| I don't know where I am. I don't know why I'm here.
A few weeks ago it started. No, before then, but a few weeks ago is when I first saw him. In the coffee shop near campus, at Solstice, I was studying, sitting alone at a little table by the wall. I felt someone's eyes on me, the way we sense those things, and I glanced up. A man was sitting across from me at the next table, staring at me. When I met his eyes he didn't turn away, as people usually do when they're caught staring, even if they're looking through you, not at you, lost in some thought. He kept his gaze right on me. I felt almost as if he were challenging me, playing a game of chicken. Embarrassed, I looked away. I stared at the pages of my book, though I no longer saw the words there. I felt that he was still watching me, and in my embarrassment my concentration had foundered.
Completely unable to read, I looked up again, wanting to meet his challenge, make him turn his eyes away this time. He was still looking right at me, and if he moved at all when I met his gaze, it was only to let the suggestion of a smile curve his mouth, very slightly. I felt myself blush, but I was determined not to let him win his little game, to force me to avert my eyes. I studied his face as he was studying mine. Pale skin framed by black hair, and striking, almost feminine features—high cheekbones, full lips, light hazel eyes fringed with thick black lashes. He was extremely good-looking, but more pretty than handsome. And, even then, in that brief, wordless encounter, he was incredibly…compelling.
Without breaking our eye contact he stood. He was…sleek, a long lean body beneath the slim lines of a black sweater and slacks. I thought for a moment he was going to approach me. I blushed again, I think. Then he pushed in his chair and left. My study session was shot to hell.
For several days after that I thought about that man a lot. Almost constantly, actually. Always with a feeling of annoyance mingled with arousal. He'd planted a little seed of himself in my mind, and I couldn't eradicate it. I thought again and again of his eyes, so intense yet playful, their soft hazel suggesting something…tender, maybe, that contrasted with his impish smirk that felt so…condescending.
And, I might as well just confess it. I imagined fucking him. I imagined his long, delicate fingers touching me. I tried to guess what his voice would sound like, saying my name. I pictured his body, long and lean, how it would look nude, what his cock would look like, how it would feel inside me, how his mouth and his hands would feel on my body.
Fuck—it's awful to admit it after what's happened, but my fantasy of him was just like the others.
Weird, writing this. How self-conscious I feel. In a way I've written it all before. Just not about me. Not anything real. It's strange to think of writing it all out, of seeing it on paper, reading it, and knowing I was the girl in the story. Maybe I'll cry when I write it, and later, when I read over my words, I'll see smeared ink and remember how I felt as I wrote it.
Alright. Then it really began. One afternoon I drove home from school to my apartment. I remember with a weird kind of clarity pulling into my garage. I clicked the remote to close the garage door, collected my books, and got out of the car. I remember the lock was sticking, and I was struggling with the key.
A hand clamped down over my mouth. Another reached across me from behind, grasped my wrist, forced it down to my waist, trapped my other arm against me. I struggled, but he had me pinned tight between his body and the door. I tried to scream but my cry was muffled against his hand. I felt his breath on my ear, heard his voice.
It was a lilting purr, and it turned my stomach.
"Tonight, my dear," he whispered warm and soft against my ear, "we have a date."
Then it struck me. He knew my name. For a second I wondered if it was some kind of demented joke. But even through that second I knew that wasn't it. I don't really have any guy friends. Certainly not guys with British accents. I was about to be raped. Maybe killed.
I was too shocked to cry. His hands kept me still and silent. With all my strength I tried to break free of his arms, get away, scream for help, but he held me fast. I screamed my lungs out against his palm.
"Sshhhh, he breathed into my ear, then his hand flashed away from my arms a moment and something sharp jabbed my shoulder. Before I could react his arm was tight around me once more. I felt suddenly dizzy, heavy. I was sinking, and he was holding me, sinking down with me to the cold concrete floor of the garage, holding me gently now that my strength was gone, cradling me until I went unconscious.
When I woke up I was in the passenger seat of my car. It was night. The car was moving. I couldn't really move. I was slumped against the door, arms hanging limp by my side. I think I lost consciousness again.
When I awoke the second time I could just manage to lift and turn my head to see who was driving my car. It was the man from the coffee shop.
