Motel Keys

He held his breath for twenty-five seconds before going back in. Just a bit longer and it was time to call the ambulance; then, climb out of the bathroom window and leave the motel that way. She was still in shock, lying on the cold tiled floor and trying to find a reason to continue breathing.

He was barefoot with plastic bags wrapped around his ankles on each leg, pants tucked inside them as well. When he walked through the door and shut it behind himself again, he only gave her one look and then considered taking a leak. The stench of blood had been clinging to his nostrils since he first dragged her into the bathroom by her hair, and stripped her of all her clothing. When he realised she was on her period, he had the decency to order her to put her panties back on. She only vomited the first time he started cutting out flesh of hers to mark her in pretty floral patterns in various sizes. He helped her to the toilet when she did.

"Gotta piss," he mumbled, taking a firm hold of his dick.

She didn't stir besides the steady rise and fall of her chest. The panic was long gone. Her eyes were bloodshot, cold and almost dead—a blurred vision from the blood and tears, tears that no longer fell—her lip busted and her nipples cut off. Every bone within her hand was visible from where he had pulled the skin off, and the same procedure had been done to her feet.

"You beautiful, ya kno," he said, zipping up his pants again and flushing. Going to the sink, he had to step over her and mumbled an apology before washing his hands. "Canat touch ya like thises." He pulled a towel from the bag sitting next to the old tub, dried his hands and then put it back. "Ya shoulda said thanks when complemented. Is how it works, y'kno?"

He looked down at her. "No?" He quirked a brow. "'Kay. You a silent one." And he was right, she had cried quietly; she had not screamed, she did not trash. The only thing she did was breathe and glare. Her eyes were probably the reason why he didn't skin her some more. He knew she was on some sort of drug before he had taken her, he just didn't expect it to be such a high dosage that she barely felt the pain, or maybe she did feel it and just didn't care.

"Y'kno why Anes does thises?" he asked while kneeling beside her, putting his hands on his thighs. Usually, he did not bother explaining it to them because it didn't matter—they wouldn't grasp it. He had an entire glove compartment full of motel keys, this was just another. "Is 'cause the world be lost without horrors. Anes keeps 'em on their toes, a constant reminder that thises is what ya get when ya slip." He nodded solemnly. For some reason, he had to tell her. Maybe it was because she didn't beg or maybe it really was only because of her eyes.

"There's depth in ya vision. Is beautiful." She blinked, frowning up at him, not even trying to push him away as he leaned in and let his lips linger near hers. "Not gonna ask Anes to stop thises?" he questioned. His hot breath burned into her skin, the rum thick on his tongue. But don't worry, Anes not drunk, he had said earlier. "Anes don't wanna to do thises, but who else, y'kno?"

"Ready?" he asked, pulling his knife from his back pocket. Her skin was taught, from hipbone to hipbone not a single ounce of fat. His fingers splayed on her bare stomach, bloody from the designs he had carved. His thumb dipped into her belly button. "Get diseased like thises, y'kno?" He put the tip of the knife where his thumb had been. She shuddered, her skin going colder than it already was. "Gotta feed the sick, let 'em see and read, then they be satisfied and won't go out to killing 'emselves. Ya see?"

He pushed, and the blade broke skin. She bit her tongue. "'S 'kay. Know it hurts. Ya brave, beautiful and brave. Don't get that often." He had cut gills into her neck to assist her with her breathing should he decide to drown her, not fully comprehending that it wouldn't help. "Anes don't ever get that. Is good. Is new and nice."

"Anes like to keep ya heart. Do ya think if I eat it I will be strong as you? Never hadda girl like thises," he mumbled, pressing the knife deeper into her belly button. She sucked in a mouthful of oxygen, then, grit her teeth. "Sins are scabs, and hearts heal wounds not seen. Can ya heal Anes if Anes take yas? Por-balby, por-balby."

He pulled the blade out again, and she hissed, a whine curling in a throat. When she did, he smiled, showing her every tooth within his mouth, yellow and black, thick with plaque. "Bravery." The tears were running down her face again, and every time she blinked more came. There was a sob building in her throat, a heavy lump in her chest that nearly choked her and she wished it would; she wished it would stop the air from flowing. "Notta single scream. I like, I like." He nodded, sitting back on her cut up thighs while he watched the blood leak out of the newly added wound.

"Like fountain if Anes squeeze ya," he said and laughed.

Unwillingly, her body shook from the blood loss and pain, which mostly went over her head. It was the watching that got to her, the knowing that tore her to pieces. The tremors went deeper than just her skin and she could even feel her soul quiver.

"Make. Anes. Stop," he ordered in a quiet hiss. "No?" He shook his head. "Good. Just tesy-ting ya, just tesy-ting, y'kno?"

He leaned into her face again to stare into her eyes, inhaling deeply and letting his tongue flick against the salty tang of her skin. The room went silent with the sound of her shallow breathing and the buzz within her head. "Time to go, time to go," he mumbled. "Took too long with ya, thises too much time. Must go, y'kno? A hour alway-ts, no more, no more."

He got to his feet again, pulled his pants back over his hips—they were too big—and wandered over to his bag. It didn't take long for him to get out the rubbing alcohol and wire brush. Her eyes went wide at the sight and she grit her teeth, forcing the cry to drown in her throat.

He wrinkled his nose going back to her, it smelled of rotting fish with her private parts leaking from the overflowing pad. He needed to finish this quickly before he, too, would vomit just as she had earlier. "Is 'kay. Gotta hurry, gotta go." He nodded, and gave her a quick smile before unscrewing the cap and just dousing her in the stuff. Her teeth went through her lip as she forced her mouth to stay shut. Fresh blood went down her chin. "Take ya heart after I clean ya."

The weak smile on his face was genuine. "Someone gotta do it, y'kno?" he asked.

Finally, she opened her mouth, letting out a cry that clung to his skin and he knew right then whatever she would say would stay with him forever. He wondered, briefly, if she would beg, but somehow knew she wouldn't.

And then, ever so quietly, she said, "Just remember, my name was Christine."