Excerpt Seven

When they reached the front door, Khalid stopped and looked down at Stacy. She looked as though she was shrinking into herself. Khalid lightly ran the back of hand down her cheek. Stacy looked up at him with a weak smile.

“I am okay. I will be fine.”

Khalid continued to stand there and look at her. Stacy began to fidget back and forth. He gently caressed her shoulder and then gathered her in his embrace.

“I hear you but I just don’t feel good about leaving you like this.”

Stacy slowly backed out of his arms and looked at him. “Your willingness to put aside your busy schedule means a lot but trust me I understand. Besides, you said you’d check on me as soon as you had a break, right?”

“Right. Then I will be back here as soon as I can.”

Stacy knew at that moment no matter what she said Khalid had made his mind up. She just nodded. Khalid kissed her forehead and then slowly turned to leave. She watched as his feet crossed over the threshold. He turned and looked back at her as he continued walking to his car.
Stacy watched as he got in, started the engine, and then glanced her way. He rolled the window down. “I meant what I said, call me if you need me.”

“I will.” With that said, Khalid drove off tooting the horn as he went.

Stacy immediately closed and locked the door. She checked it again to make sure it was secure and then entered the alarm code. Once Stacy set the alarm, she tried to think of all the happy things she could to stave off the chill that was creeping into her bones. She could feel herself getting ready to run. The silence whispered loudly in her ears. She moved about the living room and the kitchen checking all the windows to make sure they were locked. Once she was sure, Stacy hurried up the stairs and went into her spare room and did the same. She pushed the bathroom door open as she passed and hurried into her bedroom collapsing into tears on her bed.

Logically, Stacy knew that her home was as secure as she could make it. Besides the alarm, there were the motion sensors as well as the cameras strategically placed around the perimeter of the house. If worst came to worst, she knew she had her gun was in the safe in her closet. Yet, she couldn’t shake the uneasiness she felt. She did not want to go back to being afraid again.

Excerpt Six

He pulled her to his chest and held her there. Stacy continued to rock back and forth and Khalid moved with her. She was trembling and to Khalid it seemed that she was holding her breath. Her eyes were fixed on something that he couldn’t see. Khalid whispered softly, “Stacy, I need you to breathe. Please breathe.” He wiped away the tears that flowed along her cheeks as his own eyes began to blur. “Please breathe.” Khalid continued to whisper words of encouragement. Suddenly, a loud gasp erupted from Stacy and then a long wail unlike anything Khalid had ever heard in his life. He held onto her as the wail turned into agonizing moans. She clutched onto him gripping his shoulder tightly.

“I can still smell the metallic smell of the blood, sweat, Drakkar Noir, and cigarettes. I’d hear the crinkling of plastic and the loud thud of something heavy being dropped repeatedly. He leaned in close to me and drag the different objects up and down my legs and then tell me that I was too precious to him. He would tell me how he had special plans for me. I knew whatever that was would be worst that what I had already heard. It was worst when he decided to remove the blindfold. Before I could only imagine what was happening to see it was something entirely different. There was so much blood and so many chunks of flesh and parts. I was in a basement. I didn’t know anybody who lived in a house with a basement. You know I’d only seen them on TV. There were no windows that I could see. It was just so dark.”

Stacy’s words were coming like rapid fire.

“The room had concrete walls and there were all kinds of tools hanging from hooks. They would clang throughout the night. When I was alone, I would try to get the chains off but all I managed to do was scrape the cuffs against my wrists.” Khalid watched as Stacy rubbed her wrists repeatedly.
“It took a long time for the scars to fade. I didn’t know if they would. I would use makeup to hide them so I wouldn’t have to explain how I got them.”

She stared up at him and held his gaze for a long time. Stacy started to feel anxious and she was trying as best as she could to hold herself together. She started to feel like bugs were crawling all over her. “Uhm…would it be okay if I stopped now? I feel exhausted.” Khalid nodded and slowly lifted her up and gently placed her on the bed. She played with the edges of the comforter before pulling it up around her knees.

“Do you need me to get you anything?” Khalid asked.

“No, but thank you. I just feel like I need to sleep.” Stacy said hoping she could somehow convey to him that she was okay even though she knew that it was a lie.

“Do you want me to stay with you?” Khalid felt guilty since he didn’t really want to leave her side but he knew he had certain obligations that couldn’t be postponed or cancelled from his schedule. He knelt next to the bed and reached for Stacy’s hands. Stacy looked at him and then glanced down at the floor. “Khalid, I know you have things you need to do. You don’t have to stay with me.” Khalid focused on her eyes. He knew she was scared but she wouldn’t admit it to him.

“Listen, I want to stay with you. I have three meetings that I have to attend but everything else I can reschedule. As soon as I done, I am coming back here. As a matter of fact, you don’t need to be alone. Is there someone who you can call to come over while I am gone?”

Stacy didn’t want to bother anyone. No one knew about Leslie. She didn’t know if she was ready to explain it either. “Please don’t worry about me. I’ll be okay. Go to your meetings.”

“As soon as I get a break in between, I will call you.” Khalid reassured Stacy.

“I appreciate that and Khalid, I just…thank you for listening to me.”

“Of course and if you need me call me. I don’t care what time it is. If you are ready to tell me more, I am here to listen.” Khalid caressed her arm.

“Okay.”

Khalid stood up from the floor and Stacy rose slowly from the bed. As she moved toward the door, Khalid held out his hand and she placed hers in it. They walked through the bedroom door and headed toward the living room so that he could leave. The only thing on Stacy’s mind was how she’d get through the rest of the day and setting the alarm.