Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Bringing me back to myself

An odd piece for a competition on figment.

“You’ve done well so far, Sophia,” he cooed, as I quietly shut the cellar door. I nodded and set down the bag on the floor in front of him. The plastic rustled as I slowly parted the bag and showed him what I’d found.
“Is this alright?” My voice sounded quiet and timid, so afraid of him even although he was tied tightly to the chair. I watched, feeling my heart pounding in my chest as he looked down, admiring my purchases. His eyes kept on the two items longer than seemed natural and I bit my lip and waited.

Eventually he lifted his head to me and nodded. “They’re perfect. I want you to uncoil the rope and remember what I told you about tying a noose.”

“A noose?” I gasped, and his eyes glared at me with an anger that reminded me why I was afraid of him.

“A noose, my love. Get on with it.” His eyes softened and he smiled at me warmly almost instantly. “This is your last lesson before I let you loose on the world.”

“You’re leaving me?” Although the fear of him was terrible and all-consuming, the idea of being on my own, doing his work by myself, was even more worrying. I wasn’t ready; I couldn’t go through with it without his support.

As though he read my mind, he smiled and leant towards me as much as possible through his bindings. “Don’t worry, my sweet. You’ll be fine on your own. If you can get through tonight, you can do anything.”

His words, rather than emboldening me, made me shiver. What did he have planned for this night that would suddenly catapult me from a shy, timid assistant into a blood-thirsty, cruel murderer? I wasn’t sure if I wanted to find out. He was tied up, I could run, but then, I knew I never would. I could have run when he sent me to the shop, I could have run when he taught me to tie him to the chair strongly enough to keep him secure. But I hadn’t. Why was that?

“I love you,” I whispered, as I knelt down in front of him. “I trust you.” I had, ever since he stole me away, and I knew that no matter what he put me through tonight or any other, I always would. He’d saved me, when it mattered the most. And for that, I was bound to him. Heart, soul and body.

“Please untie my now, my sweet. It is almost time that our guest will arrive.” I nodded and quickly set about undoing the ropes around his neck, wrists and ankles, then unwinding the rest of the coils around his body. He’d been proud of me, when I’d tied him, and the fact that he hadn’t managed to escape whilst I’d been out was silent praise for my skills. I grinned to myself, and kissed him on the cheek before I dropped the rope on the floor beside him.

He immediately stood, walked out the cellar door, and left me standing there, confused and worried. The room was growing cold in the evening, and I wrapped my arms around myself as I waited for his return. What would he be bringing to me for my final test?

When the figure walked through the door, I realised immediately that it wasn’t him. It was a taller man, broader than my Master and with long, brown hair, I knew his name to be Christopher. He had a rough growth of hair on his chin, and ripped trousers and a jacket. The smell was quite pungent and it immediately took me back to that place, that time, and I could see how different he’d become. He’d gotten fat, and didn’t look half as attractive. The years without me hadn’t been kind to him.

“What the hell are you doing here?” He spat, and took a threatening step towards me. I stammered, the words that Master had taught me hardly making sense or sounding coherent as they echoed around the room. Looking towards the cellar door I thought of running, forgetting all of my training, forgetting my goal and my Master, and I did, skirting around Christopher and running as fast as I could into the door. I banged on it, when it didn’t open, and screamed, but then I remembered myself. Turning, I stared up at the face of the man who’d made me who I was, and smiled. This is what he’d trained me for.

Suddenly I wasn’t that timid little girl anymore, and bringing my fist up, I jabbed at his ribs; once, twice, three times. Each hit didn’t faze him, but I knew what to do. Moving up, I punched out at him again, fast, hard little blows to his face; around his ear and then one punch that took all of my strength directly on his chin. He’d been laughing, gloating as he’d always done about my weakness, my vulnerability. But when he fell, backwards, the pressures from my punches finally caught up with him and he hit his head on the wooden beam on the low ceiling, where it sloped down to the ground.

Quickly, I set to moving him onto the chair. This was my test, and I was damned sure I wanted to pass. The ropes were still warm from having been tied over Master, and as I worked them around Christopher’s wrists, his neck and his ankles, I found myself smiling. The tables had been turned.

