by Cat Voleur
One drink turns a woman's night from a fun outing to a struggle to survive.
|7:00pm – At the Bar
“One little drink won’t hurt.”
Kylie’s friend would be showing up soon, but she didn’t want to wait. It had been a particularly rough day and she was out to forget that. The music was upbeat, the drink in her glass a bright blue, and the whole situation screamed ‘fun.’ She needed a little fun.
The liquid smelled of berries as she brought it to her lips and tasted even better. She gulped it down with a smile on her face, unaware of the terrible night she was condemning herself to.
10:00pm – In the Car of a Stranger
“I think you passed my street.”
She didn’t think — she knew. She was starting to sober up a bit, but even before then she had been looking for her street, watching for it in between the waves of nausea washing over her. Her head had been resting on the cool glass of the window, which had felt so nice against her feverish skin, but now she just wanted to get home.
The man said nothing to her.
With some effort she was able to straighten herself. Her vision swam at first, but when it steadied she thought maybe she’d be okay. She glanced over at the man who had offered her the ride, wondering if he heard her. The state she was in, she couldn’t even be a hundred percent sure she actually said anything out loud. She fidgeted for a moment, not sure if she should try again to say something.
The worn fabric of the car’s interior rubbed against her bare legs, and for the first time she became uncomfortably aware of just how short her shorts were. They had seemed an appropriate length for the weather and blended in at the bar, but now she wished that more of her legs were covered. Likewise, the man, who had seemed perfectly average at the bar, now seemed very, very large since she was alone with him.
Reality was hitting hard as she realized all the dangers of the situation that her drunken self had stumbled into. She knew she had to get out of the car.
“Uh, hey, sir? If you could just — “Her sentence was cut short by the back of his large hand making swift and brutal contact with her face.
10:26pm – Driving Further Into Nowhere
“Quit your sniffling, girl.”
Kylie couldn’t help it. She’d never been hit in her life. She’d never been in real danger in her life either. She had always been a good girl, a safe girl. She had always been so much smarter than this, and sheltered. She couldn’t even conceive what might be about to happen.
“I said, knock it off.”
He sounded angry with her, and that just made the tears fall all the harder. She tried to breathe in and get control of herself. She had to stop crying, had to stop making him angry while she thought of a plan. She knew she needed to take action before they got where they were going. The breathing elicited a strange sound from within her, and she realized that her nose had gotten clogged as it always did when she cried.
She sniffled loudly, and his next blow sent her consciousness reeling into the black.
12:57pm – Waking up Chained to a Bed
Kylie dared only to call out softly. She had only fragmented and surreal memories regarding how she had gotten there. They were so fuzzy in her mind and so surreal that she could have convinced herself that she had dreamt the entire thing were it not for the heavy cuff around her ankle. She couldn’t see anything around her in the darkness, but she could feel the weight of the cuff secured around the limb, and hear the chain rattle as she shifted.
“Hello?” She called again, praying that she was not all alone in this nightmare. She wasn’t sure if she could stand that.
“Hello,” someone responded this time.
That one word of reply gave her more information to process. It was a male voice, but not so deep as the one belonging to the man who had taken her. It told her that she was not alone, and it came from a good ways off, indicating that whoever had spoken was on the other side of a rather large room.
She strained her eyes as she sat up, but could still not see anything. “Who are you?” She tried to steady her voice and to sound braver than she really felt. “Who’s there?”
3:30am – Talking to a Friend
“I wish I could see you.”
Her friend had taught her a lot in the hours they had been speaking. He’d helped to calm her down, and more importantly he had taught her all she needed to know about their situation.
“Maybe someday you will,” he said, though she could tell from his sad tone that he wasn’t overly optimistic about the prospect. She couldn’t entirely blame him for it.
He had explained that there was one man and one woman. He didn’t know what their relationship was. He’d once assumed that they were brother and sister, as they looked somewhat alike, but explained that he had since seem them do things to one another that no sibling should do. Still, he was unsure. From what he had observed, the man hit harder but the woman kept people longer, which was crueler in its own way.
As Kylie listened to him describe what he had seen in even the faintest level of detail, she had felt multiple times like she wanted to be sick.
Once or twice, she had been.
She was scared. She had never been strong or tough, and she didn’t think she would last long under any type of abuse. She wasn’t entirely sure that she’d even want to last once it started. She could hear the pain and exhaustion in her friend’s voice. He had been there a long time, watching people come and suffer and die. She could tell that he was getting weak. She admired him for how long he had made it, but she certainly didn’t want to become him.
She was almost grateful not to have the use of her eyes — it meant she couldn’t see just what sort of horrors had been inflicted on him. All the same, she really could have used the image of a friendly face.
4:00am – In the Dark
“How long do we have before they come back?” she asked.
“It varies,” he replied. “Usually after sunrise though. They sleep in a lot, especially the woman. He might be down sooner though. When someone new comes he likes to make an early start to it.”
