Astrid’s body shuddered with misery and despair. Her back burned like hell from cuts Jay inflicted. She sobbed through the spit sodden muzzle, knowing the worst had yet to come.
Jay sat naked in a corner on the dirty floor, partially hidden in thick shadows humming in his throat, watching Astrid’s blood trickle down her sides onto the filthy mattress. He’d been thoughtful since climbing off her. She whimpered when he stood, knife in hand once more. His coy smile when stepping out of the darkness terrified her more than the blade.
“I’m cutting your legs free,” he explained while doing so, “Now that I’ve let off a little aggression, I want to fuck.”
Jay yanked her up from bed by the ropes binding her hands together. Astrid experienced searing pain from the moment he touched her. Even with her legs untied, pants crudely discarded, she couldn’t get past the agony to make a break for it. Blood dripped down her feet as he leaned against the wall, maneuvering her like a puppet until she straddled his lap.
She groaned when he clamped one hand around her upper arms, bending them awkwardly until her spine bowed. She turned her head when he kissed her over the gag. He ignored how alarmed and uncomfortable Astrid was.
“You will ride me,” Jay cheerfully ordered opening a condom wrapper with his teeth, “Lord knows what Remy and Calder have given you with all the women they screwed while you were crying yourself to sleep at night. Just remember I can slice you open. I like the taste of your blood,” he brought the knife to his lips, licking the sharp edge, “Delicious. Ready?”
Astrid shook her head, trying to say the word NO and FUCK YOU. He chuckled, bringing the blade to the center of her heaving chest. She swallowed the saliva collected in her mouth, closing her eyes. She could do this. If she pacified him, perhaps he wouldn’t slaughter her. It would give people time to find where they were.
Jay cackled darkly once more before reaching down to place himself at her dry entrance. He spat on his dick, and she flinched in disgust. He dropped the weapon to take hold of her face, making sure they had eye contact.
“Rock my cock,” he growled, spitting on her cheek, “Do it or I’ll cut your tits off.”
Astrid disconnected entirely, slipping into nothingness. Years of mistreatment practice for the wretchedness of defeat when he raked his nails across her wounds as he reduced her to a worthless hole. Was she fucking her captor or was he fucking her? His breathing picked up, and she stared over his shoulder instead of his perverse expression, but he kept shaking her chin, forcing her to look into his exhilarated chocolaty orbs.
Astrid wanted to eviscerate him with every fiber of her being.
His perspiration rubbed all over her, and he moaned loudly in her face with a victorious smirk. Her back was on fire from the sweat, like salt on open wounds. She sobbed, and he frowned in exasperation.
“Stop crying!” he growled before kissing her neck wetly, “Doesn’t this feel good? Mmm... make me come, slut. Make me believe you can’t live without me.”
Grabbing the knife, Jay took hold of both her hips and she froze. She knew he wanted her to indulge his sick fantasies, but she wouldn’t. He jerked her up and down until, to her mortification, a tremor of pleasure ran through her frame. NO! No, don’t respond to it, she berated herself, knowing it was her body’s reaction to stimuli.
“Astrid,” Jay huskily hissed in her ear, slowing down, “You are so lush. Better than Alice. Prettier than Joyce. I may play with you one more night.”
She couldn’t endure another fucking moment of Jay’s horrible treatment and remain indifferent. She was bleeding! Her head had somewhat stopped throbbing, but his manhandling brought back the skull-crushing pain and it didn’t take a genius to figure out he had a lot more planned. The things he said turned her stomach. The knife was always close at hand and she feared he would stab her worse than what he’d done to her backside.
Jay saw the fear in her wide, glazed eyes. He tapped the gag with the knives handle, cocking his head as if contemplating something. Astrid felt him pulsing inside of her body, despising the man with every ragged breath she inhaled.
“If I take off this rag, no one will hear you,” he whispered, giving a severe look, so she understood the unspoken threat, “I have taken you far, far away slut. I’ve kept you gagged because I don’t want to listen to your smart-ass mouth. Remy may have liked your attitude, but the only thing I find entertaining about you is my cock deep in this cunt you so willingly give.”
Shame made her flush as he paused, face so close and stern she fought the urge to headbutt him. As yet, she hadn’t struggled at all. She itched to fight the second he’d shown himself, but she wanted to live more. By reacting passively, she prayed Jay would keep her alive. She kept her eyes trained on his with a slight nod, hoping to come across as submissive.
