Authors: R. J. Lewis
Copyright ©2015 R.J. Lewis. All rights reserved.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, place, events, and other elements portrayed herein are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to real persons or events is coincidental.
The setting of this story is completely fake, derived purely from the imagination of the author.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photography, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system without the prior consent from the publisher and author, except in the instance of quotes for reviews. No part of this book may be uploaded without the permission of the publisher and author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is originally published.
Funny what happens when you know you’re going to your death.
Your life suddenly feels like a million miles away in a separate reality. I couldn’t remember names or places anymore. I couldn’t remember a damn thing when fear had invaded every atom of my being, forcing me in place.
My hands were bound tightly behind my back, and I hesitantly breathed in the damp walls of the cellar I’d been thrown in just a day ago. Everything was black. I had roamed the tiny space for hours and hours, searching for a way out, but there was nothing but hard surfaces and silence.
God, the silence was murder all on its own.
I stopped fighting for a way out hours ago, when the hope I’d clung to dwindled away into the void. I began to accept my fate. They were going to kill me. I didn’t know how, but at this point it didn’t matter.
I stopped crying too.
Now I was just staring down at the ground, seeing nothing but black. Blackness everywhere. I felt resigned to this black. I wanted it to take me, consume me so that I’d stop praying for the light.
I stopped thinking about my father and how he’d cope the loss of his one and only child. I stopped thinking about my mother, and how her dreams of me walking down the aisle dressed in white would die away. I stopped thinking about my friends, the fake and the true, and I knew they’d mourn but carry on. I stopped thinking about my students, and how their young minds might struggle to understand the absence of their teacher.
I stopped thinking about them all, and thought of just one person. One man. The man that’d come back for me, mysteriously rich, mysteriously different, and nothing like the mess he’d been before. He was the one and only man I’d ever truly loved who was broken in a way I’d never fix.
Would he move on from me?
I hoped so.
I hoped he’d let me go and find a woman who could heal his pain.
Suddenly more tears formed, and I sucked in a breath, pained beyond measure, at the jilted life we’d led.
I doze in and out, my sadness heavy in my chest. My hands grew numb and my mouth went dry, and I wondered if I’d been left here to die.
And then I heard it, the sound of footsteps approaching the door, tearing through the silence. I tensed as the person unlocked it and shoved it wide open. I expected bright light to flood my vision, but it was dim and shadowy instead. A large body stood in the doorway, and trepidation coiled inside my belly. Was this my kidnapper? There had been two of them waiting inside my apartment, springing on me when I stepped into the shower, drugging me and dumping me, nude and vulnerable, in this very place for what felt like an eternity.
I backed away into the corner of the cellar as he slowly walked in, taking measured steps toward me. I couldn’t see his features, not with the balaclava he was wearing. Nothing about him spoke of his identity, but I could feel a cold chill in the air, could feel his lunacy, and it was further confirmed when he pulled a knife out of his pocket. I lost all air in my lungs.
“I won’t hurt you… yet,” he told me, his voice low and hard. He didn’t sound monstrous like he was. He sounded young, actually.
I felt chills run down my spine as he invaded my space, grabbing at my hands. I shook hard, holding back a whimper before I felt my hands come away freely.
“Do anything stupid, and I’ll tie you up again,” he warned me.
My shoulders and arms were sore. I rubbed at my wrists, stretching out my fingers, watching him move his tall frame to the other side of the tiny cellar. He slid down the wall, that blade still in his grip, and stared back at me.
There was that silence again, and when your days are usually surrounded by eight year old chatterboxes, the silence takes rank on the endangered species list, barely there and only in small numbers.
“What…what do you want?” I finally trembled out. “Is this about my father?”
He chuckled, and it sounded contrived. “The judge? No, it’s not about your father, but you already know that. You know what this is about. Say it.”
I looked down at my hands, shivering. “Marcus.”
“Mm. Good girl,” he said, approvingly.
For a split second my gaze shot to the opened cellar door.
“No,” I heard him say. “There’s no way out of this. Don’t even delude yourself into thinking you can escape. Nobody will hear your screams, we’re that isolated, and my brother will just hunt you down like sport if you think of running. He’s the hunter, you know, and he’s very good at it.”
My shoulders slumped. Tears fell from my eyes, that hopeless feeling tugging on my insides, splitting my spirit apart. I’d never felt so vulnerable in my life.
“Is this a ransom then?” I trembled out, knowing it wasn’t even before I’d asked. “Because if it is, Marcus will give you whatever you want. I know he will.”
“I’m sure he’d give me the fucking universe for you,” he replied. “But no. This isn’t a ransom.”
I swallowed. “Then what do you want?”
“I’m here to kill some time, to find out a little more about the mysterious Marcus Borden and the privileged teacher he returned for.”
“If this is about where he’s been the last four years, I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know where he got the money. I don’t know anything.”
“No, I’m sure you don’t,” he replied, dryly. He knew I was lying. “But it’s not about that. We don’t give a fuck about that.”
I looked away from his penetrating stare.
“I wonder why a beautiful wealthy woman like yourself got involved with a piece of shit like him in the first place.”
I wiped my eyes. “He’s not a piece of shit.”
“Well, not now, not anymore, but he was once, wasn’t he? Before he cleaned himself up, before he came back for you, he was just another thug. Did you fall for his lines? Did he promise you the world?”
“So, then tell me. Help me understand.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “You couldn’t understand. You can’t explain our relationship with words. It was all feelings, right from the start.”
He shrugged. “That’s fine. Start from the beginning. Where did you meet the guy?”
