Aftershock Treatment



by Joe Nazare

How he laughed, the warped bastard, as the rats swarmed over me.  To him, all those scurrying vermin added up to mass entertainment.

I’d tried to tell him, to reason with him.  All too aware of the cameras set up to record the proceedings, I leaned in toward him and whispered my plea: (please don’t make me do this, not right now).  Not at that particular time of the month. I dreaded that the rats would be drawn by the bloodscent to the worst possible place on my laid-out body.

He listened to my desperate request, seeming to soak up my concern only to flick it off like forehead sweat.  C’mon, Edie, he told me.  Fight your fear.  Do this.  I’d say ‘what do you have to lose,’ but I think you know the answer to that one.  Always that ominous undertone to his conversation, hinting at the consequences if I didn’t play along, if I didn’t at least attempt to pass his test.

Already I had begun to curse my own weakness, my foolishness.  A needy little lamb, I’d let myself be lured so easily, and now look at the wolf den I’d stumbled into.  Or maybe that’s just a mixed metaphor, considering what he’d planned for me.

The red indicator lights of the surrounding equipment gleamed beadily in the basement murk.  The cameras were trained on the main set piece in that modern-day dungeon: the long, glass-paneled box, some exhibitionist’s lidless coffin.

I wanted no part of it.  I stood staring at it, imagining my imminent nightmare inside it, until terror finally wiped out my higher thought processes.  At some point, my antagonist took firm hold of my elbow and guided me into the box.  He told me to lie down, and I moved to do so with all the mechanical compliance of the hypnotized.The frigidness of the glass kissing my bare back and legs shocked me alert once more.  I’d been forced to don a skimpy white bikini for the test: nothing like some gratuitous skin to up the ante.  Deep down I knew that my sex appeal had landed me in that spot, had made me an appealing subject for my ungracious host’s cameras.  Lying there right then, I took little pride in my good looks.

 





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