She had only caught a brief glimpse of the lower half of his body. While she was dragging her eyes up to search for answers in his face, she had only looked down for a second, but she knew exactly what she’d seen.
Instead of coming into the lounge dressed in a crisp, clean shirt, ready to go. He was half naked wearing only a short, satin, dressing gown. The front had come apart showing his broad torso, covered in curly black hair. She fought her eyes now, demanding that they remain locked on his face.
She’d seen it though… his erection. It was big and ugly. She had seen the definition of it beneath the thin material of the robe. It stuck straight out from his body, a small ring of the cloth darkening, wet around the head, turning the silk from a rich deep red, to a brown colour. The bulge of his penis was distressing the hang of the dressing gown. Although his erection was covered it had pulled the gown open and the top of his thigh was exposed. He had hairy upper thighs, and as her mind replayed what it had seen in that split-second glance, she remembered the tiny mole below his navel. She shuddered.
He was smiling at her, amused.
‘Come on, Bethany, don’t be coy now. You’re not going to go all precious on me, are you? We both know that this is what it’s all about. This is why you’re here. Don’t play Miss Innocent with me, after all, you went along to the speed dating event knowing full well that the brash Lady Margaret had a man waiting for her at home, didn’t you? Yes, I’ve been checking you out. You aren’t married but do you have a man waiting for you at home? Does he know that you go out alone, like an alley cat? Not that it makes any difference to me.’
She was shaking her head, feeling out of her depth, but he carried on talking regardless of her discomfort.
‘If you wish, we’ll play the game. You can act horrified, I’ll break through your defences, and then, when we’re bored with the game, we’ll have some great sex.’
‘I don’t understand. Look, there’s been a misunderstanding. I’m just going to leave, okay?’ She had been backing up as he slowly advanced towards her, one step for every three words.
‘You aren’t going anywhere, my dear. You don’t even want to. Isn’t this delicious? The tension, Bethany, can you feel it? Can you feel the vibes in the room?’ He drew in a deep breath and shuddered. ‘I’m very excited, Bethany. You’ve done this to me. You are so very sexy with your big scared eyes and your “don’t touch” attitude. You have no idea of your power, have you? We’re going to be so good together. We’re going to be electric.’
He was between her and the door. She’d have to push past him to be able to get out. She was terrified. She didn’t think he was going to let her leave. Gathering all her determination and courage she hugged herself, her body language closing in, shutting down, blocking him out. ‘I’m leaving,’ she said.
His only reply was to smile that infuriating smile. The edge of her vision caught his huge erection as she was striding purposefully towards the door.
Marc stepped aside to let her pass, his own arms folded, but crossed loosely, his expression arrogant and assured as she fled. She was surprised. She had expected him to grab her, to stop her from leaving. Perhaps it was just a misunderstanding after all. She would kill Maggie for this, tomorrow. She had certainly learned her lesson. All these things were scrolling through her mind as she reached for the door handle. And then her mind voided, all thoughts blasted violently away as a hurricane of fear blew into town.
The door was locked.
She remembered the click, had thought nothing of it at the time, was too preoccupied with Marc’s state of undress. She knew now that she wasn’t going to be able to just walk away from this with no more repercussion than a slight feeling of shame and embarrassment.
She didn’t want to turn around and knew that when she did she needed all of her wits about her. She breathed deeply, drawing the scent of furniture polish way down into her lungs and exhaling it slowly. He hadn’t moved. She was attuned, listening. She sensed him leaning against the ornate maple and stone fire surround, smiling smugly and waiting, much as a snake will wait for its prey to move, biding its time, knowing that the end result will fall in its favour. To him this was just foreplay.
She took another breath and turned around. Her eyes had hardened, her face set in a mask of determined resolve.
‘Let me out.’ She said it with a steady voice, hoping that her no nonsense attitude would bring Marc to his senses.
He didn’t say a word. His smile fixed, teeth strong and white. Teeth that had seemed so attractive to Beth earlier now flashed menacingly, forcing the image of the predator.
