Yep! Another Tuesday's Terrors day! And today, we continue reading Fractured. The same warning applies this week as it did last week, but I'll post it here again just in case you missed it or forgot:
**WARNING: This story is intended for mature audiences, and may involve nightmare-inducing imagery, sexual innuendos, graphic violence, explicit language, implied sexual congress, incest, rape, and other adult content, so therefore proceed with caution as I will not be held liable for any thoughts, opinions, suicidal or homicidal tendencies, unclean or impure actions, thoughts, or intentions, nor any thoughts, actions, or intentions that may form, develop, or occur as a direct or indirect result of this story. If you're too young or feel your immortal soul is in peril by reading something graphic, horrifying, and obscene, please refrain from reading this story. This story and all subsequent stories are a work of fiction, names, characters, places, events, locales, etc used in this story and all subsequent stories are creations of the authors own demented mind and any resemblance to actual persons, places, things, or events, either living, deceased, real, or otherwise, is completely coincidental. In other words, don't sue me or send me hate mail or anything of a negative nature. You've been warned, if you take this literally, it's of your own accord. This and all stories written by Ashley Torbeck are copyright of Ashley Torbeck, and subject to copyright law in its fullest extent.
And now...enjoy Episode 2 of Fractured in today's installment of Tuesday's Terrors!!
Locked up tight in the attic was the safest place in the house for Dahlia. It was her own little oasis against the onslaught of nightmares and terror brought down upon her by her uncle and step-aunt.
The only window in the room was sealed shut, and in the summer the heat poured in through that window, trapped with no ventilation, turning the attic into a sauna that would make the molten lava at the Earth’s core sweat. But in the winter, it was a blessing, pulling in heat from the sun to warm the frigid temperatures. She’d spread several old blankets out on the floor beneath the window, creating a soft, comfortable pallet. Using the dusty old sewing materials that Edna had long since abandoned, she’d sewn together several old, flat and shapeless pillows to make a couple of soft ones, which she added to her pallet below the window.
In one corner, several boxes were stacked in a square to balance a large rectangular mirror, creating a makeshift table for homework and crafting. In the center of the table sat a funky lamp circa 1975, with brightly colored baubles at the base and a round globe with countless chunks of reflective glass glued around the orb, letting light through sporadically. The disco ball lamp gave off a wild assortment of colors that reflected against the orb lampshade to give the room an ambiance that would make any stoner-hippie proud.
There were three chairs situated around the table, each padded with a hideous flower pattern in orange, red and brown, with a rounded back. She’d designated one for herself, while the other two she imagined were occupied by her mother and father. Every so often, as a young girl, she’d imagined she was having a tea party with friends. Of course, it was all make believe; Dahlia had never had a friend in her life.
After crying for several minutes, she crawled over to the pallet beneath the window and laid on her side, gazing out at the snow that started falling again. The late afternoon sky was a hazy blend of colors ranging from purple to orange. Dahlia imagined she was a snowflake, dancing on the air amidst the beautiful colors, free to just exist without the constant fear that was her life.
Lost in her fantasies, she didn’t hear her uncle and his wife prying open the door gently, forcing their way silently into the attic. When she heard the footstep on the floor, it was too late.
“Gotcha!” Dennis said triumphantly, snatching her arm and yanking her against him as she scrambled to get away.
She kicked and wriggled in his grasp, but it was like struggling against steel around her arms, cutting off the circulation. Dennis forced her down the hole in the floor and down the steps of the ladder to where Edna waited. Edna was no small woman, either-a southern woman from Mississippi who frequently participated in rodeos. She had twice the strength of Dahlia on a good day, and her struggles were useless against Edna’s grip, though it didn’t stop her from trying.
“Stupid little girl,” she snarled into Dahlia’s ear. “Who do you think you are?”
Edna’s twang was like razors in Dahlia’s ears. She knew what was coming, and she feared for her life.
Dennis locked the attic and climbed down to where Edna was holding a teary-eyed Dahlia, then turned to face her. his nose was bandaged and splattered with blobs of red, and a deep purple bruise was already forming in the inner corner of his eye. He was furious.
“So, you wanna play hide and seek, huh? Well, I got something to hide for you…”
Dahlia wondered how his wife could watch his brutal assault on her, then worship that man as if he could do no wrong. He started unbuckling his belt, and Dahlia’s silent tears turned into begging screams, pleading with him for mercy.
“Oh, what’s that? You’re sorry? Oh, I don’t believe that, do you Edna?”
Dennis looked at his wife, who brushed the hair back from Dahlia’s face gingerly, a maniacal smile on her face.
“No, I don’t think she’s sorry, Dennis. I think she’s a bad seed. She can’t be fixed. Best to just do away with her.”
Edna’s terrifying smile was inches from her face, and Dahlia thought for a moment she was going to be sick.
“Now, Edna, we can’t get rid of her. Too many questions.”
“We can just say she ran away. After all the Hell she’s put us through, nobody would doubt it.”
“That’s a chance we can’t take.”
Edna’s smile faltered for a second, just long enough for Dahlia to really see the hatred in her eyes and the rage at being denied the chance to squeeze the life out of her. Panic pumped through her body with every beat of her racing heart.
