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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1086662-100-Hours-to-Hate
Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Horror/Scary · #1086662
Majorly revised. Violent story. Not for the squeamish.
100 Hours to Hate


         Her body hurt and she was afraid to open her eyes.  The floor beneath her was hard and splinters dug into her exposed legs.  Panic nipped at the base of her brain but she fought it down and pushed away the dark images flitting across her mind.  Gently, she opened one eye and looked across the warped floor boards of an empty room.  She was lying on her right side.  A muffled cough behind her made her jump, sending jolts of pain through her body.  She rolled to her back gritting her teeth and inhaling sharply as her back muscles jittered in protest.  Tears sprang to her eyes scalding her cheeks as they traced a clean path through the caked grime.  After the pain ebbed she searched the rest of the room.  Four blank walls interrupted only by a doorway.  Hazy evening light filtered through the doorway illuminating dust motes dancing in the air.  Blinking away the tears she peered beyond the gray veil of the doorway.  Another muffled cough and the guttural snorting sound of saturated sinuses broke through the stillness.

         The dancing motes disappeared as a brutal form filled the doorway.  He dipped his head as he entered, his full height staggering her vision.  He crossed his tree sized arms over his chest and spoke to someone behind him.  “She’s up again.”

         Her heart double-timed as his phlegm-filled voice reverberated off the rafters rumbling like an avalanche.  He hacked and dredged up a mass of mucous which he spat to a corner.  It landed with the sound of a dead animal breaking the muck covered surface of a swamp.

         Shattered images broke through her mind as memory plastered a face on the form.  She drew her legs together trying to cover herself with the tattered rags of her dress.  Her eyes watered again and dripped down bright burning cheeks.

         “Looks like she’s still got some fight left in’na.”  The giant gurgled.

         A high pitched voice dribbled from behind the giant.  “Remember…not the face, not the face.”

         The giant nodded, his large head causing the motes in the air to eddy about his face.  “There’s lots we can do without usin’ her face.”  He chuckled and stepped closer.

         She strained her battered muscles and scooted backward until she clammed up against the wall.  He took two strides and stood over her, burying her in his shadow.  She curled into a ball and murmured ‘no’ over and over again.  The mountain’s shadow fell over her and reached out a thick fingered hand.  She struck out with her foot and yelped when it landed on his thigh.  It nudged him like a twig dropped in a snow bank.  The little one cackled and hoo-hooed from behind, his nasal voice dragged like an icicle across glass.  “Looks like she does have some fight still.”  He cackled again.

         She tried to kick out again but the mountain caught her ankle in his meaty paw and clasped it tight.  She screamed as he squeezed her anklebones.  He dragged her across the floor bunching up her dress.  Splinters dug and imbedded deep into her tender flesh as she scraped across the rough hewn floor.  With splinters puncturing her flesh the giant dropped to his knees between her legs, grabbed a hold of her other leg and pulled her against him.  She felt him press against the open flesh between her legs.  He leaned over and clamped a hand over both of her flailing wrists, trapping her hands together in one of his.  He grabbed a bunch of her chestnut hair and yanked her head back.  Shards of electricity shot through her scalp and pinpricks of light exploded in her vision, blurring the greasy bearded face and chipped blackened teeth of her attacker.

         “Shimmy, grab her hair.” He bellowed.

         Shimmy cackled and waddled over to his friend.  His short pudgy fingers grasped two handfuls and pulled, smoothing the crunched lines in her forehead.

         The giant relinquished his hold in her hair and began to undo his belt.  His solid member pulsed against her tender flesh through his jeans.  She squirmed and bucked and the monster smiled.  He balled up his free hand and slammed it into her stomach.  She gagged as air exploded from her lungs.  The giant chuckled deep in his throat and unbuckled his belt and jeans, pulling out his stiff organ.  The girl tried to curl into a ball but he used his bulk to keep her legs open and crushed her beneath himself.  The splinters gouged and rubbed deeper into her back forcing ragged tears from beneath her clenched eyelids.  He groped his thick fingers into the fleshy folds between her thighs coercing whimpers from her.  The giant dredged up another ball of mucous and hawked it into his palm, smearing it deep into the reddened flesh between her legs.  With sufficient lubrication in place he guided himself between the warm skin and found her entrance.  Edging in just a bit he balled up his fist and slammed it into her stomach again.  Her scream choked on itself as he crushed deep into her.  As he rocked back and forth only sobs escaped her mouth.  Her bladder let go puddling beneath them, mixing with fluids from reopened wounds.  As he pummeled her she could feel Shimmy’s stiff pole through his pants rubbing against the top of her head.

