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 Twenty-One

 

Vadym could feel the heat on his face as he stared through the warm glass at day-old chicken strips and barbecue sausage on skewers. Around the corner through the open window, the gas station attendant washed the day’s dishes. He had white dusted through his dark hair, tattoos decorated his lower neck, and his ears hung with piercings.

His eyes looked up to the man and he called out, “Do you need me to get anything?”

Vadym looked at the man, “I’ll take a sausage stick thing.”

The attendant wiped his hands with a towel and tossed it over his shoulder. He came around the side of the counter and reached into the display. The heat lamp showed on his tattoos.

“Which one do you want?”

“It doesn’t matter.” The barbecue sauce dripped as the attendant placed the skewer into the paper bag.

“These things are good, but honestly, after 8 hours of them under the lights the sauce starts to crisp up. I could eat them all and at the end of the night, I do.’’ The man smiled at Vadym as he moved to the register.

Vadym nodded as he placed the contents in his arms onto the table. Duct tape, more gloves, and an IPA bomber.

“Looks like a party, man.’’

“A party for what?”

“Beer, duct tape, and some sausage. That sounds like a party.” The man smiled, revealing his yellowed crusted teeth.

Vadym didn’t understand the joke and didn’t care either. His eyes and face showed nothing and the man’s smile drifted. “I will also take 20 dollars on pump two and a pack of Camels.’’

”The white car?” Vadym stared into the man’s eyes. There was a pause and silence, “Right, the only car out there.”

The man paper bagged the bomber and the rest of the items into a plastic bag. Vadym picked up the items, opened the door with this back, and slid out into the night. The attendant continued to stare out as Vadym walked to the pump. He pulled the towel off his shoulder and pursed his lips before he walked away muttering to himself, “Fucking asshole.’’

Vadym tossed the items into the back of the car and began to pump the gas. He rested against the hood of the car and stared at the non-smoking sign as he pulled out the pack of Camels. The cloud billowed out of his nose as a lone car drove past on the valley road. He steadied his mind and focused on the task at hand. He saw the girl in front of him, her shape and her size. He could see the plastic on the ground, the red from the blood, and the touch of her hair in his fingertips as he packed her away. His boots were now muddy from walking the logging road and his hands sore from digging. The valley forest lands were quiet and empty. He enjoyed walking among the trees in the early mornings, listening to the wild sounds, and imagining being a bear wandering and rummaging. Finding that enjoyment from rubbing against tree bark, catching a salmon in a cold stream, and stumbling upon a shallow grave. The gas pump clicked and Vadym flicked the butt onto the ground.

He continued up the valley road east and through the mountains. The black hills rose up along each side of the road blanketing the valley and surrounding areas. Ahead of him along the horizon he could see a crest of morning blue. The peaks of the mountains were covered in white smoky clouds. Tall pines poked through the edges of the cloud line creating a mesmerizing contrast. To his right the river weaved and meandered. It teased the road moving in, out, and around empty fields.

Vadym’s phone called out that the turn was just ahead. The green sign on the road reflected the headlights and the river rushed beneath, down along the embankment and over the gravel beach. He slowed the car and turned onto the gravel easement. The wheels popped and crushed under the shifting gravel floor. He could hear the creek rushing ahead bubbling over boulders and stones. The wheels of the car rumbled over the wooden bridge as he gazed up the creek line disappearing into the dark woods. Ahead he could see the driveway arch out from the lit house. He pulled the car alongside the parked cars. He turned off the car and headlights.

He opened the bag from the store and pulled out the bomber. Using the keychain, he popped the cap and took a long pull on the bottle. He placed it into the cup holder and pulled out the sausage skewer. Vadym took a sniff of the sausage and began to eat. He never enjoyed working on an empty stomach; it would make him too nauseous. He forced the last of the sausage down his throat and finished the beer.

He checked his phone and saw a new message, thank you for your help tonight, you should see the payment. He swiped and opened his phone. The bank app showed the money had been deposited into his account. He closed the phone and tossed it into the seat next to him. He rolled his head in a circle and arched his back in the seat. It was early in the morning and the physical work would be a chore. He rested in the seat and stared blankly at the front door preparing his mind for the coming task.

