As I work frantically on revisions to the Sophie Morgan books for my new publisher, Halloween festivities are rapidly passing me by. I’ve not even had opportunity to dress up the baby in his pumpkin costume. We may have to hide from trick-or-treaters at this rate, locked in the bedroom while baby sleeps and I type furiously at the keyboard. That said, I can’t let this holiday go by without giving you a little scary treat, as has become my tradition. So, for all the fans out there and those who enjoy a scary tale, I’ve got something which will may you squirm – a short story of vengeance and torture.. it’s surely what the holiday is all about 🙂
A Story by Helen Treharne
Karen Jensen sat at the bar and circled the base of her margarita glass with a painted fingernail. A stiletto hung from one foot, bouncing gently as she swung her crossed leg. Salt residue clung to her lip-gloss. It tasted good.
Her black, silk dress cost the same as a monthly payment on her minivan. It would be worth it. The delicate fabric of its skirt parted at the slit, exposing the soft skin of her thigh. Her skin prickled pleasantly at the sensation.
Combined with the highlights, contacts and spray tan, she barely recognized herself. The girly things were the trappings of her sister, not her. I’m going to make you proud Katie thought Karen. Tonight I’m going to get my man.
She watched the scene behind her via the mirror over the bar. Men in suits knocked back whiskeys. Women laughed over gossip. A couple drowned in each other’s eyes as they sipped champagne. The smell of beer permeated the air. She felt the throb of a baseline in her chest. She turned her wrist and looked at her watch. It was almost ten. I could be sat here all night she thought.
A guy in a sweat-stained shirt crashed into her, a twenty dollar bill in his hand. Her stomach hit her throat. “Wey, hey… sorry,” he said. Saliva landed on her arm. “Here, let me buy you a drink, watcha having?”
Karen drew her dress up over her leg and held it. “Nothing, thank you.”
“What you got to be like that for? Go on, you know you want to.” The drunk grabbed the glass from her and turned it upside down. Dregs of lime and tequila dripped out. “See? You need a refill.” He snapped his fingers. “Here, here, bartender, a JD and coke for me and whatever the lady is having.
“That’s very kind,” Karen said reluctantly.
Sweaty-Man leaned into her and winked awkwardly. His face contorted into a crude smile. A smell of stale alcohol and tobacco filled the air. “S’least I can do.”
Jimmy, the bartender, returned with their drinks. He put down two paper coasters and placed the beverages on them. “Are you okay ma’am?” he asked.
Karen smiled and nodded. Jimmy moved on to serve the crowd gathering at the other end of the counter.
“So,” Sweaty-Man said, “I’m Barry Michaels, and what, pray tell is your name?”
“Karen,” she replied.
The walls began to collapse in on her. She lifted her eyes to the ceiling and her glass to her lips. “Just Karen.”
“Just Karen!” He brought his hands out; fingers splayed, waved them and laughed. “Like Just Jack! Yeah, Just Jack!”
Karen’s brow furrowed. She didn’t understand the reference, but even if she did she was confident that she still wouldn’t find it amusing.
Barry rested against the bar, his elbows behind him, his groin pressed into her knee. “So, I’ve not seen you at Chachi’s before. Me? I’m here every Friday. Me and the boys from sales and marketing. We’re out celebrating landing another big account.”
Karen shifted on her stool. Why he isn’t going away, she thought. “I don’t mean to be rude, but…”
Barry had slipped his hand under the skirt of her dress before she had time to finish her sentence. “Then don’t be,” he said leering. She brought her hand down sharply and smacked the digits working their way up her thigh. “Now, now,” he said, waving his finger at her. “Just being friendly.”
Karen leaned into him. “Look Barry, I don’t want any trouble. Why don’t you take your cheap suit and your bad breath somewhere else? In the right light and after a bad day, I’m sure there’s some poor soul who will take pity on you.”
Nails dug into her skin as Barry held her chin. “Now Just Karen, why do you have to be so mean? We’re only talking. We’re all friends here.”
