I am the doe, roaming the woods. I am innocent, content, my belly swells.
Then I flee, the Hunter is after me. After ME. I feel the terror only a prey animal can.
I run on swift and slender legs. I dodge and weave, still the hunter comes, the unnatural scent of Man carries on the wind, never ceasing always pursuing. I know it will come. I move into deeper brush, a weak shield, the shot will come. My lungs are bursting, I am so filled with terror I almost want it to come just to end it.
Ahhh, not a clean shot. The Hunter is upon me. He whistles while he works, casual. I am nothing to him. He guts me.
I scream in agony. The Hunter does not hear. Why do you do this? I ask. Suddenly the Hunter stands up, dropping his knife. Suddenly he can hear me, suddenly he can see me. He backs away in horror.
Why did you do this to me? I whimper, but the Hunter is already backing away. Running, panicked before the shadow that comes down on both of us.
The sheet I am under jerks off of me.
I do nothing, say nothing. The Creeper shakes me, shakes me again, more roughly. I am absolutely still.
He picks me up, I am completely limp, like a rag doll. He sighs in exasperation but carries me bridal-style to that house of horrors; the basement. I cringe slightly but do nothing else.
He plops me onto a chair, then tries to force me into sitting up, to watch him perform his "artwork" so I can possibly copy and make things to please him.
I do not comply.
Now giving a low screech of frustration he forces my body into the position he wants, upright head, focused, paying attention. I let him do whatever he wishes but he can't force me to look at his grisly work.
I close my eyes.
He knows he can't force them open, at least not without hurting me. But he does the next worst thing. The Creeper forces me onto his lap, then begins rubbing against me obscenely. I take it as long as I can before my heart feels like it will explode from my chest. "Enough!" I scream and I know to stop him now before he gets too aroused. He stops, knowing he's forced me to stop ignoring him.
He forces a bone in my hand, trying to get me to learn from him. I don't like touching human remains. I just break down. Crying hysterically. It's not my first time, it won't be my last. I just can't do anything anymore, I collapse on the table, sobbing.
He lifts me up but forces me to do nothing further. He knows he's broken me, he knows when I get like this there's simply nothing I can do except cry it out. I am limp, I curl up against his hard chest
I awake still on top of him. His arms work around me. I can hear him humming because my ear is against my chest. Tired, I pull myself up. I can feel that the buttons on his coat have left imprints on my face.
"I'm tired." I mumble, but he hears me. He gives a sound that seems in-between a sigh and a snort of frustration.
"Already slept." He challenges. True. But I have that horrible "I'm-exhausted" feeling I get from sleeping too much in the day instead of that "Waking-up-refreshed" feeling. I want to go to bed, and mumble out as such.
"Already slept." He repeats, as if I'm slow. He sets me up on a chair and pushes my old notebook into my hands. "Draw." He says firmly.
I doodle mindlessly, already broken. I doubt anything I drew was good. I had failed to please. Finally, exhausted, I was allowed into bed.
I hate the blue scarf. I hate it, hate it, hate it. I hate it because when he puts the blue scarf on I know I'm going to be bait.
When I'm bait I lure people to their doom, upright decent citizens see an innocent girl in trouble and try to help, and then they get eaten. I hate it
I don't know why it's so familiar. Most of the time I don't think of it because wearing the blue scarf drives me into a fit of crying and hysterics. I know more innocent people will be killed, and I know it will be my fault.
They see me helpless, crying, even if I manage to take off the scarf he's pinned to my head they see me. They come to me, decent people wanting nothing more to help.
I try to warn them, try to chase them away but in the end he comes and there is nothing I can do.
I watch myself in the bathroom mirror as I wash the blood of his latest kill off my face. My eyes are glazed, dead looking. I didn't scream this time.
The scarf is still on my head.
I move to yank it off. As I do it brushes against my cheek and in a flash I realize why I've felt it familiar.
Junior High-age. Catholic Church. My mom in audience, beaming, proud. My father working the late shift, or drunk at home. I can't remember. One of my siblings was in the play, the rest were at home or with my mother.
I was in the annual nativity play our church put on every year. My mom had made me try out, I wasn't expecting the role, but I got it. I was the Virgin Mary.