He dropped his left arm to his side while bringing his right hand up to his body. He pushed away the raw silk material and snaked his hand across his naked chest. He was taunting her with a display of self-caressing, his fingertips curling through the thick chest hair, finding his nipple and fingering it lightly until it budded. His mouth dropped open, his eyes half closing for just a second. He released a long breath, the hand at his thigh beginning to move now, in a slow, circular motion.
His eyes snapped open suddenly, making her jump. They locked onto hers, hard and threatening. Beth was aware of the door behind her. She leaned into it, allowing it to support her. She pulled away to stand unsupported, subliminally realising that this was more about power than it was about sex.
‘I want to go home now. Let me out, please, or I will call the police.’
‘And how are you going to do that, my dear?’ He was still smiling, his hands still moving, his eyes still cruel.
‘Feel free. Nobody will hear you.’
She felt tears well up in her eyes. She willed herself not to cry. ‘Why are you doing this to me? I just want to go home.’ The word ‘home’ was broken by a sob and she was annoyed with herself.
She wheeled around, turning back to face the door, searching for a mechanism to unlock it and let herself out. It was self locking with a Yale type catch, and yet there was no release chamber on the inside of the door. She could feel hysteria rising inside her and hammered with both fists. She was screaming and the tears fell openly now as she yelled again and again to be let out.
Marc didn’t move. He had stopped stroking himself; his audience was inattentive for the moment so there was no point. He merely stood and watched the woman beating on the heavy door until her fists were red and swollen and her voice was strained.
‘I want to go home,’ she finished quietly, when the last of her energy was spent.
‘There are three ways to open the door,’ he said, conversationally. He had opened a panel in the wall at the other side of the fireplace where the column of controls was inlaid into the trunking. ‘You can open this and press this button. Or, you can use this, like this.’ He had picked up a black remote control and held it out towards her. He was showing off again, enjoying her terror and confusion.
She wasn’t thinking now. Her mind was blank, all her efforts focused on the remote control. She ran towards him ready to snatch it from his hand. He was offering it, holding it out to her, smiling.
She reached for it, still moving forwards. Her fingertips were closing around the plastic as he flung his hand high into the air, taking the control out of her reach, tossing it backwards into the room. It clattered to the floor, over-ended once, and then lay still.
‘Or, Bethany,’ he continued, ‘the best way to get out of here is to just be nice to me. I want you to be nice to me, Bethany. You want that, too, don’t you? We can be so good together.’ He grabbed her, his arms encircling her body, chest to chest, breath to breath, grunting into her face as his hard chest pressed against the softness of her body. ‘Can you do that, Bethany? Can you do that for me? Can you be nice to me?’ She was struggling, fighting against the closure around her, trying to loosen the tight grip of his arms. She tried to get her arm loose to gouge his eyes but he had her pinned. Her hands fluttered birdlike and useless against his chest. She lifted a leg to kick him but he anticipated the movement. As soon as her leg moved from the floor he wrapped his calf around her weight-baring leg and pulled it from under her. They fell to the floor in a tangle. With nothing to break her fall she fell flat on her back.
Contact with the floor drove the breath from her and she was badly winded. Her head hit the floor and bounced off again, catching the side of his cheek with her chin as he came down on top of her. She felt sick. Her eyes stung. The void in her chest, left by her breath’s wake, burned. It swelled inside her and as she tried to inhale, it caught under her ribcage and held. She couldn’t exhale and fringes of blackness were billowing at her peripheral vision. Her mouth was opening and closing but no air passed in either direction.
He was on top of her now. The fall had distracted her from what he was doing. All of her concentration was focussed on drawing breath and she didn’t struggle at all as he took first one arm and then the other and fastened them under his knees. Her eyes were bulging and her lips tinged with blue as she dragged that first jagged breath down her throat. It brought her no relief. It had a serrated edge and caught all the way down to her lungs. Once deep inside her, the dirty air rolled with the burning heat and expanded. She tried to get rid of it, tried to push it out, but it stuck, big and heavy inside her. He was talking but she couldn’t understand the words, all she was aware of was being badly winded, the incredible weight inside her body and her inability to breathe.