A wave of nausea rose from the pit of her stomach. Barry’s hot breath invaded her nostrils, filling it with the odor of filth. Her mouth pumped out saliva. She swallowed it down hard and sank back onto her stool. Perspiration pooled at the base of her spine. She took a swig of margarita. “I’m waiting for someone.”
Barry moved his head from left to right in an exaggerated fashion. “But he’s not here now is he?” His thumbnail sank deeper into her skin. “Why don’t I just keep you company for a little while eh? I bet that’s all you need, eh? Some good company?”
Barry licked his lips. He suddenly didn’t seem so drunk anymore. Not that drunk.
“He’ll be here soon,” said Karen, meeting his gaze. Make yourself look big, she told herself. It’s just like if you come across a bear. Remember that time up in Yosemite, the last summer we were all together -Mom, Dad, and little sis? You and Katie marched on ahead, chatting about her college plans? You stumbled across that bear and you had to be quiet and still, just like the Ranger instructed. Katie had been so terrified, but you looked after her. Big sister’s job eh?
Karen lengthened her spine and squared her shoulders. Stay calm, and the big bear will move on. Don’t become the hunted. It’s you who is meant to be on the prowl. Remember what you came for Karen. Tonight’s the night.
The firmness in Barry’s trousers pressed into her leg. The tip of his nose foraged among her blonde locks. “Mmmm. You smell great.” A whistle escaped from his nostril as he inhaled.
“Hey, leave the lady alone. She’s told you she’s not interested.” About time, Karen thought. Jimmy leaned over the counter, his palms flat on its surface.
Barry sneered. “What’s it got to do with you?” he asked. “Why don’t you go back to mixing drinks and let the grown-ups play?”
The bartender raised his eyebrows, held his hands up in the air and backed away.
“Good boy,” Barry said with a dismissive wave of his hand. The sovereign ring on his pinkie caught the spotlights in the ceiling. He even makes gold look cheap, Karen thought. She fingered the locket hanging from her neck. It was a little old fashioned for her garb, but she wore it all the same. She would never take it off. The image of Katie would be nestled in her bosom forever.
Barry loosened his tie, leaving it to hang crookedly. Karen refused to look at him. Ignore the bear Karen. Ignore him. He’ll go away.
“So, Just Karen, how about you and I get out of here. My car’s outside.” He pursed his lips, arched an eyebrow and cocked his head at the door. “It’s a Mercedes.”
Karen opened her mouth to speak but stopped. A thick set arm reached over her shoulder and landed firmly on that of the slob mauling her. Jimmy leaned on the counter behind the bar, arms folded, smiling.
A booming voice came from behind her. “Sir, I think you’ve had enough to drink.”
Karen turned around. Long dreadlocks tied back into a neat ponytail. Black tee shirt stretched across broad shoulders. ‘Security’ sprawled across an impressively developed chest. A V-shaped torso ending in a narrow waist. Legs like tree trunks. A wide grin flashed at Karen, tempering the effect of the imposing frame. It made her smile, breaking the tension, before he sharply returned his attention to the drunk attempting to fondle Karen’s knee.
Barry squared up to the man, but the paunch hanging over Barry’s trousers and his podgy fingers promised nothing but empty threats.
“You don’t wanna go there,” the bouncer said, reaching out and grabbing Barry by the scruff. “I think it’s time you went home.”
Barry shot Karen a glare of drunken hatred. “Well, screw you Little Miss Perfect,” he said, spitting the words out. “And you, and you. Tell Chachi he can shove his bar where the sun doesn’t shine.”
Karen concentrated on sipping her margarita to the sound of shoes scuffling and doors slamming. “You’ll pay for this!” Barry yelled as his butt made contact with the pavement.
“Hey, you okay?”
Karen’s gaze lifted and met Jimmy’s. A smile spread across her face although her lips remained sealed. A gentle flutter of anxiety danced upon her chest. She’d been in the bar a few times before, but he hadn’t noticed her. He was noticing her now.
