The Thunder of Nautilus

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Part Seven


Jack left the dozing Robert in the cage, walked back upstairs to look for Lily, and found her sleeping in the bedroom. He walked into the kitchen, removed the knives from a knife block, chose the sharpest, then opened the kitchen drawers one by one until he found a roll of wide tape. He walked back into the bedroom to ensure that Lily was still asleep.

He went into the bathroom, took off his filthy clothes, and put on a bathrobe he found hanging on the door before he entered the living room, where he looked for music that would be a fitting accompaniment to his revenge. He found among an extensive collection of heavy metal rubbish Ravel’s Bolero, one of his favorite pieces of music, and a portable CD player. He took the disk out of its case, placed it into the player, took off the bathrobe and left it hanging on the bathroom door, then walked naked back into the bedroom and plugged in the player.

He walked over to Lily and whispered into her ear, “Lileeee, wakeeee-wakeeee.”

Without opening her eyes, she mumbled, “Just let me sleep.” “Oh, but you don’t want to miss this,” Jack said. As he pressed the player’s start button and began to vocalize the beat of the music, he secured Lily’s body with tape around her chest and arms and down to her feet. In her state, Lily didn’t notice

that her body was being bound.

She only opened her eyes when she felt a weight on her, and by then it was too late to free herself. Jack was sitting on top of her with a knife in his hands, waving it like a conductor’s baton before plunging the blade into her chest. The pain took her breath away, and in her mind’s eye she saw the eyes of the animals she’d tortured and the sadistic look on her grandfather’s face when she’d killed them. Before she could say, “Please forgive me,” Jack plunged the knife into her again and again, in time with the music until the bed was a sea of blood. When he realized that the mercy of death kept him from inflicting more pain, he irrationally blamed Lily for dying too quickly. But then he assuaged his anger with the thought that he still had Robert, and a truly abhorrent plan matured within him.

He got off Lily’s body and went to the bedroom closet, where he grabbed two large towels. With one he wiped the blood off his body and wrapped the other around him, then ventured out into the cold in search of a saw. Next to the unused henhouse he found a dilapidated shed, its door covered with cobwebs. Since he suffered from arachnophobia, he went back to the house looking for a broom, which he found in the closet next to the kitchen. He went back to the shed with the broom and brushed away the cobwebs, then went in the shed, where he had to brush away more spider webs before he could reach the electric saw he saw on a bench. It was what he’d hoped to find, and he hoped it was still in working order. He went back to the house and into the bedroom, plugged in the saw, and when it came to life he cut Lily’s head from her neck, then cut into her skull. Then he used the knife to clumsily remove her brain.

He’d played Bolero again during his carnage, and when the music stopped and his work was done, he was again covered in blood. He left the saw and the knife beside the bed and went to the bathroom to shower, and he scrubbed until he thought that he’d washed off all of the malevolence of his tormentors.

He put on the bathrobe and went to the kitchen to look for a large pot, which he found under the stove. Then he searched for rubber gloves and a large plastic bag and found these under the sink. He put on the gloves, walked back into the bedroom, and placed Lily’s brain into the bag. Once back in the kitchen, he washed the brain and dropped it into the pot. He filled the pot three-quarters full with water, lit the gas, and waited until the water came to a boil, before he lowered the flame to let the broth simmer for a couple of hours. He found carrots, potatoes, and a few dried herbs in the pantry, which he would add to the soup after removing the solids of brain matter from the broth.

He planned to deprive Robert of food for a day, not just because he and Lily had starved him, but also because he wanted Robert to be so ravenous that he’d devour the soup. Only once he’d eaten it would Jack show him the bloodied skull and tell him that he’d cooked her brain, and then he’d watch Robert’s reaction when he realized that he’d consumed part of Lily and was thus nothing more than a repulsive cannibal.

Thanks to the drug, Robert had been able to sleep, but when he woke the pain reminded him of what Jack had done. He tried to support his fractured arm as much as he could with the other, yet every movement caused him pain, and he screamed out, irrationally hoping Jack would hear him and show mercy by giving him a dose of heroin. But he knew that noise wouldn’t penetrate the heavy cellar door. After all, he hadn’t heard Jack screaming when he was the one in the cage.

Jack gave himself a dose of the drug after he wrapped the headless, bloodied body in a dirty tarp he’d found in the shed, and then he took the body back to the shed because he didn’t feel like digging a grave in the frozen ground at night. Back in the house, he searched through the closets in Lily’s bedroom for something to wear and found men’s clothes that were obviously not Robert’s, since they were even a little too big for him. But at least they were comfortable and warm, despite the smell of camphor. After he dressed, he placed Lily’s skull on a tray and put it in the fridge, then turned off the gas under the pot holding Lily’s brain and made himself some dinner with meat he’d found in the freezer and a few vegetables he wasn’t going to use in the soup. Feeling the sedative effect of the drug and exhausted after the rush of killing and mutilating Lily, he lay down on the sofa and slept the rest of the night, albeit fitfully, thanks to the nightmares. When he woke the next day, he experienced a moment of disorientation, but also relief from the torment of a dream in which he kept running but couldn’t escape from a darkness he felt upon him.