Eventually I made the finishing knot, securing him to the chair and the chair to the wooden column behind it. I didn’t want him escaping, not now. He gurgled a few moments after, and I finally began to get into the mindset as Master had told me I would. He was so wise.

I slapped Christopher hard and he woke, finally, coughing and looking wildly around the room. “What’re you doing?” His words weren’t as firm and cocky as I was used to. It made me smiled again.

“I’m getting my life back,” was all I could think to say to him. For a moment I wondered what to do, and then I saw the new rope lying, uncoiled at my feet, still in the plastic bag. A noose.

It had been a month since Master had taught me how to tie a noose; it had been one of the first things he had shown me. But still I found myself standing on the other chair, reaching up and looping the rope over the beam where I’d made space, remembering perfectly each step to follow. The whole noose didn’t take too long to finish, and when I was done, I saw that Christopher’s eyes were wide with fear and he was shaking. The very fact that I’d made him feel so helpless caused me to swell with pride, and I vowed that I wouldn’t let this feeling go. Before he, Christopher, had ruined me, I’d been that girl. I’d been powerful, proud, gorgeous, and sure of myself, but he’d taken it all from me. He’d made me fearful and timid. He’d made me broken and anxious, and now, finally, I was about to break his hold over me.

“Are you going to kill me?” He asked, tears forming in the corners of his eyes, and I baulked. Could I really do that to him? He’d hurt me, sure, but he’d also loved me for a time. I’d managed to kill for Master, but they’d always meant nothing to me. They’d been junkies and homeless folk that nobody would miss, but Christopher, people knew him. He was popular and everyone knew what he’d done to me. I’d be suspected. But I could see Master’s face in my mind, urging me on. He’d promised me that tonight would be the end of my training, the end of my need to rely on other people to be safe and happy.

“Yes,” I replied, finally replacing my cold, blank expression. I was ready.

He looked down at me, standing on the chair he’d been tied to, his neck tightly bound by the noose. His hands had been expertly tied behind his back, just the way Master had taught me, and the look on his face was more empowering than anything I could ever do to him.

“I want you to admit what you did to me, and I want you to apologise.” He shook his head, and finally let his tears flow over his cheeks.

“No, please, I don’t want to.”

His words angered me and lifting the hammer, I aimed at one of his exposed toes, and hit out at it with the metal hammer head. He screamed, and I felt the bones in his smallest toe shatter. Blood spurted out across the chair and dripped onto the floor. I looked up at him and raised my eyebrow.

When he’d finally calmed enough to speak, he nodded. “Okay, okay. What do you want me to say.”

“Tell me what you did, and tell me you’re sorry.”

“I…” He sobbed, and lost focus, saying nothing more for a few seconds through his gutteral wails.

I growled, and brought up my hammer again and broke another of his toes, the other smallest. He screamed, again, and then finally got the idea.

“I raped you, Sophia. I beat you. I humiliated you. I’m sorry.”

Although it was what I asked for, my face grew hot with fear, embarrassment and most importantly, anger. I swung at his feet, catching his other toes, shattering them, and pounding with the hammer I made bloody pulp of his feet. Eventually, I let the hammer fall from my grip, and it made a loud, clanging sound on the concrete floor, which brought me back to my senses.

Taking a deep breath, I wondered if the whole situation was really as simple and easy as he'd made it sound. It hadn't been a lot worse as I remembered it. But what now? He’d done as I asked, should I let him go? If I let him go, I’d never really be myself again. He’d always be out there, I’d always have the fear of seeing him again, the fear of being at his mercy again. But if I killed him, I’d be free.

Looking up once more, I kicked the chair away from under his feet, surprised that he'd actually managed to keep standing with the mess of his feet. Then I watched as he tried to scream, dangling by his neck. It took a few minutes for him to go still, and a few more before he stopped twitching.

Finally, I had passed.

The door behind me unlocked and I couldn’t even bring myself to turn to him, I was so captivated by the swinging body in front of me.

“Well done, Sophia,” his voice was calm and quiet.

“Thank you, Master.”

“I have a job for you.”

“All on my own?”

“Yes. You are ready.” And I was.

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