(Want & Decay Trilogy,#1)
Copyright © 2015
“Sometimes I’m terrified of my heart; of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants. The way it stops and starts.”—Edgar Allan Poe
A low hum rouses me from hazed sleep. I can feel light over me and it hurts to open my eyes. My vision is blurred but only for a moment. Lying face up, the first thing I see is a single light bulb; its dull amber glow hangs above me swinging slightly on a cable. A dull pain has settled in the back of my head.
The taste of blood tinges the back of my throat. I lift myself but dizziness takes over, like I just got off one of those crazy carnival rides. My head feels like a bowling ball. A low moan escapes my throat. Beyond the dim bulb I see wood beams and the dust that has settled on them. Flowers dangle from the beams on string—assorted, daises, tulips, roses. Some of them are badly dried and wilted. There are a few fresh ones too. They hang above me like a makeshift chandelier.
I try to sit up again, but I can’t– I’m restrained. My arms, they’re stretched out on either side of me. I lift my legs, my ankles restrained also. Now I see the thick ropes around my arms. I’m tied down, tightly. The pressure from the ropes burns my wrists.
Oh, God…what has happened? I close my eyes tight trying to force a memory and all I can remember is Thomas.
An unrecognizable sound startles me—I open my eyes, my heart seizes. Someone is nearby. I can hear shuffling. A loud bang causes my body to jolt upward. The persistent banging rattles my nerves. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; my saliva thickens like a bloody paste.
I can see things around me but can’t quite make out what they are. The images swirl around and the wave of nausea that bids vomiting surpasses my state of fear. I turn my head so I don’t choke on the hot bile rushing up my throat. The smell of it makes me vomit again. I turn my head to the other side to escape the odor, can feel the profuse warm fluid ooze behind my neck and into my hair. The banging turns frantic, out of control. I want to scream but I’m afraid to. I can hear my own breathing—too loud. I try to control my quick, unsteady breaths.
And then the banging stops.
An odd stillness settles and stifles the air. The corners of the room are desperately dark and I fear what hides in them. An old bicycle with a dirty basket rests against the wall. An antiquated washing machine sits in the corner; soiled clothing hangs out of the open lid, like a timeworn monster devouring its prey. A wooden rocking chair near the center of the room rocks ever so faintly before bringing itself to a sluggish stop. It looks like Grandma Shirley’s rocker. The one she still sits in when she visits.
Two rectangular windows side by side are boarded up. A few streams of sun break through cracks in the panels and speckles of dust dance in the creeks of light. I can’t look away from the floating dirt and watching it makes me dizzy again. I’m cold, it’s so cold.
Why am I here?
There’s a pungent smell, not just my vomit. Smells like earth, rotting meat and bleach. I didn’t notice it before but now the stench overwhelms me. Heavy footsteps come from behind and walk closer. I can’t catch my breath, can’t stop my body from shaking. My tongue clicks against my teeth, stuttering, refusing to form words. A hand gently moves my damp hair away from my cheeks, my body trembles brutally.
“You’re finally awake,” he says as if talking to a child.
He takes a cloth, roughly wipes it over my face, placing far too much pressure on my mouth, pressing my top lip hard against my teeth and gums. When he lifts the cloth there is blood, my blood. He leans down closer, like a doctor examining his patient.
He’s the man who captured my heart with little effort. I have loved him, stubbornly. I’d thought he loved me. But there’s no light in his eyes. It has been replaced with coldness I believed him incapable of. The sound of chains rattle nearby followed by a low moan. Someone’s here with us, sounds wounded. The moans and whimpers shake my core.
A question dangles from my lips but they quiver uncontrollably. I’m unable to speak. I glance at Thomas and then look away. I’m afraid to look at him, afraid of…him. A memory rushes to the forefront of my mind. The house, his house, the kitchen window…
“Thomas, please…” My throat is so dry. “I love you. Thomas, you know I do.” I want him to hold me. Instead, he shakes his head.
“You don’t know what love is, Ivy. But I plan to show you.”
He looks away, distracted, his focus on something behind me—that banging. He steps into the shadows. A high-pitched scream fills the room. The hairs on my arms erect. Thomas sits in that wooden rocker, rocking gently, his dead eyes on me, and then drifts past me, beyond my view.
I use my head as leverage to lift and arch my back as far as I can. The tight, thick ropes limit me but I stretch my neck. I can see behind me, my view upside down. There’s a door—wooden, cracked, and shackled with a heavy chain and large padlock. The door shakes slightly and then harder, rattling the chain.
I relax my back and neck and bring my body to an unsettling rest.
Thomas’ eyes are closed, as he rocks slowly in that chair. It creeks slightly, creating a hypnotizing rhythm.
Loud banging continues coming from behind that door …
I can’t stop my body from shuddering. My limbs rattle against the surface I lay on. Is it a table? It’s hard, cold. I don’t know what he’s capable of, this man I have loved. The only thing I can think to do is beg Thomas to let me go.
“Thomas, pleeaaase. Please, just …”
He opens his eyes slowly and puts his finger close to his lips. “Shhhh.” He bears a haunting smile and points toward the shackled door.
What’s behind that door?
I feel like I can’t get enough air into my lungs— panic threatens to suffocate me.
“Ivy,” Thomas says, his voice is flat, “I want you to know … you’ve brought this on yourself.”