Authors: Meli Raine
Tags: #BBW Romance, #Coming of Age, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Fiction, #General, #Genre Fiction, #Literature & Fiction, #Mystery & Suspense, #New Adult, #New Adult & College, #Romance, #Romantic Suspense, #Suspense, #Women's Fiction
The Coming Home series Book
You can think you’ve had everything stolen from you.
hat there’s nothing left to lose.
ou would be wrong.
My best friend’s been kidnapped. I was just captured. What I thought was a massive drug operation run by a man who killed my father turns out to be ten times more horrific.
I’m trapped. My best friend may be dead.
And Mark has no idea where to find me.
Some secrets should remain buried, my captors tell me.
And it looks like I will be, too.
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As Amy faints, she falls on my arm. I drop my phone. Amy’s shoulder bang
into it as she hits the floor. A sickening
fills my ears.
The flashlight goes dim.
Oh, God. The one and only tool I have to try to get out of this horror show and it’s just been destroyed.
Amy is breathing hard but steady. She’s not bleeding, but the bandage is soaked with blood. I can’t tell how long ago someone removed her arm.
I can’t see.
All I can do is feel.
Blackness surrounds me. I hear nothing. I know that above us there is a coffee shop full of customers and employees. People are sippi
g lattes and eating pastries.
hey’re on laptops and checking email. Mothers come in with toddlers. Old ladies meet for a morning talk.
And Mikey’s upstairs, knowing he trapped me in here.
I let out a choking sound that is like a sob, only ten thousand times worse.
Mikey. That face. His anger, then nervousness. What is that about? Why did he trap me in here? I sit in the inky darkness.
he only sound I hear is Amy’s loud breath and my own sniffles. I pull her up against me, sliding her head and shoulders into my lap. She’s warm, but not hot. No fever.
I’m careful not to touch the shoulder where her arm used to be.
I make a weird sound of disbelief. Where her arm used to be. Whoever captured her has cut off one of her arms. Her entire arm. Where is it? When did they cut it off? Why did someone
cut it off
I go bone-chilling cold.
I know damn well who did it.
My heartbeat feels like a voice.
I know there’s no echo down here. Everything is muffled. At the same time, it’s like every sound is a scrape. Each time I move, I hear it magnified. Every time I shift Amy’s weight against me, it feels like the last time I’ll hear sound.
As the reality of my situation sinks in, a small, scrabbling creature grows inside my breastbone.
t’s fear, clawing its way out of me.
I start to shake. I hold my breath, my body heaving as the air tries to get in. I can’t control any of this.
t’s panic, pure and simple.
My body is revolting against the truth of what is happening, and I’m literally a passenger in my own meltdown.
Amy groans and rolls on one side. Her good arm is covered in scratches. I feel them with my fingertips. Because I’ve lost the sense of sight, I try to focus on what I can experience.
ouch still works. Gently, I run my fingers over her arms, neck, shoulders and face. She has scratches everywhere, and one wound on her jaw that feels tender and slightly warm to the touch.
I avoid the shoulder joint where her arm has been removed.
“He’s coming,” she mutters. A streak of horror, like an electric current, zips from my heel to the top of my head.
That’s what she said in one of my nightmares.
A nightmare that has just come true.
Who’s coming, Amy?” I ask, stroking her hair away from her face.
” The word comes out like a hiss, like an agonal sigh. It feels like it echoes into my bones. If I was freaked out before, now I’m completely frozen by utter terror. I can’t think. Can’t feel. Can’t move.
If he is really coming, then we’re sitting victims. We’re prey. We’re just here, waiting for our fate.
One limb removed at a time.
“Amy!” I whisper, shaking her. I feel her groan, then move.
“Wha?” Her breath is hot against my thigh.
“When did he do this to you?” The blood seemed fresh enough that it must have been recently.
“Don’t know. How many days has he had me?”
My gut clenches. Oh,
. I count in my head.
A week. Seven days.” Has it really only been a week? It feels like half my life.
“Then a couple days ago. After they came back.”
“You’ve been here the entire time?”
“I don’t know. Where am I? Where’s my mom? I want my mom,” she cries. Her sobs shake my legs, her groans of pain mixed with the crying.
Tears fill my eyes with sympathy.
I want her mom, too.
I want anyone right now.
e’s coming,” she murmurs.
, that is.
She whimpers. “He cuts us.”
Bile rises in my throat. Are there more people in here?
“The others. He’s been hiding us. All the women before me. He cuts them and then they go away. When you go away you never come back.” Her voice is slurred and she’s fading out.
realize she’s probably hungry or thirsty, at least. I feel around in the dark and my hand brushes against plastic. My water bottle.
“Amy?” I shake her. “Are you thirsty?”
She says nothing. I feel around for her mouth, then carefully guide the opening of my water bottle to her lips. She drinks greedily, then starts to gag.
Hysteria rises in me like a vine seeking the sun. “Have they hurt you?”
She makes a weird sound. “
hey cut my arm off!”
