Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1955906-Manipulations
by Jezri
Rated: 13+ · Other · Dark · #1955906
Kathy leaves an abusive situation. But finds something worse in her dreams.
Written for "Invalid Item

By Lisa McCourt Hollar

Kathy dropped the bags she was carrying and pulled the keycard out of her mouth, where she had stuck it after the desk clerk had checked her in. She was amazed this hole actually had keycards, The lights flickered, but stayed on and she hoped that wasn’t a sign of an electrical short somewhere in the walls. She didn’t want to wake up to a fire… if she could even sleep. As dead as she was on her feet, the thought of whatever filth was beyond the door, terrified her. She was certain the carpeting in the hall wasn’t gray when it was first put in.

Opening the door, Kathy stepped in and appraised the situation. The room was… clean. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all. She never would have expected this from the outward appearances. What is that they say, she thought, never judge a book by its cover.

If only she hadn’t done that with Ned. Tall, rugged, good looking, she had leaped into their relationship without a backwards glance. He was financially secure, nothing like that last loser and spent lots of money on her. Everything was good… then he joined a club. The God’s. He began to change then. Then he hit her. Just a slap on the face. She had deserved it, right? After all, she’d forgotten to be perfect. She tried harder. When he found another flaw, he’d split her lip.

Well, he’s behind me now. Kathy set her suitcase on the dresser and opened it, searching for her toothbrush. She pulled that out, along with a nightgown and toiletries and headed for the shower.

While the water ran over her, she thought back to earlier that day. Ned had used her face for a punching bag when she’d burned dinner. This time, the new neighbor who hadn’t yet been intimidated by Ned, came to her rescue. And this time she’d had enough. Her sister had offered to let her live with her once… maybe she’d take her up on it. She packed, throwing her things into a bag while her neighbor held Ned back.

“Just let me call the police…”

“No, Andrew. He has friends. I tried to press charges once.”

Ned laughed. “It doesn’t matter. I’ll find you wherever you go.”

“I’m going to my sister’s. Her husband’s a gorilla, remember? I’m sure he’ll be glad to have a go at you.”

“I don’t need to. Just close your eyes… I’ll be there. When you sleep, when you dream. I’ll be there.”

It was more bullshit. The Gods believed they were Gods. They had brainwashed Ned into believing he could do things with his mind. Sure, he’d shown her a few things, but it was just parlor tricks, nothing more. It was the look in his eye that scared her when she passed him on her way out. It looked darker… and she thought she saw something move in there… a shadow that didn’t belong.

She’d paused for just a moment and then continued on. She was almost out the door when he called after her. She shouldn’t have stopped but she did. When she turned, she felt something grip her heart. Icy fingers squeezed tight and her breath caught in her throat. Then the feeling passed and he smiled at her. “I’ll see you tonight, Kathy. Sweet dreams.”

Kathy pulled the covers up. She reached for the light to turn it off, and then stopped. Ned’s words echoed in her head. Then her sister’s words, when she’d called her to let her know she was on her way, “Don’t let him doubt yourself. That’s what he does, he manipulates people.” Shutting off the light, Kathy rolled over and closed her eyes. Soon she would be home and Ned would be just a memory.

Something woke her up. She smelled smoke. Oh my God, the room was on fire. The wall, where it must have started, was charred black. Flames ate at the carpet, moving towards her and the bed. Kathy through the covers back, prepared to flee, but she couldn’t move. Her legs were trapped. She stared at them, uncomprehending at first. The frame of the bed had warped and was wrapped around her ankles.

This isn’t possible, she thought.

“Oh, but it is.”

Startled by the sound of Ned’s voice in the room, she looked around. The fire was still advancing, but the flames had taken on the appearance of Ned’s face.

“I told you I’d be here.”

The bed tightened around her ankle, but now she felt the headboard twisting, reaching for her. “No, this isn’t real!” At her feet, the blankets she’d tossed aside began to slither towards her, serpent like. They wound around her body, squeezing until she could barely breathe.

“You didn’t really think you could run… not from a God.”

“You aren’t a God, Ned. You’re just a sick, twisted man.”

The bed began to shake, threatening to toss her into the flames. “Still think I’m not a God? Oh, by the way, your savior, Andrew… he’s dead.”

Kathy was frightened, but she knew that this couldn’t be real. “It’s just a dream,” she whispered.

“One I control,” Ned laughed. The bed rose into the air.

The flames grew closer and she felt the heat of the flames. It’s just a dream, Kathy thought. And it’s my dream, not his. I control it.

She thought of a fire extinguisher. The object appeared in her hands and she turned it towards Ned.


“I’m so glad to see you.” Karen hugged Kathy while Bruce retrieved the luggage from the car. “I was so worried about you.”

“I’m fine,” Kathy laughed, “Just tired. I didn’t sleep well last night.”

“I don’t blame you. I can’t believe what happened. All the pipes in the house just exploded at once?”

“That’s what they police said when they called me last night. The house flooded with water and Ned drowned. Some kind of freak accident, I guess.”

Word Count: 999
© Copyright 2013 Jezri (jezri at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1955906-Manipulations