Day 31 – Desperate by Nat Whiston

Desperate (from K is for Kidnap)

Nat Whiston

My eyes flutter open to darkness as I try to move my hands and head. My neck and wrists feel bound with itchy rope. I inhale deep the smell of rotten potatoes surrounding me. Where the hell am I?! I was in my bed, and now I’m here? It felt like moments ago, I was safe at home, and I don’t remember much—only a giant hand covering my face that stank of shit and cigarettes. Next thing, I’m waking up here. I try kicking my legs to break free of my bindings, but they are too tight.

“HELP, IS ANYONE THERE!” I cry out into the dark.

The smell of sweat smears the inside of the sack, making it hard to breathe. My chest feels tight, and my breathing quickens as panic sets in when something grabs the bag over my head. The material burns my cheek, and the bag is gone. I hear it hit the ground. My eyesight is attempting to make out shapes, the harsh light burns my eyes into focus, and my kidnapper is revealed.

“WHO ARE YOU?! WHERE THE HELL AM I?!” I shout at the figure, tears streaming down my cheeks.

He answers my question with a sharp slap across the face, and he forces a gag into my mouth; I try to bite him, but he jabs me in the gut. The pain makes me submit, along with the fear of further attacks. My attacker is standing over me, wearing a black face mask. His imposing demeanour makes me shrink down into the seat. All I know about him is his appearance, and he is a built man, covered in tribal tattoos and one across his bare chest of a dragon. Its eyes are piercing red that stands out from the rest of the design. The draughty warehouse is gloomy, with only the odd dash of light illuminating the area. My eyes dart around the room, looking for a possible way out through the broken glass and discarded rubbish. Needles littered around me in a pattern, not another person in sight, just me and the psychopath.

“Please,” I beg, “if you let me go, I swear I won’t tell anyone.”

He waves a hand in the air as he comes closer and stares deep into my eyes. I see the blackness consume the man’s entire iris; this monster wasn’t human.

“You’re not going anywhere, not until I get what I want,” he says while pressing his hands against my wet cheeks. The words fill me with terror, and warm urine pours out of my pyjama shorts. He sniffs me, and a look of disgust appears on his face.

“Dirty little bitch,” he mutters before he begins his punishment on me with his fists.

 Blow after blow, I scream and sob in distress; he switches between hard punches and sharp slaps. My skin is on fire. I swear at him, tell him to go to hell, but it only motivates him; he’s determined to break my spirit. I am terrified, and my body hurts from every attack. I cry out for my mom, and he smiles at my sorrow. He runs his hand over to the metal table at the side and raises a pair of pliers, waving them at me with a wolfish grin. My head shakes, no more, please just let me go home. I managed to shake the gag down to my neck.

“Please no, don’t do this! I’m only seventeen!” I try to cry out, but he grabs my hand and rests my first nail inside the tip of the pliers.

“I know,” he answers, “young girls scream the loudest, and their souls taste the sweetest.” He pulls up my gag, stuffing it back in my mouth, before yanking hard on my nail and removing it from the bed. He enjoyed tearing it out, his depraved laughter ringing in my ears as muffled cries try to leave my mouth.

Why haven’t my parents found me yet? Why can’t I hear sirens or police cars coming? The sinister grin on his face made me sick as he pulled nail after nail from my fingers. Blood oozes all over the chair and floor, filling up previous claw marks already left there. After he moves to my fourth finger, my throat feels like I’ve swallowed shards of glass. Drained and tired, I had no tears left to cry; the first light of morning broke through the broken glass, and he began to walk away. He disappears into the back of the room and vanishes completely. As the sun rises higher, flooding the room in sunlight, I wonder if he is truly gone or adding to my suffering with mind games.

***

“He’s gone,” I hear a voice say. I shift my body in the chair; looking around the room, I see no one around me.

“Don’t be scared. I won’t hurt you.” The voice is comforting, but my hands still shuck in my bindings.

The sounds of passing trains interrupt my trail of thought, and my eyes fall upon a large, heavy trunk covered in old blood. The straps are thick and dirty. The big lock restricts the lid from opening. I notice the bloody handprint and shudder.

“I know you’re scared, but he won’t be back ‘til the sun goes down. He can’t come out during the day,” the voice confirms; it is then I realise the voice is coming from the trunk. My body is convulsing as I’m now frantically trying to get out of my bindings. I scream for help constantly, until my throat is sore. Finally, I accept failure and give in; maybe I am going mad from thirst and hunger. But still, it can’t hurt to try and get answers, even if it’s only my head trying to get me through this in some bizarre way. Either way, with what I’ve just gone through, I’ll take any company.

“Who is he?” I ask the now quiet trunk.

“We don’t know,” the trunk answers back; it goes quiet for a moment before talking again. “How old are you?” the voice asks softly.

