Chapter 31: Chapter 31

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 73

Kate didn’t know how long she had been sitting tied to the chair. A blindfold kept her disoriented to time and space. She knew it was at least long enough to completely come out of her drugged induced fog and start coming to terms with what was at hand. As much as she wouldn’t want to admit it the end was finally happening. For her to think she could ever move forward from her past was almost laughable. She should have stayed hidden in her grief.

She remembered the eyes of her attacker and the ring was telling. She never seemed to be able to crawl out from the rock that was his weight. She could only see Damian in them. But, why? Why had he chosen then to really reengage? What triggered him again? Was it that she survived and had begun to find her strength? Her thoughts went to Alex and worried about what happened on her end. She had been drugged too. Had he left her? Had he killed her? 

 Anxiety began to build at the multitude of unanswered questions. She chose to start planning how she’d fight back instead of focus on all that she couldn’t control. She tugged on her restraints. He had her tied down to keep her immobile. What felt like a rope wrapped around her arms that circled the back of a chair. Her feet were bare and her ankles were shackled. She heard the clink of a chain when she tried to move. She wouldn’t be able to plan much until the blindfold was removed.

A muffled chatter and the sound of a door closing had her tensing. As footsteps approached she became curious to why she heard more than one set of footfalls. The hinges creaked as the door swung open and the sound rang familiar to her. With a flip of a switch, the room brightened beyond the cloth. A person approached and she felt him circle around her. He squeezed her shoulder and ran a hand across her cheek. Kate tried to shake him off but he clutched a hand full of her hair and yanked her head backward. 

 “Don’t fight, the fun’s about to begin.” 

Slowly he removed the blindfold and Kate squinted to the brightness of the room. First, she looked down and followed the chain from her ankles to a ringbolt in the ground and kept her legs secure. The room had been designed specifically for this purpose. It had an air of familiarity but was stripped of any typical comforts. There was no carpet, just bare concrete. No window to let in natural light; layers of bricks sealed it. The last obvious difference was there was no furniture except the chair she was tied to and a personalized stainless steel table. It had unlatched restraints for arms and legs. The room had one purpose and the thought made her shudder, but she made a promise to herself that she wouldn’t give him the scared woman he craved to see. 

He knelt down and untied one arm at a time and then secured her wrists into leather straps that were attached to a horizontal pole. In the middle of the pole was a loop that had been welded to it. Through it was a thick chain that led to the ceiling. Just as she figured it out she felt herself being lifted up. She tried to fight, but quickly realized it was just wasting energy. When she stopped moving, she hung, her toes barely scrapping the floor. She managed to find minimal relief to her outstretched arms by rooting her feet the best she could.

She still hadn’t seen who took her, though his voice was telling. She wasn’t going to believe it until he showed himself. When he finally circled around she felt her breath catch. She wasn’t sure who she was looking at. His glaring smile was the result of her obvious perplexed response.

“You look confused?” he chimed in pure enjoyment to the revelation.

She didn’t speak out of uncertainty. She looked to the person who suddenly appeared in the doorway. There stood Caleb with an initial look of shock, but his detachment to emotions won out and his eyes grew distant. She didn’t dwell on him and had to look back to the man in front of her. He had the same oval blue eyes as Damian, the same complexion and face shape, but there was a definite difference.

“I always thought I was the better-looking brother, but for some reason being brilliant is a curse when the family head feels threatened. Right, Uncle?”

Caleb almost looked uncomfortable and his reaction had Kate curious to know more.

“What’s going on, Kyle?” he asked.

 Kyle. The name was instantly familiar. It was the name Alex remembered from Jeremy’s drive.

Without skipping a beat the younger man presented Kate like a prize. “I told you that I had something great for you.”

 Nausea rolled in Kate’s belly. As more of the truth was revealed the more it coiled inside her. She had known only one truth and now it was more gnarled and twisted. She understood why it was easy for everyone to disregard Damian because it really hadn’t been him. How had she missed another son in her investigations, or not see there was a difference in appearance? Why, and how, had Caleb and Peter kept Kyle hidden? She moved her attention to Caleb. He was trying to control his discomfort, but he continued to show his tells. 

“For dad, and an apology to you of course,” Kyle continued.

“Kyle, this isn’t how things are done.”

Kyle waved his statement away and reached to his belt and released a leather strap that held his knife within the sheath. Slowly he removed it and displayed it in front of her. Kate continued to keep her focus on Caleb and actively ignored Kyle’s threat. She could tell he was losing patience with her lack of concern. She planned to play on it.

 “Are you going to get your hands dirty for the first time in your life, Caleb? Or are you just going to watch?” Kate spoke to envoke some response from the older Sloane.

 He stepped forward to acknowledge her provocation. “You sound pretty confident for being the one hanging with her life in my hands.”

 “Please, Caleb, you aren’t in control. That was clear the minute you walked in.”

 “I’m always in control,” Caleb said advancing closer.

 Kyle stepped aside and gave his Uncle room to approach. He was pleased with his sudden engagement.

 “You weren’t after Peter died,” Kate goaded. “He died a coward. But that’s not surprising. Aren’t all Sloane’s?”