         A deluge of cold water ripped her into consciousness.  A scream erupted from her throat and she scuttled away crab-like.  The stream faltered for a moment.  Nasal pitched giggling chased the jet as she scrabbled for protection.  She no longer wore the tattered shift and her naked body was open to the sharp, cutting water.  Her muscles screamed in tandem with her heart and blood flowed from numerous wounds.  Finding nothing to hide behind she settled for curling into a fetal ball in a corner and tucking her face into her chest, covering her head with her arms.

         Lumbering boot steps sent jarring vibrations through her body.  She buried her face deeper beneath her arms and whimpered.  A heavy whoomph across the room penetrated her brain sounding like a stack of newspapers dropped on concrete.  Those boot steps drew closer until they stopped behind her.  She could smell the filth of unwashed bodies and old sex as rough hands grabbed her wrist and ankle.  She flailed and screamed as she was lifted like a scarecrow.  The giant shook her like a sheet and took two strides before letting her go.  She sailed like a wadded tissue until she landed on a mattress.  Dust and mildew spores belched from the creases.  A sprung spring jabbed into her back.  She shifted enough to move off the spring and gaped with wide eyes at the giant.  He stood with his arms crossed over his chest hiding the writing on his dingy tee-shirt.  Black suspenders gripped his jeans and were hidden behind a broad belt.  A rip in his jeans at his left knee, below a thigh the diameter of a telephone pole, exposed wide dirty scabs.  He spoke through fat lips barely covered by a course black beard matted with food and mucous.  “Father said to bring you a mattress.”

         His eyes slithered across her breasts and traveled down her naked body as his bulbous tongue dripped across fat lips.  She recoiled when she saw his tongue forked.

         Shimmy sidled into view, peering around the giant’s tree trunk of a leg.  All five feet or so of him thrummed and jittered.  His deep set eyes darted across her nakedness and he pumped his hips a couple of times as he neared the mattress.  She shuddered.

         Shimmy’s whine grated inside her ears.  “Daddy says she’s got to eat ‘afore we play with her ag’in.”

         “So get the goose her slop.”  The giant responded with a backhand that sent Shimmy scurrying out of the room.

         Her stomach rumbled at the thought of rood and it occurred to her she didn’t know how long she had been here.  She stammered over the first couple of syllables.  “Can I have something to wear?”

         His cold blue eyes hammered into hers. She blinked and looked away.  “Nyunh ah…I like ya bare.”  He drew out the R sound and licked his swollen lips with his forked tongue again.

         Shimmy’s bare feet slapped against the wood flooring as he sprang back into view holding an unlabeled tin can with a utensil poking out the top and a bowl of water.  He jolted to a stop, sloshing water over the sides.  He set both on the floor.  Shoved into the top of the can was a slice of bread impaled with a plastic spoon.  Shimmy hopped twice and yelped, “I a’most forgot.”  He jammed his hand into the pocket of his corduroy pants and tossed five pills onto the mattress.  Two white chalky pills and two yellow round pills, and one lozenge shaped pill.  They rolled and came to rest in dimples on the mattress.  “Daddy says ya need your calcium and your vit’mens.  The round ones are chewable.  I’d swallow the long one if I was you.”  He licked his lips between phrases.

         She looked at the pills and then the sustenance and then back into the imposing eyes of the giant.  This time her voice remained constant.  “What’s in the can?”

         “Protein.  Now eat.”  He spat at her then turned and cuffed Shimmy on the side of the head.  “Move it rat.  I want to play.”

         Shimmy buzzed backward and stumbled but kept his footing.  He smiled at the giant through mossy teeth.  He skipped backward while unbuttoning his pants never removing his eyes from the large man.  The giant followed moving his hands to his own pants.  She stared at the large back of the giant and her fuzzed mind caught something beneath his right ear.  She squinted and shifted and one of the pills rolled against her thigh.  She looked down and picked up the pills.
         After they were through the doorway she heard springs creak and then whine.  Shimmy’s high pitched giggle ceased with a loud smack on flesh.  The springs complained some more.  A guttural grunt followed a yelp.  She tried to shut out the sound of flesh slapping against flesh and the heavy breathing and muffled whines and giggles.

         She gobbled the pills tasting Tums and the orangey taste of vitamin C tablets.  She tried to sit cross legged but her body didn’t appreciate the stretching.  She settled for drooping against the wall with her knees bent and curling her feet near her hip.  She lifted the spoon and the bread out of the can to discover pork and beans.  She swallowed the large pill with a little of the water resisting the urge to gulp down the rest.  She grimaced at the heavy mushy taste of the cold beans in the first couple of bites but hunger soon took over.

