Chapter 5

TEINE HANDS ME a small knife.

"It's yours, Dolores," he tells me, trying to ignore my disappointment. It looks flimsy, almost like a craft knife. "It's not like dicks, bitch. It's really about what you do with it. You can kill someone with a set of keys."

Dolores has blushing, burning cheeks and hasn't slept properly in over a week.

"A soldier shows respect for the weapon: you don't go about opening cans of sardines with the same weapon you used for slashing up prey or person. Get that?"

I nod pretending I held the weapon in style. Slap! The knife flies out of my hand.

"That's not how ya hold it. Stretch your palm."

I'm thinking he might cut me, but I comply without a fuss.

"Here!" he says, putting the handle across it. "Now make a fist. Press your thumb against the knob like that," he shows me.

His hand slaps the back of my fist. The knife holds.

"Stab me!"

I'm freezing. The cold wind bites my fingers.

"Come on, bitch, cut me!"

I'm dead, but he wants it to be my fault.

"Don't be an idiot, Dolores. If I wanted to kill ya, I would have done it at home, tucked you in the shower curtain, put you on the boat and bye-bye into the open sea. Done that a few times, ya know."

Dolores is raw down there and she feels he sees her worse than one of those silicone sex dolls.

Last night I went back into my bedroom and locked. I wasn't sobbing when I got in. I felt too dizzy and shocked to cry. But as soon as I kneeled on the hard floor I began. My forehead glued itself to the wood. The tears dripped out of my eyes, down the top of my nose, under my face, collecting into a true smaller North Sea.

I hated him. I hated that asshole so much I wanted to go back and kill him.

But I couldn't. I didn't know how.

He is showing me how.

Dolores's rage is called you son-of-a-bitch, Teine and it's close to an epic eruption.

Loraine took me by the hand at the supermarket and asked me how Teine was treating me.

"What you mean? He's all right," I answered.

"You're not sleeping with him, are you?"

I wanted to punch the bitch's face in front of those curious people staring at our hooker-style leather outfits. A dude in his late fifties shoved a hand down his trousers hiding behind a wall of juice cans. I tried to ignore him.

Pf! That's why I haven't slept in days.

"Listen: sleeping with Teine won't help. He's crazy: chicks who end up with him, end up badly. Just stay away," Loraine, told me lifting her gloved hand towards the box of chocolates waiting on the upper shelf.

Nosy, loud bitch! I wished I had the guts to grab that long pony tail of hers, twisting like a blonde eel down her back and tear it off her skull. But I didn't. I shrugged and turned around. I threw a punch into the wall of juice cans smashing them to the ground over the crusty wig worm's feet.

Pervert!

All I needed was rest.

And I couldn't without Teine.

I was wondering if they had insomniac clubs around here. Perhaps I should try the membership thing.

It's been a week since my last slumber.

I tried pills, they put me under, but I wake up just as tired.

Pills are rubbish, acknowledge the group.

I do dope. Relaxes, but still…

We tried dope too. Is good. But what do you really need?

I went asking Loraine for some sexy shit. She got pale as a corpse.

"I NEED to sleep. I need to sleeeeep!"

Babies don't sleep the way I did when I buried my face in his hairy chest, when I felt those hard arms around me, when I got those thick fingers of his running through my hair.

I put on the baby-doll black lace piece she had given me. And the matching G-string. "Black lace does wonders".

Deliver me, Teine.

I didn't care about some whore getting ready in the bathroom.

All I wanted was to drop numb in his embrace. He used to love it: me needy, him caring. It filled a gap in his soul and it fixed me: double gain.

He looked at me frowning.

"What's this?" he questioned after a while.

I didn't tell.

He was bare and big, not just big, monstrous, the Cockzilla of cocks. A thing like that can kill if he's not careful with it.

Deliver me.

I walked to the bed. My body sunk in the silky covers. It reminded me a pool in the heat of the summer. I closed my eyes.