Her muscles had contracted, trapping the air inside her. In panic she tensed, further cramping her tortured body. Her eyes were still bulging, bloodshot now with bursting blood vessels. Her focus was hazing. The world was swimming around her, constantly moving, and she felt herself surrendering to unconsciousness. She slumped involuntarily, relaxing all of the tension and the stale air left her body in a rush as the muscles released their cargo. The next inhalation was easier but still raw and it dragged, the one after that was smoother. The fire waned and the darkness lifted, deserting her just when she needed it most.
Her eyes refocused. He was on top of her, sitting easily across her chest. The dressing gown had gone. As she brought order to her mind she could feel the cool softness of satin against her lower right calf. He must have thrown it behind him. She could feel his buttocks on her abdomen. She felt him there, supporting him and cushioning the definition of his balls below her breasts. She could smell the musk scent of his sex underneath the aroma of his magnolia shower gel. The base of his penis was touching her. His foreskin was stretched back as he pushed the head forward into her chest. He leaked pre-cum onto her blouse. The glans smooth and shining with his moisture, purple in colour as the blood was forced to the head of his dick.
She felt sick. As the panic of not being able to breathe and the intense burning pain left her body, she became aware for the first time of the pain in her head. She had banged it hard in the fall. His weight on top of her had exacerbated the momentum and the fall had been heavy. Her body shifted, the slight wave of motion causing him to resettle his buttocks, she felt the bones of his backside digging into her sternum. She could feel her pounding heartbeat in the rush of blood to her ears. The pain in her head knocked against the back of her eyes. She felt sleepy. All she wanted to do was to go to sleep. She shook her head, causing a wave of nausea to surge through her body, banishing the sleepy feeling and bringing her back to the hard floor beneath her and the monster on top of her.
He had been sitting quietly over her, watching, waiting patiently for her to gather her wits. When Beth had come through the stages of inertia to full alertness, he grinned. It was clear that he wanted a lively participant. She was aware now; she saw his erection pulse back to full attention.
He bent his head and covered her mouth with his, savagely grinding his teeth into the soft flesh of her lower lip, drawing blood and forcing his tongue against hers, tasting saliva as it filled her mouth. She thrashed her head from side to side. He stayed with her, his mouth on hers, riding out her desperate attempts to stave him off. Her legs kicked and hips bucked. She almost threw him and he had to rebalance. He was grunting into her mouth, tasting her breath, his tongue probing and retracting between his mouth and hers. He brought his hands up to the sides of her face, holding her jaws with his palms, stopping her from biting down and maiming him. A dribble of saliva-thinned blood trickled onto her chin. She whimpered, the small bleat of desperation resonating inside his mouth, sending a shudder of pure lust into his loins.
He tore his mouth away from the unreciprocated kiss. His finger grazed lightly across the cup of her bra. ‘I want to see them, how hard would you like me to bite down on your nipples?’ Humiliation tracked across her face. He sat up straight and ran his hands over the front of her blouse. She pushed her shoulders into the floor and twisted her spine in an attempt to get his hands off her.
Marc grimaced. ‘Little boobies. Bethany Baby-tits. I’ve seen chubby boys with bigger knockers than you. No Matter, as long as they are responsive. They remind me of the breasts of a pre-pubescent child,’ His face had a far-away expression, as though he was reliving some memory from the past, ‘like somebody’s little sister’s.’ and then he was back in the moment, ‘I shall have to spank you later.’ With a single motion he brought his hands up in front of her and ripped her blouse open. A button flew off to the left. Beth followed it with her eyes. She wanted to see where it went, where it stopped. It might be useful as evidence, later.
He looked at her for a second. Her push-up bra gave her a false cleavage. He grabbed at the lacy black cups with both hands and wrenched them down her body. His fingernail caught on her upper chest and gouged an inch long trench in her flesh. For a second, the exposed capillaries blinked at the world, pink and empty but with the next heartbeat they filled with blood. It oozed down her chest and pooled around his penis. It was only a small cut but like many small skin breaks it bled greater than it’s worth.