His hand went to the driver side door. As he pulled on the lever, the door opened a crack and the car to his left flashed its lights. He paused holding the door and scanned the front porch. He couldn’t see anyone. He continued to scan the property and through the window of the car he saw a terrified woman sprinting across the yard.

Her feet kicked up dirt and gravel as she quickly closed the distance to the car. She was breathing heavily and her heart was pounding when she reached the car. Her hands fumbled with the keys as she struggled to open the door. She was panicking and her vision was focused only on the handle. She reached out to open the door when a hand closed around her hair and pulled her away from the vehicle.

She screamed out, “Let me go!” She kicked her legs into the air and reached back to fight the grip. It was no use as the man pulled, wrenching her neck back. She saw the backend of his feet as he dragged her along the driveway. She kicked up dust and dirt. Her fingers clawed at the ground for any hold she could find. She swung her elbows wildly connecting with the backs of his calves and heels. The impact caused the man to stop for a moment and regain his grip on her shirt. She was at his mercy as he dragged her to the house. The light was growing all around her as the cars shrank from view. She remembered the moment in the car, the rag to the face, being dragged away. She began to tear up as she fought. She had been so close to escape and getting back to her life and her grandmother.

She hit the first step on the porch and was lifted like a rag doll into the air, landing on the porch floor. Her feet struck the wood and announced their arrival. The door opened and she was pulled into the front area. She leaned left to see the kitchen full of eyes staring at her and her companion. Their faces were stunned at the scene. She recognized all of them.

“Please let me go,” she pleaded and sobbed. Spittle fell from her mouth and onto the ground where her face rested. She bawled and coughed out each word,  “Please! Please! Why are you doing this to me?”

From behind her head the voice called to the men, “Where’s the key for the rooms upstairs?” Tyler stared blankly and frozen in place. The man in the entryway held his victim in his hand and yelled out again sending shivers down the three spines, “The key! Now!”

Tyler reached into his pocket and produced a small key ring and tossed it across the kitchen. The man caught the keys and reached down punching Jennifer in the head. She fell dark and laid on the floor in silence. He stood calmly and called out, “Which one of you is Steven?”

Steven stood in complete silence, terrified at hearing his name. He knew this man was bad. The last thing he wanted was to be singled out in the house. How did he know his name? He could see himself being thrown into a shallow grave to be found by a wandering pack of coyotes. This man was not only here for this woman but him too. He didn’t want this to be his time, not now and not this way. He turned to Tyler and whispered, “What’s going on? Please no.”

Kora turned to Tyler who stood firm staring at Vadym. His answer was cold and firm, “Go help.” His face turned to meet Steven’s eyes, “This is your problem.”

Vadym called out again, his impatience was increasing with each moment, “I will not ask again. Which one is Steven?”

Steven stepped forward. He knew this was his moment, it was punishment for his crime. “I’m Steven.”

“Grab her legs. You will help.” Vadym held her arms as Steven grabbed the legs. Her body was light as they lifted her and carried her through the living room and up the stairs. They reached the landing on the second floor and entered an open room. They laid Jennifer’s body on the floor next to the bed.

Vadym stood, both men staring at the body. A light trickle of blood rolled down from Jennifer’s forehead where Vadym had struck her. “We need to move all furniture to the walls and lift away the bed.”

Steven looked up at Vadym’s face while he coldly stared down at Jennifer. His eyes moving along her body as if a butcher assessing a side of beef.

From downstairs Tyler and Kora stared up at the ceiling hearing the commotion of the two men moving the furniture in the room.

Tyler broke the silence between them, “Kora, where’s Nick?”

“I don’t know. I think he went to his car to find his knife?”

Tyler looked at her and for the first time that night, he saw her as more than just a worker, ““Sweetie, can you please go outside and see where he is?”

Kora was still transfixed on the ceiling, “Tyler, where did he get her? She was in the house.”

“Hell if I know. Please go see about Nick. I don’t want you in this house alone while that man is here.” She looked into his eyes and caught a glimpse of his fear.

 

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