EXCERPT FROM THE
The body lay between us for what felt like hours.
Looking back, I realize it was probably only a couple minutes. We watched it warily; we’d seen enough horror movies to know we couldn’t accept death so easily—surely it’d crack an eye open.
Any minute now.
Colin kept the gun trained though, with a remarkably steady hand for someone who was wearing a shirt soaked with sweat. The single bulb that hung from the basement ceiling swayed, waltzing weak light over the corpse.
I watched the light weave around my feet instead; they were less horrifying to look at. The splinters and abrasions that decorated my filthy toes didn’t hurt anymore. But I suspected they’d still need to be amputated so the necrosis wouldn’t spread.
My wrists didn’t hurt either. They’d been tied together for so long, I wondered if I’d lost nerve endings. I gave them an experimental wiggle.
“Colin,”I whispered. It seemed like it’d been forever since I’d spoken.
He didn’t answer, didn’t blink, didn’t do anything at all but aim that dark hole in the gun barrel at the body between us.
“Colin,”I said, louder this time, extending a finger toward the body. “…let’s get out of here.”
He still didn’t speak aloud, but he didn’t need to. We’d had enough silent conversations for me to get the gist of his thoughts. He looked at me, dead-eyed. His eyes had been dead since the moment I met him, and I wondered if they’d ever been alive.
“One more minute,” he said. Flat. Deader than his eyes, even.
A shudder tore through me.
“Cameron, we’re safe now. We just need to make for goddamned sure that it’s gonna stay dead. Okay?”
He smiled when I nodded my assent, but it was a weak one. I appreciated it anyway, and hoped that he was right, that we’d be fine. The last time we thought we might make it out alive, there were three of us. Our number had dwindled. Only me and Colin now. Just a couple more minutes. A couple more minutes was nothing compared to the weeks we’d already been here.
Colin’s hand tensed on his weapon. He wasn’t going to take another gamble.
It was past one a.m., and the violet sky was pregnant with a full, bloated moon. He watched her stumble home through the college campus. Every now and then a dorm room door would burst open and more of them would tumble out, hideous pop music and drunken laughter puncturing the tepid air. Didn’t they have better things to get on with? Studying, perhaps?
He slapped a mosquito and wiped its dead, brittle body from his elbow.
She didn’t see him standing in the shadows as she lurched nearer. Typical that she’d be drunk. A drunk cheerleader, who would have thought. He’d almost given up hope of ever finding her again. Until tonight. It had to be a sign—act now.
The sway of her hips reminded him of the girls he’d gone to high school with. That and the blonde hair that bounced on her shoulders. It was natural blonde, he could tell when she walked underneath a streetlamp and it spotlighted her. No hideous dark roots on this little beauty. Gold, interwoven with copper and palest yellow—beautiful.
He cocked his head, appraising her. She looked the same as she had two years ago. Better, even. Tight dark jeans and one of those tiny tank tops that didn’t entirely cover her ample chest. Strange how such a slim-hipped girl could be so endowed in the chest area. He rather liked it, though.
He stepped out in front of her, and she nearly ran into him.
“Whoops!” She crowed, and her voice grated his nerves. Too high and cheerful. Those voices only sounded nice when they were screaming. She steadied herself with his arm. Small hands, with a what kind of manicure—French?
He laughed aloud when he thought about what those cute little hands would look like in a few weeks’ time.
“What’s funny?” She asked, smiling up at him. A wide smile with pretty, plump lips, and two perfect rows of perfectly white teeth—how could he resist taking her? His other one was almost done. Made sense to snatch her when she’d been practically begging for it. Again. Hadn’t learned her lesson the first time around. What sort of girl stumbled home drunk at one in the morning? A slut, that sort of girl.
But why didn’t she recognize him?
He was quick with the duct tape. Any college janitor would have to be, he guessed, as he slammed a silver stretch of it over those sweet, glossy lips. Her eyes went wide, and the moon reflected in them. Pretty eyes too, lined with a full fringe of thick black lashes. The color was almost too beautiful to be confined to a face—it belonged to the ocean, or the sky.
Her manicured fingers bit into his forearms as she struggled. Well drunk girls didn’t struggle for long.
He spun her around and imagined he was dancing with her. He’d never really learned to waltz when they’d taught it in his high school P.E classes, but he liked his own dance better. His forearm snaked around her throat, the other hand in a fistful of pretty blonde hair.
Her fighting increased, but only for a moment. Little thing like her couldn’t hold out for too long. Not in a choke hold, anyway.
She fell against him, limp, and he flipped her back around to get a better look at that face. Her jaw hung slack and her eyes were closed. She’d painted her lids with black liner and nude shadows. Bedroom eyes. Even with her mouth hanging open in absolute oblivion, she was still pretty.
His campus van wasn’t too far away, so he slung the girl over his shoulder like rolled-up rug and carted her out to it. When she was snug in the backseat, he was quick with his roll of duct tape once again, and wrapped it around her sexy little torso. Several times, because he’d learned, and the very fucking hard way, that more was best. He definitely didn’t want this one trying to bust free.
Her eyelids began to flutter when he pulled back to shut the car door. He’d had this one before, and re-runs could be dull sometimes, he thought as he slammed the door. Same old shit, but maybe he’d be struck by a creative lightning bolt, come up with some new games they could play.
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