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The Paths We Take #22: New Girl

Jul 19, 2018

 

 

 

 

Claire

 

I sat across from New Girl – perky, wild, loquacious New Girl. She introduced herself before pouring a glass of Girard Zinfandel. She told me to call her Rae; I wasn’t sure if that was her real name, but it didn’t really matter. She was sixteen, I learned later, but well versed in the art of seduction. She bragged about screwing her English teacher in the media center after school and went on about how she worked her way up to the Donnelly compound through a good ole ménage à trois.

“Want some?” she asked while I was stuffing the last bite of the turkey-on-wheat in my mouth. She slid the bottle across the table to me and continued talking about how she was so excited to meet with her first client at the cabin. I gulped down my water and poured the Zinfandel in my glass. Gramps was sitting at the smaller table close to the door eating a roast beef sandwich and crunching down on barbeque Middleswarth potato chips. I wanted to shove some of the potato chips into Rae’s mouth, so she would shut up for a minute.

Rae was runway-gorgeous, and it was no surprise that Donnelly wanted her at the cabin, with the rest of his most valuable players. She was almost unreal, like one of those anime girls with the perfect ass, barely-there waist, and shirt-exploding tits. I would bet money that she was the girl that all the guys salivated over at Red Pines High, and the one that all the plain girls wanted to drown in the river.

Gramps ogled her when she first came in, like he always does, making a full body scan with a short pause a quarter of the way down and then again at the halfway point. He was my official escort for lunch since I wasn’t allowed to leave my room alone. He would at least talk to me on occasion; the other two goons that were around when Gramps wasn’t there never said a word to me outside of “hurry up” and “time to go.”

“I hear you’re the number one around here,” Rae said as she shot me a wink. You can never trust someone who winks a lot; they’re always trying to fool someone. “I finally have some real competition. Where’d they find you?” she asked.

Gramps glared at me in a way that made me feel like I had the barrel of a shotgun pressed against my forehead. I knew that I had to lie.

“You know; I needed some extra money, and next thing you know, here I am,” I lied. Rae gave a weak laugh, rolled her eyes when she thought I had looked down at my wine, and then started to ramble on about her life again.

“I’m so bored,” she blurted out, mid-sentence, like the idea stung her in the neck. She dug a Chapstick container out of her front jeans pocket and popped the lid off. She shook out a line of white powder onto the table. Within a second the line was gone, and then she did another. She blinked her eyes and shook her head after the second line vanished, like a dog who lapped up too much water in a hurry. The gold hoop earrings, a pair in each ear, clung together as her head thrashed. “Now I’m having some fun. Want some?” she asked.

“Put that shit away,” Gramps grumbled. He got up from his seat, walked over to Rae, and gave her a handkerchief that he pulled from his pocket. “Take care of that,” he mumbled again before stepping into the doorway. He didn’t seem to like the overconfident girls that came to the cabin, probably brought back memories of his own days in high school.

Rae wiped the white residue from her nose. “What you so grumpy, old man? Someone steal your Viagra?” she jeered, batting her long, spidery eyelashes at Gramps, overcome with excitement and satisfaction from her own joke.

Gramps ignored her. His phone buzzed, and he looked down to read the text message. He looked over at me when he lifted his head. “Come on pretty girl. Mr. Donnelly wants to show you something.”

I finished the last sip of the wine in my glass, regretting that I hadn’t poured more, and started towards the door. “It was nice to meet you. Maybe we can work together with some of the clients sometime,” Rae laughed again as she raised the glass of wine, spilling some onto her shirt as she lifted her arm.

I don’t think so… you slut.

“Sure thing,” I smiled as I followed Gramps out of the kitchen. I followed him as usual, his slight limp messing up the rhythmic tapping of our footfalls on the wooden floors. The turkey sandwich churned in my stomach as we passed the door to Donnelly’s bedroom and continued down the hall to the stairwell that led to the basement.

I thought of my last visit with Michael. I felt guilty for using him, but I needed him to help me; there was no one else. New Girl would be no help to me. I tried to imagine myself with Michael before all of this happened, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make “us” work.

You’re the slut Claire, I thought.

The stairwell was dark and musty; it felt like the temperature dropped twenty degrees as we made our way down. The basement was one large rectangular room, and it smelled like earth and rotting wood. A single light bulb burned in the center of the ceiling, spraying a dim yellow light across the room and onto the barren walls. The room was empty, outside of a few boxes that were scattered about and a couple of old wooden barrels that were sleeping in an inch of dust on the floor. Donnelly stood by a single door, a cigarette dangling from the side of his mouth. It looked a little smaller than a normal door, and the handle was more of a latch than a knob.

“This isn’t the original cabin that was built here. The original one was an old hunting cabin owned by a group of bankers from Philly; they used to come here to hunt on the weekends. The place was falling apart, so I basically had to rebuild the whole thing. This basement though… it’s part of the original cabin,” he said as he looked around. The orange glow of the cigarette painted a sinister look on his face; he was the devil, and the door to hell was in front of him.

Donnelly opened the door, but I couldn’t see what was inside. The space was black, like a tomb. This is where you’re going to die Claire, I thought to myself, shivers rolling up and down the length of my body. Donnelly motioned for me to come closer with his hand. I stepped forward and looked inside. I almost stepped in, but my foot couldn’t find the floor. I looked down to find there was no floor, just a dark hole, the size of a small bedroom, filled a quarter of the way with large blocks of ice.

“They stored their meat down here in this ice house. The ice would keep in here for months,” Donnelly explained. I waited for him to continue, but he didn’t say anything. I wanted to turn around and run, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere.

“Claire. You shouldn’t have talked to Michael,” Donnelly said, the anger shaking in his voice. I thought he would just put a bullet in my head, but I just heard him breathing behind me.

“It’s okay. His dad tells me that you didn’t tell him everything,” he whispered, his breath warming the back of my ear. “That’s why I’m not going to kill you.”

I tried to step back, but the shove sent me barreling forward. I remembered falling on the ice when my Dad took me to an ice skating rink when I was six. I remembered how cold the ice was, but I forgot the fall was like hitting a slab of rock.

My hands were the first thing to hit, saving my face, but sending spikes of pain through my arms and elbows. The next thing to hit was my right knee. I somehow managed to contort my body after my hands hit, to save myself from hitting on my left side, but at the expense of my right knee. It felt like someone crushed it with a hammer. I screamed out and tried to curl myself into a ball – a natural, but useless reaction.

I looked up, but the only thing I could see were the flakes of dust floating towards me as the door shut. Then the darkness swallowed me.

 

© Josiah A. Miller 2018. All Rights Reserved.