Iris, my Iris? I get up and take one small step his way. And then I hesitate. People are bad. I don’t trust people, I trust me. People want to hurt me and take pleasure from me and treat me like a thing. I am a good girl, a good doll but I am not stupid, not anymore.
I take a good long look at the dark man before me and I try to read him. He is a handsome man, though I have forgotten how one might look. His face is pleasing, his strong body is built, his biceps stretching the sleeves of the beige t-shirt he is wearing. His black, straight eyebrows are strict and his fleshy lips almost hidden by a thick dark beard. His skin is covered by tattoos up to the base of his neck and down his arms.
But under that appealing appearance, I get a feeling that makes me shiver. I can’t name that feeling, I can’t focus on it, it scares me to do so. Is he telling the truth? Is he taking me to Iris? Is this some trick to keep me good and calm? He will soon tell me that I will see Iris if I am a good girl and do as told. They always do that.
“Where is Iris?”
“Back in California?”
“Where am I?”
His eyes twinkle with anger upon my question. I angered him. I asked to many questions. I am not supposed to ask questions just answer those made to me. Whether he is a client or a new guy to work for Freddie, I am his to do as he pleases. I am not to question him.
“I am sorry, sir,” I take one frightful step to him and put on my innocent smile hoping it will do the trick.
It doesn’t. He seems angrier even. I can’t read this man. What does he want from me? I panic and I bite my lip to gather myself. There is one thing all men want. All men that walk through these doors.
I drop my innocent smile and I narrow my eyes while the seductive smile is in place. I walk slowly to him, swaying my hips and licking my lips slowly.
“Well, soldier,” I am guessing that is the roleplay he is into, “who cares where I am when you are here.”
I pull closer to him and I raise my hand to touch his wide chest. He takes in deep breaths and follows my moves with heavy eyes. I am getting there, I know instantly and I dare caress up his neck, feeling his beard tickle my skin. His body goes rigid, stiff but his breath hitches and his heartbeat is strong.
I risk one quick glance at the door and it’s still open. I hear noises from down the hall but this is my chance. If that strange, dark man knows about Iris, she might be in danger. I got one chance and I am not wasting it. I turn my attentions to him and I pull closer even, my body touching his and he inhales sharply. He doesn’t move a muscle but he is not stopping me either.
“You’ll take care of me, won’t you, soldier?” I lean close to his ear.
His smell invades my nostrils and I am taken momentarily. There is a potent smell coming from his pores. His sweat is infused with a virile, vigorous scent that confuses me. I can’t be confused, not now.
Fear grabs my soul and shakes it violently and I am ready to vomit. Something serious is going down and I need to get out now. I was a good girl and now the door is open. Only thing that stands between me and freedom is this man. My hands are shaking. I have never done what I am about to do but I need to. Iris. For Iris.
I take off my high heels, tip toeing to keep level with him. Then I muster all my pathetic courage and I raise my knee with all my force between his legs! He lets out a groan and folds his body. This is my chance.
I run with all my might out the corridor. As I pass by Geraldine’s room, I glance inside. Oh my god! She is hanging lifeless by the lamp. She wasn’t strong, not strong enough. I feel the tears well up in my eyes and let a whimper pass by my lips. I hope she is back to her happy place now.
“Tamie!” Wood’s voice brings me back to reality.
Broken as I may be, I need to be alive to help Iris. So, I am spurred into action once more and I fly through the corridor to the door. I open it and rush in the room I’ve come to be too familiar with. There is a door, one single door to the other side. I have seen light, sunlight coming through that door. That’s my way out. I need to get there. But I don’t.
“Oh, god!” I shriek.
The room is filled with so much blood I almost slip on it as I rush in. I look around and I freeze on spot. First thing I notice is the girl placed reverently on the bed. She is not moving. Then I see one of Freddie’s guards pinned on the wall with two sharp knives. His stomach is ripped open and his guts are spilling out. He is still alive, whimpering and crying. There’s a body on the floor but I can’t recognize the man. His face is pulped beyond recognition. Another body lies close on his back and then I see Freddie. He is bound kneeling on the floor, blood running from his Achilles’s tendons. There’s a leather strap around his neck that holds a knife in place. A knife directly aiming for his throat.
All these I see in seconds before I focus on the only man standing in the room. He is a gigantic man that wears only his jeans and boots. His skin is marked with dark, sinister tattoos, the most frightening one being the ferocious wolf on his chest. He is covered in blood but I doubt any of it is his. He is focused on the man hanging from handcuffs by the ceiling and he is... god, please. He is carving pieces of meat out of the fat man’s body. His look is ecstatic, he is enjoying that torture, hearing the man scream in agony as his flesh is being torn.
“Tamie!” Wood is right behind me.
The inked man turns to me and I gulp. There isn’t an inkling of humanity in those eyes as they meet mine. He seethes and snarls and he takes one step closer.
“Please,” I plead and I try to move away from him only to slip on the bloody floor. “No, please.”
“Rage, no!” Wood’s voice fills the room but it doesn’t stop that beast coming at me.
I raise my arm to protect myself and as I see that bloodthirsty killer coming at me there is only one thought dominating my mind. Iris. I am going to leave poor Iris behind, alone, defenseless. I will never see her beautiful eyes, her soft smile or hear her angelic voice again. I will never see her gather her long hair to fix the radiator in our filthy house.
“Iris,” I whisper in a soft farewell.
As the word leaves my lips, the man stops as if hit by a wall. His bloodied hand moves to his chest and touches his heart. I frown and look and I see he is caressing a tattoo he has there. A blue, iris flower.
