So they'll still talk about me when I die
Entry November 25, 2002
I'd locked the door so that no one could disturb me. Evidently, that didn't work. Sam rapped at the door and threatened to break it down several times before I finally shouted at her.
"Fuck off!" I screamed.
"No!" she said. “Benji, you need to get out of there now. We have to go to the police."
I turned the light to my bedside clock on for the first time in… well, I don't know how long. It shone green, haunting numbers at me that indicated it was three o'clock in the morning. Of the date I wasn't sure.
"Go home and go to bed," I said. "It's late."
That's when she turned into a monster. Sam's fists morphed into massive balls of thunder and continually crashed against the door. If I didn't open it I'm certain she would’ve eventually knocked it down.
"Open the fucking door!" she screamed.
Her voice was like a distant mouse with lungs clogged in rain from the storm.
I covered my eyes with the palm of my hand as I opened the door. As soon as Sam was inside, I shut it behind her to sit in the darkness again. I plopped back down on the bed and let her rant while I stuffed my face in the pillow.
"You're just going to give up?" she said angrily. "That knife didn't prove anything. We don't even know if she was ever there, Benji."
"She would’ve at least called to say that she wasn't coming back. She wouldn't do this to me. No matter how mad she was."
"I agree," she said.
She sat on the edge of my bed. I know this only because I felt the corner by my feet droop down, my face still in the pillow. She sighed again and put her hand on my calf.
"That's why I think that we need to call the police now. She could be really hurt somewhere."
As much as my mind wanted to shut down and roll along the lonely, black highway to maniac city—and as much as my body wanted to remain in a voluntary paralytic state—I knew that she was right. Reluctantly, I pulled the metal chain from the stem of my bedside lamp and the light loomed dimly over half of Sam's face.
Her eyes were puffy and red and the skin beneath them sagged like she too hadn't slept. With the glint of light I saw a pool of sadness glistening over her brown eyes. She wiped her cheek with her wrist as a tear fell.
"They have the tools to find her,” she said. “We don’t.”
In the time I'd spent lying in a depression, masochistically attempting to recall Beth's voice through the remembrance of songs, I found that moment the hardest. Looking at Sam and seeing what the absence of Beth could bring made me ache. She thought and felt just as I did. For a moment, Sam and I were the same person.
"I can't hear her voice," I blurted out. "I've tried. I imagine all the songs she sings but I can't hear her."
I knew how ridiculous I sounded. But Sam didn't seem taken aback by it. There was no confusion over her face after my foolish confession. She didn’t look at me like I was pathetic, which is how I felt. Her jaw clenched and her chin dimpled as more tears erupted in her eyes.
"I think of the Etta James songs she sang,” I continued. “And no matter how often I've heard Beth sing it, I hear Etta James."
Sam wiped her eyes with both wrists this time and I heard the sobs coming from her chest, muffled and suffocated as she tried to hold them in.
"She loved Etta James," I said.
Sam's head shot up and she frowned at me.
"Please don't talk about her like she's dead.”
“I think she is.”
Day 13: A Lovely Challenge
"It is now the twenty-sixth of November," Kyle said.
He marked it with his finger through the mildew on the mirror.
"The stroke of midnight," he added.
It was the first thing he'd actually said to me since he entered the shower room, saving his breath from the fight he'd just had with his sister.
"You said you didn't want to wash her!" Sarah had screamed. "You said that I could do it!"
"Well, she's clean isn't she?" he said.
"I was taking care of her! You said you wouldn't come in here!"
On and on they screamed and cursed at each other over my body, which had pruned and paled in the water.
Sarah left in a huff, shooting a quick glance at me with eyes that repented both failure and recent lies. I scorned her internally for looking at me that way, justifying that her intentions were not kind of heart as her face was attempting to lead me to believe.
"You know, I'd planned to kill you on the thirteenth day," Kyle said.
I quickly thought back to when Benji brought Megan home. It was the thirteenth. But it was early morning when they captured me. It was the fourteenth. I looked to the mirror and eyed the slowly disappearing numbers behind Kyle's head. Today was the twenty-sixth. This was my thirteenth day in hell.
You would think that this realization would bring fear with it, but it didn't. I was relieved that I might finally meet my demise. But he quickly shattered my relief.
"But, as luck would have it, my birthday is in two days," he said.
He limped toward me. I felt myself backing away, sliding along the wet floor with my heels digging into the pools and slipping beneath me. With every inch I backed away, he gained two on me. The pain in my side hindered my movements and my breath. I stopped and glowered at him as he continued toward me. Where was I planning on going anyway? I was already backed into a corner I couldn't ever get out of. There was no escaping. I knew that.
"So I thought I would keep you for another couple of days," he said.
He shrugged and twisted his mouth in an uneven smirk. His tongue came out and circled his mouth, the tip white. His bottom lip turned purple and tucked under his sharp teeth as he bit into it and eyed my body.
"You'll be a beautiful gift for me," he said.
He sucked a deep breath in, smelling the honeydew of the air and closing his eyes. He knelt down in front of me with an exhale. He dropped his crutch and put a supporting hand on the floor tiles. His knuckles were curled up, fingers like the legs of a spider so that his palm wouldn't slip. His other hand found its way to my knee and he smiled as he bent down and kissed my calf.
"I don't care what you do anymore," I said. "I don’t care."
His lips brushed against the side of my leg and he rested his chin on my knee. When he looked up, his eyes mocked a lost child and he pouted his disgusting, purple lips. My palms impulsively pushed into the floor behind my back and my stomach muscles clenched on my ribs.
