Journey Into Terror - Excerpt
Fear took on a life of its own, filling the blackness with evil whisperings that reverberated off the walls, telling of horrors to come. Julia renewed the fight with her bonds, but they clung tenaciously to the rusty slats of the chair. She nearly tipped the chair over. Hope died and she surrendered to despair.
Jess. Where was he? Why didn't he come?
Her tears gave way to dry, shuddering sobs. When they, too, ceased, she sat staring into the dark, trembling with terror. As the minutes crawled by, she succumbed to exhaustion and dropped into a troubled sleep filled with Long's horrid face. As he appeared to tower over her, she tried to scream, jerking herself awake. She was soaked with perspiration and her heart was pounding madly.
She writhed in the chair, vainly trying to ease the pain in her shoulders and neck. Her hands were almost numb while her wrists throbbed with pain.
Pressure built in her throat. Julia forced it down. More tears wouldn't help.
Fright almost broke her when Long returned unexpectedly. "Yer gonna be here a while," he snickered, subjecting her to a mirthless grin. He set the lantern on the table. His piggy eyes gleamed like a cat's in the flickering light. "We're gonna get along just fine."
What if he decided to... The idea of his touching her with those filthy hands drove her into a frenzy. She struggled with the ropes again. Something warm and sticky trickled onto her fingers.
Long slapped her across the face. She tasted blood. The fight drained out of her and she fell limply against the chair.
He gripped her chin and forced her head up. "What're you doin' that fer? Can't get loose unless I let you." He laughed. "Yer a looker, ain't you?" His other hand seized her by the hair. Bending, he sought her lips with his opened mouth.
She tried to scream, but his wet kiss muffled the sound. The stubble of his beard scratched her face. He reeked of sweat and oil. Repulsed, she twisted free, choking and gagging. Her scalp burned where hair was ripped out.
Long got the message. "So I ain't pretty like yer used to. You like them fancy gents like LaBoudrie. No matter. Soon enough you'll be begging my pardon," he sneered, dropping onto the cot. Keeping his eyes on her, he pulled a brown bottle from under the mattress.
Julia watched timidly as he drank. He extended the bottle toward her with a hairy hand. She grimaced in refusal at the cloying stink.
"Think yer too good to party with me, don't you? We'll see," he promised.
His expression told her what he intended. She prayed for courage.
Shortly, Long tossed the drained bottle on the floor and got to his feet. His knife flashed in the lamplight. He reached behind her to cut the ropes. "Get up," he commanded harshly.
Flexing her stiff fingers caused her wounds to seep again. She begged, "Please, don't."
"Shut up!" He cuffed her across the mouth with the back of his hand and yanked her to her feet. The whiskey stink on his breath made her stomach turn over.
She swayed dizzily before him.
Gripping her by the left arm, he shoved her toward the dingy cot with its greasy blankets.
He jumped as if burned. "Damn!" He thrust Julia aside and she fell.
Paul Matien stood in the entrance to her prison, shining a flashlight on them.
Long found Julia's hair, jerking her head up. "Don't you scream or I'll cut yer bloody throat," he snarled.
Julia knew he meant it and remained silent on the floor. Matien hadn't come to help her. She tried to see beyond the ring of light, but her eyes burned and watered.
Seizing the lantern, Long went to meet Matien. The murmur of their voices reached indistinctly into the echoing depths of the chamber. It sounded as though they had moved away from the entrance.
This was her chance! Julia pushed herself up. On unsteady legs she tottered toward the dim outline of the exit.
Groping along the stone wall in the darkness, she sought an exit with desperate haste. Suddenly, her extended arm found an opening. She stepped through it. A fumbling examination proved it to be a dead end. She bumped into a wall.
"Come out, you bitch," Long yelled, turning a light on her. "There ain't no way out."
A wave of trembling washed over her. She dropped to her knees, scrabbling about the floor to search for a rock, anything that could be used as a weapon. Nothing.
Long's ugly face was an evil mask in the flashlight's glow as he stepped toward her. She felt a blow to the right side of her head. The light broke into a million fiery flashes that vanished as she sank into nothingness.
Excerpted from Journey Into Terror by Anne K. Edwards
Publisher: Publish America
Amazon.com | PublishAmerica
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