“Yes, thanks, and thanks for your help with that.” Karen pointed a thumb in the direction of the exit. “I think someone had a bit too much to drink.”
“No. I think someone is just a dick,” Jimmy said, drying a glass with a towel. “We get stuff like that happening in here all the time. They come in here thinking they can buy a lady a drink, and she’ll just roll over.”
Karen raised her glass and locked her mouth around the salty rim.
“So,” Jimmy said. “Can I get you another?”
Karen stared at the remaining dregs of her drink. “I think I’ve had enough, I’ve not got a good head for alcohol.”
“Sensible lady, I get that.” He leaned in as if about to impart some necessary truth, although his voice was far from a whisper. “The state that some people get in here, it’s enough to put you off drink for life.”
She tucked her hair behind one ear. “I noticed.”
“Well, how about I get you a soda water?”
Karen nodded and pushed her empty glass across the bar. “Sounds like a plan.”
She watched him busy himself with glasses. Broad shoulders, she thought. Strong arms too. He could easily pin a girl down. His jeans hugged in all the right places. Bet he could pound into you like a jackhammer she thought. A powerhouse, but not pumped up.
He returned, brandishing a tall glass of water with a twist of lime. “I figured you’d want the lime, what with the margarita.”
She picked the curled lime off the rim and dropped it into the glass. Bubbles dispersed. “You figured right.”
“I’m an old hand at this,” he said smiling. He wiped his hands off on the bar towel he’d been using earlier, and extended one in Karen’s direction. “Jimmy.”
Gotcha, Karen thought. She already knew his name. She’d been planning this for weeks. “Nice to meet you Jimmy,” she replied, taking his palm in hers. “I’m Karen.”
“I’ve not seen you here before have I? You’re not one of the regulars.”
“No. I’ve been away for a while. Just moved back to the area. Visiting actually.”
Karen smiled coyly and took a sip of soda. “No, family.” Jimmy’s shoulders dropped. “A bereavement.”
Jimmy’s eyebrows knitted together as he shook his head. “Man that sucks.”
Karen shrugged. “Sure does. I thought I’d get out and let off some steam.”
“Well, you couldn’t find a better place for that,” said Jimmy, flashing his set of perfect teeth.
Someone careered into Karen’s back. Something wet crept down her back.
“Oops, sorry,” a girl with a bubble of blonde curls and an empty glass patted Karen’s dress with a paper coaster. “I made a spillage!”
Great, thought Karen, I’m being touched up by a spring breaker now. “It’s okay,” she said, secretly seething. “It’s black. Nothing a decent dry cleaner can’t get out I’m sure.”
The girl beamed.” Ain’t you sweet? Guess I’ve had too many of the wobbly pops.” A gaggle of friends dragged her into the crowd, squawking.
“Hey, that would usually start a cat fight in here.”
Karen swiveled back around to the bar. “Well, Jimmy, what can I say? I’m not one for airing my dirty laundry in public.”
“But very pretty dirty laundry I’m sure it is,” he replied, grinning.
Karen noticed his eye linger on the neckline of her dress. She felt the coolness of perspiration form on her chest. Does he know the effect on me, she wondered? Still, he wasn’t anywhere close to as forthright as she had hoped. Frustration scratched at the back of her brain. I’m not going away without what I came for – Jimmy.
She looked at her watch again. Chatchi’s would be closing soon. “You don’t have a number for a cab do you?”
“Sure.” Jimmy smiled and went off to sift through some cards tucked behind the register. He pulled out a laminated card with a list of numbers on. “Here you go.”
“If there a payphone I can use?”
“Sure,” Jimmy leaned over the bar, extended his arm and pointed. “Just by the washroom.”
“Thanks.” Karen rummaged through her purse. “Why is it you can never find a quarter when you need one?”
“I’ll get one from the register, although…where are you going to?”
“That’s out of the way. You may have to wait.”
“Actually, I’ll be going that way. Why don’t I drop you off? My car is in the lot.” He glanced at the clock above the register. “I’ll be finishing in about fifteen minutes. Can you wait? Lenny generally locks up.”