I remember kneeling over the plastic baby in the manger, trying to look holy and serene and loving as the play director told me to look. The boy playing Joseph was grinning at me and I was trying not laugh. Kids dressed up as angels were singing as well as they could. My mom and her family were smiling, taking pictures. She was always very devout…
For the millionth time tears blur my eyes, but I don't let them fall. I stare at the blue hanging around my face without really seeing. That's what it had reminded me of. The memory came back all of a sudden. In the play I had worn a blue scarf on my head.
Suddenly in another rapid flash everything comes back. I remember the church I had foolishly run into. The House of Pain he called it. There was a Virgin Mary statue in there. For some reason they depicted her pregnant, swollen with an unborn savior, and I realize a nanosecond later with horror that's what he intended to portray. He wanted people to see me. They would feel sorry for me. They would identify me, at least subconsciously, with that image. And it would lead to their doom.
I am weak in my knees. I put my hand against the wall to steady myself. It's harder with my swelling body, vaguely I wonder how far along I am but the more monstrous thought overwhelms anything else. I'm being used as bait, dressed up as a beloved icon and used. It somehow seemed fouler than the use of my body, even with his recent discovery of a new plaything on me. A hint of Catholic guilt crept in maybe my childhood instruction was making me angry at his use of a holy icon, even though I haven't really believed since my mother died.
He comes in and sees me swaying in horror and concerned comes to catch me. I do not faint however. Anger stiffens my spine, I rip off the scarf and drop the gossamer wisp into his hands. My nostrils flare. "I'm done being bait." I declare. And I walk out of the room as proud as the hobbles allow me to.
I feel a fluttering in my stomach.
When I want her I simply take her. Her struggles have no effect, or meaning.
It is a bit odd. I think back to my other breeders, they are afraid, repelled even as they are drawn to me, but after awhile they accept. No matter how reluctant they are they join to me, fulfilling their purpose to breed as I fulfill mine to eat. Some even seem to rejoice in their roles, although all do not thrive, or even survive.
Yet still-still!- this one resists me at almost every turn. If she is too tired to resist actively she resists passively. It is most exciting breaking down her barriers, make her body dance to my tune. Arousing.
Tonight after her silly declaration I take her again. I am careful not to crush the child inside of her with my weight. She does not resist, but when I turn her over she begins to squawk and defy me. I grow excited again.
I had not wanted to waste the seed initially but she is so full and healthy that I must try this. She is so soft inside, and delightfully taut. She resists of course. She does not like this new game. I easily subdue her and I use her surrender to fuel my desire.
She is curved back, my strong hands on her thin arms to keep her from squirming away. Her beautiful swollen body is thrust away as far as it can from me while I plunge into her. I grin against the back of her neck and she shivers and tries to crawl away from me. I tighten my grip.
Suddenly I cry out and release myself deep inside of her. Doing it this way is a waste of emission, but oh so pleasurable. She hates it of course.
We both lay on the lumpy bed, panting and exhausted. I lay curled up around that fragile body. A body I can crush or rip apart with no effort, but one I must spend much time and energy protecting and feeding. A body that gives indescribable pleasure.
She does not resist anymore, she is too tired. So I hold her and whisper things to her, things about her body, how good it is, how much pleasure I will give her. She stiffens then cries.
I am honestly bemused.
She is always crying, whether in a rage or fear or some other emotions I can't name. She tried to escape, she yells at me, fights me. Where did such spirit come from? How much resistance does she have? I feel a small stab of annoyance. She is mine, she was mine the second she was born. Does she not see that? Why can't she accept it?
Suddenly I grab her face and turn it towards me. I look into her eyes. They are not as beautiful as the other breeder, Sky Eyes was her name. They are a brown so dark it's almost black. They remind me of a pool at night, you see nothing at the bottom, nothing reflects back. Right now they are wide with apprehension. Then her brows knit together and she tries to squirm away. I grab her chin and hold her face still.
Maria, her name is Maria, I think. She pronounces it an odd way, a way my stolen tongue inevitably mangles. In the ancient language Mar means sea, and I think of the dark seas on the moon. She once told me it meant bitter, and when I realized the pun I had to laugh, bitter like the way the sea tastes. But she tastes sweet.
