The Odd Blog

And when our cubs grow / We'll show you what war is good for

One Fine Night

Posted by That Other Mike on 27/07/2008

Inspired by Gary’s posting of Reflections, I’ve decided to post a short story I wrote a while back. I recently rewrote it because it was originally quite predictable, and it was liked by the missus and the Murningster himself; given that two such illustrious personages had given it their favour, I decided to inflict share it with you, too.

The story is enclosed, is NSFW and contains adult themes unsuitable for children.


One Fine Night
It’s early in the evening on Friday when she gets home. One look at her messy studio apartment, and she decides that she’s going to go out this evening.

She’s been hemming and hawing over it throughout the day, a little depressed, thinking it might do her some good to get out there and hit some bars on her own. No friends, no sympathy, just out there drinking until she’s sick.

It might do the trick. She’ll wake up tomorrow feeling like three kinds of shit in a one shit bag, but it’ll be a purge. She’ll have something else to concentrate her misery around for a while, even just a day.
She sits on the bed and lights up, smokes a while. It’s hot. The apartment’s old, in a shitty part of town, and the cheap rent only covers a window unit to cool it down. It’s broken, as usual. She half-stands to switch on the fan at her bedside table and then slumps back to sitting. She can’t muster much energy since the break up.

A week. Two weeks, really. He hadn’t been in touch for a week when she tracked him down. It was over, just wasn’t working, he wasn’t happy, he said. He has a new girlfriend, a squeaky little Barbie who works in the convenience store and still lives with her parents.

She still doesn’t completely believe it. She crushes the cigarette, only half-smoked, into an empty coffee cup, suddenly angry. She feels like revenge, like she could beat him to a pulp for abandoning her so carelessly. Like she could beat herself too, for being so hurt by it.

She swears to herself, and stands up from the bed, the anger energising her. There’s vodka in the freezer, and she pours a full glass. Neat and icy cold upon her tongue, it triggers a railroad spike to the head. It fades quickly, and she pours another, and then a third, all of them hitting her head rapidly by way of her empty stomach.

She leaves the glass on the counter and walks over to her tiny bathroom, undoing her skirt along the way. It falls at the bathroom door and she steps out of it, almost stumbling. Her blouse follows seconds later, along with her pantyhose. They join the clothes, clean and dirty alike, strewn around the place.

She looks at herself in the mirror. She knows that she is pretty, but she doesn’t feel it. Not now.
She turns to and fro, watching her reflection, trying to see herself as attractive, make it happen in her own mind. She frowns, and sucks in her belly a little, concave and then convex again.

A few more seconds looking at herself, trying to will herself to be pretty. She’s not eighteen anymore, she’s only just still in her twenties, but she’s not so bad looking. She’s not, she tells herself. It almost works.

The shower is soon running, hot to the point where it’s a hair shy of painful, letting her pale skin turn a dark pink.

She wraps herself in two towels, water still beading on her skin while she looks for clothes. Her wardrobe is a disorganised mess, and is only the centre of a pile of clothes that extends throughout the whole apartment.

She settles on a spaghetti strap top and short skirt. It’s not short enough to be arrested for, but it gets her a lot of interested looks, and she wants that right now.

It’s also a Texas summer and anything more will leave her sweating like a pig. She adds sneakers. Heels are too much work. Make up.

She looks at herself in the mirror again, feeling like she looks good. This is the vodka, but it’s still a good feeling. She thinks she might even try to find a guy tonight to hook up with. Maybe. Depends on how she feels later, if she’s still confident enough. Or drunk enough.

She leaves her apartment and heads downtown by taxi. The driver is checking her out in the rear view mirror all the way there, not quite up to his eyeballs in her cleavage, but close. She might have told him off another time.

Her good mood dampens a little when she gets into the bar. The few customers are mostly men off
the base, sitting in packs. Well-scrubbed flyboys on their best behaviour, they might have two or three beers and leave.

