Half and hour later Hank returned to the van. He released Desmond and then tied his hands behind his back, leaving the handcuffs in the van. He walked Desmond to the house and led him inside. As they approached a bedroom he whispered in Desmond’s ear.
“Wait till you see her, she’s perfect.”
He shoved him into the room and sat him on a chair and then tied him to it. On the bed was a woman in a nightgown. Hank had put duct tape over her mouth and her hands and feet were tied to the bedposts. Her eyes darted about. They were filled with stark terror. Hank went over to her and stroked her hair. He was grinning at Desmond all the while.
“Am I right? She’s perfect isn’t she? You do recognize her don’t you?”
Desmond was speechless. His mind rejected everything that was happening. He had a strong urge to vomit. He shook his head.
“No? Come on now. She’s Laura! You know, from your story The Misfit. Look at her Desmond. Can’t you see? Every detail is perfect.”
Desmond’s mind was reeling. This poor woman was going to die because he had described someone just like her in a story. He stared at her. By degrees he came to realize that she really was Laura. With that realization came the knowledge of what was about to happen. He had written it and now Hank was going to play it out.
“Why Hank? Just tell me why. Why are you making me watch this?”
Hank had been unrolling a canvas sheath full of utensils as Desmond spoke. He brought out a cleaver and rushed at Desmond with it and held in front of his face.
“You know what’s the matter with you Desmond? YOU DON’T LISTEN! I told you, this is all for you. I’m liberating you Desmond.”
Desmond locked eyes with him and willed himself not to blink. At last he looked at the tools in the canvas sheath and then at the woman tied to the bed. His mind was moving a mile a minute. He was overwhelmed with mixed emotions, some of which were entirely new to him. He tried to push them away but they would not be denied. Hank was watching his face intently. At last a smile lifted the corners of his mouth.
“You’re starting to get it. Finally the light is coming on. Good. Shall we get started then? This is your catechism Desmond. I’ll ask the questions and you will answer them. Yes?”
Desmond nodded and said nothing. He wanted to say something to stop what was about to happen but nothing would come. He vacillated between excitement and revulsion and couldn’t believe what was going on inside him. Hank returned to the woman and set to work.
He put down the cleaver and withdrew a large scalpel from the sheath. He held it up in the dim light of the bedside lamp and twirled it back and forth in front of the woman’s face.
“Desmond, where do I make the first cut?”
As if he had no will of his own he spoke. “From the base of the throat to the pubic bone.”
Hank reached down and cut away the woman’s nightgown exposing her flesh. As she tried to struggle against her bonds he bought the scalpel to her throat and cut her. Blood oozed from the incision and ran down the sides of her body. Desmond could see she was screaming behind the duct tape but there was no sound. He stared at the blood as it pooled around her body, dark red, almost black against the pristine white sheet.
He looked up and Hank was watching him. He stared back and then, to his horror he spoke.
“What are you waiting for?”
Part 9 Tomorrow