I mentioned before that I have once again signed up for NYCMidnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge. This is a competition I’ve done every year for the last few and it is something that has really helped bring my writing to higher levels. This year, my round one assignment was a pain in the ass, but my Round #2 assignment was much more my style.
Location: An Uninhabited Island
Item: A Mattress
Trigger Warning: This story went to a pretty dark place. There are no graphic depictions of anything, but it deals with the ideas of child-kidnapping and rape. Please know that going in and take care.
Finding a safe port in a storm leads a young man to an island where nightmares come true for three people. Trigger Warning: Although no graphic acts are depicted, this story deals with issues of child-kidnapping and forcible sexual assault.
The girl was strapped to the mold-covered mattress with several layers of duct tape wrapped around her wrists and ankles, trailing away to the corners of the rusty bed frame to keep her spread-eagled. Her clothes were ragged and covered in filth and heavy squares of silver tape covered her mouth and eyes. She couldn’t have been much older than twelve.
God, what was she doing here? My throat went instantly dry and I had to fight the urge to cough. Someone must have brought her here. Maybe several people. Someone had strapped this little girl to a bed in an aging concrete bunker that was probably left over from world War two. I doubted they’d just left after that.
I dried my sweating palms on my thighs, glancing at the sky as the rain started to fall around me. The storm was coming in faster than I’d expected. That was the only reason I was here. I hadn’t wanted to risk my fishing boat in the storm so I’d swung into the shelter of a bay on the backside of some abandoned little island that I’d probably passed a thousand times without really noticing. They were all over this part of the pacific.
What do I do? What do I do? I could run back to my boat and try to use the radio to call for help, but those were open channels. If the people who put this girl here were listening, they’d know instantly.
Okay, okay… I thought. I can do this. I just go in there, cut her loose, and run like hell. I looked around again. The second, larger bunker was barely visible up the hill. Its warm light still visible through the heavy rain. I patted at the pockets of my jeans, making sure I still had my small folding knife in my pocket and cursing at the light. Those warm-looking lights were the only reason I’d gotten off my boat and into this nightmare.
It’s a nightmare for me. What is it for her? Shit. Okay.
I swallowed again, and crawled back to peak in the window. There was no glass or screen, just an open rectangle in the side of the squat gray building. Battered and rusting fittings on the edges hinted at long gone shutters, but now there was nothing except a terrified guy looking at a terrified girl.
There was an open door on the left side of the room, but I couldn’t see through it. The old building was inset into the ground so the bottom sill of the window was barely a foot above the ground on the outside, but it was almost a six foot drop on the inside.
Get in. Cut her loose. Run. It ran through my mind like a mantra. Get in. Cut her loose. Run. I sucked in several short breaths. Okay. Okay. Okay…
I slithered through the open window before I could change my mind. My hands were rough and strong from years of boating, but the sopping wet cement still slid out of my grasp and I plummeted to the ground, gasping in surprise and landing with a hard thump.
“What the shit!” Someone shouted.
I blinked my eyes open just in time to see a massive man barge through the half-open door. The front of his pants was open and he held a mostly empty bottle of cheap gin in his right hand. Behind him, through the open door, I saw another girl tied to another bed.
The fat man stopped his charge into the girl’s room and stared stupidly at me. “It’s still my turn,” he said.
My mind went blank. I couldn’t think past those four words: It’s still my turn. They echoed in my mind, ringing through my ears. I charged, skittering over the damp floor and driving my fist into his soft stomach.
The big man staggered back with a roar, swinging his booze bottle at my head. I ducked beneath the blow and stepped in close, firing punch after punch into his body. I know he was punching me back, but it didn’t matter. He’d already lost this fight. He just didn’t know it yet.
Finally, he staggered away from the fury of my attack, his pants dropping to his knees. I threw every ounce of rage-powered strength behind a crippling kick to his manhood. He howled, doubling over and grabbing his crotch. I snatched the bottle of booze from the floor where he’d dropped it and swung it with both hands. The heavy glass shattered across the back of his skull and the heavy man dropped to the floor.
I stared at him for several seconds, my chest heaving and my heart pounding. Part of me wanted him to move. I wanted him to get back up so I’d be able to justify hurting him some more. My breathing started to slow and there was still no sign of movement until the girl on the bed near me whimpered, here fear leaking past the tape barrier. I stumbled to her bedside, yanking the knife from my pocket and sawing through her bonds with shaking hands.
“It’s okay, sweety,” I said, pulling the tape away from her mouth and eyes. “It’s going to be okay. I’m going to take you home.”
The girl only stared at me with wide, fearful eyes, but she followed me when I went to pull the second unconscious girl off the bed. I turned to face her. The fat man’s words still echoing in my mind. It’s still my turn. “Are there any more girls like you two?”
She shook her head, still too scared to speak.
I pointed to the unconscious man on the floor. “Do you know how many more men like him there are?”
Her voice was small and scared, “Lots.”
I swallowed and nodded, throwing open the door to the bunker. Together, we ran out into the coming storm.