“Iris,” he repeats.
What is...? I slip further away from him but he steps closer, kneeling to the floor. Wood is at us and is watching that man but doing nothing to save me from him. It’s fair. I hit him to save myself so he is letting me prey to that beast. I face my soon-to-be-killer and I look into his blue eyes.
He is a handsome man, I can tell even through all that blood. His features are flawless. How can a man so beautiful, be a killer? How can this angelic face hide such malice?
I close my eyes when he lifts his hand and I wait for pain to come. But instead I feel one finger touch my neck.
“The heart-shaped mark,” the man says in a deep, gruff voice.
I open my eyes and stare back at him. He has leaned his head and studies me with interest. His hand moves and he traces a finger under my eyes, leaving blood on my cheek.
“Those eyes,” he mutters. “Some as my Iris’s.”
His Iris’s? Who is this man? Is he the one holding my sister? Has my baby sister fallen in the arms of that man, that murderous, torturing man? I take one deep breath and I let the tears come. Who cursed us? Why? All I wanted for her was to be happy, normal. And now, he has her.
“Rage, we need to get out,” Wood states.
“Those eyes,” the man repeats.
“That’s Tamie. Iris’s sister.”
I look at both of them. The man that is so fittingly is called Rage stares back at me and drives his fingers through his mohawk. He then pulls back and sits on the floor hitting his head.
“I scared her,” he growls. “She is scared of me, I am scary, I am bad.”
“Rage, are you done here? We need to go.”
“I scared her sister. I know she loves her sister and I scared her. It was the Hellhound. The Hellhound is back, in me, in here and it scared her sister.”
I frown at the man that crumbled from a wild beast to a crying child in seconds. His wails are so painful, I feel the sudden urge to comfort him. But then I see the sliced-up man hanging behind him and I regret even having that thought.
“Tamie?” Wood kneels before me. “Get up.”
I comply. His voice leaves no room for resistance. I do as he says and I stand before him. Stained with blood and shaking violently, I am ready to die. If Iris is that man’s prisoner, then I may never be able to save her. I’d rather die. Wood looks at me with an enigmatic look. He then turns to Freddie that is eyeing all of us with fear. The same fear he has invoked in me again and again.
“Tamie,” Wood makes me focus on him, “is this fucker Freddie?”
I turn to my captor once more and I nod. Wood turns his back to me and walks up to Freddie.
“Listen, man,” Freddie pleads as dozens of girls have done in his possession. “I got money. I got shitloads of money. Just let me go and keep that psycho away from me.”
I can’t see Wood’s face but his whole body is coiled, ready to strike. And then he turns to me and looks into my eyes. Suddenly, I am not scared. For some reason, some mysterious reason, I feel protected. This dark man is hard but his eyes tell me he won’t hurt me, that he will keep me safe. If what I feel is in fact safe. I have forgotten how that is.
“Tamie,” Wood looks over his shoulder, “come close.”
I do as he asks and I stand right beside him. Freddie looks up to me with a pleading look. I frown. Is he expecting me to help him out? Even if I could, why would I ever help him? He has raped me again and again, he has given me to all the men that paid him to have their fantasies come true and he taped us to make even more money. For a few seconds all that is heard is the wheezing of the dying man on the wall and Rage’s incoherent mutters as he sways back and forth on the bloodied floor. Wood breaks the silence.
I turn to him and he is handing me a knife. His look is dark, strict, determined and he breaths heavily. I look down at the knife and then back to him.
“If you want, you can do it. If you don’t, I can do it for you. You can watch. You can leave the room. Your choice.”
My choice. My choice. When was the last time I chose something? Maybe that day, when my own mother sold me and my sister cause she owed money to Daultrey. Iris and I were having dinner. Our mother was drifting away, her eyes glazed and a sick smile was on her face. Iris was eating the sandwich I made her from scraps. She never liked soda and we had two kinds in our fridge. I chose one.
That was the last time I had any choice in my life, any power over my body, my mind, my soul. I’ve been a doll ever since, a toy, a thing. I never chose when to eat, what to eat, when to sleep, how to talk, what to wear, when to piss. I was reduced to nothing. What is a person without choices? Nothing.
“Tamie?” Wood still holds the knife my way.
I narrow my eyes and look at Freddie that is pissing his pants. He is shaking and shivering and pleading me to spare him. He is the one without the choices now.
“I want him to do it,” I point at Rage. “I’ll watch.”
Wood scowls but says nothing, just puts the knife back.
“Rage,” he demands and the man looks up. “The lady has a request.”
I eye Wood. He can’t be possibly expect me to ask a man like Rage to kill for me. I turn back to Rage that is up on his feet and standing before me. His stance is expectant and he looks down at me with an imploring look. My eyes find Wood once more and he lifts his chin in reassurance.
“Go ahead, ask him. He’ll like it.”
I return to Rage that hasn’t moved a muscle as if waiting for an order. It is as if he is a hound waiting for his master to order him. The wolf on his chest is moving with each breath menacingly. But I see it, that blue flower on his chest, the only kind design on his body. An iris flower. I bite my jaw down and I muster my courage.
“Kill Freddie,” I say.
Rage’s angelic face breaks into an ecstatic smile and he lets out a long, horrific howl. None is more terrified than Freddie.
“No, no, no,” he begs. “Please no, not him. Kill me, just kill me, just shoot me. Please, Tamie, just shoot me. Please, forgive me and shoot me, please.”
“Rage,” I tell the man that looks over his shoulder to me. “Make him suffer.”