5:54am – Not Long Before Sunrise
“I have to ask. Is there any way out?”
Kylie had been dreading that question, afraid that she already knew the answer. If there was a way to escape, even the slightest chance, surely he’d have made a run for it a long time ago. She knew she had to ask though. She had no way of knowing what time it was, but she was afraid that she might be running out of time and if there was any hope at all she could spare herself from the upcoming experience, she wanted to know.
Silence greeted her.
“Hello?” she tried.
Her friend’s voice sounded more haunted, and there was reluctance in him when he spoke. “You could try to fight.”
“But my leg is chained. Even if I could win a fight somehow I’d be stuck here.”
“They both keep keys on them at all times. If one of them comes down here, and they’re alone, assuming you catch them off guard…” he trailed off.
She waited for him to finish, and when he didn’t she got concerned. “You still there?”
“Let me give you a piece of advice.” There was another pause. “If you decide to try and fight, do it now. As soon as one of them comes down here. For as weak as you feel right now, you’re not likely to get any stronger. Not down here.”
6:30am – Waiting
In her hand, Kylie held a key. It was the spare key to her best friend’s apartment which she had remembered to grab on her way out to the bar, but neglected to put on her key ring. She was glad she had, or else it would be with the rest of her keys, laying wherever that creep had taken her stuff. Luckily for her, he hadn’t checked her pockets before chaining her up.
The key made for a poor weapon, but it had a point at the end and was solid, and Kylie thought it would be better than nothing.
She dreaded taking her friend’s advice, but didn’t see that she had a choice. If she could somehow pull it off, she’d be free. If she failed, she figured there was a good chance he’d at least kill her quickly out of rage, and that would at least be merciful compared to whatever fate he had currently planned for her. Either way, she was determined for this to all be over soon.
As light started to trickle in from the windows she lay on her side. She could just see the dark silhouette of her friend laying on a bed at the far side of the room.
6:47 – Hearing Footsteps
The waiting had felt like hell, but as soon as she heard the heavy door to the room begin to open, she wished she’d been given more time. She heard footsteps approaching her prone form and she squeezed her eyes tight.
She tried not to shiver or act out until the footsteps were right behind her. They stopped. When she felt his weight begin to press down on the bed, she knew she was out of time.
She made her move.
7:15am – Lying in Blood
“Kylie,” said a voice, but she was too out of it to answer. The voice came back louder and more persistent. “Kylie, you need to get up.”
She could hear the words clearly, but couldn’t make sense of them. She was consumed by the aching of every part of her body.
“ You did it, Kylie. You took the bigger one down. If the woman comes down here to find him dead and you’re still chained up here, that’s going to be the end. There’s going to be hell to pay.”
At first that was the only word to register. She didn’t know who was dead though, she just knew she was covered in blood. She hurt so badly, she figured it had been her blood.
“You’re not strong enough to fight again. You need to go now.”
The pieces were coming back to her. She had fought the man who had taken her. She fought him, and she had won —though only barely. He’d been strong enough to beat her bloody and had continued to do so until his final breath. He’d continued hitting and choking and breaking as she had stabbed away with her sad little key.
“Kylie, you have to get up.”
She tried to apologize to the voice, to explain why she couldn’t. Every part of her hurt and she just wanted to sleep. She wasn’t strong, wasn’t a fighter. All she wanted was to drift off and let her pain end. She tried to convey those things, but she barely had the strength to open her mouth up before she was out again.
11:08am – Standing Behind Her New Friend
Coming to, she had been relieved. The last time she’d been awake she’d been convinced it was the end, but after a few hours of rest she had somehow found it in her to keep going. By some miracle she had survived the fight, and had yet to be discovered.
She hadn’t known exactly what time it was, but she knew that the woman would likely be coming for her any minute, and she’d prayed she had enough time to unlock her friend and get them both out of that terrible place.
Now that she was standing behind him however, key in hand, something felt off. He hadn’t spoken to her in a while, not even as she had been rummaging through the pocket of her captor, or crying at the sight of the apartment key jutting from his eye.
“I’m going to unlock you, okay?” she asked.
“Hey, everything’s going to be okay.” She put a hand on his shoulder to turn him around.
His head lolled over lifelessly as she shifted the body, a hunk of flesh fell from his face. She was unable to stifle the scream that the sight of the corpse elicited, and without giving it any thought she turned her back and ran, more eager than ever to leave this nightmare.
It wasn’t just that her friend had died; it was that he had obviously died long before she’d ever met him.
The original draft of this story was written for "Weekly SCREAMS!!! " where it won "Weekly Winner (5/15-5/22)" . The earliest draft is still available on my portfolio in my SCREAMS!!! Collection: 4. Advice From a Friend
The piece was published in The Siren's Call eZine Issue 31
This story was also featured in "Horror/Scary Newsletter (May 31, 2017)"
And featured in "Horror/Scary Newsletter (September 26, 2018)"