I was terrified—that sounds so dull, so obvious, compared to what I really felt. I don't know if there's a word for it. In my mind flashed images: headlines, vague notions of others who have been kidnapped, tortured horribly for weeks in the cellar of some obscure neighbor in a small town, corpse dumped in the woods, or hacked to pieces and kept in a meat locker. I couldn't speak, I just started crying uncontrollably, sobbing hysterically.
We were on a one-lane highway in the middle of nowhere. No cars behind us. I got even more scared as he pulled onto the shoulder. I still couldn't move. He turned toward me and smiled—not a maniacal serial-killer smile. A gentle, sympathetic smile you would give to a child with a boo-boo. And I remember thinking that I had to be wrong, that this guy couldn't be kidnapping me. He looked like an angel. That sounds ridiculous, but it's true. It wasn't just his feminine features—his face soft and beautiful like a woman's, his limpid eyes and pretty mouth—he had a strange luminosity. He seemed beautifully alien and I felt as if he were hypnotizing me with his gentle gaze, his soothing smile. I decided it was whatever he'd drugged me with that made me feel mentally and emotionally tranquilized as much as physically immobilized.
He reached over my lap and opened the glove box, got out a cloth handkerchief, and poured a little bottled water into it. With the dampened cloth he gently wiped my face, cooling my hot skin, soaking up my tears.
"There, that's better." With his English accent—London, maybe–his "better" sounded like "betta." He spoke softly and slowly, fixing me with his compelling gaze.
"I know you can't talk, love. The drugs will wear off in another hour or two."
He was quiet for a moment, just gazing at me. I wanted him to stop looking at me like that, like he…I don't think I thought this then, but now I do—he was looking at me like he loved me. Even though I didn't know what was behind that look of his, it was completely freaking me out. Then his soft gaze snapped into focus and he seemed to be working something out in his head. Then he gave me a strange smile, serene and…coy.
"I'm sure, dear Devan, that you're wondering what I'm going to do with you, and that a thousand sordid notions are flying through that clever head of yours. No doubt some of the things you're picturing are just what I have in mind."
His eyes went sort of dreaming and his breathing changed slightly. My stomach lurched.
"But I want you to know, I'll won't hurt you." His expression of intent concern altered, and an infuriating, playful grin turned his mouth. "With the possible exception of a spanking if you misbehave."
His last words shocked me in a way I couldn't understand. I was still crying. His expression went soft and serious once more.
"Listen to me carefully for a moment, Devan. You're in my care, and you won't be harmed. My words will be born out soon enough, you'll see. You don't know me, and of course you've no reason to be believe me, yet. But I know you. You'll find, in time, that I know you extremely well. I've been planning this little getaway of ours for quite some time."
He stroked my hair, like a lover, gave me a tender smile that made me want to punch him in the face, then put the car in gear and pulled back onto the road. Upset as I was, under the effects of the drugs I fell back asleep, and was woken up sometime later when the car made a sharp turn and we left the smooth pavement for a bumpy dirt road disappearing into the dark of a heavily wooded forest. The clock on the dash said it was almost midnight. There were no lights in sight. We were in the middle of fucking nowhere.
I began to realize how well he'd planned all this. I'd been unconscious as we left the city, driving on the busy freeways, so that the people in the other cars would just see a sleeping girl, not a screaming kidnap victim. Now that I was awake and able to move we were in the middle of nowhere. My ability to scream, to run did me no good. We'd been on the road for hours, and I had no idea which direction we'd gone.
I had to get away. Do something. I couldn't just let him cart me off into the wilderness to rape me, torture me, murder me. I thought about jumping out of the moving car. But I was so weak from whatever he's shot me up with, I had no idea where we were, and with no light in sight, there was nowhere for me to run, no one to call out to. I reasoned, hopeless, that I would just hurt myself, that he would easily catch me, and I'd be worse off than I already was. Better to wait for a real chance.
He noticed I was awake, turned and smiled at me. He asked me if I was feeling better. I wanted to tell him to fuck off, but I said nothing.
