This serial story is posted weekly on Fridays in draft (unedited) format. Each installment is available for one week. If you’ve missed an installment, email me and I’ll send you what you’ve missed.
When She Cries
Patrick watched Nicole struggle on his net from a fallen log ten yards away. He should have put a fabric barrior under the ropes at her wrists. He’d known she would struggle, but not hard enough to draw blood. He’d made the knots self-tightening though, so they should stop any bleeding shortly. Unfortunately, they’d also cut off the blood supply if she struggled too long, but in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t really matter.
She was going to die there, one way or the other. He’d rather end it now and allow her a dignified death, but the viewers preferred their victims broken, and prey like Nicole came few and far between. It could be a few hunts before another crossed his path.
When she called for him, his fingers tightened on the leather whip coiled on his lap, tracing the smooth edge of the tight round braid as he ignored her cries.
He had to bide his time, wait for her to calm down and believe she was all alone. The physical pain was only a tool, though he made it visual purely for those viewers who got off on that sort of thing. It did nothing for him, personally – he preferred to play in the mind, manipulating the most basic fears into something completely untenable to process.
It was getting darker, and he built a fire, noting that she cocked her head toward him when she heard him moving around.
“Patrick? Is that you?”
He didn’t answer, of course. He’d have no further verbal contact with her. Even just the sound of another human being could give hope, and while she could hear him moving around, she couldn’t tell whether he was human or animal, and he’d keep it that way as long as he could. Her imagination would supply far more horrendous answers to sate her curiosity than he ever could.
The fire crackled as it burned through the kindling and started consuming the smaller branches, unmistakable sounds she’d surely recognize. He placed a few more thick logs in the pile and watched them start to glow underneath.
Nicole was quiet, her head hanging low with her chin close to her chest. She was weak, he’d imagine, having gone without food or water for hours now. Her wrists and ankles were crusted with blood and her body sagged into the net, most of her weight on the ropes at her upper thighs giving her an odd posture, but also ensuring she wouldn’t suffocate.
It was time.
Patrick unfurled the whip, testing his grip a few times and then sending a few gentle flicks her way just to get a feel for the distance. A couple steps closer, and a quick glance to make sure several cameras in the area had caught his movement and focused on them.
Careful with his aim, he flicked his arm and popped the end of the whip right next to Nicole’s head, startling her awake. The loud crack echoed up and down the valley, an erie sound in the darkness as it gradually faded to silence.
“Patrick?” He could barely hear the rasp of her voice whispered low on the breeze. It affected him more than it should have. Made him wonder if maybe he shouldn’t just cut her down and haul her off to some deserted island where she’d learn to love him, eventually.
He shook off the rogue thoughts. He was not that guy. He didn’t fall for his prey, and he sure as heck didn’t think about leaving everything behind for some pansy-ass ocean-front property. He must be coming down with something.
The woman on the net was nothing more than a challenger who’d lost. Beautiful and smart, yes, but not savvy enough to outsmart him, and he’d certainly given her plenty of chances.
The whip sang through the air, the tip already on the ground again before she twitched and cried out. A small rivulet of blood flowed from the wound he’d just made high up on the right side of her chest, and it made a nice dark streak down the center of her breast, droplets hesitating at the tip before falling to the ground with a tiny ping.
His captive was breathing hard, and he flicked her again, this time on the left side of her chest allowing a matching stream to trickle down off her body.
She flinched, but didn’t cry out. He opened several more cuts in quick succession on her upper thighs, her ribs, her upper arms. By the time he’d made the last one she hadn’t even flinched, and he dropped the whip, wondering if he’d pushed her body farther than it could go.
He moved closer, opening a bottle of water and splashing a healthy dose in her face, soaking the blindfold over her eyes. She shook her head, sputtering as she lifted it and turned one way, then the other trying to see.
“Patrick – is that you? Whoever you are, tell me what you want, and I’ll do it, just cut me down. Or kill me, if you’re going to. Either way, just end this.”