Jimmy nodded at the dreadlocked bouncer. “Yeah, he owns the place.”
“What about Chachi?”
Jimmy hooked his finger in a ‘come here gesture’. Her scalp tingled as she moved in, inches away from his face. She smelled his aftershave. Citrus fresh. “Chachi doesn’t exist,” he said. “Lenny thought it would go down better with the clientele.”
Lenny was right. There were a few college kids there, but they looked out of place. Chachi’s was a post work Mecca for salesmen and married people on the prowl.
“So what about that ride home?” Jimmy asked. “I think you’ve had enough creepy dudes for one night. I’ll make sure you get home in one piece.”
Karen Jensen smiled. “Sure, why not.”
The plastic cover on the sofa squeaked as Jimmy Norton sank into the cushion. He shifted his position, causing a further squelch. Karen watched him wince from her vantage point in the kitchen.
“Do you take sugar?” she asked through the serving hatch.
“Two please,” he replied.
Karen poured coffee from the pot and dropped in two cubes from the porcelain sugar bowl. Her hand hesitated over the plastic pot with her special secret ingredient. But this was a special guest after all; a good sized slug went in.
“So, do you live here on your own?” Jimmy scanned the room adorned with chintz and Coney Island souvenirs.
Karen placed the tray on the large coffee table in front of him. The china rattled in her shaky hands. “For now, till I sell up.”
His eyes followed hers, landing on a small picture frame on the mantelpiece. Two little girls with matching pigtails, smiling; the younger with a gap where front teeth should have been. “We grew up here.”
“Is that you?” Jimmy asked. He lifted took a sip of coffee.
“Yeah, with my sister.”
Karen sat in the chair opposite him, crossed her legs and picked up a cup from the tray. It had a chip in it, but it didn’t bother her. She drank the bitter beverage down. She generally drank green tea – the outlier in a family of coffee freaks. She’d rehearsed making it though, getting the combination right. She wanted this moment to be perfect.
“So Karen, Just Karen…”
She rolled her eyes and laughed. “Oh, don’t you start with that!”
“Kidding,” he said grinning. “So what do you do, work-wise I mean?”
“I’m a pharmacist.”
Jimmy beamed. “Wow, okay. Gotta place around here? I don’t want to come in and ask for any embarrassing prescriptions and find you are behind the counter.”
“No. I’ve got a place back West. Like I said, I’m just visiting. Tying up some loose ends.” Their eyes met. Something sparked in her. Yes, she thought, there is definitely a connection here. I want this. She smacked the arm of the chair with her palm. “Seeing to business – like selling up this place.”
Jimmy nodded solemnly. “Of course. I’m sorry for your loss. Your parents?”
“What about them?”
“You said you were back sorting out some family business, a bereavement. Sorry, I just assumed…”
Karen put her cup down on the tray. “My folks died a couple of years ago – car accident visiting family upstate. Bad weather and forgetting to put on snow tires is not a great combination.”
Jimmy angled his body towards her and put his empty cup on the table. “Well, I’m still sorry.”
Karen smiled. “That’s kind. No, it’s my sister. She passed two months back. She was in college here so stayed in the house. There’s no reason for me to keep it now. ”
“Jeez, bad luck.” Jimmy looked around.” So we’re all alone?”
“Uhuh.” She lowered her eyes. “Just us here now, with nobody to disturb us.” Karen reached for the belt of her wrap dress and undid the knot. She stood, and the silk dropped from her. Jimmy’s eyes widened.
Her heart pounded against her rib cage. Her bosom expanded with each heavy breath. It’s coming, she thought, the time is coming. Jimmy’s breathing mirrored hers as she placed her knees on the sofa, straddling him.
“You’re incredible,” he murmured. “Like an Amazon.” He reached for a lace covered breast. She wasn’t like the usual girls he went for. She was a little older than him but still the right side of thirty. She was blonde, sexy, but there was something else he thought. Her limbs were strong. Her stomach was tight. The athletic physique and her assertiveness seemed at odds with the somewhat shy woman he’d met a couple of hours earlier. He wasn’t going to complain.
