Another Tuesday rolls around and another great set of prompts from Be Kind Rewrite.
I really gotta learn to not follow a shapely pair of legs down dark alleys anymore. Really need to stop letting thick, red lips talk me into doing something I know is idiotic. Have to ignore the slow bat of eyelashes that for some reason reminds me of a cell door slamming shut.
But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.
This story doesn’t start with me tied up to a wooden chair in a basement. My eyes weren’t swollen shut, I still had most of my teeth and my insides didn’t feel like they went through a meat grinder.
A few days ago I had been in a bar, enjoying an afternoon drink, something to tide me over until dinner is all. When she walked in. Leather boots up to her knees, bare thighs, a skirt I could have flossed with, buttons looking to pop from her blouse, eyes full of tears and something else I couldn’t quite define then, but now realize. Crazy, her big beautiful green eyes were overflowing with crazy.
It’s my bad luck for being the only one in there that afternoon. If I wasn’t ducking out of work, none of this would have ever happened. Hell, if I wasn’t such a sucker, if the dames couldn’t manipulate me just by looking my way, I wouldn’t be in this predicament. All I want to do is help them, you know, protect them, make them feel safe. That even if the whole damn world is out to get them, some people aren’t wolves.
A wolf would’ve smelled the danger.
She sat next to me, even though the place was empty, but that happens all the time. Most people feel guilty about drinking alone. So I was half-expecting her to take the stool to my right. She ordered a bourbon and finished it off and then ordered another and sipped it slowly. I finished my beer and made to leave, but she grabbed my sleeve and sat me down and motioned for the bartender to fill my glass.
I’ll admit I didn’t resist. I drank and she drank and then after a few more pints her story started and I listened and nodded and clucked when appropriate. I don’t even remember the line she fed me. Something about needing help, and having nowhere to go. And I was nothing if not sympathetic.
When we finished another drink and she asked me to come with her, I was already in my coat before she finished speaking. Thinking back, I should have noticed the smile that crept to the corner of her lips then. But I didn’t.
We walked for blocks in the early evening, she was talking but I couldn’t hear the words. I wondered how I had gotten so plastered. Then she hooked her arm through mine and kissed me just under my ear and that was the last I thought of anything.
She led me around a corner and then across the street and into an alley. I tried to stop but she said it was just up here and that I would be able to sit down, and at that moment nothing sounded better. So I followed her through an open doorway, up a flight of stairs and into an apartment. Bare floors, slashed chairs bleeding their stuffing and a table littered with empty bottles and ashtrays. I pulled a chair and fell onto it heavily. She put another drink in my hand and smiled angelically at me.
I returned the grin as best I could and finished off the drink.
Something slammed into my head and woke me up. The something else slammed the other side. After three more, I understood I was being punched. But I don’t know if punched is strong enough a word. This guy had cinderblocks for hands.
I heard her voice and the beating stopped. A thousand angry wasps buzzed inside my head. I saw her lean forward, hands on my knees and say something, I saw her lips move, but heard no words. Then she smiled and stepped away and something hit me again and I blacked out.
I woke up again, this time I was alone. The only sound was a faucet dripping in some other room. I wasn’t in the apartment anymore, grey walls instead of a yellowish brown, cold concrete under my bare feet, but I think I was in the same chair. My hands were tied together behind me. My feet to the legs. I moved my head and inch and pain exploded. My whole head shook and pulsed and it felt like my heart was behind my eyes, in my mouth, stuck in my throat.
A scream started somewhere and it took me a few minutes to realize it was coming from me. Footsteps, two pair. One languid and heavy, the other light and clipped. A door opened, light blasted in, and I had to close my eyes.
I smelled her then, felt her breath on my lips. My eyes wouldn’t open even if I wanted them to. She said something and I couldn’t understand. My tongue was thick but I managed to ask why she was doing this, how I only wanted to help her, keep her safe, protect her.
I heard her teeth click together. The world went quiet. She was talking and I finally understood her words.
“Kill the hero,” she said.