"Well," he said, "I imagine the drugs are wearing off by now, so if you're not talking it's because you don't want to, not because you can't. That's fine Devan, you don't have to talk. But you had better listen. I realize, love, that you don't know me, but I'm going to tell you something about myself, and you'd best believe it. I'm a very methodical and determined individual. I've thought things through very carefully. You can't get away. And if you try, you'll only make things harder on yourself."
He stared at me intently, looking to see if he had made his point. He gave me that smile, that soft, warm smile that seemed so out of place with what he was doing and which tricked my mind a little every time, making it seem, for a tiny moment, that we were just going for a ride. We drove on, jolting over the rough dirt road.
A little more than an hour later we made another turn, off the dirt road, onto virgin terrain. He was driving very slowly, taking my little car gently over the rough ground. The more remote our destination began to appear, the sharper my terror. I had to get away from him. At this speed I could jump out without killing myself, stick to the woods, hide among the trees but run back along the road, find help.
I tried to keep my eyes straight ahead, gauge him with my peripheral vision, trying not to let him suspect what I was about to do. He seemed to be intently studying the path ahead, carefully navigating the narrow trail. I took my chance.
With one hand I clicked open my seatbelt, with the other I pulled the door handle in and shoved the door open with my elbow, and leapt out. I was still weak, stiff from hours of sitting, and I fell. In a dead panic I scrambled heavily and clumsily to my feet and ran, stumbling, as fast as my stiff, sluggish body would go. I already knew it was hopeless. I was nearly blind and deaf with panic, forcing my body ahead. I didn't even hear him before I felt his arm snatch around my waist and drag me to a halt.
I screamed, fear, hate, loss of hope raging in a screech into the night. He had me wrapped in his arms, my own arms pinned at my sides, my body pulled tight against his. I sobbed, hysterical, still screaming, struggling futilely, weakly against him. He let me go on, struggling and screaming until I'd exhausted myself.
"Shhh," he sighed in my ear, rocking me slowly in his arms with a gentle twisting motion. "Shhh. It's alright. You're alright."
The fucking schizophrenic psycho was being so gentle, his voice so warm, his imprisoning hold softening to a tender embrace, I felt my frail grip on reality letting go. Nothing made any sense. I went on bawling, not knowing why this was happening.
"Come on, Devan. Let's go back to the car. We're almost at the cabin, and we'll get you settled and rested."
Rested? Was he fucking kidding?
"Come along nicely to the car. I don't want to drug you again. Alright?"
There was nothing I could do. I was still weaker than I'd realized. I couldn't fight him, or run from him. Numb and hopeless I let him lead me back to the car, put me back in the passenger seat, and close the door. When he moved to circle back to the driver's side the impulse to run again made my hands and legs twitch, but I knew it was useless. I promised myself I would get another chance.
We crawled on into the night of the forest until, nearly an hour later, a building materialized in the beam of the headlights. A cabin. It was dark—a miserable, gloomy prison. He killed the engine.
"Kindly stay put a moment."
He gave me a warning look, then got out of the car, walked around to my side, and opened the door. He gestured, and I unbuckled my seatbelt and got out. As I stood, as I let him lead me toward the cabin, I felt like my death warrant had been signed. I was trying not to cry. I was finally beginning to feel awake and aware, and as we stepped into the cabin the desperate reality of my position was beginning to fully dawn on me.
"What are you going to do to me?"
I had to ask. He grinned.
"I'm going to take your girlhood, and give you womanhood."
I had been sure he would rape me, but hearing his words I couldn't help crying. He pulled me into his arms. I was terrified of his touch, but I passively let him embrace me and stroke my hair. Once again he surprised me with his tenderness. I think he was trembling.
"I can guess what you're imagining, Devan, but I promised you before that I would never hurt you, and I'll keep that promise. I'm talking about an awakening, not a violation."
He let me out of his arms, watching me with a strange expression. Concern mixed with eager anticipation. Then he gave me a warm smile.
"Are you hungry, Devan?"
I didn't answer.
"I'm famished. I made some lovely leek and swiss soup last night—I'll heat some up, if you'd like."
"No," I said, mainly to shut him up. The thought of food made me queasy.
"Are you thirsty? Would you like some water? Or juice?"
I was silent.
"Alright then, if you don't need anything, I'd like you to have a shower."
