Groundswell Chapter Thirty-Five

Candy kept asking questions, and her captors kept ignoring her.

She was in some kind of office, one that looked like it hadn’t been in use for quite some time. There were nail holes and discolorations on the wood-paneled walls where pictures had once hung. There was rickety-looking desk with a missing drawer, and an old couch, upon which she was currently sitting.

“Hey,” she said, patting a dusty cushion, “I’ll have sex with both you if you tell me where I am and why I’m here. I don’t even know anything about all this.”

No reply.

“I mean, not really. I wouldn’t really do that. Anybody got a cigarette? I’m dying over here. Can you do that much for me? Any smokers in the house?”

” I don’t allow smoking in my presence,” said a voice that was soon followed into the room by a creepy old man.

“And who are you? Must be important to be able to make that kinda rule.”

“I am important, yes. My name is not.”

“Okay, Not. Nice to meet you.”

“You needn’t call me anything. Just answer the questions I ask.”

“Okay,” she said, “Shoot. I mean, don’t actually shoot, but, you know.”

“Where is the disk?”

“What disk?” asked Candy, annoyed. “I don’t know anything. He doesn’t tell me anything. I’d tell you if I knew. I just want to get out of here.”

“You’re the murderess,” said the old man.

“Um, I guess? That’s a pretty old word to be dusting off and putting back into circulation, isn’t it? What is this, an Alfred Hitchcock movie?”

“Tell me,” said the old man, “Did you go red before you killed?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Not.”

“The Etiomicin. It induces uncontrollable rage in sufficient quantities.”

Candy tried to think back on the moment of Chance’s death. He’d been seeing someone else without telling her, and it’d bothered her way more than it should’ve.

Meanwhile, Blake was in love with some bitch from Louisiana, holing up with her for weeks at a time and telling Candy he was working.

She’d suspected something for quite some time, and finally decided to confront him.

He denied any wrongdoing, at first, but eventually caved and informed her that he was thinking about leaving her for the other woman.

Her memories of the incident became foggy at that point.

Scene missing.

Next thing she knew, she was standing over his lifeless body in the garage holding a blood-soaked hammer and struggling to breathe. The head of the man she loved resembled a pumpkin smashed to bits by asshole teenagers on someone’s front porch the night before Halloween.

Except with blood. Lots of blood.

“I… I don’t know,” she told Not.

“You don’t know much of anything, do you?” He was so close to her face now that she could smell his breath, and his old man aftershave. He smelled like any number of men who’d preyed upon her as a child.

“You’re just a whore,” he whispered, stroking her cheek. She recoiled at his touch, but noticed he was wearing an expensive-looking ring with some kind of symbol on it she didn’t recognize. She considered biting him, but found she couldn’t. She was helpless and afraid, just like she’d been all those years ago before she’d learned how to take control from men.

This one, though, was a better manipulator than even she was. She felt completely vulnerable and powerless, and the fact that she was becoming sexually aroused at his touch both terrified and disgusted her.

And he knew that.

What the hell’s wrong with me?

It wasn’t the first time she’d asked herself that question. She wondered, with a lack of concern that surprised even her, if it would be her last.

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