(This short story was originally published at Patreon.)
Content warning for sexual assault, violence, kidnapping
You aren’t tied down, but you’re trapped. How? How isn’t important — you made a concession, you misunderstood, he took advantage.
Whether it’s any or all of the above, the important thing is: you’re here, and you can’t leave.
He visits you. He thinks it’s a kindness to not leave you alone. He reminds you no one knows where you are, he reminds you how hard it would be to find you.
On one visit, he cries. He cries and he pleads and his hands pin you by your wrists. You struggle and slip away. Your face tastes like salt and you run until your sides burn. You see faces, pale faces — neighbors, women. You beg and beg and beg for help, but they only stare. They stare and they laugh when he grabs your wrists again, when he drags you back.
It’s been days. Maybe a week. You’re tired. You’re tired. You’re so tired, but he’s planned an event, and you’ve been given an outfit to wear — something from the set of Stepford, in pastel shades. You hate it, but you know better than to argue.
At the party, you’re being shown off like a prized possession. The latest in a collection. A neighbor — one of the faces — talks to you, and her friends join in.
“When he first showed us your picture, we weren’t sure what to think,” she murmurs.
“You looked so queer,” she smirks.
“But now we see,” she grins.
“You clean up nice,” and her teeth glint.
Your voice is worn-out, and this isn’t the moment. Not just yet.
You want to leave, but instead are dragged like a marionette onto the dance floor. A man — a different man, for better or for worse — moving you for you, so you can’t. Your head is still yours, though, and you turn it away from him. He can paw at your hips, but he can’t have your eyes.
Sometime after, you see your chance, and you sneak away, and you find a phone, and you dial three numbers. This is the moment, and you whisper, and beg for help again. This time, your pleas are heard.
What may have been moments but may have been hours later, the room is lit up in reds and blues. They swear, they vow not to go down without a fight, but it doesn’t matter, because in the chaos you can run, you can flee to the forest. You can hide in the dark, in the silver-limned trees.
But something followed you. He thinks he can make you a marionette again.
He doesn’t know you stole a knife from the kitchen as you fled. You were determined not to be dragged back this time. Not again, and now the knife is in his chest. He laughs, and you pull it out, and he laughs, and the wound stitches itself up before your eyes, and he laughs.
But you’re not done. You’ve saved your fight. You know what won’t stitch up. You grit your teeth and grab his hair and cut through sinew and you saw and saw and saw.
You have to take it with you. You can’t leave it here, or it will find the bleeding stump and he’ll be whole again. It whines as you wander in the woods, dry leaves sticking to your blood-covered skirt and torn clothes. You know it won’t whine for long, though, and in the dark, your grim smile shines bright.