Her breasts were exposed now, but she was encumbered by the bra which, when covering her, had looked feminine and elegant, but left to flap below her ribs showed itself in its deception. Forced down in this way the straps tore into her arms, just above the elbow.
‘Stupid bitch, you should have worn a front fastening bra, you knew you were meeting me.’ He pulled at the straps in temper, stretching them and causing her to cry out in pain as they dug painfully into her flesh. He couldn’t risk letting her arm go, she was stronger now. She had regained some strength as the instinct of survival had kicked in. He didn’t know if he’d be able to secure her so easily a second time if he let his guard down. The stitching gave way on one strap and he was able to get the clothing far enough down to push under his thighs and out of sight.
She was naked to the waist, displayed before him. Her face was red with humiliation and her eyes burned with hatred and terror. His hands shook slightly as he reached out to stroke her breasts. They were small but undeniably beautiful with large responsive nipples. They hardened instantly as he ran his fingers over them. She hated her body for this small betrayal.
‘See, under the prissy attitude, you are a little slut, aren’t you?’ he said, kneading her flesh with brutal fingers and hurting her.
He left red finger marks in her breast. They would bruise later, but already the skin was flushed and angry. He saw the welts and they only served to heighten his excitement. He began to pummel her upper body with his hands, grunting and thrusting his hips forward so that the head of his penis was just pushing through the valley of her cleavage.
The friction caused him to leak more semen and he gathered the meat of her breasts together as he thrust harder and faster into the slippery crevice. She was weeping, tears rolling down either side of her face and dropping onto her shoulders. Each time she begged him to stop he thrust harder. For twenty seconds he rode the cleft between her beasts as she bucked and fought to try and dislodge him. He groaned and shuddered. His torso stiffened and he stopped moving, forcing his penis through the resistance of her breasts and his hands. The end of his dick pushed right through and the first jet of his ejaculate hit her in the face.
‘Oh, yes,’ he moaned, ‘Oh Bethany, I’m coming on you.’
Each new rope of spunk weakened and spilled over her chest. She felt his buttocks tense and shudder under her and the damp stickiness of his balls felt slick as they lifted and then dropped again on to her body. She hadn’t stopped fighting him, still her legs thrashed and her body swivelled, but he was over six foot tall, his body was firm and dense, his weight in excess of fourteen stone to her nine stone seven. She couldn’t budge him.
He sat up, his eyes closed, and he licked his lips. His brow was shining with perspiration and his breath was still rasping after his orgasm. Slowly, he opened his eyes and looked at her. If she had dared hope that the ordeal was over now, and that he would let her go, then his eyes instantly told her that he was far from finished with her. His face settled into a new expression, one of black, furious anger.
‘I didn’t want to do that. Why did you make me do that? You little whore. I wanted our first time to be so -’ he stopped and rolled his eyes to the ceiling, as though searching for the correct word ‘- intense. I wanted it to be intense and memorable. And what do you give to me? Your pathetic baby tits, that’s what. Flaunting them at me, like a brazen bitch in heat, begging me with your soulful eyes to touch them, to ride them. Thrusting them out at me, and all the time playing your little “oh, please don’t touch” game. I didn’t want to come like that. I didn’t want to make a mess of you. It was supposed to be special. You ruined it, you spoiled our first time.’
He was ranting at her, forcing his knees into her shoulders, shifting his weight to release the tension in his muscles where cramp was threatening. She was telling him no, asking him to let her up.
‘Please, let me go home. I Promise I won’t tell anyone. I won’t go to the police. Please, just let me go now.’
‘And have you telling that low-grade wench Margaret that I’m an unsatisfactory lover? That I come too quickly? Have you mocking me to her? Would you be that disloyal to me, Bethany? Have I judged you wrong?’ His shoulders slumped and for the first time she sensed a change in his demeanour. His rapid ejaculation had taken from him some of his power and arrogance.
