THE WRATH OF GOD

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
A deranged kidnapper and serial killer has enjoyed himself abducting, torturing, and murdering countless "guests." There is now one whose faith is strong enough to stand up to her captor, using the wrath of God that burns within her.

Submitted: October 06, 2010

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Submitted: October 06, 2010

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A night glowed with the shimmer of summer humidity as Stow carried another victim up the stairs to his third-story apartment. While she sat on his shoulder, unconscious, bound, and gagged, Stow fumbled with his keys. He wrinkled his nose to push his black-rimmed glasses back up into position. He held the jumble of keys to the front porch light, off-white and cutting through the night the way a distraction cuts through concentration. The light from the front porch glistened in Stow’s over-slicked hair. At last, he held the key to the front door in his hand. He let himself in, then locked the door behind himself.
He heaved her through the living room, then plopped her on the couch. He straightened himself out, then turned around, catching his breath. As if taking roll, he counted all his victims, all propped up against the wall, with tape sealing their mouths shut, hogtied in a strange manner with cables. Yes, all ten were there, and now their number would increase to eleven. They all sat in silence, not believing that the monster had grabbed yet another innocent for his collection.
Yet two of Stow’s guests sat in a way that concerned Stow. Neither Number 3 nor Number 8 (he never bothered to learn their names) sat up like the others, but rather had taken a position of lying on the ground. Stow looked closely; he didn’t even detect their breathing. The rest of them, except for the new one who still lay unconscious, tracked his every movement, following him with their eyes.
They all sat in the same hogtied position: a loop of cable around their ankles, traveling up their backs, around their necks, and down for a loop around each wrist, then back through the ankle loop, then tied to a central ring in the middle of the room where the others were tied. Each one, save the new one, had an intravenous tube jabbed into their arms. The tube ran to an IV bag filled with saline solution. A piece of tape covered their mouths. The new girl lay unconscious and had duct tape wrapped around her wrists and on her mouth, but was otherwise unbound. Stow went into another room, loudly fumbled around in a closet and returned with more cable and locks. He prepared to hogtie the new girl when one of his previous guests caught his attention.
Number 4 began screaming through her tape. Perturbed, Stow turned around and looked at her to see what she wanted. Number 4 pointed with her head at Number 3’s motionless body. Stow got up and approached Number 4. “Shh,” he said to quiet her. “You think there’s something wrong with this one?” pointing to Number 3. “Yeah, I know. She’s dead. So’s Number 8. Now mind your own business.” He slapped Number 4 once across the face. Stow looked at the central ring, wondering whether or not to loosen the dead body from its binds, then pressed the button deep within the mechanism that released the cable. He took the dead woman to another room and after a minute returned to the large room with Number 3’s dress in his hand. Then he picked up the new girl and heaved her over to where Number 3 was before. He released her wrists and undressed her. As she sat unconscious in her underwear, Stow put the dress over her head and dressed her in Number 3’s clothes, fresh off her corpse. As Stow started binding her with the cable, the girl started to come to. She began to scream hysterically, but the gag in her mouth and the tape that held it in place muffled the scream to make it sound like it was coming from a distant place.
“I don’t like it when people are silent. I like a little noise,” Stow told her in a calm tone as he continued to bind her. “If I didn’t like noise, I would have killed you, you know? I don’t like full on screaming either. To me, it’s a distraction. Besides, I don’t want to attract any attention to this, right?” he said with a laugh. “No. My favorite is the muffled scream. To me, there’s no sweeter music than the strained, hoarse utterance from a throat stuffed with a rag and held in place with some duct tape. I could listen to that all night.  Matter of fact, I made a mix tape of it. I’ll play it for you when I’m done with this.” When he finished, he went to his stereo and turned it on, playing a recording of muffled screams, just as he promised. “Mmm, that was fun!” he said when he was finished.