I started to shake my head, not wanting to share that personal history with a man that was going to kill me, but then…just the mere thought of Marcus settled me. He’d always provided me comfort. He’d evolved so drastically, and I worried what would become of him after I was gone. It wouldn’t be so wrong to reminisce, just about this anyway. Would it?
“Come on,” my killer pressed, condescendingly. “Was it magical? Did you look at him and know he was it for you?”
“No,” I murmured.
I certainly didn’t. Not for a long time. Not until he was gone, even.
“How old were you?”
“I was nineteen…” I began, and suddenly all the moments with him, the good, the bad… all those moments began flashing before my eyes.
The first time I officially met Marcus Borden was five years ago at a house party my College friend invited me to. It was far from where I lived, in a neighbourhood I didn’t belong in, and surrounded by people harder than I was.
He was on his own, completely separate from the group in the far back corner of the yard. He was wearing a baggy pair of jeans that hung low on his hips, and he was shirtless, his lean abs covered in tattoos. Actually, his entire upper body was riddled in them, these sexy intricate designs that other knockabouts like him had.
I watched him light up a cigarette and stare up at the dimming sky, and I remember feeling intrigued by him. I wondered just then what was going through his mind, what kind of thoughts lurked in the recesses of his soul, causing him to look so melancholic. I imagined the depth that resided in him, or maybe that was just the artsy hopeless romantic in me.
I knew all about Marcus Borden.
Knew he was just a thug.
An untameable man, one that’d been with several girls at my school, and they weren’t afraid to let you know about it, singing their praises about the man with the magic mouth that was capable of the most wicked things.
He was the man I’d often admired from afar and could never admit out loud.
Everywhere I went, it seemed like he was always there. He knew everybody, and everybody knew him.
And there I was, a privileged naïve woman who came from wealth, moving to him like my body had its own agenda, while my brain was muted by the two or so beers I’d hastily downed. Maybe I wanted to get back at my father for this, maybe I was just trying to step out of my comfort zone, or maybe I had a severe soft spot for dysfunctional bad boys after all the hundreds of romance books I’d devoured between study sessions.
I didn’t know what it was.
I just knew I wanted to break free of the monotony. To stop being people-pleasing Kate Davenoth, daughter of Judge Douglas Davenoth the third, the first in all her classes, a straightA student that towed the line all her life.
I stopped a few feet behind him and glanced around the yard. There was chatter everywhere. People laughing, screaming, calling for more shots over the loud thumping music. I glanced at my friend Sophie chatting up some hot guy beside the pool I was sure she’d go home with, and I remembered her words before we got here.
, she’d said.
Do something crazy for once! Learn to have fun. Find a hot guy at this place and get laid!
I watched her confidence radiating out of her, and I wanted that confidence too. I wanted to be alluring and sexy. I wanted to be able to crook my finger at this sexy thug and bring him to his knees.
But I didn’t.
I was suddenly too chicken-shit. I went completely still behind him, asking myself what the hell I was trying to do. Dad would kill me if he knew I was here, let alone talking to a guy like him, a guy that had probably seen the prison bars one too many times.
I turned around.
This was insane! I wasn’t that girl that obliterated caution and jumped into bed without going on the normal fifteen to twenty dates. I didn’t mingle with guys like him. I was upper class, goddammit! And boring. So damn boring. I couldn’t let loose. I couldn’t even change my daily routine without having an anxiety attack.
His voice, hard and smooth, broke through my warring thoughts, washing them away like waves retreating from the shore. I turned around, still stiff, still cowardice and feeling out of my depth, and met his gaze. His head was turned in my direction, his mouth pulled up in a mouth-watering smirk as his eyes danced along my face and body.
“You made it all the way here,” he added, that voice laced with confidence. “No point turning back now.”
Then he gestured to the plastic chair next to him, inviting me to sit with him, and I shouldn’t have done it, but I couldn’t help myself. I was on this side of the yard for
, after all. I’d made the epic twenty four step journey. No point turning back now just because I was scared as shit.
Conscious of his gaze, I shot him a hesitant smile and walked over to the chair and sat down. My body was straight as an arrow, my hands nestled in my lap, my face timidly turned in his direction. He eyed me again, and this time his smirk turned into a full blown grin. Wow, he had a nice smile. It was slightly boyish with dimples at the end and full lips. While I swooned just a little, I also felt like the butt of some joke, and in hindsight, I understood why. I was the prissy type, all dressed to impress in my girly pink clothes, and I was sitting next to a half-naked guy with tattoos everywhere, smoking a cigarette I fought not to wrinkle my nose at.
“Relax,” he softly told me, looking between my straight back and the amount of space left on the plastic chair.
“I am relaxed,” I assured him.
“You look a little stiff.”
I was completely stiff, and I was sure I didn’t sound believable.
We sat in silence for several minutes. He was completely at ease, finishing the rest of his cigarette off while he curiously glanced at me, meanwhile I was on the verge of losing my mind. Just how did a girl loosen up around a man like him? He was nothing like the stuck up guys I grew up with. The complete eyesores who drove their daddy’s Lamborghinis around town with their popped collars and ten thousand dollar watches.
It was possible the allure was that he was hard and I was just a naïve moron seeking a thrill. Just a lick of something forbidden. For one night, nothing more.
“So what did you have in mind when you came all the way over here, beautiful?” he suddenly asked, his bright blue eyes on mine. “Looking for some good stuff?”
I paused. “Good stuff?”
He shrugged nonchalantly. “Yeah, you want some weed? Looking to get high with your Barbie doll friends? What’s your poison, babe?”
My jaw dropped, and I immediately shook my head. “N-No poison. I don’t smoke weed.”
“Snort any shit?”