77 ~ A Horror Story··Novl duration 35 mins
77 ~ A Horror Story
"This is not real!" the young girl thought, hoping against hope that with enough repetition the phrase would somehow change her reality. She repeated the four words to herself over and over again until they droned on in her head like the din of a thousand bees . "This is only a dream. Please wake up!"
Pain wracked her body and with each tiny movement, some nerve ending somewhere reminded her of a horrendous activity she experienced in that location. Images and details of the past several hours faded in and out with her consciousness and were now far from anything linear. Nothing made sense anymore; fear and pain were the only constants in this new unwelcome world.
Thud, thud, thud.
Several wooden boards creaked and popped beneath the weight of something heavy as it moved over the young woman's head.
The girl flinched as a door suddenly flew open, flooding the dingy, dark room with a bright light that painfully sprayed into her tear-filled eyes like a firehose. She quickly slammed them shut in response.
Slowly, the girl opened her eyelids to find the shadowy outline of her tormentor standing in the center of the luminous doorway. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she observed what appeared to be the outline of a sharp object clutched in the man's fist. "No...No! This can't be happening! Please, no more!" she whimpered, however, the words were no more than inaudible, muffled noise.
The young woman's senses heightened as her fight or flight impulse once again sent adrenaline coursing through her veins. As he approached, she heard the sound of stretching leather from the man's jacket as he slowly lifted an ice pick and placed the tip of it on her thigh. He smiled as he lightly drug the sharp point over her abdomen and up toward her chest. Her body quaked uncontrollably. She wanted so desperately to scream, but could not, stifled by whatever it was over her mouth.
The girl's flaring nostrils involuntarily inhaled the stench of cheap, cigarette tinged cologne as the man loomed over her restrained naked body. Turning her head away from her captor, the young woman closed her eyes. Her skin crawled as she felt the man's hot, putrid breath near her face and heard the sound of his moist tongue dragging itself over his teeth and lips. Beads of sweat from his forehead dripped onto her neck and then the side of her face.
It was as if she were experiencing a nightmare as well as reality all at the same time. A cold realization that no matter how much her will to survive burned her from the inside, commanding...pleading...screeching at her to run, it would all be over soon and she had no power to stop it. The spark that made her who she was...
"Sleep, my sweet Claudia," the killer said, placing the tip of the metal object to the girl's temple. "Sleep!"
"Katarina! Time to get up!" shouted a woman's distant voice from somewhere downstairs.
"What? Who?" the girl mumbled sleepily. "Where am I?" She quickly sat up, patted her face, and then ran her fingers over her head and down the length of her brunette hair. Jumping from the bed, she sprinted across her lavender room to stand before the full length oval mirror that stood watch in the corner like a silent soldier.
Katarina examined her reflection. Her mind was on fire. "Okay, you're okay, Kat. It wasn't real." She took a deep breath and calmed herself, trudging back to her bed to lie down once more. "It was just another nightmare."
"Kat! Did you hear me? Time to get up, breakfast is ready!"
"Dammit!" the girl said through gritted teeth. She grabbed the pillow from beneath her head and placed it over her face. Katarina screamed into it. "Why are you here again?"
"Up and at 'em, sunshine," came a man's voice along with several light taps at her bedroom door.
"Leave me alone, dad! I feel like shit."
"Uh huh. What's wrong with you now, sugar bear?"
Katarina thought for a moment and then replied, "Girl troubles."
"Okay, I'll tell Linda you're staying home. She was going to drive you to the junior college today since your car is in the shop."
"Oh, hell no," the girl thought to herself. "I'm not going anywhere with her."
"Alright, I'm off to work. I hope you get to feeling better. Call me if you need something, okay? Love you."
"Right." Kat could hear the muted voices issuing up from below and frowned. She hated her father's girlfriend with a passion. Ms. Self-righteous, Ms. Fake Sugary-sweetness, and everything else her wonderful mom wasn't. Her mom was a real person. This new woman in her dad's life was an insufferable, opportunistic bitch and for some reason he couldn't see it.