I look into her frowning face. She squirms and demands to know what I want. Why is she so bitter? Do I not do everything for her? But humans while seeming to be simple little creatures, can be hard to understand.
Darry comes to me, comforts me. Tells me not to give up. I want to scream. I've already given up. I barely have the energy to feed myself anymore. He smiles, puts his arms around me, I have more spirit than I know. He says.
He uses me, and I'm appalled how weak my voice sounds. He uses me as bait and- I really can't continue.
I know. He says with great gentleness. I can't even imagine your pain. But I want you to endure, help is on the way.
Help? I think in confusion.
Your disappearance hadn't gone unnoticed, nor has that little fire in the schoolhouse you started. I remember that with sudden clarity. Help is coming, from more forces that you realize. He sounds confident. Hope blossoms in my chest, then is immediately tinged with worry.
What about- I can find no word so I gesture helplessly to my stomach-this?
For a moment I sense unease from him. Don't worry it'll-
I hear a grunt come from the Creeper, he is getting up from his curled up position beside me. That's what woke me up. The mattress springs groan under his weight. Then without a second glance at me he gets up and leaves the room.
I sigh and settle back into the lumpy mattress.
Bait No More
I try to scratch at the bedbug bites on my arms, but my wrists are too tightly bound. The bites continue to itch. I curse the bed I sleep on, which seemed like such a nice alternative to a pile of straw.
My wrists are bound because I am bait again, despite my strong sure sounding proclamation the night before. Encouraged by Darry's reassurances I fought back; yelling, screaming, cursing, using my fists. All useless of course. He merely tied me up and set me up by the road anyway. Now I am helpless and tied up, while I know he is watching, waiting, ready to swoop down in a second. At least I know better now then to scream or call attention to myself. All that would do is attract more people. So I sit there silently, quiet, trying to look as if heavily pregnant women tied down by the roadside were a normal occurrence. Just keep driving people.
At least I didn't have the hobbles on. He took them off last night for the fun he wanted to have and didn't put them back on. I guess he figured he wouldn't need to use them on me when I was tied up like this.
I don't know how long I last before I fall asleep tied up like this, used as bait. The next thing I remember though is the man.
I'm being shaked. Something is sawing at my wrists and ankles. To my horror I see a man with a knife, but even as I jump I know what he's doing.
"Don't worry, girlie." He says as he fumbles with his pocket knife, then finally loosens my ankles. "I'll help you-" He stops at the look of horror on my face.
"Run." I whisper. He looks at me, mouth open. "Run away!" I shriek. Before he or I can do anything the monster pounces. I scream even though I was expecting it. The Good Samaritan cries out shrieking hysterically as he sees the monsters face. He screams for help. He helped me, but now I can't help him.
Just run Maria. The voice comes into my head. Just run away. And I really notice for the first time I'm not bound in anyway. The ropes are cut and the hobbles are gone. Run, the voice in my head screams. So I do.
It's not easy to run in my condition. I hold onto my stomach tightly, it flutters rapidly. Fear propels me but the best I can do is a light jog, then eventually a fast waddle. I know it's stupid but I just don't stop not even after he comes, bloody and highly annoyed, to stop me. Still in my hysteria I try to keep going.
"Stop." He orders roughly, and tries to grab me. I fight resisting with my weight, trying to drag my self out of his grip. "Stop!" he says with more annoyance. I ignore his commands-I should have known better and just obeyed- but I continued to try and fight, to run away. He didn't order a third time.
He screamed, a shocking, ear-piercing screech. Then the spines on his head started to writhe, then unfolded in a strange flare that caught the light of the setting sun behind him. The scream continued on a long wailing note as the spines and the membrane between them popped up and twitched around his head menacingly.
All my protestation and hysterics died in my throat. My brain just froze, trying to wrap itself around what it was seeing. I couldn't move. I was paralyzed. I stopped resisting, fear froze my limbs. A fear of him I hadn't felt in months.
Without a word he picks me up and carried me limply back to the motel. His head spines are still moving angrily
Twice I pick up my hacksaw and twice I decide against it. She ran away again. Although this time she was much less effective at getting away. Still the question pains me, what if she does get away?