It hurt to breath. It hurt to talk. It hurt to move. I couldn't even let myself feel any repulsion because cowering and contracting pained me too.
"You don't care if I touch you...," he traced his fingertips down to the middle of my thigh, "here?"
I stared at him with dead eyes.
"What about here?" he asked, trailing his fingers up to my hipbone.
I clenched my jaw and winced in pain as I closed my eyes. I brought them back to meet his with a fierceness that I could feel being channelled through me.
"Here?" he said, touching my pelvic bone.
I shook my head and held back the tears that were burning behind my eyes and threatening to explode out.
"You must care if I touch you here," he said, feeling my chest.
"I don't care what you do," I said in an even voice.
He laughed and twisted his mouth as though he were chewing something. I thought that the inside of his mouth must be torn to shreds. He closed his eyes tightly and his nose curled up to his eyebrows in an ugly crinkle as he lifted himself to his knees. Sitting on his feet for support, he placed both his hands on my inner thighs and spread my legs apart. Then his hands swam down the tops of my legs to my hips and he lifted himself over me, planting his palms on the floor beside my head.
His chin touched mine and I turned my head to the side as he ran his pointed nose along my neck, up and over my ear to my hair. Suddenly the freshness went away from my locks and in an instant my hair was filthy again.
He kissed my cheek and then brought his lips over to meet mine.
"You don't care if I do this," he whispered.
He brought a fist up and down quickly, punching my broken ribs. A crunch of bones echoed against the walls of the hollow room.
I screamed and brought my teeth down over his bottom lip, feeling the tips of my enamel meet as I chomped right through.
"Fuck!" he screamed.
He spit blood into my face and fell down on top of me as his arms gave out. His hands slithered along the tiles. His body plopped up and back down several times before he could push himself all the way up to his knees. Then he took his cane and raised it in both hands high above his head like a sword.
He screamed as he brought it down over my shoulder both in agony and laboriously. I cringed, determined to hold my cries in to betray him of that satisfaction. He sucked in a breath and raised it up again, his smile concealed in red that dripped down his chin and swam over his neck.
"Motherfucker!" he shouted as it brought it down again, this time whacking the scar that he branded on my chest.
Another blow met my broken ribs and another cracked down on the side of my forehead while the walls echoed his sacrilegious hollers.
"Fucking bitch!” he screamed. “Motherfucker!"
And a number of incoherent curses followed.
He finally stopped, dropped the crutch and fell back to sit on his feet, clenching his back with his hands like a old man would to stand after a long period of sitting. Tears were streaming down his face, which was more than he could say for me. My cheeks were dry, though the fire in my throat and behind my eyes warned me that a flood would soon break loose from the dam.
The room grew silent except for Kyle's breaths. This was both taunting and satisfying. I was glad that he was maimed, but I was also envious of the breaths he was able to fill his lungs with while mine were so short and painful.
His broken and repulsive voice sliced through the silence and my head spun in dizziness at his first words.
"I think I love you," he said, following it with a short laugh. "Really, I think I do."
I didn't say anything. I had no intention of wasting my breath on him when it pained me so much to push one word out. What would I say anyway? I love you too? Not even close. I would say, "I think I loathe you. Really, I absolutely do." Maybe I would’ve said that.
"You have no idea how many girls I've done this to," he breathed. "Not one of them put up a fight like you."
I didn't like that he was praising me. It only meant that the satisfaction of my defeat was greater than all of the others. He'd succeeded above his own expectations for himself. I was a lovely challenge that he concurred.
"It's a shame I didn't meet you before I tried to kill you," he laughed. "Maybe you could’ve joined us. You would’ve been a great addition."
I watched his eyes travel down to my stomach and I instinctively covered it with my arms.
"Can I ask you a question?" he said, smiling. "What would you do if I let you go or you escaped or something?"
The familiarity of this was way too painful to handle.
His grin stretched across his face, half of his lips up higher than the other half and caked in quickly drying blood.
"What would you do with our baby?" he asked.
That's when the threat of my tears was worst. I could feel my nostrils flaring in and out as I tried to hold my sobs. I found myself choking.
Our baby? I hadn't even thought of that. Probably because I was certain I wouldn't live to have the baby anyway even if he had impregnated me.
"I'd murder it," I said, pushing it out in almost a whisper. "I would never let that thing out of me alive."
He laughed as he struggled to his feet, the crutch slipping along the wet floor.
"So there's absolutely no point in keeping you alive then," he said.
Like that was ever a possibility.
The sudden sound of large feet scampering like a stampede down the hallway silenced him. I propped myself up onto my elbows and both of our heads turned to the door of the shower room as it flung open and crashed against the inside wall.
Tanya stood in the doorway panting and holding her stomach, a pool of blood erupting from between her fingers.
"What the fuck!" Kyle shouted and hurriedly limped over to her. "What the fuck happened?"
She tried to talk but instead she coughed out blood as more screaming and pattering feet were echoing from the hallway. Multiple voices overlapped each other so that I couldn't tell whose lips were projecting the shrieks. I would have guessed that a crowd of about thirty had disrupted the building, that's how incoherent and hostile the shouts were.
Kyle looked from me and back to Tanya, who was like a demon fountain continually spitting out blood. His face flushed with red and he stomped out into the hallway in complete animosity.
Tanya fell against the door and looked at me like a dying friend would to a saviour. She opened her mouth and coughed one sentence out.
"Somebody released your girl."