For complete disclaimers see part 1.
If you’d like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com. Do not bother if you wish to suggest or correct something. If I wanted a beta, I’d ask.
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Pamela glanced through the darkness ahead and slightly to the right. She could hear the soft moans of the new girl. Her heart, what was left of it, went out to her. She knew what kind of a headache accompanied that first day back in reality. She had no idea what he used to knock them out, but it was potent. She didn’t think it was your normal, run-of-the-mill chloroform. That shit kept you out for days if he wanted it to, which was always the case with the new girls.
As much as she hated to see another life ruined, she was glad for the company. He’d kept the cute blonde upstairs forever, it seemed. She wondered if she were still even alive. Hell, she even missed Roxie’s crying and sniffling. Pamela had lived in the dark so long now, her eyes were quite well adjusted. She could make out the girl’s face enough to see that she was just a young girl. Even younger than Julie.
“How are you doing, kid?” she asked, her voice quiet and soft.
The girl moaned again before raising her head, blinking several times. “Where am I?”
The older woman smirked, giving the standard answer. “Hell.”
Cameron looked around, though could see nothing. Suddenly it all came back to her: she’d been sleeping, in a nice, deep sleep for the first time in weeks, when she’d woken to the sight of a man in her room. She gasped, thrashing against her bindings, nearly hyperventilating. “Oh my god!” she choked. She had no idea where she was, only the woman’s voice telling her she wasn’t alone. The darkness began to close in around her, her lungs heaving, growing tight as her eyes grew wider. “Help! Help me!”
Pamela rolled her eyes. “Fuck.” She took a deep breath, then let her have it. “Shut the fuck up!” she yelled above the girl’s screams. “Not unless you wanna loose Satan, himself on your ass!”
Cameron shut up immediately, stunned. “Who are you?”
“Your fucking best friend if you’ll shut up.” Pamela glanced over at the girl, feeling slight guilt and pity. “Trust me on this- you’ll make it worse on yourself if you pull shit like that. No one is coming to help you, okay? No one.
Upstairs, Sergio spooned another mouthful of the fragrant soup to Julie, near giddy as he saw her relish at the new taste. The smile slid from his lips as he had a flashback to another time, a bad time:
He’d managed to get her sitting up against the headboard of her simple, wooden bed. A blanket of pure white was wrapped tightly over her short legs, her gown this day the color of cement. Her small, dark eyes bored into him from cracked, white skin, a mapping of lines threading out from those hard eyes.
Sergio brought up another spoonful, the smell of the perpetual oatmeal making his stomach want to churn. As he brought the spoonful up to her mouth, he missed slightly, some of the lumpy mess sliding down her chin. Quickly he reached for a napkin to clean it off.
“Can’t even do that right, can you?” she whispered. “God rejected you too long ago- leaving your mother.”
Sergio didn’t rise to the bait- wouldn’t do any good, anyway. Instead, he dipped the spoon into the bowl again, gathering another mouthful for his mother.
He shook himself free of the memory, looking instead into the clear green eyes that gazed out toward the window, even as Julie silently chewed the meat and potatoes that had been in the last bite.
Julie savored the warmth that slid down her throat and into her stomach. She was amazed she hadn’t gotten sick, yet, only wandering around in her birthday suit. He kept the house reasonably warm- upstairs, anyway- which helped. She never thought she’d ever feel so blasé about her nakedness. She was amused at that, as she fully admitted to being one of the shyest, most self-conscious people about being naked, that she knew. Hell, even living alone, she never walked around naked, or even half-naked.
She knew it was silly, but the naked body was always something she equated with the sexual, sensual-side of life, and she didn’t reveal that, or give that, to just anyone. The human body, she felt, was a sacred, beautiful thing, not to be squandered. Now, sitting in that bed, her breasts revealed to the wandering eyes of the man feeding her, she felt that gift slipping away. Never again would she see her body the same way. Never again would she be able to give the gift to someone. For one, she was probably living out the rest of her destiny. For two, the human body and sexuality of the human body, had forever lost its beauty and specialness.
Julie looked at the man who was busy stirring the remnants of her dinner, gathering more of the hearty chunks. She examined him, and for a brief moment, allowed the anger that she felt to enter into her eyes. How dare he take that from her? How dare he steal something so special?
She hated him.
Roman’s hand snapped out, fingers grabbing onto the oh-shit handle, his grin a mile wide. He watched as the scenery past by in a circular blur, the engine of his car roaring as the car was once again righted.