         She paused half way through her meal when the squeaking of the springs rhythm ratcheted up to a frenzied pace.  A bread-full of beans was partway to her lips when she heard The Giants breath come in fast guttural streams.  A phlegm filled locomotive steaming uphill ending with a deep throated gurgle of pleasure.  Her gag reflex kicked in and she almost lost the little bit of sustenance she had acquired so far.  She began to shake as she remembered other assaults upon her body.  His fetid breath rasping between rotten teeth, exhaling over her face, her hands clenched tight above her head.  His hot spittle dripping on her chest mixing with the blood from the bites he left.  She fought with her stomach and swallowed back her bile.  She began recounting tongue twisters to draw her mind from the invading images.  “Peter Piper picked a pack…NO!... Peter Piper picked a peck…YES!...a peck of pickled peppers…”  She stopped thinking about what she was eating and soon she was scraping the bottom of the can.  She dipped the bread as far as her fingers could get and sopped up the remainder before dropping the can on the floor where it rolled on the warped floorboards.  Then she gulped down the rest of the water.

         She awoke to quiet.  Stagnant air hung dank and heavy and a deep thirst had taken root at the base of her tongue.  The empty menacing expanse of the room stared back.  She kept shifting her position trying to make as little noise on the spring pocked mattress as she could.  Her bladder trembled.  She closed her eyes and strained her ears for sounds of the giant and hyped little Shimmy.

         She alternated various positions to relieve the pressure on her bladder and the sundry other wounds.  She contemplated standing.  While her mind was less foggy than before thanks to the food; she still had trouble connecting the dots from leaving home and ending up here.  Her eyes snapped open when she recalled the raised patch of flesh below and just to the left of the giant’s right ear.  It was a brand.  Like cattle, his flesh had been seared with the mark of a hawk’s head inside a sickle.  She looked down to her right foot and saw the same mark on her heel just below the anklebone.  Only hers wasn’t a brand it was a birthmark.  Her hands flew to her neck searching for her pendant.  Her neck was bare save for some scratches and bite marks.  She forgot her full bladder and tried to recall the previous events.

#####


         The April morning air was crisp and bright outside her bedroom window.  While a chill was present there was the promise of a beautiful day with cobalt blue skies.  She was half way through her second semester of college and just four days shy of her nineteenth birthday.  Sophia skipped down the stairs and wound around the newel post into the living room and paused, surprised to see her parents through the breakfast nook, hugging in the kitchen.

         They stood wrapped in each other’s arms in front of the stove.  Her mother’s hands encircled her father’s back with his shoulder fitting beneath her mother’s chin.  Her eyes were closed and her right hand held a plastic spatula.

         The sizzle and smell of scrapple filled the kitchen and drifted through the nook to permeate the rest of the level.

         Her mother opened her eyes as Sophia rounded the doorway into the kitchen.  She tapped her husband on the shoulder with her left hand and broke the hug.  As her father turned, Sophia watched her mother discreetly wipe her eyes with the heel of one hand.  Her father coughed and held out his arms.  “Happy birthday.”  He took two quick strides and grabbed his daughter in a hug.

         She giggled and got her arms out just in time to hug him back.  Amused confusion filled her voice.  “Aaahhh, Daddy?  My birthday isn’t until Tuesday.”

         “I know, but I’m leaving for San Diego and this is the last chance before then to be together.”

         Her mother piped in, “We decided to have a birthday breakfast.  I made egg cups and scrapple.”

         “I know.”  Sophia replied, “I can smell it.”  She walked to her mother and hugged her and then took a seat at the table eyeing a box tied with a gold bow.  “So.  Daddy.  What’s the box for?”  She couldn’t keep the smile out of her voice.

         “What do you think it’s for? Go on.  Open it.  ” He replied.

         The words weren’t out of his mouth before she had the box in her lap.  She had to scoot her chair back to accommodate the present.  The bow was tied rather than just pasted to the top.  She pulled on the bow and it untied gracefully and fell open.  She lifted the top and placed it on the floor leaning against the chair leg.  The tissue paper crackled when she pulled it apart.  Beneath the tissue paper, resting in the folds was a silk sundress.  Golden sunset in color, she lifted it and held it aloft.

         “Daddy… it’s beautiful.”

         “Go put it on.”  Her father said.

         She nodded and raced to the half bath off the kitchen.  Emerging a moment later she twirled, loving the caress of the material against her skin.

         Her father cupped his chin pensively and cocked his head.  “You know.  It’s missing something.”

         Her mother nodded.  “You’re right.  Maybe this’ll help.”  She reached into her purse on the counter and pulled out a velvet box.

         Their daughter’s eyes grew wide.  “What is it?”  She asked.

         Her parents just smiled as her mother held the box out to her.  Sophia’s hand trembled as she took the box.  Inside, resting on dark blue velvet sat a yellow and white gold pendant, maybe half an inch in diameter.  She looked closer at the pendant.

