It is working, she can tell. She sees it in his trembling lips, his gentle touch as he comes to her for their next session. The tears in his eyes, the genuine distress he feels in the moment before he causes her more unimaginable pain, again and again. It’s in the tenderness of his voice as he speaks softly to her as he fastens the ties tighter, and places a cloth in her mouth so she can bite down if needed without damaging her teeth or biting her tongue.
She reaches out, with the small liberty of her tied hands, to take his hand for a moment and squeeze, signalling to him her understanding, her care, with her eyes.
With every level of concern she fakes a deeper level of hatred simmers far beneath the surface. Every scintilla of warmth she beguiles and rewards him with is met, in the caverns of her inner, protected self, by a loathing that passes all understanding. She would rather sever his hand than clasp it, but clasp it she does. Every step, every step of the way is a necessary journey and she will not falter, she will not look away.
She knows what is coming in the blistering pain, she knows what signs to look for in the cavernous, electric depths. She knows, also, that everything that is unreal will seem more real than any reality. The horror of an enlarged needle aimed at her eye, piercing as though to lobotomise her, or the sensation and vision of slowly being skinned alive, or the sense of sinew cut and bone scrapped by knives and even worse implements – the dull roar of a chainsaw, the brittle rat-tat-tat of a jackhammer, coming close. All these things as thoughts suggested to her within the pain, caused by electricity, but pain nonetheless. Sometimes when she has woken from this she is surprised to be still whole, uncut and undamaged – physically at least. She does not trust that someday this may not be the case, and some virtual terror is but a brittle mask for a real travesty.
She grows confident, however, of her hold and her plan. What she does not know, cannot know, is how much time she has. No-one ever knows that. A life can be snuffed out in a moment, perhaps the very moment one is reaching most for life, most impervious to any thought of death. She is not so impervious, she knows death, walks hand in hand with it as Dr Green, every other day. And on the other days, she plans.
She does not know how much time she has, and so she must move soon, she must grab an opportunity quickly, before all opportunity is gone.
One day, having read more of her poetry, he comes to her and weeps. He speaks of love and how he returns her feelings but is a clumsy man without such beautiful words. She says, ‘I love to create for you. What I would love more, what I would love most of all..’
‘Is what my dearest Violet?’
‘Is to truly create with my greatest art, to cook, to cook for you.’
She sees his joy, mixed with a warring fear and distrust, but also that the joy will win out. He will agree, and he does. He does.
‘You will have to be tied by ropes, of course, my love, in case you seek to leave me.’
‘I will never leave you,’ she promises, ‘You will never see me walk out your door for a last time.’
‘What will you cook my love?’ he asks.
‘Soup,’ she replies, ‘I will write down the ingredients, and we shall cook together, in your kitchen, in our kitchen.’
He glows with the change of her words, the sense of a shared space. He presses further.
‘You can tie me of course, but I will not run, and I will not call out.’
Something dark and sly crosses his loathsome face. He grins, a sad and failing attempt at shared humour, holding his finger to his lips, ‘Yes we both know you can’t do that.’
And then he wipes the trigger away, moment later, because he wants to hear her voice, and he trusts her. He trusts her.
He hands her the journal and a pen and she writes down ingredients quickly. She knows soups, but more than this, she knows herbs, she knows the alchemy of their impacts, she knows it is possible to make something that might lull him sufficiently into a stupor of sorts, giving her a chance of release. She prays he is not similarly knowledgeable, and waits tensely as he reads the list. But he shows no recognition of the darker intent of this list. He is simply happy.
He sits beside her. ‘My butterfly is emerging from her cocoon, I can see it so well,’ he says.
She leans across and brushes her lips against his hated cheek. The stubble there is rough, like his hands, like his treatment of her. She would like to shave off this stubble, then take the blade, the sweet, sharp razor and cut, and cut…
Her kiss has made him shake so violently she is momentarily frightened and pulls away. Has she gone too far, played her hand too quickly, shown something of her true intent and feelings somehow in this quick fluttering moment?
‘The kiss like butterfly wings against my cheek!’ he says in wonder, staring not at her, not at anywhere here really, but at something far away that only he can see. She remembers for a moment he has probably endured this too, and may even in this simple act of false kindness and affection been taken back to that himself, like the very worst of triggers. She has no pity for this, no mercy at all.
And then he jumps up, with her again, and any disorientation is lost and he is simply happy.
‘I shall go and buy the ingredients at once! How I long to taste your food again my love, how I long to taste you!’
And he is gone, forgetting the treatment in his excitement, providing a small, brief relief and some time alone for her to consider her next steps and the brittle tenure of her success.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved