Infatuation had never led to anything positive in my life, so when I toppled over a stranger on my way out of the train station, I should have known nothing good would come from that fluttering feeling that looking into his eyes gave me.
James strapped me into his little black convertible like I was some life-sized doll that he was taking for a picnic. Waves of pain rolled up and down my body—first, a burning, and then, a fierce cramping of my every muscle. The mix made me nauseous.
I had never been afraid of James, just annoyed by him. Now, I feared him, which turned into anger, so red and hot that I roared at him when he took the driver’s seat.
“Tell me—” I said. The pain hit me hard enough to take my breath. The seatbelt jolted across me as my body threw itself forward without my consent. I wanted to scream but whimpered instead. Finally, the tension and pain receded enough for me to speak. “What’s your sick fascination with drugging and kidnapping women?”
In the dark, a small glimpse of his smile shone: red and then green as the traffic light changed. “More of a job than a sick fascination.”
“Oh please.” Why was he so calm? How many times could he have done this? James didn’t look a day over twenty-five—how practiced could someone be with murder at his age? Pain made thinking difficult and double for calming my nerves. “Does your girlfriend know what a psychopath you are?”
The blackest eyes I’d ever seen turned their focus on me. I had barely enough strength to pull my knees to my chest, huddling against the door.
“Of course she knows, Ria. But does she know about you? I’m afraid my answer is no, she doesn’t. She will, once I’m through. It wouldn’t do either of us well should she find out before I’ve completed my task.”
Oh God. He really was going to kill me. Fighting the pain took all of my strength, leaving me no energy to fight him. I couldn’t just give up, but really, death already knocked at my door. How could I have let this man into my home?
Burning traveled down my arms and legs, accompanied by sharp pains—like acupuncture gone wrong. I whimpered again before a painful howl broke through my lungs and threw me back into the seatbelt. He didn’t drive for much longer, as my mind reeled with the thought of death, continually circling around to carefully take inventory of my heartbeat.
We stopped in front of an almost collapsed garage behind a house with the windows and doors boarded up—the perfect murder house. James unstrapped me and carried me through the back where the boards were nailed into the door but had been ripped out of the sides of the house. The fight I had left in me wouldn’t cooperate. My body laid limply in his arms.
The darkness kept me from seeing the space two inches from my face, and I waited for him to slam some part of me into something. But James didn’t knock me into a single thing.
Within seconds my body was laying in a mound of something soft. He disappeared, returned, and covered me with a fluffy comforter. Why try to keep me warm if he was just going to kill me? My body shook like I was cold, but I felt like I sat in boiling water.
James disappeared again, and shots rang down the block followed by curses and screams. He sure knew what part of the City to bring me to so that if I decided to scream or yell for help, no one would come and try to save me.
Wavering on the line of unconsciousness and consciousness, I received brief touches and murmurs but not much else. Why not carve me up like a sicko? Not that I wanted to be carved up, but if I were going to kill someone, I’d have to enjoy it. Isn’t that how crazy fuckers think?
I lay there in that foggy darkness for a long while, waiting for something to change. In a rush, my heart jacked itself around, pumping harder and harder in an adrenaline induced frenzy until it seized and skipped beats and quit.
And I died.