Terry Rutledge, successful businesswoman has to survive a night from hell.
|A door closes …. Somewhere, in the stillness of an autumn night, beneath a devilish harvest moon…a door closes. “Honey, I’m home,” she calls dryly to the empty house. Her voice sounds sad, hollow to her own ears. Everyone she knew had …someone. God but she hated the whiney quality of the voice in her head! She was successful, dammit! At thirty-two, she was C.E.O. of one of the fastest Fortune 500 companies in the world. She’d been featured in Forbes magazine twice! So what the hell was she so miserable about? ‘Your success can’t hold you, it can’t make you laugh…can’t love you.’ “I don’t need a man! I’m fine, just …just fine by myself,” she said aloud, hoping to finally convince herself. She was surrounded by the trappings of wealth and yet… She had no family, her poor mother had worked herself into an
early grave before she could make her proud and she’d never met her father. She had no real friends, in her experience; today’s friend was tomorrow’s foe. She rubbed elbows with celebrated people everyday but the closing door still clicked with finality behind her. She was alone. She armed her alarm system mechanically, suddenly frozen by an odd sound. An eerie cacophony of sighs and moans chilled her to the bone. Somewhere, a predator moaned her name. “Terry…Terry…” Stark terror paralyzed her. Her life…a series of accomplishments and acquisitions flashed before her eyes, serving only to intensify her paralysis. How? When? Why? Run! Her wooden legs moved towards the door but it was too little, too late. He was upon her, a dark, loathsome figure that knew her name. “P-Please take anything you want just d-don’t hurt me,” she pleaded automatically as he tore the Prada suit from her body. “No! p-please,”she begged as his slick, oily tongue licked her ear. She screamed, fighting the nausea his touch
evoked. “Nearest neighbor’s away on fishing trip and he can’t stand you. Thinks you’re uppity, something about you slapping his face when he tried to be …neighborly,” he taunted, pressing her against the wall as he ground his hips into hers. Her lingerie was little deterrent to his greedy fingers as he rent it from her lissome body. She was going to die, this monster was going to rape and kill her! Nobody would find her in time to save her. He was right. She was doomed. “Why fight it, Terry?” he crooned maliciously. “…you might like it.” His massive arms slowly encircled her throat. She could feel her lungs burn as he torturously robbed her of air. It was futile. What did she have to live for anyway? She couldn’t breathe, he was crushing her larynx, and her lungs were on fire. “Oh G-god, m-my baby,” she croaked incredulously, her once regal voice a whisper of long discarded longing. He released her and she slumped to the floor gasping and gagging, her throat on fire. He bent to gently brush wild crimson locks from her eyes.
“You, you’re pregnant, Terry?” He held her tenderly, an oddly childlike look transforming the face of this angel of death. “You want the baby?” Too stunned, her larynx aflame, she nodded quickly her Patrician features frozen in a mask of terror. “My mother gave me away!” She watched him warily, trying in vain to cover her nudity. “I’m sorry,” she croaked, hoping to heaven that she at least, sounded sincere. He caressed her face tenderly. “I’m sorry too, sweetheart. I thought you were like her but you really want the baby, don’t you?” She didn’t hesitate and she didn’t lie. “Y-yes, I do. I want a baby.” She was trying desperately to keep the histrionics at bay but she could feel it lurking, desperate to find release. He paced restlessly while she struggled to keep her mind from coming unglued. He stopped suddenly, a look of maniacal intent in his eyes…then it was gone. “You better be a good mommy, Terry else I’ll come back,” he warned bending to kiss her tousled hair. Terry’s eyes were tightly closed,
waiting for his next move. The sound of a closing door threatened to shatter her fragile hold on reality. Minutes ticked by but all she could do was shake, an involuntary shiver that rattled her teeth. A torrent of past hurts and present woes left her spent and hurting. ‘Move dammit! You’re not dead, yet!’, her mind chided scornfully. Still shaking, she dragged her aching body to the phone and called the police. She should have showered, should have put something on, maybe reapply her makeup but she couldn’t, not now this new battle weary Terry was simply too tired. A door… Oh God, he changed his mind! He’d kill me now for sure. Detective Caleb Knight felt his whole world tilt on its axis when he finally saw the woman. She was huddled on the floor, an expression of abject terror belying the beauty of her face. “Detective Caleb Knight, maam,” he murmured softly. His voice was mellifluent and more decadent than Black Forest cake and Terry Rutledge, for the first time in a long
time, found herself remarkably…aroused! God, help me, I’m a masochist! Caleb tried, in vain to ignore her soft, womanly curves and her heart-wrenchingly fawn-like expression, as he gently picked her up. “There’s an ambulance coming, honey, you’re gonna be just fine just stay with me.” His voice was a magical balm, healing her wounded spirit. “I’m o-okay,” she croaked, drawing his attention to her now swollen neck. “Son of a bitch! What did that asshole do to you?” “ It’s alright, baby, don’t talk,” he whispered, holding her more tightly against his solid strength. Terry knew she looked frightful but she managed a weak smile that shook him to the very core. He wanted to say…something but words eluded him as she closed her eyes, leaving him to sort out his jumbled emotions for this broken woman. The ambulance rattled to a halt in front of him, making him swear. He placed her as gently as he could on the gurney, needing to put some distance between them and yet unwilling so to do. He stepped back as the EMT’s began to work on her
battered body. Her hand shot out to grip his tightly, “Please, doesn’t leave me,” she whispered, crystal tears running freely down her lovely face. “I won’t, I promise,” he vowed, ignoring the puzzled glances of the EMT’s, as well as, the other detectives. Caleb Knight was acting strangely. She relinquished her death-grip only when he too, entered the ambulance, drawing curious stares from his colleagues. She sighed sleepily, her eyes ever watchful. “Go to sleep, sweetheart, I’m here.” As the ambulance jostled its way to the hospital, Terry Rutledge, her hand held loosely in his, felt safe. Looking down at her, his baby blue eyes comforting, Terry felt an emotion that was as far removed from her world as anything could be. She felt….hope! He winked at her and she longed for the sophistication she’d worked so long to cultivate over the years. “Get some sleep, baby. I’ll be here
when you wake up.” She closed the door on one chapter of her life, only too eager to begin the other.