         “This symbol looks familiar.”  She said as she looked questioningly at her father.

         “It should.”  Her father said.  “It’s your birthmark.”

         She looked again and felt like slapping her hand against her forehead.  The small pendant had the shape of a hawk’s head within a sickle.

         Her father reached for the box.  “May I?”

         She nodded as her father retrieved the box and removed the pendant.  She lifted her chestnut tresses as her father stepped behind her and clasped the pendant around her neck.

         Her mother nodded and wiped her eyes.  “Yep.  That’s what it needed.  Now it’s complete.”

         Her father hugged her from behind and kissed her cheek and whispered.  “Always remember that we’ll love you to the end of our days.”

         She nodded and returned the sentiment, the whisper of tears in her eyes.  “It’s beautiful.  Thank you so much.”  She hugged her mother.  “Both of you.”

         “Oh, one more thing,” Her mother snapped her fingers and rested the spatula on the spoon rest in the middle of the stove.  She reached the chair on the other side of the table and produced a shoe box.  “What new outfit wouldn’t be fully complete without new shoes?”

         Sophia opened the box to find a low heeled pair of sandals that matched the color of the dress perfectly.

         The rest of the day passed rather quiet.  The pendant nestled just below the neckline of her new dress and she felt it move whenever she did.

         At three that afternoon she sat in her VW beetle convertible, at a red light, on her way home.  The sun was shining brighter, promising the heat of summer was not far off.  The top of her car was down and a breeze lifted her hair as it slipped through the afternoon.

         The sliding door of a minivan opened on her right side and her peripheral vision caught a blur.  The VW rocked as a pudgy man in an ill fitting suit landed in her passenger seat and kicked her purse to the floor.  She jerked as the man sat himself down and his left arm went over her shoulders.  Her arms flew up to cross over her face and she felt a large object jab into her right side.  He grabbed her neck and pulled her head close.  “Throw back ya head and laugh and I won’t hafta put a hole the size of Kansas in your tummy.”

         Sophia sat petrified, his words buzzing around her brain, her reflexes fighting for purchase.  The man repeated himself and the pressure on her side went deeper, bruising her flesh through the fabric of her new dress.  His eyes danced in his head and his lips curled around pitted yellow teeth.

         The pistol bit into the tender skin next to her breast and a wavering wail started deep in her stomach yet somehow she threw back her arms and choked out a guffaw.  He pulled her head back to his in a paradox of a friendly greeting.  Touching his forehead to the side of hers, he placed a dry kiss on her ear, and whispered, “Good.  Now folla the van when the light tuns green.”

         She looked straight ahead but turned her head far enough to see the sliding minivan door close on a shadowy figure.  She couldn’t see the driver as the van had pulled too far up, edging the nose of the vehicle into the crosswalk.  She placed both hands on the wheel.

         The man let go of her neck and pulled away a bit, keeping his left hand on the back of her seat.  She could feel his energy emanating in ragged syrupy strings.  He smelled of unwashed feet and she hoped for a breeze to flow through and clear out his odor, but the wind had died and with it the beauty of the day.  The sun slipped behind a lone cloud and left her in the shadow of the minivan.  She swallowed and worked her tongue to engage some saliva as her mouth felt coated in sand.

         While the heavy humidity of summer remained a couple of months away, her dress clung to the oily sheen of sweat coating her body.  Nausea blistered its sweet acidic fingers into the back of her throat.

         The light turned green and she shifted into first gear and edged forward.  The car bucked as it stalled.  The van pulled on slowly.

         “Panic and y’die.  Git’s going.”  He said and poked the gun back into her kidney.
         
         She huffed and let loose a sharp cry.  He threw his round head back and laughed.  “Laugh ag’in.”
         
         She tried, hacked, gagged, swallowed and tried again.  It sounded like the strangled cry of a zombie in her head.  A horn blared behind her, impatient and jarring.  She popped it into neutral and turned the key.  ‘Please stall or flood or something’ she cried inside.  But the engine, kept religiously tuned and maintained by her father caught immediately.  She shifted into first and pulled away like a pro.  She threw up a hand in a wave of apology to the driver behind her who roared into the left lane, passing her with another disgruntled bleat of the horn.  The minivan was a few paces ahead in the right lane.

         “Pull behind the van and drive.”  He pulled her ear to his leathery lips again and whispered above the wind.  “Try to wreck this bitch and the last t’ing you’ll feel is me blowing off your tits.  Got me?”
         
         The car wavered when she nodded and her nod turned into a shiver.

