real lj idol | week 30 (prompt 5) | 807 words
I woke up in a dark room that could have been anywhere, but wasn't. I didn't know where I was or how I got there, only that my head was killing me and I was handcuffed. That could not be good.
I couldn't remember a single thing about myself, including my name. What the hell had happened to me?
Nightmare? For a second, I hoped that was the answer and that I'd wake up soon. But time dragged on, long, boring, and slightly damp-smelling. Nightmares were never, ever boring, so it wasn't that. Well, crap. The dark, the danger, and the splitting headache had to be real. It seemed like they ought to add up to something, but I couldn't figure out what.
Think… think… I sat up, and slowly worked my way to my feet. That dusty-damp odor was familiar. Like a garage smell, or a gutter, or no—a basement. God, why was I in a basement, in the dark?
"Hello?" I yelled, which made my head feel like a spike had been shoved right down the middle. Ow, damnit! It hurt like a sonofabitch, like a migraine or something. Maybe that's what this was, and why the lights were off…
No, wait. Handcuffs. Who handcuffs himself? Especially with his arms trapped behind his back?
I tried walking forward slowly, testing the area in front of me with my feet. My left knee felt like it had been wrenched or beaten, and something trickled down the side of my face. Blood?
Why couldn't I remember anything?
My right foot bumped into something solid. I stretched my leg out and moved my foot side-to-side. Flat. Maybe a wall? I shuffled to the left, leading with my hip, and ran into something almost immediately. I turned, and tested the surface with my foot again. Another wall.
I kept moving, slowly mapping out the space around me. It was much smaller than I'd expected, maybe only 8-by-8 or 10-by-10 with a single door. It was a room, in a basement, and I was handcuffed and probably had a head injury. My heart sped up and I breathed faster and faster as the words John Wayne Gacy surfaced, a name that was somehow familiar to me even though my own was lost. But I couldn't possibly have been stupid enough to—
My stomach lurched. The highway…
My car had broken down in the middle of nowhere (silver sedan lost in the onslaught of rain, my mind whispered) and I'd tried to get a ride to the closest town. Finally, a car slowed down as it got near me. I remembered hurrying over to meet it, and then a flash of blinding pain—
I had to get out of this basement now.
I strained against the handcuffs, pulling and twisting, but they wouldn't budge. Worse, with my hands bound behind me I couldn't even use the cuffs as some kind of weapon. I worked my way over to the door again, but it still wouldn't open—it was like it was stuck. Locked.
I kept turning in circles, trying to see something inside that darkness, anything.
The movement kicked off a wave of pain and nausea. Fuck. I stumbled toward the center of the room and vomited, and still all I could think about was that I was running out of time. How in the hell was I going to get out?
I heard a thumping noise overhead, like the sound of someone walking around above me. I backed up quickly, searching for a wall. There. I pushed the handcuff chain out against the gritty, concrete surface and tried to rub the metal raw. Come on, come on…
Footsteps thudded slowly down the stairs, coming closer. I found myself breathing so fast, the darkness sparked before my eyes.
I heard a click and the door flew open. Against a blinding backdrop of light, I saw the shadowed outline of a man holding an enormous knife.
Christ, I thought, scuttling backwards—no sideways, anywhere—just to get away.
The man raised his arm next to the door, and tugged on something I couldn't see.
Light filled the room then, from a cluster of overhead bulbs. I choked at the sight of chain-mounted hooks dangling from the ceiling, and the series of huge, dark-red stains on the floor. My heart slammed to a halt.
I couldn't breathe, couldn't move, couldn't do anything to save myself from what was coming.
I tried to make myself run but all I could do was stand there, knowing that this was it—this was the end. I was going to die at the hands of this crazy-eyed monster and whatever sick torture he had planned for me.
My only hope was that my own panic would kill me before he made it across the floor…
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