It wasn’t easy.
It wasn’t easy at all, but we pulled it off.
I convinced my parents that I had to go back to the city and work with Officer Mentuckett – he had some information for me to go over with him, and it would be best if I went to see him as soon as possible. My father wanted to go with me, of course, but I managed to persuade him to stay home, in the end. I had to lie, and I hate lying to my parents, but I thought it was for their own good.
“Dad, you can’t come with. If we’re in the city together, the perp might take it as his chance to attack both of us. I already talked to Officer Mentuckett about this – we both agreed that it’s safer all around if you stay here.”
We still argued for a few hours, but that was what convinced my dad to stay behind. He wasn’t happy about it, but it was necessary.
Once that was out of the way, everything else was smooth sailing.
I arrived in the city late in the afternoon. I met with Officer Mentuckett in a café a few blocks from the station – he didn’t want his station sergeant to see me and get suspicious. We planned out a course of action over coffee and he made me repeat it to him at least a dozen times before he was satisfied that we could pull it off.
That night, he drove me to the storage units.
“Remember, it’s number 307. I’ll be waiting at the end of the row.”
I nodded, my heart squeezing into my throat as I thought about what I was going to do. I fidgeted a little with the Kevlar vest under my jacket and hoped that it would do its job. With a deep breath, I exited the car and I walked to my fate.
I was surprised, and being surprised in a situation like that is never a good thing.
We got there at eleven and, according to Officer Mentuckett’s observations, our suspect wouldn’t be there until about midnight. So I wasn’t expecting to see the door to 307 standing wide open.
I paused outside, not sure what to do.
The plan dictated that I wait for him to approach me, staying outside in Mentuckett’s line of sight so that he could react in a timely fashion, if need be.
I stood there uncertainly for a moment, wondering what to do, when I felt a hand wrapping around my throat from behind. I panicked, trying to reach around to grab my assailant, but it was too late. He shoved me forward and into the unit, his hand squeezing around my throat until my vision began to turn black.
He threw me to the ground and let go just before I passed out. I looked up to my assailant. He was huge – he had to be at least 6’5” – and had long, shaggy black hair. He gave me a cold little smile and somehow I knew that it was him.
“It’s you, isn’t it?” my voice rasped out, barely above a whisper. My throat was starting to throb with pain.
“You’re a special kind of stupid, aren’t you?” he asked, and his voice chilled me in a way that I can’t explain. There wasn’t anything special about it, other than the fact that it was so… calm. I wondered how someone could be so calm when they were planning on murdering someone else. I knew that I wouldn’t be.
“You actually just walked over here, knowing that you’d see me. How the fuck did he manage to convince you to do that, I wonder?”
I was only confused for a blissful few seconds as I asked, “who?”
“My lover.” And, as if on cue, Officer Mentuckett sauntered into the unit, smirking in a way that twisted my stomach.
My heart sank as I realized what had happened. I would have berated myself for being so fucking goddamn stupid, but all I could think at the moment was oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck…
“Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for this?” the tall man asked. I was trying to remember his name but for the life of me – yes, the actual life of me – I couldn’t. My mouth hung open as though it had finally been unlocked, but nothing came out.
“I’m going to make you suffer for every year that I had to plan this. For every second that I spent without my revenge. I’m going to have you in pieces by the time I’m done, and I think I’ll go ahead and send one piece to your family every year on your birthday until they kill all themselves so that I don’t have to do it.”
As he talked, I tried to plan an escape. The storage unit was empty, so I had nothing to use for a weapon. My only way out was blocked by a giant murderer and a trained cop. The only advantage I had was that fucking Kevlar vest, and somehow I didn’t think they were planning on just shooting me and getting it over with, so that wasn’t going to be much help.
As the bastard kept talking, I noticed Mentuckett gazing up at him with stars in his eyes. Fuck, it was enough to make me sick, him looking at that lunatic like he was some sort of god. But maybe it was a good thing. If he was distracted and I moved quickly, maybe I could get out, so long as I had enough of a head start. I didn’t imagine that the perp was very fast – at least I hoped he wasn’t – so I figured that I might as well try.