Karen sat back on her haunches. “Not yet. I’ve been waiting for this. Let’s not rush it.”
He grabbed her buttocks with both hands and flipped her onto her back. His erection pressed into her thigh; his strong hands slid up her forearms and gripped her wrists. “You are some woman Karen Jensen,” he said, nuzzling into her collar bone, running his tongue along its edge.
“You have no idea.” She lifted her hips, pinned him between her thighs and squeezed. “You want me don’t you?”
He turned his face to her. “Oh yeah, yeah, I want you. Right here, right now.” His hands grappled with her panties, but his fingers weren’t doing what his brain was telling them to.
Be careful what you wish for, Karen thought. His body stiffened. It became denser. He was out cold.
When Jimmy opened his eyes, he was prostrate on the coffee table. Naked. The hard edge of one end dug into his neck, the other to the top of his thighs. His wrists and ankles were tethered to the table legs by long lengths of twisted plastic. There was something cold and smooth underneath him, vinyl maybe, he thought. He saw the arm of the sofa in the corner of his eye. The plastic wrap was missing.
“What the f….?” he asked thrashing. Karen switched on the small table lamp next to her. Jimmy craned his head to see her. “What’s going on?”
Karen stared at him. She’d been building up to this moment. She thought she would feel more. Strangely, she felt quite detached. “Shut up,” she ordered. “It’s been lovely and quiet while I’ve been waiting for you to come around. Don’t spoil the moment.”
“What have you done to me? I can’t remember anything.”
“That will be the sedative. Did nobody ever tell you not to accept a drink from a stranger?”
Of course, Jimmy thought- the coffee. He thrashed and pulled on his restraints like a horrific marionette. His arms were too heavy to maintain the throes. “What do you want from me?”
Karen picked up a canvass bag as she stood. Stopping at the stereo in passing, she pressed the play button. Her sister had been a huge Depeche Mode fan. Your Own Personal Jesus belted out. The noise rang in her ears, but she tuned it out.
She dropped the bag on Jimmy’s chest as she looked down at him. “Shhh,” she said, with a finger to her lip. “No need to protest. I know you want this.”
“What the fuck? C’mon this isn’t funny, let me go.”
Karen slapped him. Hard. Her palm stung afterward. A wave of excitement washed over her. Jimmy whimpered. Karen rummaged through the bag with both hands. “Right,” she said holding up a six inch, hunting knife in one hand, and a can of mace in the other. “What shall we use? The spray, I think. You might still be a bit numb in places. Let’s go for the eyes where you’ll feel it.”
Jimmy kicked his legs. They felt like jelly. Karen grabbed his testicles and squeezed hard. The pain was like a metal hook in his guts. He screamed.
She leaned into his face. His pupils widened. “There’s no point struggling you know. I know you want this. It was written all over you.”
“Why? Why are you doing this to me?” He cried.
She wiped his saliva off her arm in one clean sweep. “You don’t recognize me do you? Don’t see any family resemblance?”
“What are you on about you crazy bitch?”
Karen threw the bag on the floor and kneeled over him. There was just enough space on the table for her to wedge her knees. She thrust them into the hairy crevices, hitting the pressure points. Jimmy winced.
“Don’t you think I look a bit like Katie?” she asked. “Especially with my hair all blonde. I have to admit I didn’t think I could pull it off but then again you only met me briefly, back last summer when I came to visit. I looked like quite different then.”
Jimmy squirmed under the weight of her body on his chest.
Karen slapped him. “Stop fidgeting. It needs to go up in your eyes. Not up your nose.” She pulled the top of the gold can off with her teeth and spat it out. “Yeah, you didn’t look at me twice then did you? Not that I wanted you to. Katie did though.”
“My sister. I suppose you knew her as Katherine. To me she was always Katie. I was always her Big K.”
Jimmy’s breathing picked up pace. He shook his head. “Katherine? No.”
“Oh, but I know you did. You spoke to her in the bar. Took her out a few times even.”
