The Enemy Within

 

This is a psychological horror story I wrote for a writing contest. (It’s a bit dark)

The Enemy Within

She gasped for a breath, certain he was there again, trying to choke the life out of her while she slept. He would stop at nothing to see her dead. She fought every waking moment to escape, but the prison she was held in was a secure fortress.

“Where are you hiding, you son of a bitch?”

The door rattled, someone on the other side fumbled with the lock. She felt around, underneath the pillow and in the drawers of the side table in hopes one of her weapons was left undetected. The guards had done another full sweep of the room and left her with absolutely nothing. She was hesitant to look under the bed again. That one time she woke up to find the floor covered in venomous snakes would haunt her for a lifetime. She wished she still had her sheets. She envisioned wrapping them tightly around her captor’s neck until he no longer drew breath. Sadly, she was deprived every comfort and basic human need.

Her food was routinely poisoned as well, so even mealtime was a gamble. She usually held out as long as she could until her body betrayed her and she collapsed, only to find them feeding her with tubes and artificial means. It made no sense that they wanted to prolong her torture.

The intruder came through the door and switched on the lights almost blinding her. “Ms. Jackie. What have you done to yourself this time?”

“Get out!”

The woman in white ignored her, walked across the room and proceeded to touch her with her vile, cold hands. “You’ve gone and scratched yourself all up again. Let me see those fingernails. The night shift should’ve cut them.”

Good, maybe she was about to pull out the scissors. Jaqueline would grab them away from her and let her have it. Escape was on the horizon. She could almost taste her freedom, then nothing would stand in her way with reuniting with Rory.

She eagerly extended her fingers in front of the horrid woman’s face. “Nice try, but we both know you have to be in the restraints for that and your visitor’s here, so we’ll take care it before I leave this evening.”

Jaqueline yelled out her frustrations. Why were they always one step ahead? One day, they’d slip up or he’d find her. That’s was her one true hope. Rory would come to her rescue and every last one of those wretched villains that had kept them apart would perish. He was her savior, her hero, the one that never failed her.

***

The door swung open again. A man in pale blue was there this time. He was pushing a chair which she didn’t need. Jackie walked perfectly fine on her own. She zoned out for the particulars. It was easier to escape than to accept the way those people thought they owned her body and could paw all over her. Soon enough, she was sitting in the dreaded wheelchair, arms tightly secured at the wrist. She felt warmer, they’d covered her body with a robe. The man left and the woman continued to push her down a series of hallways. She chatted like they were friends even though she clearly was the enemy.

Another woman sat alone at a table. She’d never seen that one before and yet something about her was familiar. She hated her immediately and wished to go back to her cell.

“Hello, Mother. You look well.” She recoiled at the lie. Jaqueline didn’t have children. One couldn’t erase such a memory. Anyway, she was very young. This woman appeared to be over thirty which further proved the impossibility.

“Who are you? Who sent you?” She accused.

“It’s me, Cynthia. No one sent me. I come every month. Please, Mother, try to remember.”

Her voice, her appearance, all of it made Jaqueline uncomfortable. For all she knew, it was another assassin sizing her up. “Guard, get me out of here.” She turned to the wicked shrew in front of her. “Leave me alone and don’t ever come back. I despise you. Rory will have your head for this.”

The woman wiped a tear from her eye, but she felt no sympathy for her at all. It was another ploy to weaken her resolve. Jaqueline turned away and made another commotion about being wheeled back to her room. Two guards were in the process of returning her to the place she hated, but Cynthia called out to one of them for a word. She sat in silence as she overheard every word said from around the corner.

“No one would blame you if you stopped coming. The mother you knew is gone and she isn’t coming back.” It was that bitch that wanted to cut her fingernails. Jaqueline never forgot a voice.

“No, I’ll be back, same time, next month. Please call if there’s any change.”

“There won’t be.”

“I guess you’re probably right, but she’s all that I’ve got.”

***

Jaqueline closed her eyes and imagined that familiar face in another place and time. She was a little girl in pigtails dancing around a pristine room wearing a beautiful dress. The vision quickly faded as they maneuvered down the halls again. She saw a bed being pushed in their way. She questioned how many captives were held there. The other guard offered a solution since the bedridden man was stalled in the pathway for some reason. He backed her up and turned a different corner.

Someone called out a warning, “No, you can’t go that way… the windows.” They tried to spin her back around but it was too late. She couldn’t stop from seeing her reflection in the glass. Who was that? Jackie screamed at the horror. What had these monsters done to her? She appeared to be wrinkled and frail… an old woman.

Chaos and confusion erupted. She felt like she’d been set on fire. Her body burned from the inside out until she was consumed in total darkness.

***

She’d been moved again. It was definitely not her uncomfortable cot. She felt crisp, medicinal sheets underneath her. Her wrists were tied to the rails of the bed. No idea, how long she’d been out. They drugged her once again. She blinked her eyes, trying to discern shapes in the darkness, but her mind was foggy.

She heard arguing, loud shouting between a man and woman. He called her horrible names. A baby cried in the distance.

“You miserable, lying bitch. How could you do this to us? I longed for a son for years and he’s not even mine.”

“Please, Carl. He’s still yours, you’ve raised him for months. He’s no different than Cynthia.”

“Cynthia’s a girl. You know how important a son was to me, but you had to give yourself to the hired help. How many times did my father warn me, you’d never keep your legs closed? He’s not even Caucasian for God’s sake. Everyone will know, we’ll be a laughing stock. You’re a filthy whore. I should have listened to Father’s warnings.”

The dream was upsetting. She decided that’s all it was, she had no idea who those people were. That man was positively hateful and her cheek ached more with every word he spoke.

She willed herself to wake up, but a loud booming noise rattled the walls. Where had that come from? Jaqueline felt herself get up from the gurney and walked into a bathroom. It was the epitome of luxury: marble floors, chandelier lighting, rich wallpaper and golden fixtures, but she gasped at the sight her eyes zeroed in on. The beautiful room was covered in red splatters. The cruel man lay face-down on the cold marble, half his head blown off and a smoking gun in his hands.

A baby cried from the other room. She rushed to comfort the child. She talked in a calm, soothing voice but he continued to cry. “Shush, little baby. Don’t cry anymore. It’s okay. Mother’s here. We’ll be perfectly fine. I’ll take care of you forever, my beautiful boy.”

Her words did nothing to console the infant, so she held him tighter to her breast. He was a precious angel sent from above. He wasn’t an embarrassment or a mistake. She only wanted him to rest peacefully, never allow him to be touched by ugliness or violence. She squeezed a little more until minutes passed, and the child no longer sobbed. He was at rest, always content and no longer hurting. She leaned down and kissed his soft cheek. He didn’t stir one bit. “I love you.”

She opened her eyes wide to find she was still confined to a bed, not in a nightmare. Then again that wasn’t exactly true. For a few moments, Jaqueline remembered everything and one word escaped her lips, “Rory.”

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