I was crouched on the ground, so I let my feet power me hard across the floor. I managed to slide through the tall man’s feet, catching a glimpse of his shock as I cleared him. I was on my feet in less than a millisecond, sprinting out the unit and towards the exit of the lot. I screamed my head off, hoping it would be enough.
Mentuckett was the one who grabbed me from behind, shoving me onto the ground and socking me in the face a few times to subdue me. Then, his partner – Christopher, that was his name, Christopher, fuck – looked down at me with pure murder in his eyes and I knew that it was too late for me.
“I see you’re anxious to get started. No use in talking any more, then, is it?”
He knelt down next to me as I struggled and tried to scream. Mentuckett shoved a dirty handkerchief into my mouth and I gagged, wondering how much pain I’d get to feel before I died, and wondering if my parents would ever forgive me for being so goddamn stupid.
Mentuckett was sitting on top of me, his thighs pinning my arms to the ground. I couldn’t quite see what was going on, which made me all the more terrified, but it didn’t matter because I felt it soon enough.
A serrated knife began to hack away at my pinky. I screamed into the gag.
“Shut the fuck up, you stupid pig,” Mentuckett hissed as the knife sawed its way through my bone. Nausea was boiling thick in my stomach as I realized that this was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to pain. I wondered how long it would take for me to pass out.
It seemed to take forever for the finger to separate from my hand. But when it did, Christopher began to laugh and it handed it to Mentuckett.
I watched as Mentuckett put the bloody stump in his mouth and began to suck on it, drinking my blood like it was vodka. I was horrified, but only had a minute to be so, because the next moment Christopher moved on to my ring finger and I was screaming again.
Pain is a very strange thing. It can sharpen your senses, make the world seem clearer, if applied in the right dosage. But if there’s too much, then it begins to blur everything and you find that your world no longer makes sense. That was how the world seemed to me, a soupy mess of nonsense. There was pain, of course, thick and ever-present. But I couldn’t tell where it began or where it ended. It simply was, as though it was a new world that I found myself in, with no escape.
I don’t know how long it went on for. All I know is that, in the end, I lost four fingers.
I would have lost five – actually, I probably would have lost all ten – if… something hadn’t interrupted.
At the time, I didn’t know what it was. I heard popping sounds, and vaguely wondered if that was the sound of my bones being broken, not that I could distinguish that feeling anymore.
And then I passed out.
I was surprised to learn, upon waking up in the hospital, that my own naiveté had saved me.
See, I’d been foolish enough to believe that my father wouldn’t be able to tell that I was lying. For God’s sake, the man was a cop. Of course he’d know. He used to tell me that the easiest way to tell if someone was lying was to look at their lips.
“If their lips are moving, they’re lying,” he’d say. In this case, he was absolutely right.
So he’d followed me.
He’d gone in to talk to the station sergeant just before Mentuckett and I headed out to the lot, worried that something was wrong. When he explained what I’d told him to the station sergeant, the man paled considerably.
“Mentuckett never told us about any storage units. He never indicated that there was a suspect at all.”
After some frantic searching, they were able to pinpoint a few units that it could be, and they sent men to each location.
My father had insisted on going to the location nearest to my apartment. “She’s there, I know she is, and I’m going to get her,” he said.
The sergeant, possibly out of guilt that things had gotten so far out of hand without him noticing, agreed without protest.
It was my father who’d guessed at the right location. And it was my father who saw the men assaulting someone on the ground.
It was my father who shouted, getting their attention off me long enough for him to pull the trigger.
And it was my father who killed them.
I was right about one thing – my dad was mad.
Actually, he was furious. He screamed at me as soon as I woke up, wanting to know what the fuck I thought I was doing and how on earth he’d manage to raise such a stupid daughter. The screaming quickly devolved into hugging, however, and as he embraced me he said, “Don’t you ever fucking do that to your mom and I again.”
I assured him I wouldn’t, and I fucking meant it, I promise you.
After that, things went back to normal, I suppose. Well, they did eventually, anyway. I had to learn to write with my left hand, which was no easy feat, I can assure you. I had some very severe PTSD to work through, and even now I get nightmares on my bad nights.
But things are going to be okay. I know that now. Those fuckers are dead and gone and I’m going to be okay.
Except… I have to wonder…
Did they have any other family members that I should know about?