The pain in my hand told me it wasn’t a dream although the dull ache in my swollen fingers had improved from the sharp stab with each pump of my heart before I’d slept. The rattle of the chain as I sat up rang high in my ears confirming it wasn’t the result of chemicals forming pictures in my mind. As did the hunger deep in my belly when I looked around the ruffled blankets where I’d slept to see if he’d at least left me the key.
I should have known. Why had a trusted a man like him? Was he always going to do this all along, despite our burgeoning friendship?
I laughed to myself, shaking my head. Was it only a day since we’d met? But my thoughts darkened as the sound of the engine headed further into the distance. Was it his damaged ego which made him leave? The dent in his masculinity when I’d turned him away, when I’d killed any advance before it could cross his mind. Experience told me what thoughts were heavy in his mind. I’d lumped him with all the men I’d spent time with, each of them who saw me as a challenge, a trophy to turn and etch into the bedpost. A fantasy come true if only he could convince me to bring my girlfriend along to his bedroom.
They’re so kind at first, such gentle men like him. He’d saved my life and me his, but how much of it had been an act to get my clothes off and when he found I wasn’t going to fall, he took off. The pressure rose in my chest, the knot in my stomach growing at the thought of him not even unlocking my bounds or leaving me the key. Knowing I would be at the mercy of the first person to come through the door, alive or otherwise.
Since I was a teen I’d needed no one. Never a man before now and I hated Toni even more for putting me in this position. I knew she’d always wanted me in her control. Our fights, the ends of our serene weeks together came, at least partly because I am my own person. I could never be called hers, would never submit myself fully to another, would never end being me until my heart stopped beating in my chest. At least that phrase still has meaning. Although the dead rose, they weren’t the people they were when they’d lived.
Standing, I traced out the semi-circle with the chain fully extended and my arm stretched as far as it would go. I swallowed down the rising bile of anger and tried to reach out for the shelves as the chain links scratched against the pipe jutting to the wall and into the radiator, the metal like an amplifier. Still, I couldn’t reach any of the shelves and none of the useful items my imagination hoped could help me get free.
My eyes fell on one of rugged plastic boxes open by Ryan’s bed and the smallest of the cameras set up on a tripod, the lens pointing down the aisle; the manual resting open between the three legs.
I held my gaze, stopping my movement, taking a deep breath, my head tilting to the side. The space left by the terrible rattle of the chains filling with confused thought.
Why had he worked to figure out the camera when he would do a runner in the morning?
The thoughts fell from my head as I heard a gun shot in the distance, a second coming soon after with the crunch of gears in the distance. A third soon followed with barely a space as another shook through me, my eyes turning to the windows blocked by the shutters. I pulled hard on the chain, yanking till the tension was too much for my wrist, letting it relax, but it hadn’t come loose, didn’t release its grip. I drew a deep breath, holding still, welcoming the silence, my fear for the noise echoing out through the door sending an invitation to all those around. I hoped it wasn’t too late.
I listened out for more gunfire, for engine sounds, trying to keep still, but while looking around. My eyes caught on anything heavy, water bottles, a can of beans still sealed. Anything I could wield one handed, searching for what would give me the best defence against whatever made the slow, heavy footsteps coming from the corridor.
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Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.