Jimmy nodded vigorously. His mouth felt like it was full of cotton wool. “Oh yeah, sure, Katherine. I remember. Katherine Jensen? She’s your sister?”
Karen lowered her face to his. “Was my sister, remember? You need to fucking listen! You killed her.”
Jimmy arched his back, desperately trying to shake Karen free. Pain seared through his spine. “I didn’t kill her. I didn’t even know she was dead. We went out a few times, and that’s it. You’re crazy.”
“Oh, but you did kill her. Everything changed after you had your fun with her. She couldn’t look at the world and see hope.” She licked his face from jaw to brow. “Revenge tastes good.”
Karen directed the can at his face and sprayed. He screamed. His eyes filled with water. His breaths became gasps. It was like riding a bull at the rodeo as his body convulsed in pain. “You won’t see the world in the same way for a while either.”
Karen threw the empty can into her bag as she dismounted. She paced around the table, the hunting knife in her hand, using it for emphasis as she spoke. “I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t see what was going on with her. Hell, I didn’t even know that you’d taken her out. To me, you were just a random guy in a bar that she took me to once.”
Beads of perspiration covered Jimmy’s forehead. “Please…don’t…do…this.”
“I didn’t see any of it coming. I couldn’t believe it when I got the call. I had to come and clean up you know.” Karen pointed the knife at the ceiling.” Up there. It was everywhere. Emergency services emptied the bath, but I had to clean up the rest. It was me that had to scrub Katie’s blood off the tile.”
“I’m… sorry… I didn’t…know.”
Karen came to a stop at his head. She thrust her hand into his windpipe and squeezed. Jimmy’ struggled as his face turned variegated shades of red. “How does that feel Jimmy? Did Katie struggle to breathe when you held her down? Did she thrash? Did she kick? Tell me, was she too much of a good girl for you? What, she didn’t put out straight away? What was it – Rohypnol, MDMA, Ketamine? What pathetic party drug did you use on her you sonofabitch?”
She retracted her hand. Jimmy gasped heavy and deep. “Thankfully she didn’t remember the details, but she knew you’d done something to her. I found her diary. It’s all in there. The one minute she’s drinking wine on your couch, the next she’s wandering the streets alone, scared and confused.”
“Are you going to kill me?” It was difficult to tell if they were tears of fear or a reaction to the can of mace she’d emptied into his eyes.
“What sort of justice would that be? Your life isn’t mine to take. I’m just going to do what you did to Katie. What you do after that is up to you. If you can live with yourself, then good luck to you. You won’t see me again after tonight. Nor will you tell anyone, just like Katie. Don’t forget, I know what you did to her.”
Jimmy nodded his head, beating it on the table as he did so. His eyes were sealed shut. His face contorted. “Okay, okay, I’ll do whatever you want.”
“That’s my boy,” Karen said, climbing on top of him.
“I can’t… you know… not yet… you’ll need to help.”
Karen shifted her weight and looked at the flaccid member. “That will be the sedative.” She smiled. “You won’t need that thing for what I have in mind.”
The blood drained from Jimmy’s face as Karen delicately ran the tip of the blade around his nipples, over his ribs and around his navel.
“Katie never saw the world in the same way again, she couldn’t look at herself either. She cut off all her hair. Started cutting herself. It’s all in her diary.”
“Please, please, let me go.”
“I don’t think so.” She carved a furrow in his face, tracing the line of Karen’s tongue. He howled. The rodeo ride returned. Karen clenched her thighs and pounded a fist into his chest. “Don’t be such a fucking baby. What I’m doing to you is nothing compared to what she dealt with every day. At least you’ll have your scars on the outside for everyone to see. There’s no hiding that from anyone.” She squeezed the sides of the wound together. Blood oozed out. She slapped his face again while he wept.
“God… please… just let me go… I’ll do whatever you want.”
