And then there were none!
The car swerved to a halt narrowly missing the frightened thing that sat in its path on the old dirt track.
A girl sat there, silhouetted in the glare of the headlights, making no move to shield her eyes from the light.
An older woman hurried across to her, calling as she ran, “Taylor, get that old blanket from the trunk, hurry, boy!”
The woman reached her, taking in the heavy makeup running down her face where tears and cold rain had washed it.
“Well, little lady, … you are in a state. What’s your name, honey?”
The girl tilted her head on the side looking up at the woman, not appearing to understand the question.
Taylor joined his mother and placed the blanket around the girl's freckled shoulders.
“What’s she doing here, Ma? Is she drunk?”
“Enough questions, boy. She don’t look like she understands anythin' right now. We got to get her out of this cold. C’mon, give your Ma a hand. You take her left arm. Be gentle now; I don’t know if she’s hurt yet.”
Taylor, put his arm around the slender trembling body, whilst his mother helped from the other side. The girl didn’t appear to have any visible injuries, although the older woman noted trickles of bright fresh blood running down the inside of her legs.
They helped her into the Humvee, turned up the heating, and headed up the dirt track. The girl sat huddled in the blanket, silent, with her huge eyes fixed on nothing in particular.
“Now, young-un, ... I’m not sure you can understand me, or if you are in shock. Don’t know exactly what’s happened here, but we’re gonna get you back to the house and take care of you till we can get you to a Doc. The damned rain has closed the road off between us and Oriana. We don’t have reception on cell phones out here, and the landlines are down. I’ll do the best that I can for you.
“If you can understand what I’m sayin’ just nod your head for me, can you do that, honey?”
The girl nodded, just once.
“Good, girl, that’s the way. Our ranch house is a good hour further on, why don’t you grab some shut eye, you’re safe now … everythin’s gonna be okay.”
The girl trembled and pulled the blanket closer around her. She didn’t close her eyes; she sat, silent and watchful. The warmth, mingled with the smell of wet clothing, and the woosh of the wipers against the pelting rain lulled her to sleep.
“What do think happened to her, Ma?”
“I’m not certain, boy, … I don’t like the look of this. No, I don’t like the look of this at all. Now you hush up, I need to be concentratin’ on this damned road.”
“But, Ma, how did she get way out here? We’re over forty miles to Oriana, and even further from Tennantville.”
“I told you to hush, Taylor. Now you mind your momma. Hush it up.”
*** The Humvee pulled to a shuddering halt outside the large ranch house. Taylor and his mother assisted the girl from the car and into the warmth of the home.
“I’ll just sit you here for a spell, honey. Can you remember your name, child? Can you recall anythin’… anythin’ at all about what happened to you?”
The girl barely whispered, “No—nothing—no name, I … I … no.” Fresh tears made their way down her anguished face, the heavy makeup running freely.
The woman fixed herself a heavy shot of whiskey, making one for her guest, “This will help a little, honey. You sip at it nice and slow. I’m gonna run you a hot bath, and grab you something clean to put on.”
The girl took the drink and gulped it down …extending her hands again for more, “Well you surely know what to do with whiskey anyway.” The woman laughed as she poured another good belt into the glass, noting as she did the large diamond solitaire, its sparkle glinting in stark contrast to the torn nails and bleeding hands.
“You must be a little older’n you look, sugar.” She touched the ring, and turned the hands over … gently, “Whatever happened you sure did put up a fight by the looks of it.”
The girl snatched her hand back, and clutched at the blanket with one hand, drinking down the burning liquid a little more slowly.
She grew calm again, allowing the woman to help her into the bathroom. Her rescuer drew in a deep breath as she took in the bruises and welts on the young body. They seemed to confirm her suspicions. The blood drying now on the inside of the girl's thighs told its own story. Yeah, sure looked like rape. The woman said nothing. Assisting the girl into the tub, she gently soaked her back as best she could, leaving her to get on with the rest of it in privacy. ***
The visitor emerged from the bathroom wearing the long flannel nightdress supplied, her head wrapped in a towel, all traces of the makeup and blood gone. She managed a shaky, “Thank you,” then gave her hostess a grateful smile.
“Well now, that’s fine. You look much better. Would you care for something to eat? Some soup perhaps?”
“No—perhaps another drink?”
“Sure thing. You recollect anything yet, honey? Your name—anything?”
The toweled head shook … no.
The woman glanced at her sadly. “It will come back to you, sugar. I promise you, I know it will. Now how about you finish up this one? Oh my. Just a second while I get the fresh bottle. We did make fast work of this one.” She held up the empty bottle, returning with another full glass.
“So you get that into you, I will show you to the guest room. You just sleep now. Rest up. If you need anythin’, I’m right in the next room. Okay, honey?”
The girl finally felt the effects of the warm bath and the strong whiskey, falling to sleep quickly. The woman looked down at the sleeping form, shaking her head with the sadness of it.
“Taylor, boy, time for you to sack out, son.”
“What’s gonna happen, Momma?”
“Don’t you be worryin’ your little head about that, now, hear me? You just go on to bed.”
The youngster gave her a glance and did as he was told. “Night, Momma.”
“Night, my son.”
She turned out the lights, poured yet another drink, and waited.
She didn’t have to wait long.
The front door opened slowly, the dark form making its way across to the light switch.
“Well, David, my son. Had a nice evenin’, boy? Enjoy your sweet self, did you?”
“Momma! You didn’t need to wait up; I’m a big boy now.”
She walked across and placed her fingers under his chin, seeing exactly what she knew she would find. Long deep angry-looking scratch marks down both sides of his handsome face. She drew her arm back and punched him hard in the face, bringing her knee up hard into his groin. He doubled over in pain and fell to the floor, whilst his mother continued kicking into him with her booted foot. Her frenzied kicking stopped, and she looked down at the pathetic piece of shit that she had birthed.
“You, stupid bastard! When are you gonna heed what I tell you? If you can’t keep that damn cock of yours under control—you got to take care of the mess you leave behind!”
He sniveled through his tears, “She won’t remember nothin’, Momma. I swear, I gave her plenty of those damned date rape things, Rohypnol. They can’t remember nothin’ after that stuff.
His mother stood still, looking down at her first-born. "You are willin’ to chance that, you are willin’ to put me in jeopardy ... all because you don’t have the stomach for what has to be done? I have told you and told you—you rape ‘em, you gotta kill ‘em boy. Leave no trace. When are you gonna listen to me? I’m tired of havin’ to take care of it for you.
“Now pull yourself together. Help me get her out to the car.”
The humvee sped through the darkness twenty miles or so, till they reached the edge of the canyon. The rain-swollen rapids swirled hundreds of feet below. They pulled the unconscious girl from the car, removing the gown and diamond solitaire. The drugs in that last drink would ensure she remained out. The knife slashing across her jugular took care of any doubt.
The woman turned around, smiling, satisfied with the night's work.
The knife plunged repeatedly into her startled form. ”No, son. Why?—I did it for y…!”
One push, one scream.
“I liked this one, Momma. I really liked her.”