by Jason Warden

(an excerpt from my novel ‘Dependance’)

Captured: the word reminded him of the games he had played with his friends as a child. The ones that were always won or lost. Not like today’s games, no, today it was enough to just play. God forbid you keep score, some loser might get their feelings hurt after all, and then, who knew what they might turn out like. Paul’s Father always taught them: To the victor goes the spoils, and to the loser, well, that was for the winner to decide.

He was still deciding, but this one had just about used up her usefulness. For a while it had at least been something to look at, entertaining if nothing else. Now, it was disgusting. He said if she was good he’d let her go, but he always told them that. They never listened. They always fought the bonds, and they always ended up like this.

Her skin, the parts not covered in her own blood, had gone yellow. The frayed rope that held her hands above her head had ripped into her flesh creating raw bracelets of streaming gore.. That’s her own doing, he thought. I told her to be still. She was hanging from her hands, apparently exhausted, but she came alive when he spoke to her. Her legs pumped, shooting her body out of a crouch toward his voice. The ropes quickly pulled her back just short of him and he laughed.

“Still a little left in the tank eh? Good, I’m not really in the mood tonight anyway. Long day, I have a headache… you understand, right bitch?”

He turned, began to walk away, and then turned back as if he had forgotten something.

“You know, you’re starting to stink, fucking neighbors are gonna think I forgot to pay the trash bill again.”

He bent, picked up the hose, and walked to the dual spigots that had once been used for the washing machine. He turned the red one, and let it run for a minute. When the water cascading down the drain in the floor started steaming, he got rid of the stink. She screamed away the last of her strength, and he was glad he had installed the foam insulation in the basement. His fun would not be interrupted. Paul liked to imagine his father would have smiled at his preparedness.