Part 1 –
Part 2 –
Part 3 –
Bethany was locked in the closet with Amanda, the young bible-clenching girl who had made the terrible mistake of knocking on Huerto’s door.
“We need to get out of here,” said Amanda. She was blonde and had a fresh black eye.
“Can we? I mean, how has he managed to keep you here?”
“Every window is boarded up. Every room is locked from the outside. He’s always within reaching distance of his rifle. And he never has any visitors over,” said Bethany. She’d been locked in the house with Huerto for four months.
Amanda swatted the hanger poking her. “What happened to you? I mean… why did he stab you?”
Bethany swallowed. “We got in a fight this morning.”
Bethany felt her wound and winced. She stood at a hunch – upright hurt too badly. “I asked to go outside. Even if it meant having a gun in my side.”
Bethany looked down and ran a hand straight through her dark hair. “And he got upset, picked up a knife, then stabbed me.” She sniffed. “A minute later he got out of bed to ‘make us some breakfast’.”
Amanda’s face went blank. “What kind of man is he?”
“He’s not a man,” said Bethany. “He’s a coward. A sicko with a gun.”
“I wish I never came here.”
A shout came from the other room. “Marriage ceremony! Later today, Huerto and the bitch with the bible!”
Bethany shot a glance at Amanda. “Marriage ceremony…”
Bethany swallowed. “I know what he’s about to do. He’s going to wed you with the rifle barrel pressed to your temple.”
“So,” Bethany said, licking her lips before going on. “So maybe that’s my time to do something. I remember where the knife is that stabbed me. If I can manage to get hold of it in secret, maybe I can kill him before he knows what hit him.”
“But won’t that put me in danger?”
“What?” said Bethany.
“If you lunge to stab him when his gun is at my head he’ll shoot me, and I’ll die.”
Bethany bit her fingernail.
“C’mon,” said the teenage girl. “You can’t take that risk-“
“In all the time I’ve been here, not once have I had the chance to hurt him. Today I’m either going to bleed to death or fight back. What would you do?”
Amanda looked terrified.
“Please don’t get me killed.”
Before Bethany could respond, the lock clicked and Huerto swung the door open. “Wedding ceremony, upstairs!” He pointed his rifle at Amanda. “Get out.”
He waited for Amanda and Bethany to exit, then walked behind them. Bethany led the way, eyes glued ahead. Blood continued to drip down her nightie and the pain was getting worse. She could feel her legs shake as she stepped up the stairs.
Her eyes were dark, as was her hair, but her skin was pale. As they reached the top of the stairs her breath intensified. A strange feeling mixed with all the pain, fear and anger she’d had to live, day in, day out.
It was hope.
Part 5, Coming Soon!
– Thomas M. Watt