The USAF keeps the town from sliding into oblivion, and made it more than alive than most of Southern Texas. But the men are just dull. The commander is a disciplinarian and always has them act their best.

She orders a drink and sits in a corner. It stays slow for a few hours until the locals start rolling in, replacing the airmen, who slip away quietly and without fuss.

She’s been drinking all this time, sticking to beers so she doesn’t hit her peak too early, but she’s pretty well-oiled when they get in.

When the first noisy local men get in, she switches to vodka and orange, and then to vodka.
It’s about 11.30 and the bar is crowded and loud with laughter, people are having to shout to be heard. She looks over all the locals and there don’t seem to be any single men around. She thinks she might be able to peel one off from one of the groups, but she doesn’t know if she wants to try. She’s known half of these guys all her life, dated a few of them. That would just be too uncomfortable.

It seems like she might have to give in and go home or resign herself to sitting alone all night until the staff have to pour her into a taxi, but she gives the bar a final once over just to be sure.

And there’s this guy. He’s leaning against the bar, alone, and he’s different. He’s not dressed so differently to the local guys and he’s not so different in his features to anyone else. No large nose or unlucky chin. She frowns, trying to put her finger on it.

He’s handsome, tan and tall, short dark hair. A few hints of gray in it. Forty, forty-five, possibly a little younger, though probably at least ten years older than her.

He’s just different in some way. It might be the way he wears his clothes so confidently and easily, or maybe that he seems like an island of calm in the noisy bar, but that doesn’t seem right. She decides through the fuzz of alcohol and a sudden gust of courage to walk over to him.

“Hi,” she says, and he looks up. She introduces herself, not caring on the surface as she slurs a couple of words, while the tiny part of her mind that is always sober shrieks and hides its face.

“What’s your name?” she asks him, leaning in close on the bar, partly to show some cleavage and partly so she doesn’t fall over.

He says something that she doesn’t quite take in, and she has to ask him to repeat it before she understands what his name is.

“Are you here on vacation?” she says, apropos of nothing, just for something to say. She wouldn’t normally have said anything at all, let alone introduced herself. The confidence of booze.

“No,” he says. He’s Southern, but there’s nothing too specific about his accent. None of the nasal twang of Texas there, though.

She carries on talking. She says a lot, most of which she instantly forgets. He doesn’t say very much, and doesn’t give away anything about where he’s from or why he’s there. He’s almost monosyllabic and reserved, although not in a bad mood. More like he doesn’t talk much and is happy to let her do it. He even smiles a few times at something she says, and the grin reaches his eyes. He seems interested.

His quietness is even more interesting to her, and she feels like she might have to winkle the truth out of him, whatever it may be.

She doesn’t notice, but she’s talking so much that it seems the first time she takes a breath and stops that the bar has nearly emptied. She steals a look at her watch, and it’s shocking to her, because it’s nearly 2:00 a.m.

She’s known the bartender slightly since high school, so he’s nice; he looks at and taps his watch, just raising an eyebrow, and she knows it’s time to go.

“Do you want to go and get some coffee or something somewhere?” she says. He tilts his head and looks at her, and she feels daring, and says, “Maybe back at my place?”

“Sure,” he says. “Wherever you want to go.”

They leave, and it’s dark outside, and suddenly cold after the stifling heat of the bar, so much so that she wraps her arms around herself quickly, shoving her hands under her armpits. She can feel her nipples pressing into her skin through her clothes and pulls her arms open again, knowing he’ll want a look. He flicks his gaze over and down, and she moves closer to him. She takes his arm and puts it around her waist, snaking hers around his. She guides him in the general direction of her apartment. It’s not too far to walk, a mile and some, maybe two. And it’s nice to walk with him a while.

They carry on not talking, heading through the older part of town. In the daylight it’s picturesque. At night it seems full of darkness, with danger lurking in the shadows. And yet she feels safe with him.
He’s not a huge man, not a goliath who sends criminals running. He’s just confident, and he projects that confidence.

