No one responded to Deidra’s pleas for help. She thought, what if no one comes? My parents have no idea where I am, because I snuck out of the house. Did Heather and her friends tie me up and leave me here to die? I don’t want to die like this! Deidra screamed loud and long, until her throat ached.
Eventually, she cried herself to sleep. Hours later, Deidra awoke and blearily looked around and remembered despairingly that she wasn’t in bed at home. Her ordeal hadn’t been a nightmare. She really was tied up in some godforsaken basement, surrounded by strangers.
As if to confirm the reality of her predicament, Deidra’s wrists and feet began to throb. She was pretty sure that her shoulders were dislocated. Daylight streamed in weakly through the high, narrow windows. It was now possible to see the silhouettes of others around her similarly bound against the cold stone walls. Deidra renewed her efforts to get assistance.
“Help! Help! Can anybody hear me?”
A raspy voice issued from the other side of the room, “will you shut up? If those bastards hear you, then they’ll come back and punish all of us!”
“How many more people down here,” Deidra asked.
“How the hell should I know? This mansion is huge and it’s so dark down here, I can’t see much of anything.”
“My name is Deidra. I’m only here because, some people I thought were my friends drugged me. “
“Name’s Jim and the last thing I remember is meeting a blind date for drinks.”
“I have no idea how long I’ve been down here.”
“Near as I can tell, it’s midday. The sun will be going down before long. They’ll probably come back, when it gets dark.”
“Who is they?”
“I dunno what the damn things are. All I could see last night, were flashes of pale skin in the dim moonlight. I was pretty out of it, but I do remember hearing one guy put up a fight…and pay for it with his life. They tore him apart like jackals.”
“I thought that I dreamt that!”
“If that’s the case, we had the same dream.”
Deidra’s eyes widened, “then that means I really did see one of them up close. My wrists were bleeding and I heard someone exhale. Then there was this…this scuttling sound above my head. I looked up and something was crawling towards me, across the ceiling! It kind of dangled in front of me, right when headlights shone through one of the windows behind me. I caught a glimpse of the milky white face and these red eyes that seemed to glow like…like embers. It didn’t seem human, but I could have sworn it looked like this girl from my school. That couldn’t be right though, because she went missing about six months ago. Funny the things that run through your mind, when you’re in shock. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, the thing opened its mouth and this long black tongue flicked out. It felt like sandpaper against my skin, licking the blood dripping from my wrists. When that guy started screaming, the thing scuttled off like someone rang a dinner bell. I don’t want to be here when it comes back. We have to get out of here!”
“Look, I don’t want to be here any more than you do kid. But, unless you can chew through these restraints, we ain’t going nowhere. So stop talking like that, ’cause the last thing we want to do is make them angry. We have no idea who…or what might be listening to us right now. Let’s not forget what happened to the last guy who pissed them off.”
“What are we gonna do Jim?”
“The best thing you can do is conserve your energy and be ready.”
“Ready for what?”
“Whatever happens next.”
Deidra remained silent, mulling over his words and trying to quell a rising sense of panic. The constant struggle to stand on swollen feet slowly sapped her energy. Despite the throbbing pain radiating up her tired legs, Deidra fell into an exhausted slumber. Hours ticked by, gradually darkening the sky outside. The sudden glare of a bright light against her closed lids roused Deidra. She opened her eyes and for a moment, thought that she was still asleep. Her classmate Heather was standing in front of her smirking.
“Heather? Oh thank God, you came back for me!”
Jim spoke up, “this is one of the friends you were talking about? She’s the bitch who slipped a mickey into my drink at the bar! What the hell is going on here?”
Heather turned, strode towards him and launched her boot-clad foot into his midsection. The pain caused his legs to give out. She shouted in his agonized face, “shut up!” Heather paused momentarily, to see if he would say anything else, then spun around to glare at the others, “What’s going on here is that I own you. So, everyone had better do exactly as they’re told. All you need to know is what I want you to do next.”
Deidra couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Surely, it was all a joke. Any minute now, Heather would start laughing and the rest of her friends would come out of their hiding places. Deidra would be a little embarrassed for a few days, when word got out about the prank. Right now though, she was in too much pain to be embarrassed even if they saw her naked. She thought desperately, sure that’s it. This was all just a joke that went a little too far. Jim and I must have hallucinated those hideous creatures, because we were drugged. None of it mattered anymore. All Deidra wanted to do was go home. She cleared her throat, striving to keep her voice from shaking.
“Heather? When can I go home?”
“You are home Deidra.”
“What are you…I don’t understand.”
“The life you had before is over. Now, your life revolves around pleasing me and the people I work for.”