The G-strings snapped off me. I felt his fingers going in and out stiff and coarse. His left hand stroked my face. I was looking for his lips, I needed some reinforcement. But the kiss never really came: he toyed with me, blowing swirls on my neck. He pitied, but pity when you're hornier than a dog in heat is only an enhancer for lust.

"This is gonna hurt," he muttered forcing the pillow under my bottom, "you're tight, I'm big."

Then he spit in his palm and slapped.

I twitched until a joint in my shoulder popped.

My body was driftwood on a stormy sea.

High and low.

The wood goes under the waves one moment and surfaces the next. First down into the guts of the ocean, then up, puked by the next wave. Beneath it, that dark water mass, threatening to pull it under as soon as all buoyancy is lost.

Will I ever reach the damned shore?

The ocean always wins.

It hurt.

Some kind of invisible weight was levelling me. The more I gasped, the less air came in. I dread soon enough not even a tiny draft will be able to pass through into my lungs. I couldn't breathe.

"Get on top!" he noticed turning me over in one swift go.

It got worse.

His hands rip my baby doll apart.

His hands squeezed.

His hands ran up around my neck, onto my cheeks, over the back of my neck.

I leaned forward.

"Come on, baby, lose yourself!" he murmured in my ear.

That voice, warm and sick seeped inside me echoing, echoing: lose yourself, lose yourself, lose...

I rolled my eyes back into my head, the way Pia's did when she talked to me. A tingle climbed up my spine shortcutting my brain climaxing in a frenzied sprinkle of warm liquid that sent me right back infancy. I plunged nose down, my open mouth on his chest. The wreckage, me, shivered there for a bit. He flung me to one side. The continuation is indescribable. Animal, would come close, but not quite.

"Fuck!" he roared discarding his pearly white dots of scum on my stomach.

And he withdrew. I felt him growing cold.

"You've always been a slut, Dolores, haven't you?" he said full of that cold sneer, lighting a cigarette.

His sneer slashed, the way a sharp blade would. I wanted to die.

Dolores is a hundred percent wounded beast fury.

My teeth sunk in the belly of his forearm. It was stone-hard but if I shook my head enough I could taste blood. His other hand squeezed my neck just enough to make me cease. We spent the following minute ogling each other.

I was waiting for his crushing blow.

I was waiting for his smashing anger.

I was waiting for his killer drive.

He took a deep breath. My eyes strolled down that tattoo, to the large chest, getting larger as he took in the air then back up the tattoo, up the blood vessel beating in his neck, up to his face. He uh-uh-uh exhaled, shifting my scuffled bob. My forehead itched.

"Why did you do that for?"

I didn't tell him anything. I simply stared. And staring is confronting.

"You-are-a-fucking-tart," he repeated word-pause-word. "Don't fight me on this one: I have good radar for this shit. There's nothing wrong with it and nothing you can do about it, either. It's just how you're built."

His hand grabbed my hair, nearly tearing it off my scalp.

"Control. Control me, bitch. You know, bitch, men don't give a damn' about the pussy they fuck. It's all about their dicks and how mighty they are. You want to make a man care you give him what he's after in small portions. Got it?"

My chances at rest decreased to zero.

Zero!

"Listen, Dolores, I'm only saying this once: you have no respect for yourself. Beat it! I need to sleep."

Pig!

Teine is a contradiction opening a chasm in my soul.

Last night I mumbled without making any sense: I hate you, asshole! I hate you… I'm so sorry I let you down. Please don't leave me. You're all I got. Please, you're all I got.

I must have fallen asleep there.

Yeah, I thought I slept. After all that weeping, I sunk into a dreamless slumber. And I woke up more tired than ever.

Sleeping on hard wood is bad enough. But imagine sleeping on cold hard wood. My knees crackled. Soreness ran down my right side.

I was frozen.

My first thought was to rush to the bathroom and take a warm shower.

I stank.

The door shook under his brisk kick.

