[Please note that this chapter is actually out of order. I’m in the process of working through this section of the novel and writing plot lines out of sequence. That’s what happens in a first draft like this!]
Yvonne came to with a pounding headache, a sore jaw, and aches in lots of places that should never ache. Gentle explorations with her fingers told her that nothing was broken, but the discomfort between her legs said that things weren’t right, either.
The shreds of her dress were piled in a corner near the mattress. She saw a pair of beady little eyes staring at her from underneath. She stared at the rat, focused her attention, and called it to her. As soon as the little beast came in contact with her foot her aura was inside it, seeing what it saw and finding out what it knew about its territory. Rats rarely go more than a couple hundred feet from their nest, so while she got a good, rat’s eye understanding of where things were inside the building, she had no idea where the building was relative to the city as a whole, assuming it was in Rochester.
While she was absorbing this information the latch on the door made its distinctive thunk. She released the rat, which immediately scurried back to its hiding place beneath her clothes. Once again she felt a brief connection to her sisters while the door was open. This time she was prepared for it, and tried to send a message. Find the rat! The interval was too short for her to sense any sort of acknowledgment, but that was all right. She’d try sending it each time the door opened, regardless of whether or not she got anything from them.
“Good evening, Ms. Gruff.”
“Who are you?”
I’m sorry, but I’m the one asking questions at the moment. Your turn will come. Now, are you comfortable? I see you’ve torn your dress. Please accept my apologies. We have something else for you to wear so that you’ll be a bit more comfortable.” The man placed a bundle on the mattress next to her and scooped up the torn remnants of her dress. “I’ll be back in a few minutes, after you’ve had a chance to change.” With that he turned and slipped out of the room, once again making the effort to keep the door open for only the barest moment.
Yvonne just sat there for a moment, then picked up the bundle. It was a nondescript jumpsuit. She weighed her options. On the one hand, putting it on meant acceding to her captor’s demands, giving them just that little sliver of power over her — the first step on the slippery slope to cooperating with them. On the other hand, it gave her a minor defense against another attack from Muscles, which she was sure was going to happen at some time. And it offered her a hiding place for her insect allies, making it easier for them to get to her attackers. After only a moment’s hesitation she decided the advantages outweighed the disadvantages and put it on.
A couple minutes later the door opened once again and the mystery man returned. She decided to call him Pencil Neck.
“I’m glad to see you’ve decided to accept our offer. Good. My friend is sorely temped by the sight of female flesh, and your cooperation will help control his more violent urges.” Pencil Neck had brought a chair with him into the room, and he set it next to her mattress and sat on it.
“Now I do have a few questions for you. First off, I know you are one of the Gruff sisters, but which one are you? I hate to have to keep calling you ‘Ms. Gruff’. It seems so … impersonal.”
Yvonne weighed her options, and decided to make something up. “I’m Molly. Molly Gruff.”
Pain! An unseen hand slapped Yvonne on the cheek, sending sparks across her vision and waves of pain radiating out from her cheek. Her head snapped backward as if she’d been struck by a mighty blow, but Pencil Neck hadn’t lifted a hand, hadn’t even squinted at her. This was a magical talent she’d never encountered before, and it caught her short. How could her flea friends infect him when he never laid a hand on her, never even came near?
“Now don’t lie to us, Ms. Gruff. We know there are only three of you — Elaine, Margaret, and Yvonne. I simply want to know which of you I’m talking to.”
This time Yvonne just stared at him in silence. Witty repartee wasn’t going to win her any points as far as she could tell, so why cooperate at all?
Pencil Neck just sat in the chair, watching, waiting for her answer. Yvonne counted the seconds in her head. After a full minute Pencil Neck stood up.
“I’m sorry you’re not willing to cooperate. Just to show you we’re not the monsters you seem to think we are, we will feed you anyway. My associate will be here shortly with your dinner.” And he simply turned and left, leaving the chair.
