The soft hush escaped his lips as he kneeled before the pet. “Come now,” he whispered, “’tis the middle of the night. There is no need for such noise.” The dog whimpered, nose nuzzled between weathered paws. His ears lay flat against his head, muffling the gentle snores bumbling down the stairs. “That’s a good boy.” From behind his back, the man withdrew a single apple, stolen from the fruit basket that rested upon the kitchen surface. The fruit rolled from his fingertips, landing just before the dog’s muzzle. Cautiously nibbling the stem, the dog tested the apple from the strange man. Finding no faults, he carefully gorged on the fruit, ears standing as he consumed his prize.
Please with the bargaining, the man rose to his feet. A smile played on his lips. Quietly he turned away, following the trail of clothes littering the staircase; a pathway leading to the bedroom. As he ascended the shadows slipped to reveal slivers of bare skin, only an ill-fitting pair of shorts providing cover.
He took careful mental notes of the articles he passed: a sleek black dress, laddered tights, a lone right shoe. The trail ended with a pair of black, lace briefs, carelessly dropped before the bedroom door.
With a gentle push, the door crept open. The room revealed was rather barren, a double bed and a chest of drawers its only inhabitants. In the spaces between a soft, red carpet peeked through.
A breathy groan drifted from the form wrapped within the folds of the duvet, a restless figure writhing in the sheets. He settled at the edge of the bed besides the figure, running a cool fingertip across her tender wrists. A bruise blossomed from beneath the handcuffs that restrained her to the bed. A relieved exhalation escaped from the woman at the contact. She nestled back into the covers, a subtle smile slipping onto her face.
In one gentle motion, he swept back the hair that had fallen over her face. Her eyes clenched tight, face static before opening her eyes. With a sudden sharpness, she scuttled back towards the headboard, hissing as the metal cut into her already red wrists. “No, please…” she wept, hand rubbing her bruise in a repetitive motion. At his smile, she reached a hand towards the dome of her head, wincing at the touch.
Blood heavily clotted around the roots of her hair, tearing the strands from their base as she removed the hand. A sticky scarlet residue coated the fingers she had used to investigate. Turning back to her captor, her eyes fell upon his open palm which lay just before her. Rested in his hand, two white pills.
“No,” she whispered once more, “not again…” He smiled.
“You know the rules.”
Their eyes met, his watching her intently. An awaited acceptance washed over her face, gaze falling upon the red stained bat that rested against the bed.
Reaching out an open hand, her eyes locked onto his as he tipped the pills into her palm. She swallowed the pills dry, no water offered, ignoring the burn as they dissolved in her throat. Clenching her eyes shut, she fell back into the pillows. She didn’t want to watch as the world dissolved before her eyes, swirling into an unintelligible mess of colour and sound. Her ear filled with the buzz of white noise as the pills reached her stomach, the last sensation she knowingly acknowledged the heavy palm that fell upon her thigh, and the words that he uttered.
“That’s a good girl.”