“Now for the real thing,” Stow said, pulling out a folding knife and crouching beside Number 4. He examined the blade brazenly, in her face. He ran his thumb softly up and down the edge. He snickered, then put the edge of the knife up against the side of Number 4’s knee, slowly, painstakingly carving off a piece, then bringing it to his mouth. Number 4 bellowed through the gag. “Nothing like fine dining and fine music!” he said as he chewed part of Number 4’s leg. He threw a rag on the gaping wound, barely doing anything to stop the bleeding. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, ol’ Number 3 has been hankering for a little lovin’ from me and I’m going to take care of her now.” Stow returned to the room with the dead woman and returned a couple of minutes later. He returned panting, much quieter, and more sullen. He got a glass of water from the kitchen and sipped it. He was visibly upset. He also brought with him an IV bag. He hung it up on the rack and dropped the tube toward the new girl. Then he cut her arm and jabbed the tube in. She bellowed in pain. Stow snickered.
Number 8’s lifeless corpse caught Stow’s attention next. He unbound it and dragged it to the same room as Number 3. It was a man in his early 20s, one of only two males among the group of captives. “Maybe now they’ll get to know each other, make a happy family,” Stow said.
He returned to the new girl. He took off her bindings and pitched her onto his shoulder again.
Stephanie roused from her unconscious state, bouncing on Stow’s shoulder. A moment of befuddlement took her before she realized that her mouth was sealed with tape and her hands were tied together. She moaned, trying to alert anyone within earshot of her compromised position. “There, there, little girl. Daddy will take care of you,” Stow said, mocking a comforting father’s response to her desperate struggle. The fact was that Stow had no intention of taking care of Stephanie. He merely would keep her imprisoned, like he had with the others.
Stow plopped her on a barber’s chair and handcuffed her to it. Stephanie sat before a mirror decked with light bulbs around the perimeter. “I’ll be right back, sweetheart. I’ve got to get Hilly to prepare you for our hot date tonight,” he said, leaving the room. Within a few minutes, he returned. He had applied bright red lipstick, tied his shirt in the front and pushed his sweaty, oil-slicked hair back with a hair band. His face was covered in women’s makeup. “Honey, I’m gonna make you so pretty that Stow’s socks are gonna get knocked right off!” Stow said, referring to himself in the third person. “By the way, I’m Hildegard, but everyone calls me Hilly,” he said to Stephanie. “You are going to look so hot!” He grabbed the curling iron and plugged it in. The harsh lights made her squint as he began to roughly brush her hair out, yanking on knots with abandon, carelessly pulling painfully at her scalp. She looked at herself in the mirror after her eyes had gotten accustomed to the glare. She looked haggard after the ordeal, and she remembered the pretense that got her into this hellhole apartment.
After working out that morning, Stephanie decided to go for a run through the park near the gym. She had been going a couple miles when she saw this man calling for Danny. Stephanie asked the man if everything was okay. He said his six year-old son Danny had run off and he couldn’t find him, that he was worried someone may have abducted him. He said he would get a picture of him from his car so that she could identify him on sight. She followed at a distance she thought was safe. He approached the Buick and went in, fishing around. “Here, here it is,” he said, removing himself from the car, swinging a pipe at her. Stephanie dodged the swing at the last minute and took off running. She didn’t expect this guy to be as fast as he was. He shortly caught up with her and swung again, just making contact with the back of her head. That was all she remembered, and that was the reason why the back of her head hurt so bad.
“You are looking so good!” Stow said to Stephanie. He was expertly curling her hair with the curling iron, but what brought her back to the present was when he got too close with the iron and burned her scalp. She screamed her pain under the tape as he prolonged the contact, wisps of smoking skin rising into the air. He did it again, all around her hairline, a brutal torture that Stow seemed oblivious to its pain. The utter pain sent her tear ducts streaming. “I’m going to give you a little rouge, but I don’t believe in putting blush on, I like the old fashioned way better,” Stow said. He stood in front of her and smacked her several times on each check, sheets of pain stinging her face. “There! All bashful and blushed!”
The other captives had seen it all before. He prettied up his female victims with a torturous hairdo and makeup session, then had his way with them before jabbing that blasted IV and letting them rot in his living room until they died. Another girl, another victim, they thought. Some of the longest-tenured captives had seen many, many young women lose their shame and their lives at the hands of this utterly strange, sadistic man, and they were heartbroken to have to witness yet another humiliation and death. Stephanie did not once stop praying.
