Alone In The Darkness is a novel I wrote in early 2016. I will be releasing a new chapter every Monday and Friday, starting on July 18th 2016. If you enjoy the book and would like to support me please click the link and purchase my book through Amazon. You can also find my book on the mobile reading apps: Wattpad, Jukepop, and Inkitt.

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Chapter Seventeen

 

Jennifer sat silently against the wall of the room. Her back leaned against the open drywall and she rested her head against a cold stud. Her head hung down providing relief to her hands bound behind her. She squeezed her fingers together and pulled, but there was still no give. She felt a numbness as she rhythmically clicked her fingernails. Above Jennifer’s head, light shown through the dirty window. Dust danced, floated, and swirled on the light beams. She had been lost in the hypnotic movement. Feeling her own mind drifting through the air. Across the room laid the motionless body of the man with his feet buried in stacks of papers and trash. Her eyes purposefully avoided the scene.

Jennifer took in a large breath and began to slowly slide her way towards the door. She balanced using her arms pulling herself backwards through the room. She reached the wall along the door and peered out into the hall. The light from outside moved through the front door windows, illuminating the grain of the wood molding. She saw the marks made on the floor from the man. Channels were carved in the dust through old footsteps and hand prints.

Along the base of the wall were crumpled baggies and syringes. The accumulation of lint and dust revealed their age. Further down the hall she could see the house open up to a living room. Along the side of the hallway a half wall formed a darkened cave. Jennifer peered into the darkness as two eyes slowly opened and stared down the hall towards her. A woman was huddled in the corner covered with a rotting blanket. Jennifer could see her eyes moving in rhythm as her head bobbed and shook gently. Her face was cuddled in the blanket obscuring her nose and mouth as her long greasy hair flowed down her side.

Jennifer stared at the woman and whispered through the cut in the tape, “Help.” There was no answer. She repeated again and lightly rapped her head against the door with a hollow thud. The woman clenched her body as a shiver took over. She looked up slowly to the entry way. Jennifer repeated her call and knocked the door again. The woman continued to pan across and meet Jennifer’s eyes. They were heavy and sunken and she made no movement. Jennifer continued to speak out to her but there was no reaction. The woman was distant and empty. Jennifer stopped her efforts. She knew there was no hope with this vacant creature. What was this place, Jennifer thought, and why had they dumped her into this home with these people?

She rested her head on the door jamb still staring across at the woman. Her eyes quickly shifted to the main room. They widened and Jennifer could see the bloodshot whites of her eyes. Her head sank further into the blanket and she pulled back into the corner. Jennifer felt a slight tremor beneath the wooden floor and a stomping sound from the hallway. With her knee she closed the door to just a crack. Her single eye peered through the opening as a tall lanky figure stumbled into view. He swayed unnaturally in the hall, his thin legs protruding from torn shorts. He stumbled and continued on to an adjacent room. Panicked breathing took over again in anticipation of confronting another person. She had dealt with the man on the floor but he didn’t move with the same force. The man walking down the hall could have his way with her. She closed the door to the room and slid over to the trash. She kicked an empty box against the door and moved back to the corner. At a minimum she wanted to know if someone were to walk into the room. Not that it would make a difference, but she didn’t want to wake up to a fresh face staring at her.

For a while Jennifer stared at the door knob expecting it to turn and reveal the man from the hall. The minutes rolled by and the house remained silent as Jennifer’s mind began to relax. She thought her of grandmother sitting on the couch watching television and laughing about the day. In that moment she regretted being so aloof in her phone conversation in the car. She would give anything to see her again and talk about stupid shows, to see her friends at the coffee stand, and serve drinks at the bar. She wished for the mundane tasks of washing glasses and swiping credit cards, hearing the harmless flirting and obnoxious drunks.

Her mind drifted to the cruise boat. It would be the first vacation since driving with her family to Disney. She had seen the cruise brochure at a diner about a week after arriving at her grandmother’s. Her bruised eye was still hiding behind her sunglasses as she waited to be seated. The images of the rooms, piles of food, and the happy people dancing on the deck. She wanted to be there. She knew it would be a struggle, she had always fought money. They were on and off friends. Living down in Portland with RT meant she didn’t need to think or worry about money or responsibilities. Her grandmother had set rules for moving back in and Jennifer had no choice but to adhere. It was hard going in the first few weeks. She struggled to find jobs and accept the monotony of her new daily routine. It had been months and she was, only now, finding her path. Her grandmother even noticed and told her to do something for herself. Jennifer had saved the brochure and brought it up one night after dinner. Her grandmother agreed that it would be good for her to go and encouraged her to start saving.

Sitting in that room bound by twine and tape she could still dream of the trip. She could see herself standing on the balcony wrapped in a blanket, sipping a drink and watching the misty blue morning rise in the Alaskan fjords. She could taste the coffee as she licked her lips through the tape on her mouth as her hair blew in the breeze. Her bound hands rested over the railing. She smiled as she heard seagulls flying overhead and the boat moved through the black water. The light in the dream began to fade and the sound of distant popping gravel and headlights pulled Jennifer into reality.

Above Jennifer’s head a beam of light shone through the window and cast shadows on the wall. Light shadows moved from left to right as the car turned up the drive into the front of the main house. Jennifer lifted herself up against the wall and craned her neck. Her head met the windowsill and her right eye could see high enough to view the car shifting into park. The headlights turned off and the door opened. A thin young man stood up, shut the door, and quickly trotted up to the front of the house and walked in.

Jennifer slumped down to the floor and stared out across the room. With the arrival of a new person, she renewed her attempts to break the bindings. She quickly scanned the room and saw the power cord stretching out from the trash pile. She slid over to the pile and began to kick. What emerged was a shadeless lamp. She saw the light bulb at the end of the lamp. She shifted her body and lifted her legs. Her feet came down smashing the bulb. She paused, her ears searching for any hint of discovery. It was silent. Her body shot around and she began to saw at her bindings with the protruding glass piece. As she rocked her hands back and forth, she could feel the glass on the ground grinding along her fingernails and wrists. Sharp stabs of pain went through her fingers as she moved too quick catching some glass across the skin.

Jennifer was cutting when she heard the pop of the screen door on the neighboring house. A male voice was talking and it was growing louder by the moment. She paused and turned her head to the window. The voice was moving in her direction. A man was on his way to the house. She doubled her efforts and moved with a passion. Her hand nicked the glass pieces causing her to wince as small trickles of blood ran down her fingers and onto the floor. She could feel the bindings starting to fray and break.

 

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