The Doll Collector

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Chapter 16

Bethany, sitting up on her assigned bed, couldn’t stop seeing and hearing the events that she had been forced to witness. Again and again she could hear the screams of that girl echoing through her mind. When she closed her eyes she could see her captor, naked, on top of the girl.

When the screams died down in her head, she could see the lifeless body of the red-headed girl lying on a bed exactly like hers. She found it almost impossible to concentrate on the reality surrounding her, despite her need to desist in reliving those horrendous moments of several hours ago.

The current reality on which she struggled to focus was one in which the kidnapper-turned-murderer was pointing a handgun at her head from a few feet away. He was trying to tell her that she would be dead within seconds if she tried anything foolish.

Despite the clear and present danger, her senses seemed to suggest that her captor was threatening someone else. She thought about the gun and the threat, which had all been processed by her brain, despite her desire to shut herself off. Recent events, forever ready to replay in her mind, were enough to believe the man’s threat. The dead girl, likely still lying in the next bedroom would serve as a constant reminder that this man meant what he said.

In stark contrast to the danger she was facing, breakfast had been prepared and provided on a tray. The constant drugging and waking had confused her body clock, leaving her to debate within herself whether this breakfast was being served at a sensible time. In truth, she had no idea. In any case, the smell of warm toast, fresh fruit salad and the taste of ice-cold orange juice could prove a welcome distraction from her memories, thoughts and fears. He may be a cold-hearted killer and rapist of young girls, but he wants to make sure we’re getting our five a day.

Surprised at how hungry she felt, the food was eaten as quickly as Bethany could carry it to her mouth. The food tasted better than anything she had eaten for months, but she had not needed to wait so long between meals in the past. Unless she had somehow eaten whilst drugged, this was probably her first full meal in this godforsaken place.

As she finished gulping down the toast and orange juice, she furrowed her brow for a second. Could the food be drugged? Maybe the water? It would make sense, considering this man’s methods.

The kidnapper spoke of wanting each girl to keep their innocence. Maybe he won’t do anything too terrible to me, especially if I do what he asks. However, sex education in modern schools, when combined with the talk of other girls in and around the place, had opened her eyes to some things. I can still keep my virginity whilst being forced to do things that would make my stomach turn.

She downed the last of the orange juice, feeling tired and dizzy by the time she had done so. She had been drugged. Her eyelids took on an incredible weight, making it impossible to keep them open. As her head slumped, one final thought crossed her mind. What kind of scene will confront me when I open my eyes?

~ ~ ~

The moment Bethany opened her eyes, there was a more pressing issue than calculating the time she had spent asleep. The situation in which she found herself suggested something disquieting, possibly sinister, was going to happen.

In a dark room, but with one bright light shining towards her, she discovered that she was dressed in her school uniform again, and that her hands were finally free to move. Sadly, her ankles were still secured by rope to some point somewhere underneath the frame of the bed, suggesting that she was far from being in control of her own destiny.

“Bethany!” The man said, “You’re awake. I hope you’ve rested well.”

Bethany did not want to dignify this man’s patronising talk with a response.

“I’m sure you’re wondering what I’m going to ask you to do,” he said.

Shaking her head, Bethany replied, “I won’t do it.”

“You don’t even know what I’m going to ask.”

She shook her head more violently. “No. I can’t… I just can’t do…these sorts of things.”

“What sort of things do you think I’ll ask of you?” He asked, continuing in the same soft tone.

“You’ll want me to do... the kind of things that the other girl did.”

The captor chuckled slightly. “Beth, you are a very different girl to Sandra. You’re still innocent.” He looked the same as the killer she had spoken to earlier, but the voice made it difficult for her to believe her memories. His voice was a reflection of reverence or pity. She wasn’t sure which.

He continued, “That’s where your charm, your beauty comes from. I’m not about to take that purity from you.”

Bethany became conscious of another sound that could only be heard when her kidnapper had ceased talking. It was a gentle, scraping sound, almost like a hamster gnawing on a wooden block or a small dog seeking to be let through a closed doorway. She had no idea what was causing the noise or what it could mean, but she felt increasingly uneasy.

