THERIOPHOBIA: FEAR THE BEAST Part 24
Leland rocked in his easy chair, wearing a pair of underwear and his undershirt. He’d gone out to the mailbox to get the day’s paper and now sat relaxing, one leg brought up, his ankle resting on his knee, to read it. The short trek to the end of the driveway had left him coated with sweat, but the window unit hummed and the cold air brought a delightful chill to his skin as it dried him. He sipped at a can of beer. A few feet away, the woman sat on the living room floor, wrapped up in the Mexican blanket he’d given her.
It would have been the picture of domestic bliss if not for the chain around Marley Kidde’s neck.
“Hey,” Leland said, jerking the paper taut, holding it closer to his eyes. “You know some guy named Lucas Vale?”
Marley looked up. “Why?” she said in her little, whipped voice. “What about him?”
“He’s the guy they think kidnapped you!” Leland chuckled, continued to read. He moved his mouth to the words as he skimmed the page, making no sound.
“Well, damn!” Leland said. “Says here they think he’s that killer they been lookin’ for.” He looked at Marley. “You know anything about that?”
“No.” She looked away, not meeting his gaze. “That’s crazy,” she added after a moment.
“Listen here,” Leland continued. “It says ‘Vale, 45, is the primary suspect in 3 murders. Though police have refused to speculate, they did go so far as to confirm that Kidde and Vale were acquaintances.’ And then, a little further on, it says, ‘Kidde’s disappearance is being investigated with the ongoing case.’ Oh, shit!” Lelnd giggled. “They think that guy took you. God, that’s beautiful!”
“He wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Marley said to herself.
Leland looked up from the paper. “He your boyfriend or somethin’?” he asked. “They said you was ‘acquaintances.’ What’s that mean? You fuckin’ him?”
She didn’t look up, didn’t answer.
“Makes sense,” Leland said. “They always blame the boyfriend or the husband first.” He went back to his reading. “Hmm. Says the ‘suspect is still at large. County-wide manhunt. No plans yet to cancel the annual Miner Days celebration.’ Shit, they wouldn’t cancel that circus if it was the end of the world.”
Leland took a slurp of beer. He looked over and grinned. “So how’s that make you feel, huh? You was screwin’ around with a murderer.”
Marley drew the blanket tighter around herself, either cold or self-conscious.
What’s she got left to be self-conscious about?
“You’re one lucky bitch,” Leland said. “Lucky I came along when I did. I might’a saved your life. You screwin’ a killer an’ didn’t even know it. I ain’t no saint, now,” he added. “But at least I ain’t never killed nobody. Seems like you got the better end of it on this one. You need to be grateful.”
Leland leaned back, stretched, shook out his paper. “Yeah, you can be grateful tonight, when you got my dick in your mouth.”
A minute passed. Leland read. “Jumped off the goddamn roof!” he muttered once, “teeth marks” a second time.
He looked up. She hadn’t spoken his name before. “Yeah?”
“This chain,” she said, still refusing to look up. “It’s choking me. It’s so tight. Could you please loosen it just a little? Please?”
“Please, please, please,” Leland said. “You sure say ‘please’ a lot. How many times you said that so far?”
“I can’t even swallow,” she said. “Just a little, please.”
“I like it when you beg,” Leland said. He put the paper aside, stood up. “Almost as much as I like it when you holler.” He left the room, meandering through the living room furniture–sofa, chair, coffee table, TV stand–all packed into the kitchen, out of Marley’s reach. He squeezed between the sofa and refrigerator, disappeared into the dark recesses of the trailer. He returned a moment later, carrying a key ring in his hand.
“Alright, roll over on your belly,” he said. She stared up at him.
“Relax,” he said. “If I was aimin’ to ream out your cute little asshole again, I’d be carryin’ a jar of Vaseline.” He chuckled. “Now roll over, with your arms down at your sides.”
Marley complied, trying to keep the blanket around herself. Leland straddled her and sat down. She groaned.
“Hold your horses,” he said. He leaned down and unfastened the padlock, loosened the metallic noose around her neck by one link, then reattached it. He stood, wiping the rust from the chain on his white underwear.
“There,” he said. “You happy now?”
Marley sat up but didn’t answer.
“Ain’t you at least gonna say thank you?”
“Thank you,” Marley whispered.
“There, now,” Leland said. “You are learnin’ some manners, ain’t you?” He went back to his chair and newspaper, but not before returning the key ring to wherever he kept it.
“So tell me about this Vale guy,” Leland said, sitting down. “He into any weird shit?”
Marley acted like she hadn’t heard.
“You answer me when I ask you a question!” Leland said. “Or I’ll take the belt to that pretty ass of yours!”
“No,” she said.
“Hmm.” Leland shuffled the paper. “I watched this movie once,” he said. “Guy has this bitch tied up. Big bitch, fat. Ugly as dog shit. Anyways, she’s got these big-ass tits, and he’s got these ropes wrapped around ’em. Individual, I mean. An’ he keeps pullin’ the ropes tighter. The bitch’s tits look like they’re gonna pop like balloons, you know? Look like they’re gonna fall off. Rope gets down smaller than my wrist. That bitch’s tits, I swear they turned purple as prunes!”
He chuckled. “I liked that. I like to hear a woman holler.” He paused. “Don’t you worry about it, though. Them tits of yours ain’t big enough for that.” He laughed. “After a while, this other bitch comes in,” Leland continued. “Wearing a mask, but butt naked otherwise. She’s like the guy’s girlfriend or somethin’. Anyway, she starts givin’ herself the finger, watchin’ what he’s a doin’ to this fat bitch. Gettin’ off on it an’ shit. An’ he takes these straight pins an’ he starts stickin’ ’em in the fat bitch. You should’a heard that bitch carryin’ on.” He shifted in the chair. “Shit, now I done got myself all horny again.”
Marley shivered in her blanket.
“This Vale guy into that kinda stuff?” Leland asked. “He ever get you to watch him do shit to some other bitch?”
“I figured, him bein’ a killer an’ all.”
“No?” Leland felt disappointed. He slurped his beer. “You know, funny thing is, it was him gave me the idea to kidnap you. Well, kidnap your sister. But yeah, it was him. I read about one of them murders in the paper, an’ it got me all horny, thinkin’ about it. Not the actual killin’ part. Like I said, I ain’t never killed nobody. Never had to. But thinkin’ about everything he did to the bitch before he killed her, that got me to thinkin’, alright.”
Leland cackled. “How’s that for some irony, huh? You can blame your boyfriend for all this. You wouldn’t be here right now if he hadn’t give me the idea. And he’s out there right now, wonderin’ what became of his bitch.” Leland laughed, slapping his thigh. “Oh, that’s good! Everybody thinks he did somethin’ to you, and he knows somebody else did!”
Leland settled down, took a drink of his beer to compose himself. “He gets the blame an’ I get his bitch!” Leland chuckled, snorted. “You can’t ask for a happier endin’ than that!”
* * *
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!