         They drove in silence for a few miles, the minivan taking her on a circuitous route.  His eyes crawled up her bare legs; she could feel them, base and slithery.  He switched the gun to his other hand, keeping it pressed into her side and reached his free hand to her knee.  She jerked at his touch and he jabbed her with the gun when the car wavered again.  After she straightened the car his free hand returned to her knee.  This time she kept herself and the car steady.  She felt the fabric of her dress slide up her leg, driving a shiver up her spine.  Teeth bit down on her tongue when his harsh cracked fingertips slipped under the hem of her dress.  A sharp cry burst from the corners of her clenched lips when she felt the rough pads of his fingers graze past the point of propriety on the inside of her right thigh.
         
         He tee-heed at her mewling and grazed his thick jointed first knuckles against the thin cotton covering her crotch.  A loud, quick wail burst from her lips at this intrusion and she closed her thighs to drive his hand away.  It felt like trying to move a boulder with a thimble of water.  He tittered at her discomfort and pinched the delicate flesh of her inner thigh between his thumb and the outside of his knuckle.  She jerked her torso and felt the gun into jam into her side.  His hand crawled out from beneath her dress and squeezed her knee.  Hot tears dripped from her eyes.
“Wahp ya eyes Sophia and put the top up after the nex’ turn.”

         Startled, she looked at him, her tongue thudding uselessly against the roof of her mouth.  He tittered again sounding to her like a drunken Scooby Doo.  “Keep ya eyes on the road.”  His bare feet thumped up and down in a staccato beat at her sudden confusion.

         She followed the minivan into the next turn on a two-lane blacktop where their speed dropped.  “I have to slow down or the top won’t rise properly.”  She stammered over her dry tongue.
         
         “I know.”  He smiled.  He reached into the pocket of his sport coat and then switched hands again putting his arm over her shoulders.
         
         The van pulled to the side of the road beneath towering trees and slowed to a stop.          She complied and pulled in behind the van and pushed the button the raise the ragtop.

         “Cut the engine and put on the brake and keep both hands on the wheel.”

         She followed his instructions.  “I don’t have much money---“

         He tee-heed and told her to shut up.  The only sounds beyond the ticking of the engine were birds and a breeze rustling through the tree tops.  No houses were visible nor was there any sound of traffic.  They were isolated from the rest of the world and the sun was still shining.
         “Look at me.”

         She kept her eyes riveted on the smoked glass windows on the back of the minivan with the rubber molding hanging out of place beneath the wiper.  The breeze kicked the flap of molding and it swayed for a second before settling back.  Dirt caked on the dead glue that used to hold the seal in place.

         “Look at me!”

         She responded to his command and turned her head to look down at the man.  His greasy hair was parted directly down the middle and hung like a straight wax helmet around his head.  Clean shaven, not even a bite of fuzz on his cheeks or upper lip.  Deep pockmarks studded his forehead and bridge of his nose.  His nose, small and thin save for the bulbous nostrils which flared like twin cave openings with each breath sat between puffy cheeks.  Straight cracked lips split into a creepy smile, revealing yellow crooked teeth.  She heard a snick, like removing a cap from a pen, behind her head.

         “Do you think I’m pretty?”  His words slithered around his jaundiced teeth and hung before her like a threat.

         She scratched the surface of her glands for a drop of saliva to cover her lips which felt like his.  The front site on the barrel of the gun pulled her flesh as he nudged it deeper, urging a response.  The sharp pain caused her to scrunch her eyes for a second.  “No I don’t.  I think you’re disgusting and cruel and quite an ugly little man.”

         She smiled at him as his eyes grew wide.  They then narrowed to slits as his forked tongue scrabbled across his chapped lips and slid back into the pucker of his mouth.  “We’re gon ta have lots o’ fun wit you.”  He drawled out the ‘you’.

         Her heart skipped a couple of beats before sending a tremble through her body.  One eye blinked with a tic as she forced herself to hold his gaze.

         “But don’t worry.  We can’t keep ya long.  But till ya time is up, we are to sit witcha.”

         As she tried to decipher what he had just said she felt a sharp prick in her neck where his other hand rested.  The gun jammed deeper into her flesh as she felt cold liquid disperse into her bloodstream.  Her hands fell from the steering wheel and her eyes fluttered closed.  Her head lolled forward pulling away from the needle and she slumped over his arm holding the gun.  He tee-heed again.

#####


         A door slammed, snapping her from her reverie, forcing her eyelids open and jarring her mind back to the present.  A yowl, like a cat’s testicles caught in a vice, interrupted the trembling, reverberating quiet.  A rustling of fabrics and stomping of feet on creaky springs preceded a thump which could only have been a body landing on the floor.  That yowl sounded again and Sophia heard words interspersed with cries.  The muffled thunk of a tree trunk tossed into a bag of sand frightened her.  Sophia scrambled on the mattress and looked for something to hide behind.  Her eyes looked about the room and found nothing.  She grabbed the spoon and held it in front of her, wrapping her other arm about her knees as she drew them up against her chest.  Blood pumped through her system and the saliva dried up in her mouth.

