Her head felt like concrete, too heavy to lift. She opened her eyes to a world of fuzzy colors.
She rubbed away tears, used her hands to examine the damage to her face, her head. It surprised her to find no obvious indications of damage to correspond to her pain. A fractured skull couldn’t have hurt any worse. Groaning, Marley forced herself to sit up.
The chain had been put back around her neck.
Sounds, distant and distorted, caught her attention. Clanking and rattling. Getting to her hands and knees, Marley turned her head towards the racket. Leland stood in the cramped kitchen, rummaging through a drawer. He noticed her and paused, scowling.
“Well, well,” he said. “Have a nice nap, Sleepin’ Beauty?” He wiped sweat from his forehead. “You goddamn fuckin’ cunt!”
*He’s going to kill me.*
“I can’t believe you pulled that shit!” Leland returned his attention to the drawer. “But it’s gonna be the last time. I’m gonna fix you up good!”
Marley gasped when Leland found what he’d been looking for: a hammer. He banged it on the countertop once for effect, then turned towards Marley.
“No! Please, Leland! Please don’t kill me!”
Leland meandered around the furniture he’d packed into the kitchen, stopped at the edge of the empty living room, Marley’s prison.
Leland grinned. “You scared, bitch? Well, you ought’a be.” He passed the hammer from his left hand to his right.
He chuckled. “Oh, I ain’t gonna kill you,” he said. “I’m just gonna teach you a lesson, fix it so’s you can’t run off like that again. Not that I’m ever gonna let you loose from that chain again anyhow.”
He took a step closer. “Makin’ me run you down like that. An’ I’ll have to pay for that goddamn fence!”
Marley crawled away from him. The chain stopped her.
“Well, you won’t be pullin’ that shit again, not after I flatten them toes!”
Marley was crying now. “I’m sorry!”
“Oh, you’re gonna be sorry,” Leland said. “I’m gonna smash them ten little piggies flatter’n shit. Wee wee wee!” He snorted, cackled.
“Wait!” Marley said. “Leland, wait!”
He reached down and grabbed her ankle. “Come here, little piggies!”
“Don’t you like fucking me, Leland?!” Marley said. “Think about it! If you kill me, you won’t be able to fuck me anymore!”
“Ain’t gonna kill you.”
“Yes it will!” she said. “Yes it will! My feet’ll get infected, then I’ll get gangrene and I’ll die, and you won’t have me anymore!”
Leland paused, standing over her, the hammer in his right hand, Marley’s ankle in his left.
“Think about it, Leland!” Marley said, almost on her back, staring up at him.
“You got to be punished for runnin’ off like you did,” he said.
“Punish me some other way! Please! Don’t do this!”
“You’re just trying to talk me out of it.”
“I’ll die, Leland! Do you want me to die?!”
Leland snorted. He let go of her ankle. Marley sobbed with relief.
“Don’t aim to get rid of you just yet,” Leland said. He tossed the hammer into a corner, and squatted, facing her. “Good pussy’s hard to come by. Fine little piece of ass like you. An’ I’m just now gettin’ you broke in like I want you.”
Marley sat back on her thighs, covering her privates with her hands. She watched him.
“Still, I got to teach you a lesson,” he said. “I suppose I could whip you again.”
“I’ll be good from now on,” Marley said. The words tasted like vinegar in her mouth. “I’ll do whatever you say. Just don’t hurt me, please.”
“How ’bout I pierce them nipples with a pair of safety pins?” he said. “Naw. Better yet, fish hooks.” He laughed. “Shit, you ought’a see your face! I’m just fuckin’ with you. That’d get infected faster’n a set of bruised toes.”
Marley broke down into tears. She hated herself for letting him see her weakness, but she couldn’t help it. She covered her face with one hand and sobbed.
“Aww, now,” Leland said. “It won’t be that bad.”
*I can’t take this anymore.*
“Oh! Oh, I got it!” Leland slapped his thighs and stood. “I got it, alright!” He unzipped his coveralls. “What you need is a moral lesson,” he said. “Somethin’ to teach you your place.”
Marley watched him getting undressed. Whatever he had planned for her, it had already given him an erection.
“We’re gonna play a little game of ‘Dirty Sanchez,'” Leland said. “He balled up his coveralls and tossed them into the corner, along with his boots and socks. “You know what that is, bitch?”