She shook her head vehemently. ‘No, no, I won’t tell anyone, I promise.’ She was scrambling around in her vocabulary. This might be her one chance of escape. She had to find the right words to pacify the lunatic. ‘Don’t worry about it. Next time will be better, you’ll see.’
His head had dropped to his chest in a posture of abject self pity. Now it shot up, fire blazing in his eyes once more. ‘You mock me already. Not only do you strip me of my masculinity but you take me for a fool. Next time? Next time? My dear Bethany, only I will decide if there is to be a next time. What pull do you think you have, lying there broken and used with filthy stuff dripping from your ugly body?’
He shuffled back and pulled her up by the shoulders until her face was in line with his. She thought he was going to kiss her. He dropped his forehead and she instinctively moved her face a fraction of an inch to avoid his mouth, saving herself from the worst as he head-butted her in the face.
Her movement saved her nose and deflected the worst of the impact, but her already bruised bottom lip split like an orange segment ripe with juice. ‘Next time, restrain yourself, woman, until I tell you I’m ready. If I can ever stand to look at you again, next time we will take our orgasm together. We will forget about this initial unpleasantness. We will go back to our taunt and tease game and it will be our first time, just as I had it planned. It will be so good, Bethany... so intense.’
At that moment, he seemed more compliant. Not thinking about how she would get out of the room and, after that, the house, she saw only her chance for her first move towards freedom. She wanted to gently explore her ruined face, probe with her fingertip to find out how badly hurt she was. But instead, when she felt him shift his weight on her body, she gave an almighty heave of chest and hip. He toppled, struck out a hand. Too late to balance himself, he fell to the right. Beth was out from underneath him.
She was scrambling across the floor towards the remote control that would activate the door, whimpering like a beaten dog but resolute in her need to escape. Her knees grazed on the hard floor. She reached out and almost toppled over. She had the remote in her hand, pulling it into her body, balancing on both legs and one arm.
But he was on her, tackling her from behind, bringing her down. His arms were tight around her waist. She kicked out, wasting energy, pummelling her leg muscles into free air. His legs were pulled in close to his waist, giving him purchase and power to attack her again.
Shifting his position he grabbed her hair with one hand while the other strengthened its grip around her waist. He pulled her by the hair until her back arched painfully and continued to yank until her body contorted into the shape of an archer's bow. Both legs were still straight out behind her, kicking furiously. Her right foot made contact with the base of the life sized bronze sculpture. She brought her other foot to meet it. Now she had something to provide an anchor to push against.
Bracing both feet against the statue she put every calorie of energy into twisting her body. He still had her by the hair. The sudden movement wrenched at her scalp. Her force, not his, rived follicles from their bedding, tearing the hair from her head. The agony added impetus to her action. She bunched her fist for added force and drove her elbow backwards into the tender flesh of his groin. She missed her target on the first attempt but heard a satisfying whoosh of breath as she connected instead with his belly. She got him in the balls the second time. He curled, cradling the hurt with his forearms crossed around his middle.
She was up, facing him, on her knees, on her feet, swinging her foot behind her, grateful for her choice of knee-length boots over open-toed sandals. He was occupied with the fire in his belly, didn’t see the kick coming, didn’t move to deflect the blow. She planted her foot full in the bastard’s face. She hopped on her pivotal foot as the velocity of the kick carried her forwards. The crunch of bone was satisfying.
He didn’t bleed as much as she might have expected. It didn’t spurt as her lip had done. It was more of a gush down his chest. Deep red, capillary bleeding released in a flood from the burst vessels in his nose.
She turned towards the door but before she could point the remote control he was on his feet, black fire in his eyes. His face, cruel before, now bore a look that any fool could read as murderous.
He was going to kill her.
She knew it.
He knew it.
Bethany Armstrong was going to die, tonight, in this house, and nobody would know where the hell she was.