         The soft blue haze of moonlight that filtered through the doorway turned jagged and menacing as shadows erupted along the wall.  She felt disoriented watching the pantomime play out on the wall opposite the doorway and hearing the sounds from the other room.

         The shadows shifted hue as a light flamed in the other room.  A voice spat verbal fire, “Where is she?”

         Shimmy’s wheezy retort followed, “In…in…in there like you said.  Fed her and everythin’.”

         The shadows all but disappeared as The Giant spilled through the doorway.  Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth and he hung his head.  He bustled to the far wall and leaned there, his hands clasped in front of his crotch as if in prayer.  His lips ticced and wobbled.

         Shimmy stumbled through, his pants around his ankles; welts, scars and abrasions covered his skin.  He staggered in a hunch, with a hand leading him by his ear.  Shimmy’s voice whimpered and tears dripped down his dirty cheeks.  He staggered and tripped only to be yanked by the wrenching on the top of his ear.  Shimmy yelped again.

         Sophia felt a small surge of pity for the brutal twisting on his ear, but just a twinge.

         The pinching fingers were attached to an arm of a man.  He tossed Shimmy to the side.  “Get over there you gritty little feeb.”

         Shimmy skittered on all fours like a wounded puppy and curled into a ball behind The Giant’s feet.

         The man peered across the room and sauntered over in his soft soled sneakers.  He squatted in front of her in jeans.  His plaid shirt covered an undefined chest.  He reached out to her and she stared at him with wide eyes as he plucked the spoon from her now slack fingers. His voice dripped with poisoned honey as he cooed to her and brushed her hair from her face.

         Sophia sat frozen, transfixed as the fingers that had twisted Shimmy’s ear in an unholy lump, kissed her temple, smoothing her hair behind her ear.  Sophia opened her mouth to speak when a lilting voice that turned to the gritting of ice slabs in Sophia’s ears slipped through the doorway.  “Lucian?  Is she here?”

         Sophia started to tremble when her father answered over his shoulder, “Yes, Bea.  She’s in here.”  Her mother glided in the doorway.

         The Giant looked up when Bea entered.  She squatted next to Lucian and looked at their daughter.  “They were good, they listened.  They didn’t touch her face.  They should be rewarded.”

         “Yes, I know.” Answered Lucian.  Her father’s knees popped when he stood.  “Boys.  Come here.”

         The Giant lumbered over with his head hanging.  His feet trudged across the floor until he stood next to Bea.  Lucian called for Shimmy with an edge creeping into his voice.  Shimmy shivered in the corner, now bereft of his hedge that was The Giant’s massive frame.  Shimmy peered from behind his hands and rolled slowly to his knees.

         Lucian snapped his fingers and his wife placed her hand on his.  “Be nice.”  She crooned to him.  Lucian nodded and repeated his command to Shimmy, in a softer voice.

         Shimmy teetered to a standing position, hitched up his pants and shuffled to Lucian’s side.

         “You did good Shimmy.”  Lucian cupped Shimmy’s head in his hands and planted a gentle kiss on the same ear he had mangled a few moments before.  Shimmy let go of his pants, letting them fall.  He wrapped his pudgy arms around her father’s middle.  Lucian returned the hug and kissed Shimmy on the mouth.  As Sophia watched, she saw Shimmy’s naked, flaccid member start to grow as it engorged with blood.

         Bea watched her husband and Shimmy.  “You boys can play later.  We’ve got work to do. The Doctor will be here soon.”

         Lucian broke the kiss and reached between Shimmy’s legs and gave a squeeze.  “We’ll play later.”

         Shimmy whimpered, but nodded and kept his arm around Lucian’s back.  They both turned to stare at Sophia who felt her gorge rise in her throat once more.

         Bea wrapped an arm around The Giant’s leg and gave a hug.  “You did well too Geege.”

         A smile split the behemoth’s face.

         Her father squatted once again.  “Now baby, we’ve got some work to do.”  He turned his head to Shimmy who stood there with his erect pole jutting in front of him like a pickled sausage.  “Shimmy, pull your pants up and bring the bag your mother left in the other room.”

         Shimmy nodded, his body quivering in time with his bobbing head and trotted off.

         Her mother reached out a hand to her and Sophia skittered away.  “Sophia,” her mother purred, “We don’t have time for this.”
Sophia stammered between chattering teeth “Don’t touch me.”  She huddled against the wall, again pulling her knees tight.

         Lucian side stepped till he was directly in front of her again.  “Honey, listen to me.  You have a special job to do in a few hours.”

         Her eyes flittered between the man and woman, then up to The Giant and back to the man squatting in front of her.  “What…who are you p-p-people?”