My heart started banging. It was beginning. This real part of his plan. The rest had been logistics. The numbness that had dulled my fear evaporated. I knew I could not get past him, flee the room, run for help. I was shaking, panting, tears blurred my vision.
"I…I don't know your name."
I was stalling. I wanted to try to reason with him. I could see plainly from his face that he knew just what I was doing. But patiently, like a kind father with a child delaying punishment, he indulged me.
"Conrad, love. Sorry, I'd forgotten to properly introduce myself."
He was looking at me salaciously.
"Conrad. Please. I'm so tired. I'm not feeling well after all that time in the car. Please. I'd like to just go to sleep."
"You'll feel better after your shower. Come along with me."
He walked me over to the bathroom.
"There's no window in there, so you're welcome to your privacy, and feel free to take your time. I've fixed the door so you can't lock it from the inside, but rest assured, I won't barge in on you. When you've bathed, I'd like you to put these on."
He presented me with a small bag with something white inside.
"Nothing else please, just these. You'll find there is soap, shampoo, conditioner, everything you need in there. I've put a brush and some rubber bands in there as well. When you're done, please brush your hair and put it back into those charming pigtails you wear so often."
I went in and closed the door, which didn't latch. I turned on the shower, and as the hot water filled the room with steam, I used the toilet. My fear of his intrusion was obliterated by undeniable need. Then I stripped off my clothes, feeling increasingly vulnerable, afraid he would inevitably push the door open the moment I was naked. The door remained quietly shut.
I got into the shower, relieved to be out of his presence, not seen by him, not able to see him. The hot water pounded my skin. I shampooed, conditioned, scrubbed. Then I just stood there for a long time, not wanting to get out, wanting to remain isolated in my little beige haven of steam. But the thought that he would grow impatient, charge in and yank me out, naked and wet, prodded me to get out and dress as quickly as I could.
I dried myself, wrapped a towel around my head, and opened the bag of clothes he had given me. Inside was a thin little white nightie and a pair of white panties. Nothing else. Panic swept over me once more. He was making me take part in some fantasy. He wanted to dress me, then do things.
There was a way out of this, somehow. There had to be. He was tall, stronger than me, but I could get hold of something, something heavy, hit him over the head, knock him out, find my car keys, get away. Clinging to that limp shred of hope, crying, shaking, I put on his little outfit, reasoning that it was more than the towel, afraid I'd get him mad and make him more dangerous if I put my own clothes back on.
The white nightie was shockingly sheer. And the hem came down just below my bottom, barely covering the white panties. I felt so vulnerable. Shaking, I brushed my hair and did it as he'd asked. Then, forcing my body to move against the powerful impulse of instinct, making myself an automaton, I opened the bathroom door.
I'd pictured him stalking impatiently outside the door, but he was sitting calmly at the little kitchen table, gazing placidly into space as if he were day-dreaming. When he noticed me standing in the doorway he rose with a smile I'd have to describe as serene. Totally disconcerting. With a look of tender sympathy he approached me, slowly.
"My dear Devan, you look lovely."
He seemed moved, as if I were offering myself to him by choice. As if compelled I stared at him a moment, at the beautiful face of this scary man. A moment later I snapped out of it. There wasn't much time. I glanced around the room—entry, kitchen, living room all one big rectangle, sparsely furnished. Terrified, frantic, I searched for anything I could wield as a weapon. The only thing in sight was metal sculpture atop a small bookshelf a little to my right.
I felt huge, desperate hope. I'd grab it and swing it with all my strength against his head. Knock him out. Get away. I wished he'd turn his back on me, so I could hit him from behind. I feared I couldn't manage it with him walking toward me. But he was coming, and he had me in his stupid little outfit. There was no time.
I swiped the thing from off the bookshelf, and with all my strength, everything in me I swung it at his face. He caught my arm. It didn't even seem to cost him any effort. With his other hand he pried the object from my grip and calmly set it back on the shelf.
Then, with the same cool calm he slowly pushed me against the wall and pressed himself against me.
"What a naughty girl you are, Devan," he sighed in my ear.
I was quivering, almost unable to stand I was so scared.
"I was planning on being very gentle, very tender with you, Devan. Would you rather have it a bit rough, darling?"