“Will you bite?” his lips twisted upward, taunting, “Or will you plead and beg for me to spare you? Say you find me attractive? That you won’t run or yell?”
Astrid did nothing in response. He expected a challenge, but she remained perfectly still. Jay already decided her fate, and the rest was a sadistic test. She had never been so terrified, but put on a demure mask. Why was he doing this to her? To his friends? Remy must have caught on somebody in his life was screwing with him. How could he not? Calder was shrewd. He’d call every resource he knew once he realized someone abducted her. Or so she hoped.
Hope was all she had.
He cut the gag, muttering, “You’re strong, Astrid. I wanted to take you from the moment you refused to smoke my weed. Remember? Then Remy took you to his room. I heard your moans from where I sat,” he licked his lips at her mortification, “You sounded hot, by the way. Arlo commented on how sexy you are. I hate the fact Remy makes every woman he meets bow at his feet. You’re pretty, but he identifies with you. When I fucked you in the ass when he held you down, I decided right then you would die.”
The casualness in Jay’s voice as he talked about the decision to kill her made her dizzy with dread. He was insane! How could Remy not notice, even if Arlo insisted they befriend him? He had to have shown signs over the years he wasn’t all there in the head. Jay systematically plotted against Remy, causing him to mistrust everything and everyone in his life, lapping up his misery. If she didn’t escape and somehow he never realized Jay kidnapped and murdered Joyce and Alice, she knew he’d never recover. The psycho would never stop until Remy was incarcerated or dead.
He freed her mouth at last and she looked sideways, working her lips and tongue to retain moisture. He tossed the fabric aside, smirking in amusement as she gulped for air. Bastard.
Placing the silver tip of the knife against her cheek, she froze in fear while he switched gears, “Now,” he harshly spat, “No yelling. No talking. Understood?”
She kept still, fearing he would slice her open, “Yes,” she hoarsely uttered.
“Do you want water?” he teased, “You haven’t eaten or drank in a long time.” she relaxed a tad when the blade lowered to her thigh, “If you do me right, I’ll bring you food.”
Astrid stared at his bare chest, watching it rise and fall. She trembled, careful to not say or do anything to piss him off. Continuing to focus on his tight abs, she worked to fulfill his perverse commands.
Time seemed to slow down the longer Jay used her as a living sex doll. She disconnected as much as possible, clenching her jaw and breathing through her nose. Her body betrayed her the harder he moaned and groaned, sucking on her nipples.
“I’m big, huh?” he whispered in her ear, “It’s okay to come. Before I’m done with you, you will. So close,” he grunted, kissing her tear-stained cheek, “You’re gonna cream, right?”
Astrid was stronger than her body’s stupid libido. Jay was nothing. When He finished he gasped, flicking his tongue against her pinched lips, not minding she remained unresponsive. Disgust had her stomach lurching, and she almost threw up in his sated face.
“That was fine,” he stated with a blank look after a few tense minutes, “I’ll grab you a drink.”
He shoved her off so he could stand. She yelped when he roughly dragged her back to the mattress, flipping her over to retie her ankles together. His sudden maneuvers rendered her dumbfounded, sensing something shifted inside Jay’s mind. She would live, even it meant playing his sick games. She sobbed aloud once the door slammed behind him, praying someone was searching for her.
* Meanwhile *
Remy broke into Jay’s apartment using a credit card. Jay had lived there for two months. He never stopped to wonder why he moved so much and didn’t like where his mind spiraled when he did.
Calder walked into the narrow hall as he slowly surveyed the joint living and dining area. The kitchen was situated immediately to the right of the front door. There was a couch, but his eyes zeroed in on the leather recliner at the center of the room facing a large flat-screen TV on a wooden stand. Teena had one similar in her office. Other than the few pieces of furniture, he saw no personal touches. No pictures or knick-knacks. Stepping a foot in the kitchen, the pristine countertops and appliance spoke of disuse.
Remy shoved his hands in his pockets so he wouldn’t disturb shit. All he needed was his prints to come away from a potential crime scene. Again. He frowned, hoping Calder was smart not to touch anything either, but hearing noises from the back of the apartment had him shaking his head. Obviously, being a lawyer didn’t keep the asshole from tampering with evidence.
