James was taking her down the hall to the bathroom, when a car horn beeped outside. He looked at her blankly, listening. The moment of distraction gave her an instant to slip past the door and slam it shut. She turned the lock just as he rattled the handle from the outside.
“Open the door,” he said. “Open the fucking door, Nicole.” She could hear the pressure in his voice. Her heart was racing. She glanced around the bathroom. She wanted to start screaming for help, hoping the visitor would hear, but she went to the window instead. It was tiny and jammed shut. Her fingers clamped the edge, and she tried to lift it. She applied all her strength, half crying, and it finally slid open. She frantically stuck one leg out the window, and just managed to squeeze through.
From the look James had had on his face, she guessed he hadn’t recognized the car horn, so the visitor must be a stranger, but she couldn’t be certain. She couldn’t be certain the person would even be able to help. If it was Tony he would just go around and wait for her under the window, while James busted through the bathroom door. One of them would get her, then they both would hurt her. She decided to try and climb down the side of the house. It was a two story place. She precariously held on to what she could. She made it surprisingly close to the ground, then fell the rest of the way. It sprained her ankle, but she got up and ran. She went around to the front of the house. She couldn’t see anyone. There was a car parked next to James’s truck, but she didn’t know what Tony’s car looked like.
She didn’t wait around to see who it was. She ran from the house, following down the dirt road. If she went into the trees she’d get lost, nobody would find her. She ran like one possessed, forgetting her injuries. She was wearing her white dress, but her feet were bare.
A brief moment she glanced back to see how far she’d made it, and she saw James. He had just come out the front door. The second he saw her, he started running after her.
Panic went through her, cold as ice water, and she found out just how powerfully she could really run. It wasn’t enough. She had a huge head start, but he was gaining on her. She had to go faster. She couldn’t go any faster. He was getting closer. Oh, God, he was fast! She didn’t know how anyone could move that fast. She began to sob through clenched teeth, knowing he was so close. She screamed as he tackled her, and they fell together. He grappled with her, his hands around her throat, strangling her. She lost consciousness and regained it. At that point he began to slam her head into the ground, then dragged her facedown along the ground like an animal, half way back to the house. Then he picked her up and carried her all the way inside. He threw her on the floor, and shut the door.
“Get in there! Get in there!” He kicked her along the floor into the lounge, forcing her to crawl. “Get in there you friggin’ bitch!”
She bunched into a tight ball, not knowing what he was going to do. She looked up and saw that he was dragging someone else into the room. A middled aged man. He was bleeding from the head, and he had been hogtied, but he was conscious. He was gibbering and pleading for his life.
James grabbed the unopened packet of underpants he had bought for her. He tore it opened and stuffed one of the panties into the man’s mouth, and wrapped duct tape around his head to silence him. Then he threw the tape roll across the room.
“Fuck! Fuck, Nicole!” he said, holding his head as if he didn’t know what to do. “Look what you’ve fucking done now!”
He walked over and slugged her in the side of the head with his fist. She stayed on the floor cowering, while he went over to get the duct tape. Her nose felt as if it was running, but she saw on her hands it was bleeding. He taped her wrists together, then shoved her back onto the ground. He retrieved a pair of scissors, and cut at her dress, almost tearing it off.
“I should kill you, you bitch!” he said. She cowered on the floor, her dress shredded to rags. She saw that the man was looking at her. He was terrified, and even a little disgusted by her. She was covered in cuts, bruises, blood and dirt.
“Are you looking at her?” said James. He crouched beside the man, grabbed his face and pointed it at Nicole. “Are you looking at her?”
The terrified man shook his head.
“You want to fuck her?”
The man shook his head, emphatically.
“You think she’s hot, and you’d like to fuck her. Admit it. Hey!… Hey! Are you saying she’s a dog?”
The man started to cry, and shook his head. James put his lips next to his ear. “You want to fuck her, don’t you?” He shoved the man’s face into the floor. “Be my fucking guest! She likes to take it up the ass.”
He slumped down on the floor, holding his head between both his hands. Nicole was shaking and crying. She didn’t dare move. After a minute he got back up as if he had resolved what to do.
“You did this, Nicole,” he said, pointing at her as he retrieved the plastic shopping bag. He walked over to the man tied and gagged on the floor.
“No! James! No! Stop!” she said. He put the plastic bag over the man’s head, covering his face entirely, and held it down at the base of his neck, while the body thrashed and strained and struggled.
“Stop!” she screamed. “Stop! Please! Stop! STOP!” she screamed, sobbing hysterically.
He suddenly ripped the plastic bag off the guy’s head. “Well, what am I going to do with him, Nicole?”
“Please…” is all she could sob.
“Why do you care about this prick? You don’t even know him. He wasn’t coming here to take you away, Nicole. He’s just some stupid fuck.”
She looked at him tearfully, with very red eyes. She tried to think of something to say.
“If you go to prison, I won’t get to see you,” she begged.
He crouched in front of her and buried his hands deeply in her hair. “You ran away from me, you fucking ran away!”
“I’m sorry. James, James. I love you.”
He pressed his face to hers. He was on the point of tears himself. “Why’d you run?”
“I was scared.”
“What were you fucking scared of?”
“I thought—I thought—it was your friend. I thought you were going to make me do it again.”
“We’re through with that shit. I told you.”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
“I trusted you. You fucked me, Nicole!”
He stood up and went over to the man and stomped on his head a couple of times. She watched in horror, her mouth open, her lips trembling. She thought he was dead, but then he moved a little, curling tightly into himself.
James rubbed his face, and sniffed a few times, wiping his nose with the back of his hand. He walked over and gripped her behind the neck to make her stand.
“Please… Please…” She felt so fragile, if he threw her on the ground now she would shatter to pieces.
He picked her up and carried her over his shoulder. He took her all the way down to the basement. He dropped her onto the concrete floor, then cut the duct tape off her wrists. He beat her, raped her, and again threatened to kill her. Then he strung her up so that she was hanging by the wrists.
He put his arm around her waist and placed a protective hand over her stomach. “If you weren’t carrying my baby, you’d be dead.”
She didn’t respond. Her arms were extended straight up over her head. She watched him go up the basement stairs, and she was left alone. She moaned painfully. It wasn’t long before the pressure increased on her shoulders and wrists. Her head dropped backwards then forwards with the strain. She noticed there were a few dirty food dishes lying around on the floor.
She had been hanging there for about half an hour, when she heard something move in the wood box in the corner. She thought she heard a moan. “Oh, my God,” she whispered. Someone was in there.