"Hurry up, bitch! I ain't got all day," he barked from the hallway.

I was naked.

When you're half frozen solid and you've cried most of the night, there's no doubt you should wear whatever comes at hand.

His black sweater hung down to my knees, the way a dress would. He had given it to me at the beginning, before he bought some stuff my size. Mostly t-shirts, cotton underwear, a leather jacket, a pink sweater, a pair of camouflage trousers and some of those tight jeans. I preferred his black, oversized sweater. It warmed me, the way he used to when we slept together without crossing that line. The jeans wrestled with me as I pulled them up.

I dashed out.

"What is it Dolores?" he looked at my puffy eyes.

Since last night he changed. He calls me solely by my fake name: Dolores.

As if you don't know, I wanted to yell back. But I couldn't. The shivers stiffened my jaw.

"You're a mess. Go take a shower... you stink."

Was about to anyway.

I would have lived in that shower for a week.

"Hey, don't you keep me waiting, bitch, we have things to do."

My bottom slipped into the chair.

There was breakfast waiting for me on a plate.

Ham and eggs.

The back of the chair rubbed against my ribs. I shifted fully facing Teine.

And toast.

And apples.

It's way better this way, although I can't bear looking at him.

I never ate ham and eggs at home. Too fat, I used to say.

I didn't like toast either. Too dry, I used to say.

And yet, I was swallowing Teine's cooking without chewing.

He was staring at me. The wrinkles at the corner of his eyes deepened. He dropped a hand between his legs, lazily scratching himself, staring at me, pushing that bit of his anatomy down into submission. His gaze bounced from me to the clock ticking on the wall, then back.

I bit my lip and sobbed.

I bit my lip to stop sobbing.

It didn't work.

My voice died out. We should have had a funeral or something.

"Your journal," he passed me the notebook and the pen.

That was for the times when I couldn't speak. Plus it became a sort of intimate collection of thoughts, an expression of my frustrations. I'd never kept a journal before. I didn't even know how to do it properly. I just wrote whatever came to mind.

"Yeah, now."

I gazed at him in disbelief.

My fingers hesitated.

He'd been reading everything. He'd been doing it for a while.

That was why he had given it to me in the first place, so he can enter my mind.

Pig!

My fingers picked up the pen.

I h…

I couldn't finish. The pen rolled, slipping my fingers.

A blood vessel arched in my forearm when I made a fist. My eyes fixed on that blood vessel. I could cut right across it. Maybe I bled to death. Probably not.

I hate you, Teine.

I couldn't write it, because that was only half of it.

The other half screamed the opposite.

He picked up the notebook.

"I want to be a heartless murderer and a whore," he read me to me from my notebook. "You wrote this a few days ago, right? Oh baby, ye're so sweet, putting down this shit, but ya know, the best killers, they're never heartless."

He tossed it back under my wiping face. I picked up the pen, my eyes blurry with tears.

Don't kick me out, Teine. Please.

I turned the notebook facing him.

"I wasn't going to get rid of you, baby. Ye're too much fun. Anything else?"

Don't hurt me again.

"Don't give me reasons for it."

How's your arm?

"Fine. How's your pussy?"

I blushed shooting my eyes into the page.

"Dolores, don't ever lock your door on me again. As long you stay here, you have to pay for it. I'm no fucking charity organization."

I gulped.

Pig!

Dolores's rage is headache, a dull, coal-black headache with spinning, flickering stars of green and yellow the way children draw on the wall when the parents aren't looking.

Teine had pale blue eyes the colour of cornflower that morning.

I spited in his face.

We faced each other the way those cowboys did back in the western movies.

I expected his crush blow, sending me right under the table.

He delayed.

And delayed.

Teine wiped his face with the tips of his fingers then licked them as if I had sprayed orange juice.

He looked amused.

"About the whore part: pussy business works fine. Meant to suggest it to ya, was just seeking for the right moment, ya know… sure, I can pimp you, keep you safe."