Remy noticed a combined VCR/DVD player next to the TV. Who the hell played VHS cassettes anymore? The guy was an electronic genius and still messed with outdated machinery? There were a few tapes set out along with a few CD re-writable cases with no markings. He cocked his head, realizing Jay recorded something on them. Peering into the flimsy opening on the machine saw nothing inside.
“Remy!” Calder called, “Is Jay anal or what?”
He strolled into the bedroom saying, “In all the years I’ve known Jay, never needed to visit. I came here a few days ago, but didn’t come inside.”
The small bedroom looked much more lived in. A twin box-spring mattress made up of black blankets and pillows sat across from a desk flush against the wall. A four drawer dresser held a bottle of cologne and a framed picture of a woman Remy didn’t recognize. The closet was closed, and a tall wicker clothes basket lay beside it.
Calder perched in a chair, booting up the computer. Where did Jay store his equipment? Remy knew for a fact he had a lot because of the pile he’d handed over weeks ago.
“Jay works for a company installing security cameras,” he nervously peered around the tidy space, “I was curious a while back and he showed me some of the weirdest gadgets available. Tiny little eyes you can access anywhere. He may be watching.”
Calder shrugged, “His desktop isn’t even password protected. For someone who appears so neat, you’d think paranoia would go hand in hand.”
“He does smoke a shit ton of weed,” Remy studied the picture on the dresser, “I have no idea who this girl is. I was seven when Jay came to the orphanage and he was a shy ten-year-old kid, all knees and elbows. Arlo took him under his wing, always looking out for the weaker kids.”
“How old was Arlo?”
“Eight. It was a hard transition for Jay. His parents died in a fire. He had no family. Like the rest of us. He must really hate me.”
Calder groaned frustratedly at the computer, “Nothing! No files.” he yanked open the side drawer on the desk, rattling something inside.
He turned back to see Calder reach in and come out with two CD-RW cases. One labeled the other blank.
Calder paled even as he exclaimed, “Bingo! This one’s titled; Farewell to Alice in Fucked-land. It could be porn.”
Remy resisted the urge to destroy the place. He took a deep breath and calmly said, “I have a laptop at home. Grab those discs and I’ll take the videotapes out in the living room. Turn the shit off, put the chair back. Let’s get the hell out of here.”
The men seized what they needed, then drove off in Calder’s vehicle. Remy wondered about the guy who joked, smoked and drank so much he could barely talk or walk sometimes. Jay’s residence was sterile, unfriendly, showing not a trace of the shiftless boy he’d known half his life.
He was not eager to view what was on the CD’s or tapes. Why would Jay leave evidence if he was the devil behind Remy’s tragedies? Maybe he staged the whole thing. The thought made him sweat.
“Jay isn’t stupid,” Remy blurted out as Calder pulled into Remy’s parking lot, “If these recordings hold proof of what he’s done, then he expected people to find them. His apartment seemed off, don’t you think?”
“He may be psychopathic,” Calder mused, jerking to a stop near Remy’s car, “Psychopaths often have split personalities. Family, friends, wives or even the person who’s cut their hair for twenty years will admit they never noticed signs of homicidal tendencies. This man has targeted you for over a decade. He thrives off of your misery and probably idolizes you.”
“You agreeing or not? It looked fake!”
Calder climbed out, shrugging, “Yeah, possibly. Call your roommate. He might have more information since they’re better friends.”
Remy rang Arlo without hesitation, knowing he had a point, asking him to come down. Arlo had a million questions, but he hung up. He unlocked the trunk, snatched his messenger bag and set it on the hood, then opened the small laptop he carried for when between jobs and wanted to watch online movies.
Calder saw Arlo stumble out of the building a few seconds later, not missing his perturbed scowl. Remy picked up the untitled disk, inserting it into the appropriate slot. The device found three files. They appeared to be videos.
Please be porn, Remy silently prayed, please let me be wrong.
Calder crowded around Arlo and Remy to see what was on the screen. Arlo started defending Jay once Remy explained where they obtained the recordings, but listened as they described the blood at Astrid’s house and how odd Jay’s apartment came across.
Arlo shook his head, unconvinced Jay had anything to do with her disappearance, “Remy, he’s stood by your side since we were kids! Jay was there for you when Alice and Joyce died. He even spoke to the police on your behalf. Remember? You two broke into his place because he didn’t go to work? Big fucking leap! He’s your friend, dude!”
Remy and Calder gave each other doubtful frowns, and it hit him that a man he hated less than twenty-four hours ago was his only ally at finding Astrid.