“No, no,” I say, cursing myself. “I’m so sorry, Amy. Oh, my God. I meant, has he...has he raped you?”
She sniffles, then struggles to sit up. Her hand touches my hip, then rides up my body as she tries to find my face.
er fingertips touch my lips. They’re dirty and caked with something that tastes like dried blood and sweat. I don’t pull away, though.
“No. He says he has to save us all for his boss.”
The picture of Claudia’s mother invades my mind. No arms, no legs. The Butcher, Amy called him. Is El Brujo kidnapping women and disfiguring them to meet some sick sexual sadistic need?
“What happens to you all?”
“The women. We had four of us in here. The other three, the butcher would come and take them.
e’d hear the screams. Oh, God,
arrie, I don’t want to hear the screams again.”
“You won’t.” My voice is stone-cold steel. I’m faking my strength, though. I have no idea how to get out of this. No clue how to get Amy out of here.
But I will die trying.
f only I’d said something to Allie...and then there’s Mikey. Why on earth would Mikey turn on me like this? Was he part of this horrible butchering?
“Is Mikey part of this, Amy?” She’s leaning against me now and I hold her, rocking slightly. It’s like soothing a small, hurt child.
? He’d never
o anything like this. Why?”
I hear her take a very deep, ve
y shaky breath. “I’m so glad to see you.”
“Can’t see anything,” I reply.
She lets out a small laugh. “I’ve really been kidnapped for a week?”
“Yes.” My heart is
reaking. She sounds so lost. So hopeless.
“A week? They’ve had me for a fucking week?” Her voice is gaining power.
“Do you have food?” Her stomach gurgles as if to emphasize her need.
I paw around in the dark to find my purse. Thank goodness I’m a pig when it comes to the cinnamon croissants. “I have an extra croissant.” The brown paper bag the clerk put it in earlier makes a crinkling sound.
“I’m drooling. They’ve given us bread and water and cheese.”
I hand her the entire thing. I smell the sweetness of the bread as she brings it to her mouth.
mmmmm,” she moans.
t’s good to hear a positive sound from her.
A few bit
s later, I fe
l her fumbling in my lap. “
ere,” Amy says. She’s shoving part of the croissant my way.
“No, you eat it,” I insist.
“We don’t know how long we’ll be in here, Carrie. We nee
to save some.”
And with those words, I fall apart in an instant.
The low moan that comes out of me starts as a small sound but quickly grows. It becomes a bellow, a long, horrified hum that
a shriek as it passes, endless and eternal, between my lips.
“CARRIE!” Amy screams. “STOP IT! STOP IT!” I hear her panic. She’s frantic, pulling at me.
I can’t stop.
This is the sound of feral fear.
YOU CANNOT DO THIS!” she shouts.
I can’t stop.
And then wham! My head is on the ground, a sickening thump like a melon being dropped from a roof filling my head.
She’s on top of me, hitting me, one-handed.
“SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!” Amy growls, over and over as she hits me.
I come to my senses and sh
ve her off me. It’s easy.
I have two hands.
Quit hitting me!’ I shout, panting with exertion. I realize my eyes have adjusted, and there’s the tiniest hint of light at one end of the tomb.
Tomb. Some part of my subconscious is thinking of this space as a tomb.
“No fucking way,” I mutter to myself as I hear Amy sitting up. “I am not going to die in here. No fucking way.”
“Me neither,” Amy adds.
“I have too much life left to live,” I say, thinking of Mark. Tears fills my throat.
The room is stifling. We take for granted such simple things, like opening a window when we need fresh air. I have no such freedom.
may never again.
“Plus, you can’t die a virgin,” she adds.
“What?” Is she seriously talking about my sex life at a time like
We’re sitting ducks, trapped in a secret storage space after Mikey double-crossed me, and she’s worried about what my vagina has or has not had in it?
“Just pointing out the obvious,” she giggles,
though her voice is weak
. It’s a crazy sound, like she’s gone out of her mind. Not that I blame her...
“I’m not a virgin.”
es, you are.”
he shrieks. Her hand flails, brushing against my nose.
“Quit hitting me!”
g to hug you, you stupidhead. Oh, my God! You had
I start laughing in the dark. The sound is spooky and unhinged.
“Didn’t do me any good. Mark has no idea where I am. None.” I feel around on the ground for my phone. The glass is cracked. I push buttons de
erately. Nothing. No light, no...nothing.
“How did you find me, then?”
he asks, brea
y, like she’s trying very hard to stay in control.
She laughs bitterly. “
t’s not like I have anything better to do than listen, Carrie.”
I can’t believe my best friend in the world and I were just beating each other up in the dark.
“Where’s your arm?” I ask. It suddenly occurs to me to ask.
She makes gurgling sound, half-sob, half-pain. “I don’t know. They just started cutting and I passed out.”
I reach for her and hug her, holding her close. “Oh, my God, Amy. Those monsters.”
She sobs against me. “I woke up in the dark. It was just me and
a by then.”
Why does that name ring a bell?