Day 12 – here you go, folks. This one was inspired by something an agent said the other night: Write like your life depended on it. I may have taken it a little too literally with this, but hey.
There’s more to this, I’m sure. I will return to this twisted take on Scheherezade, because it’s just too… well, read it and you’ll see.
Heavy, dragging on my arms. There’s a pressure weighing down on my chest. It’s difficult to breathe. My mouth is covered, can’t open it. My arms. So much hurt, I almost drift back to the blackness to escape. Bastard luck, it recedes and I open my eyes.
My arms are stretched above me, my bare toes grazing the concrete floor. I look down, seeing my own nakedness and the cold hits. I shiver, I can’t stop shivering now that I’ve started, and the cold is least of my worries.
A disc of light on the floor, surrounded by encroaching darkness. I see the faint outline of a chair on the opposite side of the light, just outside its influence. My greedy eyes drink in the light to stave off the fear. I can’t stop them, and when I finally force a blink, the afterimage is burned behind my lids. I turn my head, but my arms blinker my vision. I look past the light into the void of the dark, straining to see past the burning bright spotlight.
The dark keeps its secrets.
I struggle, but there’s no stability in standing on tip-toe. My arms burn under the burden of myself, and I can’t put my feet flat down. The pain increases, and I stop, allowing myself to swing minutely from the shackles. Tendons and ligaments groan; I think I heard it, but I can’t be sure.
How in hell did I get here?
‘It’s story time.’
A voice from the black, coming from behind me. I thought I was cold before; that was a walk along a beach in comparison to how I feel now. I try to turn, wrench my head around to see the puppet-master who has hung me out like this.
Laughter echoes. ‘You must save your energy. Don’t struggle. You’ll only dislocate a shoulder or two.’ The voice is distorted, altered by the space and probably by technology. No human voice sounds like that naturally. Unless you’re Christian Bale. Nice time for jokes. Jesus, I’m in trouble here, and I’m making fucking jokes. I must be going mad.
‘You’re my favourite author, you know that?’
Fingers crawl through my hair, scratching through the tangled falls behind my neck and shoulders. A delicate scrape of nails down the skin of my back sets the shivers running anew.
‘I want you to write me a story. Just for me.’
The fingers continue stroking through my hair; the image of my cat on my lap whilst I’m sitting at my desk rises and falls.
‘But we’re going to play a game with this story. This story that’s you will write just for me.’
My chest tightens and my pulse speeds up. The fingers sweep the hair to one side. Warm breath on the back of my neck as strong hands trace the outlines of my strained biceps. My skin reaches back for the warmth of the large body that stands just behind me. It comes no closer. Only the breath and the hands touch me.
‘You will start your story. If I don’t like it, I punish you.’
One hand lifts away from my arm. The sudden chill where there was a brief warmth makes me tremble again. That’s what I tell myself, but then I hear a metallic clink behind me.
‘I’m very imaginative, too.’
A chill line traces from the small of my back, around my waist to my stomach. I roll my eyes down, bending my head as much as I dare with the voice behind me. I watch as the tip of the filleting knife trails around my navel, and travels up my torso, circling the right nipple. I scream behind the gag.
‘Try to scream or do anything other than tell me my story, and I will punish you.’
The tip of the knife presses into the outer swell of my right breast.
‘Tell me a story I have heard before, and I will punish you.’
I watch – eyes wide – as a cherry drop of blood blossoms under the tip of the knife. Thank the gods it’s so cold, otherwise I’m sure that would hurt.
‘Take the story in a direction I don’t like, I will punish you.’
The knife pivots, twists, digs deeper, and the drop becomes a widening line. Pain sears through the cold.
I wish I was only shivering now.