Dennis doubled the belt he’d pulled free from his pants, which were hanging loosely on his hips with no belt to secure them, and held the part that was folded over in his hand. Pulling his arm back as far as it would go, he swung wide and hard, slamming the metal buckle against Dahlia’s jaw with enough force to rip her from Edna’s grip. A bolt of pain erupted in her face as an audible crack resonated through her ears and neck. She fell sprawling to the floor as blood gushed into her mouth and out of her nose. Every part of her neck and face was on fire with pain, and this was only the first strike.
“Stupid little whore. How dare you break my nose?” Dennis screamed, whipping the belt buckle down on her again.
The second blow caught her in the back, the center pin of the buckle piercing her skin just to the left of her spine, and suddenly the pain in Dahlia’s face was a mosquito bite compared to the horrific agony surging through her back. She screamed in agony, through her broken jaw, which only hurt more with each movement and sound she made. Heavy sobs filled her eyes with tears as she tried to push her hands against the cold floor to raise herself up.
That only earned her a kick in her ribs from Edna.
“Don’t you fucking move!” she screamed as Dahlia curled around herself, holding her aching side.
Dennis unfastened his pants and let them drop to his ankles. Dahlia’s eyes grew wide, and she knew it was coming. The horrific nightmare she’d narrowly avoided earlier was going to be ten times worse after her little escape. Dennis dropped to his knees, and Dahlia tried to inch away, but Edna blocked her path, kneeling at her head.
“Now now, Dahlia,” she grinned. “You have to take your punishment. We have to try and get the bad seed out of you by planting a new, good seed inside you.”
Dahlia’s head was swimming in fear.
“One day, you’ll have a little tiny baby for me. And I’ll name her Danielle, and me and Dennis and Danielle will finally be the happy little family we were always meant to be.”
“You’re sick!” Dahlia screamed, her jaw protesting every syllable. “You’re both sick fucks, and I swear to Christ, I’m going to kill you! And I’m not having your fucking demon spawn of a child!”
Edna’s face turned dark, and without warning, she slammed her fist against Dahlia’s broken jaw, sending a shower of fresh blood and tears pouring out of her face. She couldn’t scream, she was nearly choking on the blood. Edna grabbed her arms and yanked them above her head, forcing Dahlia on her back, sending new waves of pain through her ribs and back.
Go to your happy place, Dahlia, she thought. Go to your happy place.
An hour later, Dahlia woke to find herself stripped naked and on her pallet in the attic. Her jaw and ribs were throbbing with pain, but she knew she needed to move. She was freezing cold, and laying under the window wasn’t helping.
When she stood, she was woozy, but at least she was able to stand. Her jaw, back, and side were in a great amount of pain, but the worst pain was in her lower abdomen and girly bits. It was as though she were on fire down there, and it hurt to breathe, let alone get up and walk around. Her thighs were bruised and she was bleeding a little, but nothing to cause any major concern.
She made her way to the boxes of old clothes and dug around until she found a shirt and pair of pants that would fit. Underwear was always out of the question, nobody kept old underwear, but at least she wouldn’t be naked and completely vulnerable.
Without making a sound, she slipped into the clothes. She noticed something glinting in the moonlight from the window a few boxes down in the corner. Making her way back to the corner, she saw it was an old rusted metal chest about three feet wide, five feet long, and three feet deep. The hinges and latch were metal, and a small portion of the hinge was still silver enough to reflect the light.
Moving other boxes around, she unburied the chest and made room for her to kneel in front of it, creating an almost fort of boxes surrounding her. Despite the near numbness in her fingers, she worked the latch until it popped open, and she lifted the lid. It whined in protest but opened on its hinges nonetheless.
Inside was a playground of medical equipment from circa 1966, from the Vietnam War. Dahlia recognized some of the now arcane tools that her great-grandfather, Peter, had shown her. Peter had been a doctor during the war, and remained a doctor for many years after. It was where he’d met her great-grandmother, Lucy, who’d been a nurse. They’d been stationed together and worked together for three years before deciding to marry, and Dahlia’s grandfather George had been born shortly after. Her grandfather George had also married a nurse, though he hadn’t joined the military, and they had Caroline and Dennis, twins; Dahlia’s mother and her uncle.
She hated the entire family on that side. All the men in her family were abusive and self-righteous bastards, taking everything they could from the women in their lives. Part of her despised the family heirlooms, and wanted to burn them. But instead, she ran her fingers over a row of empty syringes.
Dahlia jumped and spun around as she stood, searching for the owner of the voice. There was no one around. She was completely alone.
Wiping the beads of sweat that instantly popped up as the adrenaline surged through her, she returned her gaze to the box of goodies. Beside the syringes was what she remembered Grampa Peter describe as a bone saw.
“Take it. Pick it up.”
Dahlia froze, her fingers barely touching the handle to the deadly weapon. The elusive voice was back, and she instantly recognized it. Her heart froze over as she realized the voice was her own.
Pretty awesome, right? Make sure you tune in next Tuesday for Episode 3 of Fractured in Tuesday's Terrors!