“The Vacation” by Dorothy Stone
Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.
This week, Dorothy Stone tells the story of a woman who’s forced to make make an unexpected detour in the Seattle area.
She knew she was not his first. The concrete room contained evidence of several that had been here before her: photos, locks of hair, single earrings, fingernails . . .
She had awoken here, groggy, alone, and not sure where she was or why she was here. Then it slowly started coming back.
She had parked in the strip mall near the convenience store on her way home from the supper shift at the diner in Everett. She had remembered she needed to pick up milk so she could have cereal and coffee in the morning before she left to meet her two best friends at Sea-Tac Airport to leave on their long-awaited vacation to Australia.
As she started to open the car door, a man crossed in front of her vehicle. He was on crutches and had a cast on one foot. He was carrying two plastic grocery bags. One slipped from his hand, and items spilled to the pavement. She hurried to help him, and as she bent down to pick things up, she felt something sharp enter her shoulder. Blackness enveloped her almost immediately.
Several young women had gone missing in the Seattle area over the summer. None had returned home, no bodies had been found, and according to the news, the police had no leads.
Maybe the ones that had come before her had convinced him that he was invincible, never going to be caught. Perhaps this is what had led to his being less than thorough when he had confined her to the space. She had been drugged when he brought her here, and he probably thought he had more than enough time before it would wear off and he would need to restrain her. He had miscalculated.
She tried to clear her head and take stock of her surroundings. There was a disturbing odor to the room and dark stains on the floor. She could see no food or source of water.
Besides his trophies there were a couple of workbenches, one covered with restraints: chains, duct tape, handcuffs. The other bench had some tools precisely laid out. At the end was a hunting knife and what appeared to be a Taser. She had never handled one before, but how hard could it be? And, really, what choice did she have?
She crouched under the workbench closest to the door, Taser in hand, and waited. When she heard a key in the lock she raised the Taser to what she thought would be chest height, and the minute the door swung open, she fired. The crackling noise filled the room, and the man fell to his knees and then collapsed on the floor.
She used all the restraints on him that she could find and then waited to make sure he regained consciousness.
He finally moaned and opened his eyes. Without saying a word, she picked up the keys he had dropped on the floor as the electric charge had pulsed through his body.
She left the room and pulled the heavy door shut behind her, locking it. She stood silently for a few minutes with her ear against the door and listened to the muffled, panicked pleas from within, begging her not to leave him there.
It was dark, but the sky was clear and there was a full moon. She saw the glint of metal and glass to one side of the well-hidden entrance to the bunker. His car. She had his keys.
She drove slowly on the overgrown trail for what seemed like forever and then came to an opening in the trees, where she saw the lights of cars on a highway in the distance. When she reached the main road she saw the lights of Everett and turned onto the highway.
She instantly felt relief wash over her and thought to herself that this had all happened because she had been out of milk. Well, that wasn’t important. She was safe. She knew where she was now and would make sure the authorities knew the location of the hidden bunker and the monster inside.
But first, she had a three-week vacation to go on with her friends. As she headed home, she wondered how long a person could last without food, water, and a dwindling supply of air.
She knew she was not his first, but she’d make sure she would be his last.
DOROTHY STONE lives in rural Alberta, Canada, and has coyotes, deer, and moose walking through the front yard but still managed to shake hands with the real Colonel Sanders. She has raised two children, numerous dogs, cats, horses, and llamas, along with one wild goldeneye duckling that her dogs taught to fly—she is writing a children’s book about this unique experience. She has always been an avid reader of mystery and crime stories and now writes her own.
Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:
—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission [email protected] paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
Posted: Aug 3, 2015
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