Threatening to kill her now meant that he actually planned to kill her later. He was waiting for something. Something important enough to keep her alive at least a little bit longer. Something that would buy me more time to formulate a plan and escape.
Perhaps I still had a chance.
The rest of the living room passed by me in a dim blur. He pushed me through the crumbling door frame and down a narrow hallway. Bare white walls. Popcorn ceiling.
Led me to a dark room. Through the shadows I could see faint rectangular outlines. Something silver shone against the walls.
He had brought me to the kitchen.
Her memories appear intrusively into my mind.
One of his lackeys stood inches from her face. His thick, beefy fingers wrapped around the worn black handle of a rusty steel knife.
She took small, careful steps backwards until her lower back found the edge of the counter top. Her fingers confirmed it was made of marble.
Carefully she let her hands inch backwards. Fingers splayed.
He snatched the knife before she could reach it. The fluorescent lights above his nearly bald head shone off the clean blade, matching the malicious glint in his large grey eyes.
The mole on his cheek shifted upward as his face twisted into a sickeningly evil grimace. “D’ya I wouldn’ see that?” Decade of smoking had taken it’s toll on his breath and coarse, rumbling voice.
Her slurred his words slightly. Drunk off his ass.
A trembling hand aimed for her shoulder. She ducked at the last possible second.
The knife lodged itself deep into the wall and had remained there ever since.
Her face throbs at the residual sting of the slap he’d dealt her for resisting.
My feet found the edge of the trapdoor he’d opened that first night. The crevice in the floor was a thick line, slightly crooked from countless chips over the years. A metallic noise echoed around me as I took another step forward, gently nudging the handle.
“You know the drill,” he said in a thick, irritated voice. “Get down there or I’ll throw you myself.” I could hear the way his lips twitch as he forms the words quickly. Anger laced the syllables.
A creak told me he’d opened the trapdoor. It echoed around the room, slicing through the dry air.
Her bare feet remembered the texture of the moldy boards. They’d been neglected for years, abused by water over time and never properly cleaned.
The basement sat in a similar state of disarray. As her eyes adjusted to the dim light from the single bulb in the middle of the decaying ceiling, I saw the peeling yellow paint on the crumbling plaster walls. In one corner sat the pieces of a wine rack. The thick slabs of wood were thoroughly cracked, a few were snapped in half.
The rest of the room was empty save for cobwebs in the corners and rodent droppings along the walls. It smelled damp and musty.
He closed the trapdoor behind him. Scraping crossed the ceiling above me. A groan as the trapdoor was hunkered down by the weight of something heavy.
One heartbeat. Two.
I limped back to the stairs. On hands and knees I crawled up each of the steps and listened carefully. Her ears could pick up no sounds on the other side.