She detected the faint smell of something in the air that had not been there earlier. It reminded her of doing woodwork classes in school.

Bethany folded her arms. She fought back tears as she replied with her voice breaking as if under heavy strain. “I don’t know what you think about me, but I don’t like any of this. I just want to go home.”

“You will,” he responded. “If you cooperate, you’ll be home before you know it.”

Bethany thought for a moment. Is it worth some moments of being uncomfortable, possibly even scarred emotionally, to get back to my mum?

“What would I have to do to get out of here?” She asked, realising her voice was barely audible above the quiet scraping sound.

“Good girl, Beth!” he said as if he was talking to a dog that had just mastered a new trick. “You’re starting to understand the situation. I knew a bright girl such as you could see the sensible course of action.”

She grimaced. It’s not the right choice. It’s my only option.

Could she really trust this man even slightly? Failure to do so could result in being forced to participate anyway, and then being refused her rightful return home. More than anything, I want to walk back through my own front door. Only then can I try putting all of this behind me.

Bethany had learned the meaning of the word lust after a random search through a dictionary during a dull English lesson. It was not until that moment that she understood the definition. She could see it in the eyes of that man, approaching in the same ill-fitting bathrobe and kneeling next to her bed.

He reached towards her. She flinched and then withdrew as far as her ankle restraints would allow.

“You can trust me, Beth,” he said. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

Bethany could only issue a quiet but strained whine in response. She kept quiet, deciding that she would not give this man any further satisfaction from any noises that might escape her throat.

He carefully took hold of the hem of her skirt and folded it back. He put his hand between her legs, moving it slowly towards her underwear, causing her to grimace again, this time with so much force that her face hurt.

I’m not sure I could forgive myself if I gave in to this man.

The muscles in her face relaxed for part of a second out of necessity and then screwed up in anguish again. I’ll thrash, slap his hand away, shout at him and then I’ll struggle free. In her mind she was doing all of these things, but in reality she continued to lie there, and he continued to do whatever he was doing.

She willed herself to make him stop, but nothing happened. Exerting all of her efforts made no difference. Have I been drugged again? Have I been paralysed?

All Bethany could do was to sit, hoping for intervention from someone, somehow. Something needed to happen that would get this man to stop.

Bethany was terrified about her inability to move, despite feeling everything this man was doing to her. My body has to be here for this, but my mind does not. She wanted to recall a happy time with friends or the last time she laughed with her father. She needed to place herself somewhere else mentally, but at that moment she couldn’t think of a single happy memory. All she could think was that this man had to stop.

At the moment where she felt the man’s hand move again, she heard a gentle buzz somewhere in the room, followed by the sound of an imitation phone ringing.

The man’s hand moved away and he issued an annoyed grunt. Saved by the bell. He moved further away from the bed to answer his phone.

In the standard one-word greeting of “hello”, her captor had managed to convey several feelings to the person who dared to interrupt him. She could hear frustration and accusation in his voice before he had uttered another syllable.

As the man listened, Bethany looked around the room again. Next to the bright light, positioned near the doorway, was a chair on the chair was a lump of something that she couldn’t make out. There were small implements on and around the chair that reflected the light.

Her heart started to pound in her chest. He promised he wasn’t going to hurt me. If he’s not here to hurt me, what are those for?

She suddenly hoped that the phone conversation would continue for a very long time. Perhaps a long conversation with someone else would cause him to reconsider his actions.

“I understand,” her upset kidnapper said to the mystery caller. “Neither indicated that they would be moving or changing contact details. I’ll look into it.”

Without another word, she was left alone with nothing but the chair, the strange lump and the mysterious tools for company.

She breathed out a long and deliberate sigh, realising that she had been holding her breath for some unknown period of time. She unfolded her skirt and tugged at the ropes holding her ankles. They weren’t going to move easily.

All I can do is sit and wait for him to come back. He’ll want to carry on where he left off.

As it turned out, she would not need to wait long.

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