 With the insult, Caleb reared up and slapped her. She swallowed the sudden sting and numbness. 

When she brought her head back she smiled and continued to provoke him. “You must be so proud of the murderer he raised. Blood-lust runs in the family.”

“Shut up!” He brought his hand back up and crossed her face harder than he had the first time.

 The impact had rattled her, but she forced herself to bring her attention back to his level. As a result of the jarring, she felt that one of the straps around her wrist wasn’t as tight as the other. If she kept working it she’d be able to twist her hand out. With the new hope, she tongued the fresh blood from her split lip and smiled bigger.

 “Why are you smiling?”

 “The truth is refreshing,” she said and looked to the corner where Kyle stood basking in their exchange.

 “You really have no clue,” Caleb scoffed.

“I actually do, and it’s right here in front of me.”

 “You don’t even know the half of it.”

 “I know all I need to.” Kate looked at Kyle. “I hope for your sake you were smart and no one has seen you, especially Alex. Otherwise things may get dicey.”

 Kate watched Caleb closely as Kyle came back around. She saw a crack of weakness in him; his doubt of how much of a handle Kyle had on the situation shined through.

 “Don’t let her put thoughts in your head. No one knows my connection to you, thanks to your handy work. Besides she didn’t even recognize me, and we had a good long hour of gazing into each other’s eyes.”

Kyle revealed the knife again and in a swift movement ripped her shirt in two. The sudden draft sent a shiver through her as she now hung fully exposed. The tickle of the blade across her skin had Kate adjusting her focus. She held strong and could see it was taking all of Kyle’s restraint not to begin what he truly wanted to do.

 “It’s just as I remember,” he sang and pressed the blade along one of her scars.

 She felt the cold steel as it lingered against the surface tension waiting for the slightest pressure to break the tight skin it threatened. Tiny teardrops of blood taint the metallic surface. Her body began to rebel against her mind as it trembled. Slowly he let the blade slide with ease. Kate bit down hard on the inside of her cheek to fight her instinctive reaction. Her teeth effortlessly pierced the tender flesh. The tearing burn he was creating became overwhelming and she couldn’t help but cry out. Kate instantly felt weaker as her body began to remember the torture that lay ahead. He would work slowly and precisely. His first few slices were meant to cause pain, but not to be life-threatening.

She looked down to him as he paused his movements, their eyes met and she saw his battle to not allow the small taste calm his addiction. He rose slightly to consume his reward of her tormented features. Gently he moved chestnut strands only to reveal that she had replaced the pain with a fighting determination. 

He smirked and let his now blood-tinged knife once again trace the contours of her face. “I look forward to seeing that fight leave those eyes.”

“You can’t take anything else from me,” she challenged back.

“Oh.” He laughed and his head dropped in his own amusement. “Yes, I can.”

Caleb watched in disbelief as Kyle swiftly moved past him. He then turned back to Kate. He held a look of uncertainty; like a child in a situation he knew he’d get in trouble for.

“Poor baby.”

 Her comment snapped him back around and he stepped to her. “What did you say?”

“This doesn’t look too well for you. I mean your business.”

“There will be no way to prove anything. Especially my involvement.” He stepped closer. “Kyle is incredibly detailed oriented, he wouldn’t execute unless his plan is flawless.”

“You must have forgotten how this all started, it was because he failed.”

“He won’t this time.”

“You underestimate Alex too much.”

 He laughed at her persistence. “You’re at your end.”

 She returned the expression. “And your threats are empty.”

 “I doubt Alex has such a comfortable relationship with death. When it happens she’ll know she’s going to die because of you.”

 Kate felt relief to the inadvertent confession that Alex was still alive. She smiled again. “Is it exhausting trying to stay ahead of everyone? So many threats and manipulating to be done? Do you ever lose track?”

 “It’s business.”

 “So what’s the real truth?” As Kate spoke she worked on the loose buckle. “You just give the orders, right? As long as you remain clean whoever falls below you is just excess?”

 “Your ignorance is overwhelming. I had nothing to do with what Kyle did to you or the kid.”

“His name is Tyler.”

 He crossed his arms and staggered his stance. His annoyance was beginning to seep through his usually controlled demeanor. “What?” 

 “Tyler. My son. He was a happy little boy who lived for sunshine and could play carelessly for hours. Your precious nephew destroyed that without a single care. You must be so proud, grooming him to take over the family business.”

 “Shut up! You have no idea. It was because of the boy that I had to put a stop to him.”

 “You’re confusing your twisted values with actual morals.”

 He extended his finger in a warning. “Watch yourself!”

 “Or what? You’ll kill me? You’re too much of a coward, Caleb.”

 He raised his arm to once again slap her but stopped. He instead straightened and smoothed his shirt. He adjusted his belt before he tamed the salt and pepper strands on his head. She had gotten to him, but he was going to do what he did best and get out before it got any stickier for him.

“Good luck.” He smirked and turned away. He reached for the knob and froze as he realized the door was locked.

Kate forced a smile. “What’re you going to do now?”

 

 


Submitted: November 05, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Kathrynmp. All rights reserved.

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