By Amanda Orive
There was the cold silence of isolation in November, the temptation could not have been more predestined - but I never expected her to be so cruel. We were friends, sisters.
“Do you think anyone would hear us if we screamed?” She asked one afternoon, as we gathered wood for the stove.
“Nearest neighbor is 5 miles away.” I didn’t think anything of it, assuming she was merely making conversation.
It made me jump, “Asshole.”
A few moments later a crow responded, but nothing else.
She giggled, “What about cops? They’ve gotta be fast up here,” picking up good kindling twigs.
I checked my watch, 2:30 PM. Two more hours of sunlight. “With three deputies covering 175 miles of county? I doubt it.”
It was minuscule, something I did not notice then, but which I vividly recall now: the crescent spread across her lips, the warmth upon her ears. She was vividly enthralled with some fantasy.
“How’s Charlie?” I asked, somewhat uncomfortable, though unable to identify why.
A shrug. “We broke up.”
“Oh no!” I touched her arm, “What happened, sweetie?”
“He was boring.”
I rolled my eyes, about to retort, when a howl from some distance stopped us, enticing attention South. “Maybe we should head back.” I looked in her direction, but she was gone. For what felt like several minutes I was turning in circles, trying to locate her, mildly panicking, wondering if I was dreaming, afraid that I had lost her.
I didn’t see the attack coming, she got me from behind. I remember a sharp, hardened sensation, perhaps when my head hit the ground, but I was lost to my unconscious. I had no idea she was so strong; she dragged me all the way back to the cabin and into the basement.
There were no windows. No light.
When I came to, my hands and feet were numb, and my jaw had seen much better days. There was so much darkness, impenetrable, it seemed. My eyes had not yet adjusted, but my gut sensed undeniably that she was standing before me, staring, smiling. Several moments of silent gawking were exchanged.
“Do you know what I’m going to do to you?” She finally broke the silence. Her hot breath tasted of iron and citrus to my nose.
My heart was pumping adrenaline into my system and my legs were on fire. I wanted to stand and attack, but my extremities were tightly wound to a metal chair. That was when I understood my feet were in a bucket of water. “No,” I whispered, lips quivering uncontrollably.
“You should.” She was pacing around me now, hardwood creaking beneath her duck feet, “You remember that day with the nuns.” She booped my nose.
Ashamed, I looked towards my feet. “I didn’t think you did.”
She placed a serrated edge at my throat, “I remember everything: the rough sheets, the blood - the fucking laughter! - even the blue fucking curtain.” Her voice shook, “You soulless bitch.” The sheer hatred in her voice was appalling, I had never heard it before.
Tears welled in my eyes without permission. “I’m sorry.”
“I suppose it’s a bit late for that.” I spat.
“You’re god-damned right it is.” Volume intensified, “I want you to suffer - as I did.” Something clicked and whirred on with electrical power.
“You sure waited a long time to do something about it.” I was trying to rip the duct tape on my wrists.
Her emotions varied at the speed of the flip of a switch. Suddenly, she was intensely calm. “Smile, dear.”
A fluorescent red dot alighted where the electrical sound originated.
A torturous click, and next the current was moving rhythmically through my system in a perfectly closed loop of pain. My teeth chattered so hard I thought they might shatter, and my nose bled.
It was so painful that I could not even scream.
Her maniacal laughter roared.
I was as disgusted with myself after the third round as she was; I pissed myself, and was sweating like a pig, crying like a useless victim.
“I can smell you from the other side of the room,” she bantered, stepping away from her machine, approaching me. “Now tell me,” she leaned in to whisper in my ear, “my darling, do you want this to end?” And nudged her nose tenderly on my neck.
I wept. My throat was dry, but I managed one syllable: “Yes.”
She should have killed me. I wanted to die.
“Tell me what I want to hear.”
I rolled my eyes. I should have seen that day coming. “Do...” the dryness of my throat forced me to whisper and cough the words out with self hatred: “what thou...wilt.”
My life ended that day.
That was what she had set out to accomplish: a punishment of living death. She wanted me to feel like the zombie that she had become. She achieved her goal: justice through reciprocity.
I am dead now, and yet, I walk the earth.