A few minutes later Muscles arrived carrying a tray that looked like it had been stolen from McDonald’s, complete with a burger and fries and a bottle of water. He set the tray on the chair, stared at her for a moment with a sly grin on his face, and left.
Yvonne tossed the burger and fries in the corner nearest the vent and opened the water bottle, but after she’d drunk half of it she stopped. That’s what they wanted — they wanted her to drink! The bottle had seemed sealed, but with wizards like these that might not be a good indication that it hadn’t been tampered with. She sniffed the bottle, then sloshed a bit in her mouth. She could detect nothing other than water.
She poured a little on the floor and had some of the fleas and a rat try it. They couldn’t sense anything, either. She wondered what the deal was. While she was thinking she was idly sipping at the water, and before she realized it she had drunk the whole think. Too late! Whatever was in it was in her now. She sat back on the mattress and waited while more rats appeared and made short work of the rest of the meal.
It was more than an hour later when she realized the purpose of the water — she had to pee.
“Hello, Love!” It was Muscles, who had somehow managed to slip into the room unnoticed. “I’ve come to take away your tray, and see if there’s anything else I can do to please you.” His grin gave away his intent to please himself far more than pleasing her.
“There’s the tray, so be gone!” Yvonne was trying to emphasize that she was his social better, if nothing else. Unfortunately the thought only seemed to excite him.
Yvonne backed away from him on the mattress until her back was against the metal wall. He knelt down in front of her. “Thank you for making this so easy!” He waved his hands, and once again her hands were pinned against the wall by an unseen force. He then reached out and unzipped her jumpsuit all the way down from her neck to her crotch. He then brought the hand back up, dragging his fingers through her pubic hair, digging into her belly button, and fondling each breast on its way up to her neck, where he pinched her carotid arteries and forced her chin back.
“You stupid bitch!” He leaned into her so she could practically taste the Garbage Plate he had eaten for dinner. It smelled like Nick Tahoe’s. “You think your little bit of Life Magic makes you so much better than the rest of us. Well, we’ll see about that! Let’s see how much better you taste!” He pinched even harder, and when her mouth opened to gasp at the pain he forced his tongue into it while simultaneously biting her lips. She tasted hash browns, refried beans, Zweigles Red Hots, grilled burgers, hot sauce, bacon, processed cheese, and the salty iron tang of her own blood mingling in her mouth as his tongue tried to force its way down her throat. She tried to bite down on it, her teeth being stopped by his as he withdrew first his tongue, then his mouth.
“Not bad, for a whore. With a little seasoning you might make a tasty morsel. I wonder if you need some tenderizer.” His other hand reached inside the jumpsuit and kneaded her breasts, squeezing them hard enough to cause bruising. He then grabbed a nipple and twisted so she gasped anew at the pain. “I think we gotta firm this up!” He twisted it again, then dug at the other one. Her nipples stood out in protest, which only made them more sensitive to the irritation. His smile grew wider. “Good!”
Satisfied with the damage to her breasts, Muscles moved his attention to her belly button, where he jammed his finger in and started picking at it with his nail. “Pretty tight little pussy you got!” he joked. He stabbed once more, driving her belly button back to her spine and sending painful electric thrills radiation out in all directions as he twisted, his nail long enough and sharp enough to draw blood. “Oh! My bad! That’s not your pussy!” He pulled out his finger and worked it lower, driving it into her urethra.
This time the pain was too intense, and she lost it. She screamed in agony, and then her bladder let loose. The flow was momentarily stopped by the probing finger, but then burst free, urine mixed with blood spraying all over her assailant’s hand and soaking the jumpsuit, the mattress, and splashing onto Muscle’s pants.
“You fuckin’ cunt!” He withdrew his hand and slapped her with it, leaving urine on her cheek and in her hair and nose. His other hand, which had never moved from her throat, now squeezed even harder, completely cutting off the flow of blood to her brain. He hit her again and again as her world went black.