“Seven…teen but…today’s my birthday, so I’m eighteen now,” I stutter in response.

“That’s why he picked you then; if today’s your birthday, then he will try to take it tonight.”

“Take what?” Another long pause follows.

“Your soul,” it responds plainly. The air suddenly feels thick as tar, and my eyes burn from tears trying to break out. My body droops forward, and every hair stands on end.

“I’m sorry, I wish I could help you.” The voice is genuine and sincere, and a sense of warmth reminds me I’m not alone.

“What’s your name?” I ask the trunk.

“Kiara, yours?” I let out a sigh and lifted myself upright.

“Kim,” I reply.

“Well, Kim… I should say happy birthday,” Kiara remarks.

“Yeah, some birthday,” I sniff, holding the tears at bay.

***

The sun goes down, and the room begins to turn pitch black; fear rises within me. He steps out of the darkness, smiles, and strolls over to the container. He slips a key out of his pocket, pokes it in the lock and jerks the lid open. Finally, I get to see Kiara, and my eyes widen in horror when he pulls out a jar and inside it is a severed head.

“I see you’ve met Kiara”, his face gleaming with arrogance, “she was twenty-one when I killed her, then there is Melissa, who was thirty, Jane forty…”

“Why?” I murmur

“I need all the milestones, they have power, and your souls will stay with me forever.” He moves in closer, and I spit in his face.

“Screw you, my parents will find me and arrest your ass,” I snipe; he grabs my head and yanks me forward.

“Who do you think let me have you?” he remarks.

“No… I don’t believe you!” I exclaim.

He pulls out a cigarette packet and gleefully pulls one out, lighting it with a dirty match.

“You’re officially an adult now, so not their problem anymore,” he mocked.

“You’re a fucking liar!” I yell. Tears stream down my cheeks

He responds by burning my skin with the cigarette. The smell of smoke makes me feel sick, but it is better than the smells surrounding me as vomit and urine stick to my clothes. He reaches for the bronze hammer, pressing it to his lips before licking it. In one quick action, he slams it down on my arm. I wail uncontrollably as the bone protrudes. Whack, another bone breaks under solid metal, this time, my shin shatters under my skin.

My whole body feels like it is breaking apart piece by piece. I think tonight the demon will kill me, and the monster starts beating me relentlessly with the hammer. Time means nothing here. I black out a couple of times from the pain and when my eyes open again, it’s morning, and the thing is gone.

***

The whispers soon start up once more, coming from all around me this time, not just the trunk, and instead of bringing comfort, they fill the air with angry cries. Unable to cover my ears to fight the attacks, I’m forced to listen to every horrible thing he did to each of his victims. Melissa says he drowned her in the metal tub over in the corner. Once she was dead, he trapped her soul but took her head.

“It’s what he does,” Kiara explains. “He takes you from your home and then tortures you until you willingly give him your soul.”

“How does he do that?” I ask. There’s movement from the chest, and it startles me, now knowing what’s in there. I’m confused at how it just moved.

“You have to give up, and when you take your last breath, he will do a ritual to remove your soul.” Part of me didn’t want to hear this, but I needed to know how to avoid my fate.

My feet shuffle against the rope, and my ankles are sore from constant rope burn, so when I eventually do try to escape, it’s not going to be easy with stiff muscles.

“What happened to you, Kiara?” The case shifted once again to my question.

“I was meeting a man for dinner, we had been talking online, he seemed so nice…” she trailed off before pausing, “a couple of drinks later, I’m here in this hellhole. Being hung from the beam at the back.” Her voice was full of sadness as she spoke of her death.

“Get some sleep Kim, you’re going to need it,” Melissa remarks. Unable to hold my head up any longer, my chin drops to my chest. My eyes close, shutting out the world around me, dreaming about my family and walking the dogs across the field, chasing my little brother Asher across the estate, the large manor house in the distance overshadowing fields of golden wheat. With the gentle feel of the wind rushing past my skin, I’m lost in the dream until a sharp pain wakes me up.

“Wakey, wakey,” he says, slapping my face repeatedly. If it was even possible, he smells worse than before, like rotten eggs mixed with hot vomit. I stop myself hurling in my mouth as he grabs my chin.

“Did you miss me, Kimmy?” the demon coos.

“No,” I snap. The man removes his mask and fakes a look of disappointment before the smile returns. He looks so ordinary, around my dad’s age, so early forties. A silver line runs through his sweat-soaked black hair.

“You know Kim, I’ve been doing this a long time, and I always get what I want,” he sneers.

He walks over to me and unties my bindings, first my legs and then my arms. The ropes drop down around me. For a moment, I sit there confused and unable to move, but then he gets impatient and drags me to the floor. He gazes down at me. His features completely change. His eyes are now an amber colour with thick black pupils. On each hand, a set of claws similar to a bear. Jutting out from under his lips is a furious set of teeth. He is the most terrifying thing I have ever seen. My body freezes to the ground. The adrenaline begins to pump through my veins, and my pulse is racing as he glares down at me.

“What are you?” I whisper.

“They call me Cain,” he retorts before bending down to get close to my face. His warm rotten breath is repulsive. “Now… run,” Cain commands.

Without delay, I’m going into a weak sprint. My shin is still pretty broken, so running is a nightmare and won’t get me far; my only option is to hide. I’m hobbling along like a gazelle that’s been wounded by an attack from a lion, trying everything in my power to force my body to move faster. Taking a sharp turn round to a large corridor with multiple rooms, the grey walls and ceiling with wires dangling down don’t give me much confidence. I drag my foot behind me, peeking into every window to find somewhere to hide. But the rooms have been stripped bare, no cupboards, no drawers, not even a chair. The sounds echo through the whole structure as Cain starts to whistle a happy tune. The closer it gets, the less time I know I have, so I desperately drag myself towards the last door, swinging it open. Crawling on all fours, round the frame and into the room, my arm throbs as the bone sticks out. It is oozing pus. The space appears very familiar to me, like I’ve been here in the past. The crooked picture at the back looks like a place I knew, but it is so severely damaged I can’t make out the figures. A damp smell rises in the air with every shuffle I make across the floor. The sound of whistling gets closer, so I’m hunched up behind the door trying to stay out of view in case Cain looks through the window. My heart is in my ears now, drumming away, almost deafening me. But in a way, I’m glad as it drowns out the sound of Cain’s eerie whistling. He’s close now, and my cheek is pressed against the door listening to his heavy footsteps. The pace is slow; Cain’s taking his time walking down the corridor, which unsettles me even more.

“Here, kitty kitty kitty,” he calls out. A shiver runs down my spine, and my body presses harder against the door. The sound stops outside the degraded green door I’m perched behind, flecks of paint sticking to my arm. Then there is silence, no movement, no sound. The only sound that can be heard is my shallow breathing. Moving slightly away from the door, I take a peek to see if Cain is gone. I edge up closer, raising myself with my good arm while clenching the broken one tight to my chest. The window is empty; I’m able to breathe for a moment. Suddenly there is a large thump against the glass, shattering it, and shards blast around me as Cain reaches through to grab me. A scream leaves my mouth, and I throw my body to the door, hoping it is enough to hold the door closed. My skinny frame is no match for the brutal force behind it, and it sends me flying across the room as the door bursts off its hinges. My vision goes blurry. My hand touches my head, and when I look down, it is covered in warm sticky blood. I shriek as Cain comes into view with a spanner in his hand. He lunges at me, and I try to shield my face as he belts me. Whack, another hit to my face. My broken arm comes up to protect my head, and I curl into a ball as he beats me.

Feeling woozy with my face covered with blood, I realise I do not want to die. I wait for my heart rate to go right down, then hold my breath. Cain moves in closer to me, his breath warm on my neck as he sniffs me like an animal. He chuckles under his breath, and I can hear the spanner bounce onto the floor. The stench follows him, and I’m now struggling to ignore the vile stench. Before I hear him about to walk away, I take my moment. My eyes shoot open, and I lunge forward with every bit of energy in me towards the spanner. My hand clutches the cold metal off the floor. His eyes are now on me, filled with anger, and he runs forward to remove it from me. Grabbing my hand and yanking hard, his claws tear through the top of my hand. Remembering everything he’s done to me, my arm and body aches, but I have to fight. As my hand draws back, he takes strips of my skin, but I’ve now got the spanner. His skull is in front of me, smiling that horrible smile, and I bring down the spanner onto his head. I am bashing hard with everything I have, and my eyes close as bits of blood splatter up my face. My eyes open, and my captor is lying on the floor in a puddle of his blood. I leap up, stumble out of the room, slam the door behind me and pull across the lock. My eyes scan the corridor until my memory kicks in, then I step into the dark, half-naked and barefoot.

I come to the main floor of the warehouse, and my ankle gives way. Once I’m back on my feet, I make my way into the dimly lit room towards the back of the warehouse. My feet are getting torn to pieces by the sharp glass littering the floor, making me wince with every stride. Finally slamming into a wall, I feel around the thick brickwork until I feel the cold metal of the ladder I had seen during the day. I’ve no time to waste, so I begin climbing until I reach the ground above. Stale blood has now crusted over where my nails used to be as I scramble up the ladder.