He stressed the "safe". Sure he did.

"What did ya think I was gonna marry ya?"

Some words kill the same way that mythical Kung Fu strike does, that one that's supposed to finishes you years after you've received it, you know what I'm talking about if you saw Kill Bill. My mother's you dirty little slut did that. And now these lines.

I swept the pen and the notebook across the floor.

End-of-rant.

"I like you, I do," he told me playing with a lock of my hair. "I'll see what you've learnt about the other thing tonight. Now I'm gonna teach yer arse how to stab people."

MUD IS EVERYWHERE. It stains my sneakers.

"Cut me!"

Slap! My nose is bleeding before I even get the chance to thrust.

"Again!"

A knife is a great weapon for close-quarter work as long as the victim doesn't see it coming until it's too late. It's called the element of surprise. Another reason why a knife is such a great weapon is the fact that it makes no noise.

"Take off yer sweater. It's slowing ya down."

He doesn't give a damn about the cold, about the fact that you feel ridiculous stripping in the drizzle.

"C'mon, bitch, seen ya naked before. Remember?"

It's just me and Teine and the cows grazing in the distance. The temperature is closing to ten degrees Celsius, fifty degrees Fahrenheit, if I am to trust the weather forecast, but the thermometer by the barn's door shows eight Celsius (forty six point four Fahrenheit.

If you carry a knife in the right hand, is a good idea to have a handful of dirt in the left, just so you can blind your opponent. If you manage that, you should go for the stomach. Set your opponent off balance and you win, lose balance yourself and you're screwed.

He evades my angry thrust. I lose poise. Next my face rams into the mud.

"Move around yer target, don't just wait there! You're rigid like a wood plank. Remember: ye're stiff, ye're screwed!"

Knife throwing is bullshit, totally impractical in combat. Knife throwing is side-shows territory. You need to know the precise distance between yourself and your target, because the knife turns end over end as it travels through the air. If you don't know the distance you don't know the number of turns, therefore you lose your weapon. There are methods for throwing a knife at close ranges without causing the blade to turn in the air, but you should consider the agility of your target, heavy clothing and the fact that if you miss, you're screwed.

He had a bad morning. He must have had bloody four months and twenty four days of bad time, because he gets both my arms behind my head and plunges my face into the mud.

"I hate you!" I growl.

"Don't get hysterical, baby. Control yer damned emotions!"

And he keeps me there, the more I yell, the more he pushes, my armed hand twisted to my back.

"I hate you, you monster, you insane bastard!"

Until I let go. And he lets go too.

"Draw straight, keep your steel sharp and be perceptive of yer environment."

Most people would prefer using their fists to knife fight, just feels more natural. Most of them, they'd be screwed if Teine was around with a blade.

The disembowelled carcass of a pig swung lazily in the wind, hanging by a corroded pipe.

"Lesson one: slashing versus thrust."

A knife in the hand of an enemy means panic, especially if the blade shines bright. If the blade is painted it seems less entrancing, but an attacker's shiny blade is an advantage for the attacker, unless you were trained to go past its glare.

"Look at it, bitch! It's your last resort. You've got no gun, I've got no gun, but you have a blade, I have a blade. Imagine this dead pig is me and I'm coming for yer arse."

Thrusts are deadlier than slashes, but it's the slashes that give you the edge: they debilitate. Injured targets are easier to take down. Besides a well-placed slash that goes deep enough to an artery (armpit, neck, etc.) does more damage than a stab to the leg or the arm. You have an inner circle and an outer circle. Don't let your opponent enter your inner circle. Slash him up. If he gets inside your near circle you're in trouble.

"Pressure, slide, exit. Easy. You do it."

All my slashes are thrusts. The pig's skin is hard to slice.

"Wrong! Do it again!"

My blade digs deep. It almost sticks in a couple of times.

"Again! Slash, not thrust."

"Again!"

"You got the hang of it! Again!"