Linda was a very attractive blonde in her late 40s and supposedly her mother's closest, dearest friend. "Some best friend," Kat thought, imagining there had to be something going on between her dad and Linda while her mother was dying in the hospital. Hell, it was only a few weeks after the funeral that Kat came home from college to hear moaning and groaning emanating from her father and mother's bedroom.
Katarina wanted to puke. After that, Kat's world became a string of sleepless nights, listening to the headboard banging on the wall and then, finally, last night when the trio attempted to go out to eat, she found she had to distance herself from her dad and Linda and their nauseating public display of affection bordering on indecency. It was embarrassing and she had finally had enough. "Why did you have to die and leave me here like this, mom?"
"Knock, knock. Katarina, you want me to get..."
"Go to hell, Linda!"
"That's not very lady-like, Kat," the woman said softly through the door.
"Don't call me Kat! Only family calls me that, you hear? You're not family and you are not my mom! And for that matter, you're no one that should attempt to offer advice on acting like a lady! I hear you and dad in there."
"Yeah, um...Look, honey, I really want to be part of your family, if you would only give me a chance, we could be great friends. I know it." Silence. "Let me in and we'll talk. I'm really good at listening."
"I said, go away, skank!"
"Please, Katarina, I need to tell you something..."
"Shut up, Linda, I don't want to hear it. Just go away." The girl buried her face in the pillow once more and waited to hear the dull sounds of footsteps trailing away from her door and down the stairs. When she thought everyone had left and the house was empty, Kat slowly opened her door and tip-toed down the staircase into the home's stark white living area. She glanced around and then lifted a finger to a digital panel mounted on the wall activating the stone fireplace that stood in the center of the room. It was her mother's favorite part of the whole house. Not Linda's. She always shut it off.
The young woman shuffled into the kitchen and opened the door to the refrigerator. She easily located what she assumed to be her breakfast, a plate of pancakes and bacon left on one of the appliance's illuminated shelves. Kat cocked her jaw and exhaled, shaking her head. Linda apparently arranged the bacon into the shape of a smile with three raspberries strategically positioned above the meat forming two eyes and a nose. It was something her mom used to do. "Dad must have showed her that trick...evil bitch," Katarina thought.
Picking the berries from the pancakes, she popped them all at once into her mouth and then extracted the dish and an energy soda from the fridge's cold interior. She turned and placed both items on the grey marble kitchen countertop, closing the stainless steel door with a kick.
"Well, I guess I'll go down to the pool hall and see if Mark or Hydro is around. Maybe they can spot me some sample weed or something." Katarina wasn't fooling anyone, even herself. She didn't go down there for the pot she just went to gawk at the shop's gorgeous owner, Mark Cooper. Kat sighed and then opened the microwave door to set the food inside.
After a few moments, the machine beeped and Katarina extracted the steamy plate from the machine, snagged the soda from the counter, and proceeded toward the living area. Setting her food down on the plush white sofa positioned in the center of the large room, an act that would have whipped her mother into a frenzy years previous, Kat proceeded to dig around between the snowy cushions searching for the entertainment panel's remote.
"Ah, there you are!" she exclaimed, raising the device above her head like a sword. She then pointed it at the television mounted above the fireplace. A dielectric glass panel embedded in the wall next to the T.V. began to glow as several electronic components hidden behind its surface activated.
Click. "...thanks John for that rundown on our local sports teams. Now, in other news, police are still canvasing the area around the location where the body of nineteen-year-old Claudia Pelton, a second year nursing student at Bolivar Junior College was discovered early this morning. Surveillance camera footage from a nearby ATM camera..."
"Wow. That's messed up," Kat wondered aloud. "I bet you I saw her around school and didn't even realize it. Come to think of it, I had to of, because that name sounds so familiar..." She shrugged her shoulders and then began flipping through the channels.