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Tormentor Mine(7)

By:Anna Zaires

“I want you to tell me about your husband. Specifically, I need to know his location.”

“George?” My mind goes blank as a new fear bites at me. “W-what… why?”

The blade presses in. “I’m the one asking questions.”

“P-please,” I choke out. I can’t think, can’t focus on anything but the knife. Hot tears slide down my face, and I’m shaking all over. “Please, I don’t—”

“Just answer my question. Where is your husband?”

“I—” Oh God, what do I tell him? He must be one of them, the reason for all the precautions. My heart is beating so fast I’m hyperventilating. “Please, I don’t… I haven’t—”

“Don’t lie to me, Sara. I need his location. Now.”

“I don’t know it, I swear. Please, we’re—” My voice cracks. “We’re separated.”

The arm around my ribcage tightens, and the knife digs in a fraction deeper. “Do you want to die?”

“No. No, I don’t. Please…” I’m shaking harder, the tears streaming down my face uncontrollably. After the accident, there were days when I thought I wanted to die, when the guilt and pain of regrets were overwhelming, but now that the blade is at my throat, I want to live. I want it so badly.

“Then tell me where he is.”

“I don’t know!” My knees are threatening to buckle, but I can’t betray George like this. I can’t expose him to this monster.

“You’re lying.” My assailant’s voice is pure ice. “I’ve read your messages. You know exactly where he is.”

“No, I—” I try to think of a plausible lie, but I can’t come up with one. Panic is acrid on my tongue as frantic questions pop into my mind. How could he have read my messages? When? How long has he been stalking me? Is he one of them? “I—I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The knife presses in a hair deeper, and I squeeze my eyes shut, my breath coming in sobbing gasps. Death is so close I can taste it, smell it… feel it with every fiber of my being. It’s the metallic tang of my blood and the cold sweat running down my back, the roar of my pulse in my temples and the tension in my quivering muscles. In another second, he’ll nick my jugular, and I’ll bleed out, right here on my kitchen floor.

Is this what I deserve? Is this how I atone for my sins?

I clench my teeth to prevent them from chattering. Please forgive me, George. If this is what you need…

I hear my attacker sigh, and in the next instant, the knife is gone and I’m flipped over onto the counter. My back hits the hard granite, and my head flops backward into the sink, my neck muscles screaming from the strain. Gasping, I kick out and try to punch him, but he’s too strong and fast. In a flash, he leaps onto the counter and straddles me, pinning me in place with his weight. He secures my wrists with something hard and unbreakable before gripping them with one hand, and no matter how hard I struggle, I can’t do anything to get free. My heels slide uselessly on the sleek counter, and my neck muscles burn from holding up my head. I’m helpless, pinned down, and a new kind of panic washes over me.

Please, God, no. Anything but rape.

“We’re going to try something different,” he says, and a piece of cloth drops over my face. “See if you’re truly willing to die for that bastard.”

Panting, I twist my head from side to side, trying to throw off the cloth, but it’s too long and I can barely breathe underneath it. Is he trying to suffocate me? Is that the plan?

Then the faucet handle squeaks, and everything becomes clear.

“No!” I struggle harder, but he grips my hair with his free hand, holding me under the faucet with my head arched back.

The initial shock of wetness isn’t so bad, but within seconds, the water travels up my nose. My throat clenches, my lungs seize, and my whole body heaves up as I gag and choke. The panic is instinctive, uncontrollable. The rag is like a wet paw clamped over my nose and mouth, squeezing them shut. The water is in my nose, in my throat. I’m suffocating, drowning. I can’t breathe, can’t breathe…

The faucet turns off, and the cloth is yanked off my face. Coughing, I suck in air, sobbing and wheezing. My whole body is a heaving, trembling mess, and white spots dance in my vision. Before I can recover, the cloth is slapped over my face again, and the water is turned back on.

This time, it’s even worse. My nasal passages burn from the water, and my lungs scream for air. I’m heaving and gagging, choking and crying. I can’t breathe. Oh, God, I’m dying; I can’t breathe—