A short story written for Screams!!! 2/17/2020.
| Stockholm Syndrome
The door slammed open, and the room suddenly seemed to be filled with armed police officers, all of them shouting at once. Why were they shouting? There's no one here but me and right now I'm tied to a chair by my hands and feet, a gag in my mouth.
They look for a light switch, find one on the wall, but it will do them no good. He removed the bulb weeks ago; 'for your own good,' he'd said. And it was better for me to be in the dark, not to have to see the squalor, the almost empty room. I'd thanked him as well as I was able. Why wouldn't I, for he had cared for me like no one else has ever done.
One of the officers approaches me. "It's okay. You're okay now," he said as he began to cut through the bindings. I struggled, and he thought that I was impatient, trying to get myself free quicker. He did not understand that there was a good reason for the ropes, that I wanted them left there securing me in place.
First my arms were free, then my legs. Without them holding me in position I flopped forward like a rag-doll, my limbs hanging ineffectively. My muscles had grown accustomed to their position and now the sudden freedom was agony. I cried out in pain and again they did not understand.
"Easy now," the same officer said while another was on the radio calling for medical backup. I did not need treatment from any doctor; only he understood my needs. My captor, no, my carer, understands me in a way no one else has done or can ever do.
Why isn't he here when I need him the most?
The next moment I am flooded with guilt for having those thoughts for I can hear his familiar footsteps. They have not heard him yet; their hearing is not so well attuned to his movements as mine is. I should warn him, for it's like some film is playing in my mind, showing them shooting him and I cannot bear the thought that I have played a part in his death.
"Lo..." My voice fails me. It has been so long since I have spoken, even longer since I have shouted. My throat is dry. I know that he is on his way with water for me to drink. I cough once, twice, try again. "Look out," I say.
It comes out as barely more than a whisper and the officer spins round, his gun at the ready. He thinks my warning is for him but it wasn't... I need to try again. "Look out!" This time I manage to shout so loud it makes me flinch.
He'll know something is wrong, for when he had left me the gag had been firmly in place. I can only hope that he turns around and runs, but oh, how I wish I was with him. He could take me with him, carry on taking care of me...
I push my feet down to the ground and the pain shoots up from my toes right the way up my legs. How long has it been since I have stood up on my feet? Biting my lip hard enough to draw blood, I push myself up from the chair. I can't straighten my back up but instead am stuck in this kind of stooped position. The officer tries to hold me back but it is impossible for him to do so while keeping his gun trained on the door.
The footsteps are still approaching. I can see his shadow now. "Don't come in," I beg. "Run!"
But he doesn't listen to me. Why would he when it has been him calling all the shots? It's like everything begins to move in slow motion. He turns into the door, and four guns are aimed on him, ready to fire. They let him come into the room before firing. He staggers backwards, his face a mask of shock and pain, then he falls to the ground.
An animal scream fills the room. It's coming from me, I realize, as I throw myself onto him, begging him to be okay, to talk to me, to take care of me. His eyes stare up at me, blank, devoid of recognition and of life.
What am I going to do without him? I cling to his body, tears flowing freely to run from my face to his. I can't let him go, but one of the officers is pulling me away.
"Stockholm Syndrome," I hear one of them say.
"I can't understand how she can have developed any feelings towards this murdering piece of scum." A foot reaches out and gives his body a kick.
There's a growl of anger building up in me. How dare they treat him like that? But there's also a feeling of amusement. They thought it was him...
Suddenly energized by a mixture of hysteria and hatred, I pull the gun from one of them, start shooting. One, two, three, four: they never even had a chance to let off one single shot at me.
The murders, they thought that he'd committed them, that he was holding me as some kind of hostage. But it had never been that way at all. He loved me, was taking care of me, and of society too. He wasn't the murderer, I was. And now the police had set me free.