Chapter Excerpt from Shadow of Innocence
Here's another particularly creepy, helpless-feeling situation with a brief but shuddering nod to the horror genre both classic and contemporary.
So read and think about... what would YOU do?!!
Bridget strained against her bonds, every nerve fiber screaming to let her sink her fingernails into that fat, mocking face. The movement attracted the attention of the figure sitting in the half light at the head of the table. He stopped stroking the blond head of the girl by his side. He slowly got up and moved down the table until he stood next to Bridget.
She stopped struggling and looked up into the bottomless eyes. It was like looking into a deep black well.
Fear began to chip away at her rage. The memories of the night before came rushing back. She felt her stomach constrict as he reached out one of his scarred muscular hands and stroked her cheek, just above the gauze covered wound underneath her black turtleneck.
“You’re right, Cataldo. I did give her something to remember me by last night, but where is it? It should be right here.” His finger traced a line down her cheek. “Yes, it should be right here, but it’s not.” He took Bridget’s heart shaped face between his massive thumb and forefinger and looked into her frightened eyes.
“Didn’t you appreciate my gift? Whether you realize or not, it really was a gift you know. It would have saved you from becoming a soulless, heartless bitch, whose only purpose was to seduce men with those perfect eyes and lips and—face.” The steel-like fingers pressed into her jaw.
“But you rejected my gift. You’ve kept that beautiful face which can only cause you and everyone around you, pain and tears and regret.” His voice was getting louder.
“Where is your mark, little girl? I know I struck your skin. I heard you scream. I smelled burnt flesh. Where is it?”
Bridget pushed back into the moldering chair but his fingers rolled down her face, gripped the collar of the black turtleneck and pulled.
There was a sound of tearing fabric and a satisfied, “Ah, there.”
Tears of rage, pain and humiliation rolled down her cheeks and he caressed them with his fingertips. He put one tear wet finger between his lips and licked it.
“Do you know what it tastes like, little girl?” Bridget bit her lip beneath the gag to keep from crying but it was no use.
“I’m afraid that it still tastes like… beauty.” His eyes burned.
“I thought I had saved you last night and likewise saved everyone who would look at that beautiful face and be poisoned, imprisoned and emasculated. But somehow you avoided my healing brand or twisted away. I failed. I apologize.”
Bridget writhed and tried to pull away from his hands. He smiled. “But I promise you, I won’t fail again.”
He took a gold engraved cigarette lighter out of his pocket. “Shall we complete what we started?”
Bridget’s nostrils flared as she tried to scream underneath her gag.
“Oh, forgive me.” He reached down and ripped the taped gag from her mouth. “You’ll want to scream, won’t you?”
He flicked the wheel over the lighter’s flint and a bright blue flame sprang from its tip. He grabbed Bridget’s jaw in a vise-like grip.
“It was such a pretty face, wasn’t it? But now it going to be better. So much better for all concerned.”
He moved the lighter to her face. Bridget gritted her teeth as the uncontrollable tears ran down her cheeks. Don’t cry. Don’t scream. You are a Connolly girl! she screamed in her mind. Remember the beatings your father’s taken, your grandfather. You are a Connolly, damn you. Don’t cry! But the tears didn’t listen; they kept on dripping onto the stone floor.
He looked at her with something that far back in his dim past might have been a feeling close to compassion. He bent down and kissed her cheek. “This will be the last kiss that this beautiful face will ever receive.”
He pushed the red-hot lighter toward Bridget’s milk-white cheek.
Shadow of Innocence - Kunati - April 2007
Acid Test – Fall 2004
Ric Wasley has spent almost forty years wandering through corporate board - rooms and honky-tonk bars. He now divides his time between writing mystery novels – Shadow of Innocence & Acid Test - McCarthy Family Mysteries – and observing the really ‘juicy parts’ of the human condition
New from Kunati Publishing: SHADOW OF INNOCENCE - The Newport Folk Festival provides a groovy backdrop for this fun and exciting mystery set in the music and drug soaked sixties. The Baby Boomers and everyone else are sure to enjoy this appealing mystery featuring a pair of musician partners in love and danger. Don't miss Shadow of Innocence From Kunati Publishing. Available now on; Amazon ,Barnes & Noble and at bookstores everywhere.