying to find a window that she could look out of so she could at least start to get her bearings. Every time she stepped on a creaking board or bumped into some random piece of furniture, she expected to hear the voice of the man who had held her prisoner. Every time it didn’t come, she became more nervous instead of less. Maybe she’d consider that later, but she didn’t have the time right now.

Finally, Maddy found a window to look out of. It happened to be in an outside door, so she opened the door and walked out into the free air. She knew that she had to get away from there as quickly as possible, but the cool night air and the full moon hanging in the sky held her transfixed. As she stood there, something seemed oddly familiar about the view. She allowed her eyes to adjust to the dark, and realized that she knew this house. She had come here trick or treating as a child. She hadn’t thought about this place in years, but she felt better for knowing where she was.

She knew how far the main road was, so she decided to go back in for some water to take on her journey. She didn’t want to take the time to search the house, so she went back to where she knew there would be water. When she reached the door to the room where she had been held, she hesitated, having visions of walking in that room to find the man standing in one of the corners, waiting for her. She considered making the trip to the road without water, but thought that it would be a bad idea.

After a moment, she walked in and picked up a half-full water bottle that was the last remnant of her final meal in that room. She turned to walk away, when the dispenser provided one last bottle of water and one last serving of food. She considered it, and left the food but took the water. She had no idea what this bottle contained. She shoved the full bottle into the back pocket of her jeans, carried the half-full bottle in her hands, and exited the house as quickly as she could.

She started walking down the long driveway towards the road, then thought better of it. She took the time to walk over to the tree-line, so that she could duck into the shadows if she happened to see lights come up the drive. Traveling this way made her journey even longer, but she was more than willing to take the extra time if it meant staying safe. By the time the main road came into view, the moon was down and the first signs of dawn were touching the sky. She had finished the open bottle of water and was thinking about the bottle in her pocket when she spotted headlights coming down the road.

At first, she thought it might be him, but she saw that it was a car, not a truck. It would have been easy for him to switch vehicles, she thought, but at this point she was too tired to consider walking all the way to the next town. She stepped out of the underbrush and waved down the car, which my some miracle actually stopped. The man behind the wheel rolled down the passenger window and asked where she was heading, and she answered that she was heading anywhere that might have a phone. He unlocked the door and told her to hop in, she could use his phone, but she’d have to wait until they got to his brother’s place. The area they were currently in was a dead zone. She laughed, and he had the tact not to ask what was so funny.

He introduced himself as Roy, and said that he was going out to his brother’s place to deal with some legal issues. His brother had been killed after getting into some trouble with the law. Maddy let Roy talk, as it was good to hear a voice other than hers for the first time in however long. She absently opened the bottle of tainted water, and brought it to her lips when Roy asked if she’d prefer a soda instead. She stopped with the bottle pressed to her lips, pulled it away, thought for a second, and tossed the open bottle out the window and gladly accepted the offered drink.

The End


© Copyright 2017 CharlesLeeMcCabe. All rights reserved.

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