He took his time preparing and eating a big breakfast of bacon and eggs and drinking several cups of coffee. Then he went down into the cellar with a filled syringe, splint, and bandages, and found Robert curled up in the filthy blankets that had previously kept him from dying of hypothermia.

“It’s your turn,” Jack said. “Give me your arm.”

“Are you going to break my other arm as well?” Robert asked.

Jack grinned and said, “I’m going to give you what you gave me, a bit of time out, so reach out your arm.”

After Robert received the injection and his arm was splinted and bandaged, he relaxed against the cold wall of his prison and asked Jack, “What are you going to do with me?”

“Don’t you want to know what I’m going to do with your friend, Lily?” Jack asked.

Robert replied, “I couldn’t care less. It was all her idea anyway. She’s a witch, the devil. She made me keep you down here. I never meant to harm you. Come on—I gave you the shots. I made sure you didn’t have to suffer. Come on—I let you out. I was going to let you go. I’m sorry, Jack—I’m truly sorry. The bitch had me under a spell. Honestly, she is evil incarnate. Just let me out and I’ll kill her for you. I’ll prove to you that I’m on your side.”

Jack laughed and said, “You’ll kill her for me? Now why would you kill her for me?”

“Because I want to show you that you have nothing to fear from me. You killed the bitch that had you incarcerated, and once I kill Lily we’ll be on even footing. We’ll keep the killings secret—we’ll have to keep them secret—and we both can go separate ways, knowing we’ll never disclose our secrets. We’ll be free—we’ll both be free.”

Jack then laughed even louder, but his laughter was without mirth—it was filled with the unsympathetic cold that filled his mind. “You seem to forget that I’m already free, while you’re imprisoned. Do you think it’s a good idea to insult me by saying that we’re equal?”

Robert answered desperately “No, no, definitely not. I know you’re smarter than me. You’re smart, really smart. No, I’m not saying we’re equal, I’m just saying that we have a lot in common. I killed someone too. I’m a killer, just like you.”

“Oh really,” Jack said. “So who did you kill?”

“Someone who deserved to die, someone evil like Lily. If you want proof, I’ll tell you where I buried him—right here on Lily’s land, in the paddock.”

“Oh yeah, that reminds me. Have you by any chance told anyone else that I killed that woman and where I had buried her?”

The question took Robert by surprise, and he had to quickly make a decision to either lie or tell the truth. He decided it was best to tell the truth. “I made an anonymous call to the Bristol police, but only told them where they could find the body, nothing about you. We dug her up from where you’d buried her and took the body at least a hundred miles away, to another forest. You must understand that your original grave was just a bit too close to home, and we thought it a bit of fun to mislead the police.”

“The two of you are regular fun-loving people, aren’t you? Torture and cruelty, all in a day’s play. So what was all this about sacrificing me? Another bit of fun? And tell me about this ‘Disciples of Hades’ crap. What’s that about?”

“Lily thought that up. She’s evil, I tell you. But it’s bullshit, the sacrificing bit. That was just symbolic, I would’ve never allowed her to sacrifice you, no way. I was going to let you go. You must believe me. I’m not like her. Come on—you must realize that I’m not like her.”

Robert’s desperate attempt to convince Jack of his innocence only made Jack feel contempt, but he wasn’t going to show Robert his true feelings. It was his turn to have fun. “All right,” he said unemotionally, “I believe you. I want to know about that man you killed. I want to know why you thought he was evil like Lily, and I want to know where you buried him.”

Robert took a deep breath and said, “That man was the master of ceremony in this Disciples of Hades club, and Lily is like the next step below him. I never wanted to belong to this insanity, but you must understand, Lily made me fall in love with her. She used some devil’s spell—I can see that now. She wanted to be the top dog in this Satanists’ club, and she said that I’d have to prove that I loved her by killing the man who stood in her way of becoming the mistress of ceremony. She was power hungry and I was foolish, but I don’t regret having killed that bastard. He was almost as evil as Lily.”

Jack hadn’t learned to control his emotions and hide his true feelings during those endless days he spent in the loony bin, for no reason. He’d deceived those so-called mental health experts, and he’d deceive this pathetic moron, and let him hope that he’d come out of his prison alive. Jack asked Robert again where the body was buried, and after he received directions, he said, “You must be hungry. I’ll bring you some soup I made yesterday, and once I find that body we can talk about how to get rid of Lily.” Robert tried to sound sincere when he thanked Jack, and actually felt appreciative when Jack brought him a hot bowl of soup, as promised. He ate quickly and hungrily.

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