         Her mother’s laugh, once beautiful and charming, had now morphed into a sound like ground glass.  “Why, Sophia.  We’re your parents.  We loved you and provided the most we could for you.  All we ask in return for everything,” her mother’s voice culled a bite of a growl, “is for you to do one simple thing for us.  For all of us.”

         Shimmy staggered into the room, tittering all the way to Lucian’s side, swinging a plastic grocery bag.  Lucian took the bag and set it next to himself on the floor.

         “I brought you something.”  Lucian reached into the sac and pulled out a black velvet bag cinched with a leather cord.  He un-cinched the bag, turned it upside down and into his hand fell her pendant.  “Happy birthday honey.”  He smiled, his tongue wetting his lips.

         Sophia stared at the pendant, swinging from his fingers and her heart sank.  She blinked and blinked again.  A tear welled in the corner of her eye, blurring her vision.  Two then three then four, intermingling pendants swung in front of her.  She blinked and looked at her father.  He wavered in and out of focus and she heard his voice.
         
         “You’re a very special girl honey.  My Sophia.”  His voice...the voice that had praised her grades and kissed her boo-boos.  The voice of her life; the man who always lost to her at jacks.  Her Daddy, who taught her to play poker and then lost to her at that too.  She viewed the version in front of her and could see that same man through her tears that now cascaded down her cheeks.
         
         “That’s my baby girl.  You’re so special; the world has been waiting for you.”
         
         She sniffed and wiped her nose on the back of her hand.  The pendant swung and her sight unfocused.  “What do you want me to do Daddy?”  Her voice took on a sing-song quality that felt troublesome inside her ears.  She watched the pendant as it receded slowly away from her.  His face took on a watery hue and he looked to split into two’s and three’s and then fours and so on until there was a thousand of him floating behind the pendants.  His soothing voice wound its way between the fine gold links of the chain and caressed her ears; smoothed the crinkles in her brow and massaged the clump of fear that had grown to the size of a beefsteak tomato in the center of her chest.  Her arms fell slack to her sides and still the pendant swung.  Scintillating waves of white and yellow gold cast its own light upon her and she smiled as his kaleidoscope face raced in unison with the pendant.
         
         “He is coming honey.  And you are going to usher him into the world.  You were special from the moment you crawled from between your mother’s legs.”
         
         “Yes, Daddy.  He’s coming.”

         “You’re his vessel baby girl, and he is your true father.”

         “My true father.”  Her voice faltered and her brow squinched.  “My true father?”  Her voice edged into inflection.
         
         Lucian’s voice raised a notch and he shook in rapture.  “Yes.  Your true father.  The true father of us all.”  The pendant jiggled in his grip and the kaleidoscope shimmered and fell apart.
         
         The tunnel evaporated and his face rushed into view.  Her voice lost the dreamy tincture and sounded hoarse.  She croaked, “My true father?”  The waves of light dissipated and the five of them were left in the pre-dawn shadows.  The light from the other room cast flickering jagged shadows.
         
         Sophia blinked and tried to bring her brain into focus with her vision.  Her father squatted directly in front of her, his elbows on his knees, the pendant swung between.  Her mother kneeled next to him, her eyes closed and her right hand in his crotch, massaging the swollen lump.  The Giant stood like a filthy, scarred mountain just behind her.  Shimmy thrummed in place behind her father, starring at the pendant.
         
         Sophia had her knees drawn up to her chest with her arms lying on the mattress.  She narrowed her eyes at her father and struck out with her foot.  She put as much force as she could into the blow, using the wall as a brace.  The heel of her foot smashed into the fleshy sac sitting snug inside his jeans.  The arch slammed her mothers hand across the lump.
         
         He screamed, choked on it and flew back.  His elbow connected directly into her mother’s eye, forcing her head back, pulling her body up.  Her head flew directly into The Giant’s crotch.  Shimmy was knocked aside and fell flailing.
         
         The pendant skittered across the room and stopped in the doorway.  Sophia bolted, grabbing the pendant on the way out.
         
         The light nearly blinded her after the perpetual darkness she’d been trapped in for who knows how long.  Shapes swam before her eyes and her ears rejected the cacophony behind her.  She blinked over and over again, forcing her eyes open against the light and searched for an escape.

         A cot to her left and a card table to her right.  Two chairs sat near the table.  At the far end of the room was a door with windows on either side.  Moonlight flowed through the windows.  An oil lamp with a glass top sat on the table, the fire spitting out the bright light.  The glass around the flame was blackened with soot.  She grabbed the lamp with both hands around its base and swung it to the floor in the doorway she had just run through.  The glass shattered and oil poured over the flaming wick as the base upended and rolled.  Fire rolled with the stripe of oil, igniting the old wood, creating a fire wall in the doorway.