“What do you mean? Sex? I told you; it’s not about that.” She balled her hand and punched him hard in the face. It stung. The skin on her knuckles had split. “You don’t get it do you? Sex? Is that what you think you did to her? You think that’s what rape is? It’s an assault, you bastard. It’s you, plunging something into someone’s flesh and guts.”
Karen held the blade’s handle with both hands, raised them to eye level and plunged them into Jimmy’s groin. Jimmy shuddered. A scream exploded from him. She was glad that the house was set back from the road, and both the nearest neighbors were away for the weekend. She’d been careful to pick that night. Dave Gahan’s guttural tones would only mask so much noise.
Jimmy spluttered. She gripped the handle again. Pulling it out was hard. The suction from Jimmy’s body provided more resistance than she’d anticipated. It wasn’t like stabbing the side of pork she’d bought to practice on. She yanked on the knife again. She lost her balance and toppled back. Blood bubbled up from the wound.
“Argh… please. I’m going to fucking die here,” Jimmy muttered through gritted teeth. “I get it; I get it okay, I ruined your sister’s life.”
“Katie,” Karen yelled, regaining her composure. “Her name was Katie. And not yet, you don’t.” She plunged the knife into him again.
Once again, searing pain ran the length of Jimmy’s body, radiating from the root of his penis, up his stomach and down his legs. The mad bitch is going to cut my cock off he thought. The pain pulsated as Karen tugged on her weapon. Jimmy didn’t want to open his eyes; he didn’t want to see what was going to happen next, what would happen when Karen was finally able to wrestle the blade free.
Her muscles tightened as she closed her eyes, focussed and retrieved the knife. “There,” she said panting over her canvass of flesh and blood. “I think that’s enough of that.”
Karen’s eyebrows knitted together. “No, I don’t think so. You’ve got a while yet. No major organs or arteries hit. I’m not an amateur. I took pre-med you know.”
“But… it hurts… it hurts so bad.”
Karen climbed off him. “Good. It should. I’ve forced about five inches of that blade in you, repeatedly. I’ve ripped open parts of you that you didn’t know existed. You’re broken. Damaged. Maybe you’ll be able to use that again, maybe not, but you’re alive. Deal with it.”
Karen hacked at each of the four plastic ligatures until they dropped to the floor. Jimmy didn’t move. He laid prostrate, broken, mumbling, tears streaming down his cheeks.
She contracted and extended her fingers as she watched him. Her hands ached. She left him to whimper as she slipped her dress on, tied up the contents of her bag and dropped it on the kitchen counter through the serving hatch. She opened a drawer and took out the contents. The syringe was prepared and ready to go. The scissors had been sharpened.
Perhaps I should have kept him bound for this bit, she thought as she stabbed the needle into his neck and depressed the plunger. Jimmy flinched. “That’s it. Take your medicine like a good boy,” she whispered. The cocktail of antipsychotics and anesthetic would cause confusion and some paralysis. I’m not a complete animal, she thought.
While Jimmy sank into unconsciousness, Karen moved her van to the front of the house. It was dark, and although Jimmy was heavy, he wasn’t difficult to drag if she pulled on the plastic sheeting. It had rained earlier, and the ground was wet underfoot. It reminded her of sliding down the hill at the park with Katie as kids, cuddled together on greased garbage lids tied together with string.
In the darkness of the yard, with his body sprawled out, there was one last thing to do. Poor, Katie, she thought. Unable to tell anyone what happened to her. Karen forced her fingers into Jimmy’s mouth and held out his tongue. This time she used scissors rather than a knife.
Karen wrapped the plastic sheeting around Jimmy’s body. He was still breathing. It was shallow, but he was alive. “It’s all for you Katie,” she said as she slid the van door shut.
She could have driven to the hospital, but that would have been too easy. Katie hadn’t had that choice. Katie had struggled home, showered and cried herself to sleep each night for three months before she’d finally snapped. There was a better place to drop Jimmy. She’d driven past there several times – the municipal depot for hazardous waste. She’d leave him there to figure his way home, along with all the other dangerous garbage. Perhaps he’d survive the night, perhaps he wouldn’t. She didn’t much care.