They walk past a few rickety old houses, and finally come to the cemetery. It’s dark, the headstones and mausoleums creating a small cityscape with their roofs and turrets.

The gates are open and they walk on in, gravel path crunching under their shoes. He steers her along the path, his arm a faint but growing pressure on her waist, and she begins to a feel a little uneasy. How does he know where to go?

They stop, rather abruptly, and he turns to face her.

“When I said I was just passing through,” he says, his smile turning a little crooked. “I wasn’t being entirely truthful with you.” He looks down and to the side, and she feels tension building in her legs as they start to get ready to run away. “I used to live here, a long time ago, and, well, my mom’s buried here.” The worry eases a little.

“You kinda had me worried,” she says. “I mean, I didn’t know how you knew where to go, or what you were gonna do…” She smiles, a little shy all of a sudden.

He shakes his head and grins. “Nobody’s going to hurt you,” he says. “Not with me around, girl.” He gestures to one side. “Hey. Come look.”

She’s curious. Maybe he wants her to see his mom’s grave. It’d be kind of weird, but nothing much worse than she’s seen before in more than a decade of dating. She follows, and he walks behind an old gravestone, its back facing her. He bends down for a second.

There is a quick scraping noise, and he straightens up as she gets closer, her curiosity still high.

His arm comes up from behind the headstone as she gets inside a few feet, and something quick and silver and bell-like rings.

She’s lying down, and a pain starts in the side of her head. She sees him standing over her with a small spade in his hand. It’s shiny, even in the weak moonlight, and it glitters and flickers as he twirls it in his fingers.

“Should’ve said nobody but me, girl,” he says, and she passes out.

* * * * *

She comes to, slowly, consciousness returning, hollow. She sees and feels but does not think or react.
He’s in a hole. He’s digging. He has the steady and methodical air of a man who can keep digging this hole until it’s done, till there is a big pile of earth next to it and it’s all finished.

The spade cuts into the earth like a shining knife, shearing apart anything in its path. Dirt, roots and worms are scooped up, ripped and sliced apart. It’s a new spade. It still has the price sticker on the handle, smudged with soil to a dirty yellow.

The very shape of the hole says he’s done this many, many times. It is a near-perfect rectangle. Approximately six feet by three. Beginners dig ovals; rectangles take lots of work and habit.

He is being watched as he digs. She sits, mutely, propped up against a gravestone. A thick rag serves as a gag, and her mouth is held closed around it by a patch of duct tape. There are greasy, blackened ropes around her wrists and ankles. Her wrists are tied behind her back, tilting her a little to the right.

The headstone she’s using as a pillow is covered in moss and contrasts with her colourful clothing. Her hair is a little messy. She looks out of place.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he says. A pause; sweat is wiped from his brow. “Phew! I’ve done this… I don’t know how many times, but I can still work up a sweat off of it.” He grounds the blade, and leans on the handle for a moment. His voice, now that she can hear more of it, is now pure cornpone, two fields and some over from trailer park. “It’s good for you to get sweaty,” he says, a smirk playing over his lips. “In every sense of the words. Good for your heart, for sure. Keeps the blood pumping, works up an appetite. And at the end of it, you can say: I dug this. This is my hole, the fruit of my labours. Of course,” he remarks, picking up the spade again, “After that you have to fill it in again. But that’s the nature of a hole, to be filled in after being dug. And it’s a lot less effort to fill a hole than to dig one. Gravity does all the work for you. Leastwise, that’s what my daddy always told me, and turns out he was right.” Another pause as he rolls a cigarette. One-handed; he looks at her as if she should be impressed.

She says nothing, doesn’t move. Just looks at him. He grunts, and puts the smoke into one corner of his mouth, digging in a pocket of his filthy old jeans.

