The overpowering odor of bleach made Angela feel dizzy and nauseated. At least he took my request literally, she thought. In spite of her predicament, she was striving to stay positive. He had piled the mangled remains of Marie and Jill into a triple layer garbage bag before setting it inside a plastic tub in his vehicle—and then came the bleach. He scrubbed the splatters of blood from the floor and poured nearly an entire bottle of bleach over the cot. It took several applications before he managed to sterilize and remove the reddish brown sludge of partially clotted blood from the cot and the linoleum floor. He said nothing else to her as he covered her mouth with duct tape. His eyes met hers for just a moment before he left her alone, in the dark. He clomped upstairs and his heavy footfalls grew muffled as he climbed. Angela could still hear his voice though he’d closed the basement door.
“Hi, boy! Did you miss me? Aw, who’s been such a good boy? Do you want a treat?”
Four paws of a happy pup scampered excitedly and Angela's heartstrings tugged at the thought of her fuzzy friend thinking she'd been abandoned. The dog’s nails, clicking on the floor above, carried through the subfloor and the ceiling above her. She could almost picture her captor, behaving like the normal human being she’d believed him to be, as he played with this furry companion. Her moment of normalcy disappeared as her mind made the jump from dog treat to slaughter human. Oh God! What if he’s feeding them to his dog? Her stomach threatened to go into reverse, forcing her to think about something less disturbing. More than once, she heard his feet stomping up and down the stairs but he did not return to her room. When the smell of cooking meat floated through the vents, Angela deluded herself by insisting that it was chicken, not human, that was cooking.
Upstairs, while the first batch of burgers continued to sizzle in the frying pan, he was busy forming a few more patties out of the ground meat. By the time he’d packaged up the rest and froze it, his burgers were medium rare and the cheese had melted. Each warm, juicy, bite satisfied his craving but made his best friend drool in eager anticipation.
The dog’s head drooped as he skulked away from the temptation of such a savory treat. His big, sad, eyes peered at his master from the corner where he hung his head in shame.
“Aw, don’t look at me like that…the vet said I needed to cut back your food, boy. Okay, okay, come here. Just a little bite but not a word to Doctor Stephanie,” he whispered. “I just can’t say no to you, can I? Well, after we’re finished eating and I clean up the kitchen we’re going for a ride, would you like that?”
The happy dog’s tail wagged so rapidly it almost looked like he would take off into the air. His master laughed and gave the pup a scratch behind his ears.
At some point later, Angela awoke to the low growl of his SUV’s engine revving to life followed by the clang of the garage door opening. Her windowless cell was so dark she couldn’t see the difference between having her eyes open or closed. I’m not going to be able to find a way to escape if I can’t see anything, her inner voice muttered. She tried with all of her might to remember what had transpired to bring her to the devil’s playground.
“Think!” she demanded but hearing her voice echo through room made her feel even more alone.
The rest of her thought process remained silent, inner monologue. Okay, Kim and I were going to meet for dinner. She’d sent me that text saying she’s heard some really disturbing news. I pulled into the parking lot and…and then it’s all a blank until I woke up here.