“Holy shit!” he howled, unable to keep the smile from his face. “How do you know how to do this?”
Remmy grinned, gunning the engine once more. “Can’t tell ya,” she answered, sending them into another doughnut. How could she possibly tell her friend that stealing cars over the years had taught her how to be one hell of a driver.
“Well, I don’t care you learned this. You’re a blast, Remmy!”
The brunette grinned over at her new friend, amused at the childish glee in his eyes. Remmy slid the car into a perfect parallel to the curb, the car rocking to a stop, a whoop from within as Roman expressed his joy. It was a weekend, so the large, empty parking lot of the school made for the perfect place for fun on four wheels.
Remmy was about to release her seatbelt to relinquish the wheel to the car’s owner when suddenly she was hit with something, a very strong… something. For the past two weeks, since Grace had come to her at work, Remmy had been trying her best to force connection with Julie. Before, other than the dreaming, she’d only gotten images when Julie had inadvertently sent them her way, never able to initiate contact. She’d been trying, trying to the point where she thought she was about to break something important. No good. Only once had she been able to discern quick, very blurry images, then they were gone.
It had been frustrating, but she was trying her hardest. Sitting at the wheel of Roman’s car, she suddenly felt her body become infused with a warmth, her stomach feeling full, content. Even so, she could more feel the cold fingers of the most intense anger and hatred that she’d ever felt. She could see nothing, no vision to go along with it, nothing. Only a feeling.
Roman, who had his door opened, cried out in surprise as the car lurched to life. He slammed the door shut, glancing over at his friend, the oddest look of confused determination on her face.
“Uh, Remmy,” he reminded, “don’t you need to go to work?”
Remmy didn’t answer, not even hearing the words spoken two feet next to her. She drove out of the parking lot, stalling at the corner, not sure which way to go- left or right? Straight ahead, maybe? Unsure, she concentrated, trying to get a tap on the feelings she had, trying to feel the strength of that anger. She felt a strong pull towards the left. Absently hitting the turn signal, she got them headed south.
Roman watched the neighborhoods flow by, unsure what was happening inside Remmy’s head. She hadn’t said a word, instead the white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel the only evidence of her emotions at all.
Remmy turned right at the stop sign, the anger inside her feeling stronger, burning hotter in her gut. She almost had her jaw clenched as the emotion tried to consume her. She was heading toward the highway, the need to be there so strong, she could think of nothing else. She put her foot to the gas, the car speeding along toward an unknown destination, Remmy’s jaw muscles clenching and unclenching behind the wheel. She nearly growled as she saw the yellow traffic light ahead, which she knew she’d never make.
Pulling the car to a sudden stop, Roman stopping the forward motion of his body with a hand to the dashboard, she seethed. Fingertips tapped steadily on the wheel, the red of the traffic light seeming to mock her, to stick its tongue down at her and wish her well in her luck to proceed.
“Come on, fucker!” she yelled, startling her passenger. The light turned green, and the need to pounce through the intersection died. Remmy blinked several times, looking around her in confusion and mild fear. A honking horn behind her alerted her to the fact that she needed to move.
“Remmy! It’s green,” Roman said, looking over at his friend. He watched as she blinked rapidly, getting the car moving again, only to pull off onto an exit ramp, then the parking lot of a hardware store.
“Holy shit,” she breathed, hands trembling. She felt empty and cold, the gentle hand on her shoulder making her start. She met Roman’s concerned gaze.
“You okay?” he asked, not sure what to make of his friend’s weird behavior.
Remmy nodded. “Yeah. Fine.” She climbed out of the car, walking around the front and waiting at the passenger door for Roman to get out. He did, and she claimed his seat, pushing far down in it, resting her head against the seatback. She had a pounding headache and felt nauseous. What’s happening to me? Do I have a brain tumor?
Remmy pushed through the glass door of the store, ignoring Josh’s glare as she made her way toward the backroom, where she grabbed her apron from the peg, just outside Joan’s office door.
“Where were you?” her boss asked, stepping to the doorway of the small room. Remmy glanced briefly at her as she penned her nametag to the apron.
“Sorry. Got… held up.”
“Josh needed to leave a half hour ago, Remmy.”
“I said I’m sorry!” Remmy snapped, surprising both of them. The events of that afternoon had left her feeling confused and slightly afraid. She felt as though she had lost total control of herself during that period of time. She remembered very little of it, other than staring up at the stop light, wondering how the hell she’d gotten there. Her fears had not eased when Roman told her what had happened. It left her feeling unsteady and uncertain.