At the top of the wall, I’m hit by the rain as it washes over me. I am embracing the cold downpour and taking a deep breath. Stepping off the wall onto the path, the train comes rushing by, and the air hits me hard, nearly knocking me into the bushes. I turn back to the place once my prison, the dishevelled broken-down warehouse, now clearly presented by streetlights that illuminate the broken beams and crusted paintwork. Then my eyes discover the sign, and they widen with horror as the name, even though faded, is still visible. Headlights pull out of the dark, going to the back of the warehouse. Can it be? The lights shine on the bonnet of the brand-new Mercedes, a navy blue that remind me of a car I know all too well. I look back up at the sign, trying so hard to persuade myself it is a coincidence. The sign reads ‘Blackfield Industries’, my last name, and the name of my father’s old business. I move behind the bush, so I’m entirely out of sight; I’m unsure if I should reveal myself yet. Not until this niggling doubt goes away. I cradle my throbbing arm like a baby. My suspicions are only confirmed more when he drags an unconscious woman from the boot of the car. This can’t be real? Why would my dad have anything to do with this beast?! He drops the body like trash at the backdoor, then turns back to his car. To my horror, Cain appears; part of his head and face are missing from my last attack. The bastard survived! He picks up the woman and takes her inside, and all the lights in the warehouse turn on.

***

My body drops; I’m now on my knees screaming out at the sky. Feeling like the warehouse is mocking me, this broken-down shell of a building. Can I go home? Knowing what I know about my father, would he let me go to the police? My mind is swimming, and none of my thoughts make sense. Nothing makes sense anymore. I hear the cries of the victims, and it breaks my spirit to listen to their agony. Begging for mercy and release, but he won’t let them go. I’m frustrated that I can’t help. I wish they knew it only encouraged him and I screamed out, telling them to be strong.

All my emotions are draining from my body. I’m no help to anyone like this, let alone myself, so I walk across the tracks in the rain and go on my way to get as far away from this place as possible. I drag myself along the long stretch staying close to the railway lines, trying to keep out of sight. Knowing now Cain’s alive, I can’t afford for him to find me. Eventually, the tiredness gets the better of me, and I collapse not far from the signal post.

When I finally wake up, I’m in a large white room wearing a hospital gown. The smell of disinfectant is overpowering, and the bright lights hurt my eyes. My hands are bandaged, and my arm hangs in a sling. My attention goes to the end of the bed; a nurse sits with a worried look on her face.

“You’re awake! You had us all very worried,” she comments while pushing a strand of blonde hair back into her bun.

“How long have I been asleep?” I ask. She smiles and comes to my side, resting her hand on mine. The gentle touch is the most kindness I’ve experienced in days; I drop my head down into her lap and break down.

“Two days, sweetheart,” she answers, brushing my hair with her hand. “What happened to you?” My head shakes to her question. No one will believe me if I tell them the truth; the best thing I can do is pretend to know nothing about what happened.

“Well, don’t worry, Kim.” I look up, and she notes my look of shock; how does she know my name? “We did a bit of research for missing persons, and your picture came up,” she confirms, running her hand to my cheek. So my family knew I was missing; the relief was short-lived when my father walked through the door.

“I’ve come to take you home, Kimmy,” he says with a smile. I can’t hide the fear in my eyes as I slide backwards on the bed and grab the nurse’s hand. She nods her head and turns to my father.

“Mr Blackfield, can you give us a moment?” she asks. My father shuffles uncomfortably at the door before leaving the room and closing the door behind him. Her name badge now in full view reads ‘Melissa’, and once I know we’re alone, I grab Melissa and pull her in close.

“Please…don’t let me go home with him,” I beg. For a moment, my request confuses her, then she sees my bandaged hands tremble as they grip her dress.

“What happened to you, Kim?” she asks again. Her eyes were soft and warm.

“A demon wants my soul, and I think my father gave me to him,” I blurt out. The sceptical look turns to worry, and before I’m able to explain or react, she reaches for the needle on the table next to me. Quickly, she darts it into my arm then rubs the area with a cotton bud from her pocket. My eyelids start to feel heavy.

“I’m sorry, Kim, someday you’ll understand. We all make deals that we are not proud of,” she says. As I’m slipping into the dark, the sound of the door opening catches my attention.

“She’s sedated?” I hear my father ask.

“For now, but your daughter can not be used now. It would help if you found another, or Cain won’t honour the agreement,” Melissa comments.

“Then we’re all doomed.” I feel something wet on my head and what feels like lips pressing against my forehead. “Please don’t hate me, princess.” His voice shakes as I drift entirely into the pitch black, and I still don’t know why my father would betray me. Why would he give me to that monster? Why would he allow me to go through all that pain and torment? In the darkness, I hear a whisper that terrifies me to my very core, the words that I will carry for the rest of my life.

“All you had to do was give up, then you would have saved us all.”

K is for Kidnap is available for Kindle and in paperback here.

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