Marley stared up at him. He clutched his huge penis with his hand, shook it. “S’where I take the crank-shaft, here, and shove it up your ass, all the way to the pubes. Fuck you dry, no Vaseline or nothin’. Then you know what? Then I pull out and pop it into your mouth for a quick clean up.”
Leland snickered. “How you reckon that’ll taste, huh, bitch? Bet you’ll think twice before you try an’ run off again, won’t you?”
Marley stared at him.
“Awright,” Leland said. “Assume the position.”
“Might as well get it over with.”
*I’d rather die.*
“Don’t set there starin’ at me like you didn’t understand what I said. Get on them knees!”
*I’ll die before I let you do that to me.*
Marley felt something stirring inside her, something hot and bitter, something that fed on her fear, ate it up and replaced it with rage.
“On your knees!” Leland grabbed her head and forced her over. “Ol’ Leland’s a’ goin’ deep!”
*Let him kill me.*
“Ain’t you gonna beg?” Leland said. “I like it when you beg.”
*You’ll never fuck me again, you son of a bitch.*
Marley turned and grabbed Leland’s testicles with her right hand. She squeezed as hard as she could, twisted, and jerked. His testicles slipped out of her hands, didn’t tear free of his body. Even so, Leland screamed louder than Marley had ever heard anyone scream, man or woman.
*Not me, or anybody else. Not ever.*
Marley had expected Leland to grab her head and twist it, snap her neck like a chicken’s. Instead he seemed to have forgotten she was there. He collapsed to the floor, doubled up, moaning curses. Marley realized he was crying.
*Now!* something inside her seemed to say. *You know what to do!* Almost like a voice. *Do it now!*
Marley grabbed up the chain. She put it around Leland’s neck. Laying on the floor beside him, she put her knees in the small of his back and pulled back on the chain with both hands. She half expected Leland to snap the chain with a roar, to turn on her and tear her arms from the sockets. Instead he flopped and thrashed in a futile frenzy, gasping for breath, his terrible strength gone.
At length he stopped moving.
Marley sat up. She felt like bellowing in triumph. She couldn’t be still. She wanted to dance, to shriek. To pound on her naked breasts like a wild ape, to tear at Leland with her nails and her teeth. The something inside her, that terrible something, demanded release.
Then she noticed it. The hammer.
In the corner, where Leland had thrown it. Careless of him. Not so far away.
Marley stretched out, as far as the chain would let her go. Then she used her feet. Her toes brushed the handle.
*Come on, come on!*
She clamped it between her heels.
She slid the hammer closer then, rolling over, reached it with her hand. She held it up in front of her face, just looking at it. She giggled, kissed it, then went to work on the chain.
Leland had secured the chain to the floor with a large bolt. Marley pounded away at it until her arms throbbed, her lower back and thighs ached and seized up with cramps. But she kept hitting it.
At length, the head of the bolt snapped off. Marley pulled the chain loose. She began to cry as she stood up. *Free. I’m free.*
Leland moaned at her feet.
Marley stepped back, hammer raised. But Leland did not get up. He did not open his eyes. But she could see him breathing.
“Still alive, asshole?” Marley said.
Slobber flecked his fat lips, tears and snot still wet on his face.
“You’re not so tough now, huh?” Marley said. She kicked him with her bare foot. “You’re not going anywhere, are you?” she said.
Marley held up the hammer in her hand. The something inside her fluttered.
“I said I’d kill you for what you did to me,” Marley said. “And I’m going to.” She squatted beside him. “But not yet,” Marley said. “First, I’m going to make you suffer.” She held the hammer to her lips, caressed it.
“First things first,” she said. “So you don’t go anywhere. I think I’ll take this little baby here to your feet, then maybe your kneecaps. Oh, but I wouldn’t want you to come around and try to hurt me, so maybe I’ll start with your hands.”
She leaned in closer, smashed Leland’s right pinky with the hammer. He trembled and whined. One eye fluttered open. Marley reared back and hit his hand as hard as she could. Leland groaned.
“And then there’s always the ‘crank-shaft,'” Marley said. “And what’s left of your balls. I’m not in any hurry now, Leland.”
Leland’s chin quivered as he tried to speak.
“What?” Marley said. “Did I surprise you, Leland?” She grinned. “Go on, admit it. You didn’t think I had it in me.”
* * *