Stow took the handcuff off Stephanie’s left hand and retied to her right hand, and then unhandcuffed her right hand. He led her up and brought her to the room with the two fresh corpses, his hand constantly on the cable behind her back. “What happens if you want to act up on our way to the Love Nest?” he asked rhetorically. “This,” he said, and he demonstrated how he would control her: by pulling on the cable behind her back, tied to her hands, bringing her hands down and lunging her head forward. “Got it? Good.” Stephanie shuddered with fear. He prodded her to the spare room and nearly fainted when she saw the dead lying on one mattress in the room. Stow pushed her onto the empty mattress. “Mind if they watch?” he said with a laugh. He got on top of her and got close to her face. “I’m going to take the tape off your mouth, okay?” Stephanie nodded. “I’m doing this because I’d like to kiss you. I very much want to kiss you. But you can’t scream. I don’t like screams. If you scream, I stop the screaming but cutting your throat out with this.” Stow pulled a hunting knife, fourteen inches long, from under the mattress. “Are we clear?” She nodded. He pulled off the tape and reached in to kiss her.
“Stow, before you kiss me, I need to tell you something,” Stephanie said to him. He was unnerved at her knowing his name. How did she find out, he wondered. “I won’t scream, I promise. Now, I don’t know you very well, I mean, I just met you today. But I’m willing to bet your life has been completely wasted up to this point. For a long time, you’ve been doing things you know weren’t right.”
The kidnapper was beside himself – he couldn’t believe what this girl was saying. Stow sat positively dumbfounded, not being able to say a word, nor move a muscle. The truth of this girl’s words cut so close to home. There was a fire, an anger in her eyes that Stow had never seen before, and it frightened him.
Stephanie had been sitting in the palm of Stow’s hand in total fear of him, until what moved within her was the conviction of her faith in God, and it turned that fear into outrage at the human monster that held her captive.
“Now is the time, Stow. You’ve had a wasted life. Now is your opportunity to be great in the series of humanity. You can right the wrongs you’ve committed. So few people who have had such egregious moral failures have had the chance to make things right. You have that chance now, Stow. Don’t blow it.”
“What are you saying?” he couldn’t believe her. She could see his heart start to waver toward her statement, but the flesh impulse quashed the surrendering Stephanie was coaxing out of him.
“Seriously, Stow, you have one chance. Redeem yourself. Liberate yourself from the slavery you have bonded yourself to, or ignore the opportunity and feel the wrath of God. The choice is yours. Please, Stow, choose wisely.”
Stow’s lower lip trembled imperceptibly. He stared at the cross around her neck. “Christian,” he muttered. “What wrath of God? What God?” Stow’s anger seared. With a clenched fist, Stow backhanded Stephanie across the face.
Stephanie flew to the floor. She looked at Stow straight in the eye. “The Holy Spirit,” she said, never breaking her stare. “This is the God Who dwells within me.”
It was Stephanie’s faith that did it. It was the Holy Spirit that gave her the strength and the words of a prophet. “I have given you more than enough chances to repent, Stow. For many years I have given you ways to run from your temptations, to stay away from the things that are your downfall, that you know are wrong. But your chances have run out. Your time is up. I love you Stow, but you never returned the favor.”
Stow stared back. He had never seen what he saw in Stephanie’s eyes, the indignant judgment that felt a little too close to home. After all, he was the one in power, not her. He was the one who had stood over her while she cowered in a little ball beneath him. What business does she have judging him? It was all little consolation to the uneasy feeling that his own denial was not enough to ignore the fact that what he had been doing was dead wrong, morally dead wrong.
Stephanie stood up and lifted her arms. Her cable ties snapped like old rubber bands. Her eyes glowed with fire as she approached Stow.  He scuttled to the corner, yelping in horror. “Please stop! I swear! I swear to God I will stop! Please, just let me live.”
“Too late,” Stephanie said. “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”
“My brother? I don’t have a brother,” Stow stammered. It was as if Stephanie didn’t hear, because she approached him, walking out of the ties that wrapped around her ankles. The wrath in her eyes glowed even brighter, more intensely than ever, while the look on her face was the picture of serenity. Instantly, Stow’s clothes ignited, as if spontaneously, sending him into a panic. He screamed in agony, but somehow, by the grace of all that is holy, no one was able to hear his unmuffled screams.
As the ashes that remained of Stow cooled to the temperature of the room, the graceful Stephanie released the other captives, then disappeared into the night. The captives were struck dumb by what they witnessed, not being able to express what they saw, except for one, the other male, a sixteen year old boy who told his story and no one believed. Perhaps now that I have come of age, people will believe the horrors that I saw when I was a teenaged captive of a serial killer


© Copyright 2019 Peter Amaral. All rights reserved.

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