“Like I said,” his voice muffled through the corner of his mouth as he flicks open a Zippo. He turns the wheel, and his face is briefly lit-up by the flame. He’s handsome, in a going-to-seed kind of way, although his face is all screwed-up as he shuts one eye against the smoke. “I know what you’re thinking.” The moonlight glints off the lighter as he snaps it shut. A flick of the wrist. Another adept gesture. “Why dig it now? Why take all this time and effort before you even come to the main event?” She says nothing; she can’t. “Planning. That’s the thing. If I didn’t dig this hole beforehand, I’d only have to dig it later, which strikes me as foolish. If I dig it now, I work up a good old sweat and get hungry, which is, after all, why we’re all here on God’s good green earth. To eat.” He smiles, and his teeth flash whitely in the darkness. He wheels around, and picks up the spade again. Dirt fountains up onto the mound at high speed, and she reacts, spurred into action.

She struggles against the ropes holding her wrists together. More ropes are wrapped around her. One set is wound a little above her elbows. As she starts breathing heavily, it forces her breasts upwards and outwards, making them look huge and inviting against her will.

The spade flies up and out of the hole and lands behind the pile of dirt, ringing like a bell.

It’s finished, and she struggles more. She squeals, breathes harshly and quickly through her nose, a little snot coming out. Her eyes pour out frustrated and fearful tears and smudge her make-up further.

His head pops out of the hole. It is unexpectedly comical to see it, and she giggles hysterically through the cloth. He watches her for a moment as she struggles.

He looks almost like he admires her, and climbs out of the hole. She gets to her feet, only to fall; her ankles are roped.

A surge of fear is added to that already present as she topples, and her bladder empties, she thinks. It’s difficult to tell. Everything’s distant except the jumping chimes of terror. With astonishing quickness, he moves in and catches her.

“Not the best idea,” he says gently. She is panting and shuddering, her last few breaths whistling through her nose. “I’d only have to chase you if you escaped, although it’s unlikely at this point, hmmm?” She leans against him, has no choice. It’s lean or fall. He holds her there a few seconds, listening to her dread, feeling it. She writhes, disgusted, as something bumps her hip, and sighs a moan that might be a plea. He murmurs something in her ear that she can’t quite understand. A sob escapes her.

He jolts her upwards, hands under her arms, his wrists squashing into the side of her breasts. Her feet are inches off the ground so they are face to face. He grins, hugely, and throws her into the pit. She screams through the gag as she falls. It feels like an age and ends when her shoulders hit the dirt on the bottom, knocking the wind out of her.

She looks up at the edge of the makeshift grave, and he is there, a dark shape blocking the stars, and the air rushes back into her lungs, whistling through her nostrils, scraping down her throat.
He jumps down and lands over her, hands pressing the dirt on either side, and he looks ugly all of a sudden. He smiles again like a dog snarling and he rears up. His knee pushes her legs apart and presses into her crotch. His left hand rips away her underwear, and she’s struggling all the while, but she’s still tied, and he’s too strong, and she screams and screams and screams through the gag, but it hardly makes a sound and nobody comes, and he’s in her and it hurts and she wants it to stop, but nobody comes.

It’s slow and painful, and she struggles again. He backhands her, slowing his rhythm to do it. Her head rings like a bell.

Eventually she grows quiet. The harsh trill of her breathing slows, hitches, then stops.
Reverentially, he strips the body of the ropes and bindings, and places it into the hole. The fear is gone from her face; she might be asleep, were it not for the livid bruises decorating her neck, dark and fierce. He pauses, looks at her, before grabbing the spade and getting back to work.

He doesn’t sweat this time: it’s a lot less effort to fill a hole than dig one. Gravity does all the work for you.

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2 Responses to “One Fine Night”

  1. This version really does work so much better, doesn’t it? I like it… a lot.

    So what are you going to do for an encore? 😉

  2. Mike said

    Ta much, old chum 🙂

    I have a hankering to write something with torture. As you can imagine, I am having moral qualms.

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