Negative reinforcement and hobbles didn't work, she still wants to run and no doubt she will run again if the opportunity strikes. I want to scream again at the thought.
Still what I'm proposing could kill her.
It was fun using her as bait. There's always fun in a new way of hunting, but now the thought makes me uneasy. The man got in close to her with a weapon, even though he wasn't trying to harm her with it. The thought makes me very unhappy. I won't make that mistake again.
And I won't let her run away from me ever again.
She sits beside me quiet and subdued, as if she knows she done wrong. I study her levelly. Should I shouldn't I?
I'm afraid and I don't know why, fear must be oozing from me, a smell I know he can pick up.
I don't know why. I've known for quite a while now that he won't hurt me, at least not seriously. And he would never, ever kill me. Still I feel the fear emanating from me.
Twice I see him pick up a hack saw. Then he put it down looking thoughtful. My throat tightens.
Maybe I should talk, to end the spiraling silence. I try to clear out the obstruction in my throat. He stares at me with an expression that makes me very uneasy.
"Look I-" What should I say; I'm sorry? The thought almost makes me want to laugh. My hands twist in what remains of my lap. "I-I was scared." I say lamely. He says nothing.
Without warning he lunges for me. He's so fast I can hardly believe it. My breath catches in my throat. He grabs me by the leg, it out from under me. I fall to the floor heavily, with a loud gasp, the wind knocked out of me. His hand slides quickly to my ankle, and for one moment I'm almost reassured. I think he will just part my legs, rape me again, but he does not grab my other leg. Instead he pulls my foot towards his mouth.
In the next second I understand.
NO! I scream with stark terror and throw my weight backwards and resist with every bit of strength in my body. Still my foot moves towards the gaping maw.
He's going to bite my foot off for running away.
My mind is in blank panic now. I'm screaming, fighting my mind scrabbling in a panic, trying to do anything to avoid this situation. But all my strength just barely resists him, my foot just keeps moving remorselessly to his mouth.
I kick him in the face. The sudden resistance and jerk takes him by surprise. I see him blink at the sudden movement, his grip loosens just a bit and I think for a moment I can slip free but hig grip just tightens and I'm pulled again toward that jagged mouth. I kick him in the face with my other foot.
"ohgodpleasenostopI'LLDOANYTHINGpleaseno!" I babble hysterically. I can feel his breath on my heel. His mouth is so huge, and my foot is so small.
Then he stops. Considers. The tiniest bit of hope flares in my brain. He lowers my foot slightly. The tiny flare becomes more than an ember it erupts wildly. But maybe he's just toying with me.
He stops, looks me right in the eye, and he gives my ankle a horrible wrenching twist.
I pass out from the pain.
When I wake up suddenly the first thing I feel is that my terror-sweat has congealed on my face. I feel cold and clammy in the cool night air.
The second thing I feel is the pain, coming from my right foot. Oh God, Oh God. Sick terror fills my stomach. I struggle up to my elbows trying to see over the mound in my stomach. I let out a small cry and with a great deal of pain I wrench myself up.
For a moment there is relief, my foot is there, and not a bloody stump at the ankle like I expected, but it's at an unnatural angle, and swollen to what looks like three times it's size. I nearly pass out again from the pain.
I don't know why he spared me, maybe it was just a bluff, but I sob in mingled pain and relief. I collapse back down onto the floor. The basement ceiling is swimming before me. Before the darkness takes me again I feel a fluttering in my stomach.
Over the next few days I don nothing but lay in my bed, only moving when he decided to move me. I obey him instantly now. The pain is horrible but it's subsided now into a duller throb. Aspirin helps.
I can't tell if it's broken or just sprained horribly. He has strength enough to break it, but maybe it was a rare act of mercy.
Whatever it is I can't run now. I can't even walk.
He's getting restless again. Looking down the road as if we were being followed. When it's time to leave Hotel Hell he packs up our belongings, and loads me in the truck like a piece of luggage.
When the BEATNGU pulls out I feel a fluttering in my stomach. The curious feeling that I've been feeling for weeks and weeks. It's an annoyance more than anything, and almost all but forgotten in the sea of pain I've been floating in lately.
The with a flash of insight I am thunderstruck.
It's moving inside of me.
The BEATNGU pulls out into the road.