I walked Sherry to her door and kissed her goodnight. I knew she was anxious to show off her new little bundle of joy and I was anxious to exact pain on the pig in my basement. I gathered up a few surprises for Mandy before descending the stairs. A stroke of inspiration hit me while Sherry and I were at dinner and I was excited to experiment.
Mandy squinted, trying to protect his eyes from the brightness of the bare light bulb. I ripped the duct tape off of his mouth, taking with it skin, hair and scabbing from the slice at the corner of his mouth. His blood-curdling scream was like music to my ears.
“To make up for what you did to Jinx, I bought Sherry a kitten and I used the cash in your wallet to do so. To make up for her tears though, you’ll need to shed many of your own.”
I could tell the wheels were churning. He was trying to choose his words carefully because he wanted me to slip up. I had no intention of letting him off the hook easily. I had only just begun the torture.
“Sherry is such a little-”
Before he could get the final word out, I slashed through his other cheek. This time I managed to angle the knife up, leaving him with a sarcastic smirk. One side arched in a smile and the other hung listlessly straight. I was pleased with the result. The smirk suited Mandy better than a true smile anyway.
Each salty tear that trickled over his bloody gashes added a new dimension to Mandy’s pain. The more it hurt, the more his tears flowed. It was vicious circle and I loved every second of his agony. I waited a few seconds, allowing the pain to seep in before moving on to the next goody in my bag of tricks. I pulled out a pair of needle-nose pliers and held them up in front of Mandy’s face. He closed his eyes and a pathetic whimper escaped through his bloodied lips.
I clamped the end of my pliers onto Mandy’s fingernail and pulled. I wiggled it back and forth, lifting and rocking until the nail began to tear free. I curled the nail back, reminding me, oddly enough, of my grandmother’s sardine cans. I never could understand how she ate those things and just the thought made my stomach turn. No longer enjoying the moment, I ripped the nail off and dropped it on the floor. I was just reaching for the bottle of Isopropyl alcohol when I heard noises overhead. I slapped duct tape over Mandy’s bloody mouth and left to investigate.
With my heart in my throat, I locked the root cellar door and scrambled to the stairs. I had barely reached the midway point when Sherry’s face popped around the doorway from the kitchen.
“There you are! I was wondering what happened to you.”
“Oh, I was just about to throw in a load of laundry. What’s up?”
The lie came out so smoothly, I even surprised myself. Subconsciously, I was berating myself for leaving the door unlocked. Stupid, careless mistakes like that were how people got caught.
“Laundry, huh? I’ll help you.”
“No!” My words came out harsher than I’d meant and Sherry looked confused. “Um, I mean…”
Before I could say anything more, something crashed against the root cellar door. I jumped and Sherry ran down the stairs toward me.
“What was that?” She demanded.
“Shh, it’s okay. Come with me upstairs and I’ll tell you.”
“No! You tell me right now! You’re acting really weird. What is going on?”
“Okay, you win. I’ll tell you. I didn’t want to say anything before because I like having you come over. You might not want to do that anymore.”