A page or two from my first Crime Thriller, written for a competition last year. (I had to Google exactly what a "Crime Thriller" is, as I only knew brute horror. LOL!) I received great news this very evening, that this story was selected for the Competition, and, as it is to be published in the anthology BLOODY SATISFIED! to be launched at this year's annual GRAHAMSTOWN ARTS FESTIVAL, I am not allowed to post the whole thing, due to contractual restrictions and all that shit.
But this way, you can let your own mind fabricate the befores and afters herein, children!
A sickening smell choked Geraldine with every little gasp of putrid air she sucked into her burning lungs. Her shivering whimpers bounced off the empty walls of the coffin she imagined her cage to be. No matter how wide she stretched her eyes, there was only a veil of coal black despair, her emotion taking the colour of her surroundings. The room was cold, dank and big around her shaking body and the restraints on her ankles burned into her skin every time she even breathed deeply. The headache she endured split her skull and she realised that she would die soon if she spent much longer hanging upside down. However, not knowing what lay beneath her in the dark was the bigger concern, much like not knowing at what distance she would hit the floor if she could break loose at all.
The silence was deafening. Sensory deprivation was no solace and she strained her ears to try and identify her whereabouts, but the only unsettling thing Geraldine could hear was her own heart beating. Alone. Suspended in the oblivion of her captor's den, her thoughts carried to the events that landed her in this trap, but the only blame assigned was that of circumstance, not ineptitude. The pounding of her heart slammed in her ears with every throb, shooting a meteor storm of pain into her capillaries and for a moment, Geraldine was convinced she could see the flooding vessels behind her eyelids flower in pallid red. She felt her bloodless leg muscles twitch in spasm and almost wished her predator would show himself, if only to substitute the unknown with the uninvited.
No sooner had this grotesque notion birthed itself in her head, when somewhere in the dark she heard something other than her spiteful heart. Daylight stung her eyes but she soon realised, as her sight accepted its new condition, that it was merely the white death of the fluorescent tubes on the concrete ceiling illuminating her new hell. Like a mirage his massive frame glimmered into view, out of the dark he slithered from, side to side and with deliberate intimidation. Geraldine decided not to cry, but her tormentor would test that resolve before the day was over.
Ignorant of her unveiled surroundings, she watched him pull his thick black leather belt from his jeans and she closed her eyes, pinching off a rebel tear before the first lash bit across her back, leaving a prominent welt in its wake almost instantaneously. Geraldine held her urge to scream, but her body jerked from the shock and her ankle slipped out of joint just a little as she did so. Another lash left an impressive cut that smiled across her stomach and a bit of her breast. Blow after blow he groaned as he lay the wales on her, his strokes falling harder and harder to provoke a scream from the worthless bitch in his power, but she remained silent, save for a wailing grunt she kept inside her clenched teeth. The criss-cross stripes lay red and swollen on her sweating body and it exhilarated him to a point of madness, so fiercely that he collapsed to his knees for a minute. His victim took the opportunity to look around the dismal room she sought an escape from, should she survive his onslaught long enough.
The room had an arched stone roof, much like those she had seen before in the Good Hope Castle and other historical buildings she had visited. It was painted white; a dreadful, careless white that held no mercy in its hue and seemed as dead as the women who's blood decorated the floor where it met the wall in a rusty dry residue. Just inside the dark area he had appeared from a few minutes before, she noticed a small corridor with cement steps leading up to a hatch-type door. Through her stinging eyes she discerned a disturbing image. The roof of the little arched corridor was lined with broken bones, painted as white as the chalky bunker she was held in. Then she realised that they had a distinctive shape. They were human skulls, their broken teeth still shimmering in the half light of the luminescence of his torture chamber. For the first time in her captivity, Geraldine could not rein in her panic. Her lungs swollen with fear, she expelled a dire screech so loud that it repelled her captor back to the opposite wall. He simply stared, waiting for her to finish. As her breath rattled into silence, he smiled.
" You can scream until your throat bleeds, sweetheart, " he grunted in a strong Afrikaans accent, "...but no living soul can hear you. Only they can. " He pointed to the mounted skulls like a little boy would point to an ice cream stall at a carnival. " But they can't help you. " He shook his head in mock-pity and selected a railroad spike from his bag of tricks. Playfully he shoved it between his thighs while he lit a Marlboro. Geraldine closed her eyes once more as he swaggered toward her, loosening his pants. A bite sank into her flesh, his teeth clenching the nerves in her breast and she screamed shamelessly, but she would not look in his eyes.
She would not gift him that might.
The hot coal from his cigarette settled into her left eyelid, catching her off-guard. Geraldine watched the bright orange penetrate her lid and fall effortlessly into her eyeball, leaving her eye socket wet and excruciating in her skull. She could scream no more. Her jerking body evoked a pretty chiming from the chains she hung by and the Afrikaans demon deduced that she wanted to come down to him. He obliged. She felt him unlocking the chain and roughly clawing at her until her back found the floor where he laid her down on the blood and fluid of her burst eye.
" Please, " she murmured inaudibly to herself, "...just let it end. Please...make it stop."
He said nothing. What she said did not matter. Lourens busied himself with the task at hand, aroused by her helplessness and his hand tightened around the iron spike as he kicked her legs apart. Only the silent caverns of his blind victims bore witness to the atrocious act he lived out and only the underground things could hear her scream in the subterranean commando bunker that was concealed from the outside wilderness.....