Joan hid her anger and hurt at Remmy’s words, nodding and ducking back into the office. She’d speak with her about it later. For now, it was more important for the clerk to get on the floor and relieve Josh before he blew a gasket.
Remmy felt bad as she made her way through the store to the bullpen, and would apologize later, but for now, she needed to try and sort things out in her own head at her own time.
“’Bout time you showed up,” Josh grumbled, handing her the register keys, and slipping past her before slamming out the front door, not even bothering to remove his apron first.
Remmy got herself settled in, checking to see what Josh had done- very little- during his shift, and what would need to be completed during her late shift. It was already after six, and she had until two a.m. She was grateful for the hours that Joan was giving her, but she hated to work nights.
It was already ten, and slow, when Remmy was re-stocking the soda, bringing it up from the back. The Coke or Pepsi guy would come and stock the back room, the employees of the convenience store re-stocking the front as was needed. They were having a good sale on Coke products, so the 12-packs had sold down to next to nothing. Of course, Josh hadn’t bothered to refill them. She was grumbling under her breath as she carted out a dolly of the red and white boxes when Joan caught up to her.
“So, you wanna tell me what earlier was about?”
Remmy didn’t look at her as she continued to work. “Not really, honestly.”
“And why not? It’s not like you to be late, then to be a bitch about it, Rem.” Joan helped, removing a 12-pack of Mountain Dew that someone had set down, noticing the Coke was cheaper. She opened a nearby cooler, putting the soda where it went, then turned back to her employee. She studied her, watching how diligently she worked. Remmy was an excellent worker under normal conditions, her best, but there was something more intense about her work at the moment, a determination set in stone upon her face. “Does this have to do with Julie?” Joan asked, unable to think of anything else that would bother the girl so much. She’d never, in all her life, known anyone who could just shirk off the problems of the world like Remmy could. Except when it came to Julie Wilson.
Remmy nodded, unable to voice her response. She thought she might dissolve into tears right there if she did. Instead, she continued working, rebuilding the display, which had become her specialty in the store. She tried to make the next more creative than the previous. The Coke display was no exception.
Joan stood back, watching, knowing not to interfere. At least not interfere with the work. “Maybe you should talk about, Remmy. You look upset. I don’t mean to push-“
“Then please don’t,” Remmy said softly, getting to her feet, standing right in front of Joan. Tortured blue eyes looked deeply into the older woman’s.
Joan sighed with a sad nod. “Okay. I’ll leave it be.” She kept Remmy’s gaze, needing to make sure that the girl understood something. “I don’t want to be insensitive to what’s going on with you, Remmy, and your abilities, but understand that this is still a business. I can’t afford to give you special privileges or schedules. Okay?”
Remmy nodded, irritated that Joan felt she had to tell her that, but she understood why she did. She watched her boss walk away, only to return a moment later with her purse and keys in hand. “Have a good night, Remmy. Call if you need anything.”
“Thanks,” Remmy said absently, turning back to her work.
Sergio rubbed hands together, warming the lotion between them. His newest prize lay on his bed, freshly bathed by his own hands. She was still out as he gazed upon her firm, perfect flesh. He began his ministrations at her feet, rubbing the lotion into the pads of her toes, then worked it into the hardened, calloused undersides. He figured she must enjoy being barefooted quite a bit. His gaze settled on the three tattoos she had- a unicorn on her ankle, a scorpion, in the image of an Astrological Scorpio sign, on her pubic bone, just above neatly trimmed pubic hair, which had started to grow back in over the past week that she’d been his, and then finally a mermaid perched atop her right collarbone. Sergio couldn’t help but wince at that one- must’ve hurt, considering there is no fat there, only bone.
He moved his way up soft calves, squirting more lotion into the palms of his hands. The thighs were thin, very little muscle or definitely. Not like Julie’s. It didn’t matter. He loved all types, shapes and sizes. He remembered when his first had arrived. She had been plump, the belly and sagging breasts of a woman who had left youth behind, and hadn’t prepared or taken care of herself for middle age. He’d quickly taken care of that. She now was thin and streamlined.
Gentle, yet firm hands made their way up over narrow hips, the hip bones jutting a bit too much for good reason and health. He wondered why the girl was so thin. He’d have to feed her a little extra, perhaps. Squirting more lotion, he ran his hands over the concave belly, thumbs caressing the bellybutton and noting the gold ring that hooked into the flesh, before his gaze moved up to her breasts. They were small, the nipples dark and puckered in the cool confines of his bedroom.