He didn’t say anything. He wasn’t playing now. The game was over. He’d spat the dummy, and like all babies who don’t get their own way he didn’t want to play any more. The silence was broken only by their combined rasping breath. He moved towards her. She turned, one step at a time, circling, keeping space between them, ancient wrestlers of the Acropolis, swathed in blood, fighting to the death. She had turned a full ninety degrees and was facing the statue when he ran her. She was still holding the remote, pointing it towards him, ready to fire. It was the only weapon she had. Gone was her one moment of surprise, where his lapse in concentration had counterbalanced the ratio of their strength and gave her a split second advantage. No ifs, no buts, she was going to die.
Her mind was clear when his body connected with hers. She stepped back on her left foot for balance and went with the momentum of his body in a graceful dance-like movement, rather than stiffening and trying to absorb the shock of his bulk. She remained on her feet. He shook his head to clear his fuzzed vision and speckles of bone and blood and snot splattered her face.
He was pushing her, using his weight to cannon her backwards. He tripped as his foot tangled with the CD rack. He didn’t fall but tottered slightly, grabbing onto her for balance rather than wheeling her away like a supermarket trolley. She grabbed at this second chance, turning the tables on him, taking his own tactic and switching it against him. She was slight and lithe, nothing much to work with, but she found strength in desperation. Beth had never fought in her life but now she was fighting for it and a primal instinct drove her.
Moving solely on instinct, she took a deep breath into her diaphragm. At that moment, when she had to take her advantage and make it work for her, she felt an energy that she didn’t know she possessed, and used it. She pushed him backwards, just as he had done to her. His upper body was rigid but his legs pummelled across the floor, trying to get purchase, finding none, three steps, four steps, five, building speed, cannoning backwards.
It wasn’t planned. She didn’t mean to do it. She didn’t even see what was going to happen. She was literally fighting to stay alive, living one second to the next, not expecting to ever see further than that room, working only to keep his feet moving backwards from this second to the next and forever so that he couldn't lay his filthy hands on her again.
The bronze lady was smiling right at her, willing her to beat him, willing her to live. Beth pushed with all her might, moving him, moving him, moving him, until, suddenly, he stopped.
His eyes opened wide. His mouth gaped, he screamed, but Beth didn’t stop, she was still pushing him backwards, fighting against the barrier that was holding him. It wouldn’t give.
But he did.
She heard the sharp, pointed foot of the ballerina pierce his back. His feet were paddling in the font at the base of the fountain. Fresh blood bubbled from his mouth, different from last time, brighter, freshly oxygenated, venous. He blew red airy bubbles at her, wheezing a reedy cry like the whistle of a boiling kettle.
He looked like an extension of the sculpture. He was impaled on her extended leg, the workmanship fine, elegant, slim, tapered and as thin as a stiletto knife adorned with a ballerina’s slipper.
She watched him die, exultant, victorious, horrified. She actually witnessed the split second that his essence left the wreckage of his body. He was stuck to the front of the sculpture, dancing with the ballerina, one leg lifted, brow furrowed, eyes wide in agony and with the horror of realisation. His body danced with the lady but his eyes belonged only to Beth. He pleaded with her silently to help him… and then he was gone.
She didn’t suspect that he was dead, she didn’t have an inkling that he was dead. She simply knew that Marc, with a C, no longer inhabited the bloodied body. The font filled up quickly with the dying man’s blood and by the time his heart stopped pumping, the water in the trough was cloudy and red. The bulbs, at the base pointed artistically upwards, changing colour every five seconds. The blood became purple, then orange, then blue.
Beth had her forever back. Her future was destined to last longer than the next few seconds, yet she could have spent forever watching water play in rainbows over a dead man’s body.
She heard a noise. It sounded like a child – somewhere a child was laughing. It couldn’t be. Her mind was playing with her, creating illusions like that of the purple blood splashing in front of her eyes.
She turned towards the source of the imagined noise and the previously locked door hung open.
She ran from the room, ran from the house, ran from the nightmare. She ran until vomit rose in her throat and until her feet buckled and almost caused her to fall. She ran all the way home and then stopped only because there was nowhere else to run.