         Sophia yanked on the door and her hands slipped off the knob.  Again she tried and again the knob wouldn’t turn.
         
Her mother’s voice rang with vengeful seething, “Geege!  Get her!”

         The Giant’s gravelly voice cried back to her, ‘But mama…its fire.”

         “I don’t care you bastard rat child…GET HER.”

         “But mama.”  Geege whined.

         Sophia yanked on the door and felt panic expand in her chest.  She turned one way and then the other.  The window she thought.  She grabbed a chair and swung the legs into the four-paned window.  The shattering sound of glass was followed by her mother’s repeated screech “Get Her.”

         Sophia cleaned as much of the glass as she could with the legs of the chair by running it around the frame.  She set the chair under the window and stepped up and put one foot on the window.

         A large roar sounded behind her and she whipped her head around to see the Geege leap over the flames creeping up the jamb of the doorway.  Spit gleamed and flashed on his lips as he dove for her.  With a scream, Sophia clasped the window frame.  A shard of glass punctured her palm as she pushed herself through the window.  She landed hard among the damp grass and twigs.  She rolled to her feet.  As she rolled she saw The Giant reach the window and stumble on the chair as his gut hit the bottom of the window.  As she took off, her father’s yowls followed her into the woods.

         Trees raced by as sticks and other forest debris stabbed at her feet.  Brushing between trees, her naked body was pummeled and scratched by branches.

         She ran for what felt like hours.  Ran from the shock and pain; from the humiliation and torture, she ran from the screams and whimpers and yet all of that followed her.  Sophia pressed on, feet pounding, blood dripping, a stitch in her side growled deep, pinching from waist to armpit.

         The mewling cries and pitiful yowls kept with her until she realized they were coming from her own mouth.

         She stumbled and rolled into a dry ditch, dust billowing around her, settling in her wounds.  She scrabbled up the other embankment on all fours.  She burst through a stand of bushes and jarred her body when her feet stomped on pavement.

         A car came around a sharp turn and laid on the horn as she broke from the foliage like a deer.  She screamed and dove forward, her head careening off the asphalt.

         Thick callused fingers gripped her face tightly and he penetrated his gaze into hers.  “Do you want to live?”

         A whispered yes escaped her bunched lips as she nodded her head.

         “Good, then listen to me.  I was a doctor.  Let me take you to a hospital.”

         Fear lifted its ugly mandibles from her eyes and she resigned herself to his administrations.

         He lifted her into his arms and bundled her into the backseat of his car.  She felt his hands probe her numerous wounds with skilled precision and she waited, lying on the soft leather upholstery.  His hands left her and she felt the reverberation of the trunk closing.  His voice dripped through her consciousness but she caught very little of what he said.

         “…I’m going to give you something for the pain…..any allergies?...on any medications?”

         She nodded or shook her head in response to his various questions.  The name of the drug was foreign to her but she just let herself go.

         “Can you tell me your name?”  He asked her.

         She mumbled Sophia.

         “Sophia is it?”

         She nodded again and then shook her head and mumbled something else.  It came out sounding like pumpkin.

         He laughed lightly.  “We’ll just go with Sophia.”

         She just nodded and felt the sting of a needle.  “Can you tell me what happened to you?

         She shook her head and whimpered.

         “That’s okay…there’ll be time for that shortly.  I will say though, that with everything they did to you, it’s amazing they didn’t touch your face.”

         As lightness began to drift through her torn and tattered muscles she relaxed.  The smell of alcohol permeated the car and he swabbed her wounds.  His voice droned in and out of her head.  He’d tap her cheek when he expected an answer and then ask his question again.

         “Okay Sophia.  I’m going to take you to a hospital now.  You just lie here and try not to move too much.  You need some help, more than I can provide you with the tools I have.  You’re not in the greatest shape but I think you’ll survive.”  He covered her with a blanket and then buckled the middle lap belt around her.  He smoothed the hair off her forehead and smiled at her.  She smiled back.

         He closed the rear door of his car and she looked out the window to the lightening morning sky. And wondered what day it was.  The dome light came on as he opened the driver’s side door and she shut her eyes to it.  Her ears ignored the continual platitudes he offered.

         She interrupted him with her question.  “What day is it?” 

         He turned back to her as he shut the door and started the engine.  “It’s Tuesday Sophia and it looks to be a beautiful spring day.”

         She opened her eyes and looked out the window again as the drug started to take a stronger hold on her.  In the fading drift of the dome light she saw the familiar brand of a hawk’s head inside a sickle below his right ear.  She started to struggle but the medicine put lead in her arms and neck.  The last thing she heard was, “Yes.  It is a very good thing they didn’t touch your face.”
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