As he massaged them, he realized that this one reminded him of her, from very long ago. She had been built much the same way, with much similar features, though her skin wasn’t quite the tanned shade of this girl’s. She had been slender, with slightly larger breasts. She’d only allowed him to marvel at those breasts just the once, and that was because he’d given her all his milk money for a quick peek. At only 13 years old, that’s all he’d had- $0.75. She’d lifted her shirt, giving him the tiniest flash before turning and sauntering away.
Tossing the memory away, he returned to the prize lying on his bed. Her nipples were responding nicely to his hands, and he liked that. She sighed quietly in her semi-unconscious state, but did not move. He used a thumb to roll over the hardened bud, eyes quickly glancing up at her expressionless face. He noted with mild excitement that her hips moved just a bit, readjusting on the bed.
He left her nipple- plenty of time for that- and continued on, massaging the lotion into the skin of her shoulders and upper chest, followed by her neck. After he finished, he’d have to leave her for a bit. He was running low on supplies and would have to go into town. At least shopping on a Sunday morning wouldn’t be bad- everyone was in church. He hated to leave her, and just when they were becoming acquainted. With a sigh, Sergio squirted some more lotion onto his hands.
The school gymnasium was filled with flowers, the pull-out bleachers on either side filled with students, community members, family and friends. A podium had been set up underneath the basketball net on the north side of the large room, the floors polished to a shine. Those that were going to be speaking sat in chairs that were set up along the free-throw line.
Matt Wilson, dressed in jeans and a dark blue sweater stood behind the microphone, waiting for the hour to hit nine-thirty before he began, give everyone a chance to get settled. He looked around, pleased with the numbers that had shown up, winking at Skylar, who sat at the end of the bleachers, nearest his father. He recognized most of the faces, and felt it was a real testament to his sister’s loveable nature for the numbers. There were already people standing all along the back wall of the gym, not enough seating available.
“Everyone,” he said into the microphone, voice echoing off the walls in the large space. “If we can get started, please.” The quiet murmuring began to fade, everyone finding a seat or place to stand. “Thank you. I appreciate it.” He stood back, giving it another minute, then he stood back up to the podium. “I want to thank everyone here for coming. I know Julie would be extremely pleased and proud of the numbers who came to rejoice in her memory. This is truly a testament to the kind of person she is. I also want to thank those who have brought Skylar and I their best wishes and Mrs. Hinkle for her sinfully good dinners.” A small chuckle sounded through the crowd.
Deloris Hinkle stood from her seat in the fourth row. “Anytime, Matty,” she called out, giving him the thumbs up.
Matt sighed. “I can’t say that the last few months haven’t been the most difficult that I’ve ever had to face. You’ve all helped my son and I to stay strong, and for that I am forever grateful. Julie touched a lot of lives, not only as a sixth grade teacher, but as a friend, sister, aunt,” he said, indicating his son, “and just as an all-around great human being. Julie always stood for what is right in the world, and fought hard to make sure those in her care, her beloved students, had a wonderful teacher, and a friend to talk to, someone who cared.” He was quiet for a moment, trying to gather his thoughts. Random coughs dotted the crowds as he removed the microphone from its holder. He stepped away from the podium, mindful of the long cord that was strung across the gym floor to its electrical source.
“Julie went into teaching,” he continued, “because she loved children. I didn’t think she quite knew what she was getting into by going into middle school.” Matt grinned at the round of laughter that earned. “But, she loved it. The other day I was in her house, watering plants, cleaning, keeping it fresh,” he cleared his throat, trying to recover when his voice broke slightly. Hold it together, Wilson. “I noticed in her study upstairs, all the pictures she had on the walls- pictures of all her old students. Plus, there were framed letters of thanks from those she has taught over the years. Small gifts. She kept them all, because each and every one of them were special to her, just like each and every student was special to her.”
Many of the young faces in the bleachers were tear-streaked, as many had had Julie as their teacher, or at least knew the popular teacher. Memories of the kind, beautiful and sometimes goofy teacher filtered through their minds. Julie’s disappearance was heavily felt by all.
Julie adjusted her arms, trying to bend them just the tiniest little bit more to make herself more comfortable. She was back down in the pit, darkness and quiet all around her and Pamela. The dark seemed even darker than usual, especially since she hadn’t been downstairs in, well, she wasn’t sure how many days.
Pam had been less than welcoming when she was brought in, the new girl taken out. Julie felt bad, as it had been a very long time since the older woman had escaped. Figuring her silence meant she was angry, Julie allowed her to keep it, instead closing her eyes and trying to relax. She needed to escape.
Remmy had worked for Josh this morning, to try and appease him of her being late the other day. He was such a woman when it came to holding grudges. It was beyond slow. Remmy had learned that Sunday mornings in Woodland were dead- everyone was either at church, still in bed, or that particular Sunday morning, at Julie’s memorial service. She’d been invited, but declined. There was no way she was about to celebrate Julie’s life when it wasn’t over yet, just because she was the only one who knew and believed that. Well, the only one other than Grace Cowan, that is.
Remmy bent over the bullpen counter, resting her chin in the palm of her hand. She casually turned on the pump for tank number 4, the customer using his credit card to pre-pay at the pump itself. Instead, she turned her attention internally, focusing on nothing in particular. Suddenly her vision began to fade, the sounds of birds chirping filling her internal ears, as well as the sound of lapping water and a gentle breeze could be felt on her skin.
The sun was so bright and high in the sky, which had the most beautiful color of blue to it that Julie had ever seen. She couldn’t keep the smile from her face, raising it to the heat of the sun, almost able to see the ball of fire blazing through the thin covering of her eyelids.
Opening them, she saw the familiar figure walking toward her, arms out in invitation. Julie didn’t hesitate, feeling herself wrapped up in the strength of her dream-friend.
“Remmy,” she murmured, feeling the embrace tighten.
“I brought a friend,” Remmy said into her neck before gently pulling away.
Julie looked just past her friend, whom she still could not make out any features. She wished she could- she wanted to see the face of her savior, but it wasn’t to be. Julie’s gaze fell upon a figure moving through the trees, just beyond the field. She could hear raucous barking, two tiny figures running after the larger one. Her heart began to beat loudly within her breast, breath catching.
Bursting through the trees was a little boy, no older than 8, grinning huge as he ran, looking back behind him at the two barking dogs that chased him. Two small dogs who looked nearly identical to the other.
Remmy watched Julie closely, noting the recognition in the green eyes, the face curling into a gentle, loving smile. The blonde gasped, running to the boy who called out for his aunt. She looked on, unable to hide her own smile. She was glad she was able to bring some friends with her this time.
Julie gathered the boy in her arms, swinging him around, the two dogs barking at her feet, pawing at her as they begged for attention.
“Excuse me? What’s my total?”
Remmy blinked several times, nearly gasping as she was pulled back from herself, looking into the face of the man who stood across the counter from her.
Julie felt the warmth of the sun leave her body, the coldness of the cement and damp cellar filling her body once more. She blinked several times, confused as she took in the familiar surroundings once more. When she realized where she was, that Skylar, Bonnie and Clyde were nowhere to be found, she felt hot, bitter tears sting her eyes.
It was only a dream. Only a fucking dream!
Remmy felt her chest tighten as she looked into the dark eyes that stared at her from a handsome, familiar face. He was the first in a line of three people who waited patiently for her to get to them. She looked down at her hands, shocked to find that she had already scanned the few items that he had set on the counter- a chocolate milk, pack of gum and bag of diapers.
“Forget to grab these at the grocery store,” he said with a charming smile, indicating the diapers. “What’s my total?” he asked again.
Remmy looked from the diapers to his eyes again, and suddenly the air was sucked from her lungs, her skin cold and prickly. She brought a hand up to her throat, fingers caressing the soft skin there…
Can’t breathe! Tight. So very tight. Tightening. Soft skin, cool flesh. Lie still for me. Such beauty…
Dark room, naked light bulb. The deadly teeth of a saw cutting through the meat easily, the motion stopping, something hard, something difficult to cut through…
Carpeting, stained… gray with red. Stained…
Open can of something, stirring, stirring, heat, smells, dog barking…
Brown hair, brown eyes, dark brown, almost black pubic hair, blonde arm hair, brows darker blonde. Amazing. Beautiful….
Can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!!
Remmy gasped, falling back against the other counter, her hands clutching at her throat, eyes unable to leave him, unable to see the concern in his eyes, the flicker of fear the flicker of uncertainty and curiosity.
“Get away from me,” she whispered, voice barely audible. She reached behind her, desperately scrambling to try and get out of the bullpen, hand blindly tugging at her open polo shirt she wore, bearing the store logo and name. Distantly she heard the sound of ripping material. Even more distant, she felt a hand on her back, words spoken that she couldn’t understand. “Get away from me!” she screamed, his dark eyes burning a hole into her very soul. “Get away!”
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