Friday, July 4, 2014

Fiction Fridays: Lost Chapter Thirty-Eight

Hello Dear Readers,

This is the chapter I've warned you about. It contains extreme violence, language, and graphic content of a sexual nature. Of all the things I've written in my life, this was the most difficult. It made me physically ill, so I expect it will be quite upsetting for some of you. I apologize, and hope you will stick with it. This is as rough as it gets.

If you miss a chapter of Lost, don't despair. All of the posts can be located by clicking on that lovely turquoise badge to the left of this post. Since the story has been running for a while, you now need to scroll down to the bottom of the file and select Older Posts to start from the beginning. 

~ Chapter Thirty-eight ~

Gregg was still sleeping when his phone rang, even though it was well past noon. Heather had kept him up most of the night. He considered letting it ring, but then thought better of it. Maybe it was Heather wanting a repeat session.
“Hello?” he mumbled in what he hoped was his sexiest voice.
The response was so violent that Gregg held the receiver away from his ear, wincing.
“You fucking asshole! You motherfucker! I hope you rot in hell, you fucking creep!”
Gregg was suddenly wide-awake. “Who the fuck is this?”
“Never mind. I want to know how you can live with yourself, Gregg. How can you fucking live with yourself?”
“Bite me, Terri.” Gregg decided the distraught woman had to be his ex-girlfriend. Maybe he had forgotten to break up with her before he started seeing Heather, but that was no reason to get hysterical.
“This isn’t Terri, you asshole. It’s Sara. Sara Martin, remember me? You killed my little sister, you fucking maniac! How could you? How could you kill her, you sick fuck?” She burst into sobs.
As the meaning of her words seeped through Gregg’s addled brain, his body began to tremble. He ran a nervous hand through his hair and tried to sound calm.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Sara. I didn’t kill anybody.”
“Don’t lie to me, you asshole. Did it make you feel like a big man, sticking your dick in a thirteen-year-old girl? You bastard. I hope you fry in hell, you sick prick.”
 “Sara, whatever you’ve heard, it wasn’t me. I swear. I didn’t even know your sister.”
“You fucking coward. You’re not even man enough to admit it. But Clayton was. So don’t fucking lie to me anymore.”
“You’re going to pay for what you did to her, Gregg. Both you and Ash. You’re going to pay for the rest of your fucking lives!”
 She slammed the phone down hard, making him cringe. The open line hummed in his ear. Dazed, Gregg’s mind swam with panic. Everyone knows, everyone knows, oh God, everyone knows.
 The memories he’d tried so hard to repress came flooding back to him. Tessie thrashing underneath him like a wild animal, screaming…

Gregg’s initial thought was that Tessie hadn’t been completely honest. Maybe she already had a boyfriend, a big goon who had followed them into the woods to mess up his face. Gregg’s hands clenched into fists as adrenalin flooded his body, preparing him for a fight.
“What the fuck do you want?”
The intruder held his flashlight under his face and turned it on. The sudden snap split the calm, making Tessie flinch. The white light illuminated a familiar face. Ash’s grin appeared manic in the spooky glow.
By the time Gregg realized that the voice had belonged to his friend, he had worked himself up to a full head of steam. “Fuck you, Ash. What the hell are you doing, sneaking around like that? You could have given me a fucking heart attack.”
            Ash held the light under his chin again. “Boo.”
            “Come on, man, give us some privacy, huh?” Gregg gestured at Tessie, who was obviously scared to death. This wasn’t the mood he’d hoped to set.
            With a flick of his wrist, Ash trained the beam on Tessie’s huddled form. It shone in her eyes. She covered her face with both hands.
            “Why? Is she so special that you're not willing to share?”
            “Yeah, what are you trying to hide, stud?” Clayton added.
Gregg groaned loudly in response. “Don't you guys have anything fucking better to do?”
Tessie squinted in the direction of his friends’ voices. Ash shone the flashlight into her face. Blinded, she threw up a protective hand as he broke into unkind laughter.
            “No wonder you're hiding out back here.” Ash gasped after his laughing fit subsided. “She's only a kid.”
            “Screw you, Ash. She’s sixteen. That’s legal in my books.”
            Tessie shrank inside her jacket, huddling closer to him.
            “Is that what she told you? She ain't sixteen, my friend. She's not even close. What you have there is jail bait.”
Gregg was rapidly losing patience. “Look, I know her, okay? She's Sara Martin's sister. So screw off, already.”
            “Sara Martin? I didn't know she had a sister,” Clayton said.
            “She goes to the Catholic School, all right? Now can you—”
            “You’re so fucking gullible. Why would Sara's sister go to the Catholic school when Sara attends good ol' Rapture Collegiate?” Ash interrupted. “My guess is that sis here goes to the junior high...or maybe even the elementary school. Isn't that right, sweetheart?”
Ash moved in front of Tessie, seizing her chin and lifting her face up to the glare of the flashlight. She wrenched out of his grasp.
“I am not jail bait.” Stumbling a little, she got to her feet. “I think I better get back to the party. Sara will be looking for me.”
            Ash blocked her way. “Not so fast, honey. Let's see how much of a woman you really are.”
Lightning fast he took hold of her head and forced his tongue into her mouth. Gregg watched, annoyed, as Ash fondled her breasts. Can’t he find his own fucking woman?
“Take it easy, Ash,” Clayton said, and Gregg wasn’t surprised to see how uncomfortable their friend was. This kind of thing wasn’t Clayton’s style—he was too sensitive to appreciate this kind of shit. Gregg had wondered more than once if Clayton played for the other team.
Tessie had more guts than Gregg had given her credit for. She bit Ash’s tongue hard and tumbled back onto the log again, retching, as he released her. Choking, she vomited into the bushes behind her. Gregg watched Ash nervously. The mood in the woods had grown ominous.
Ash stood in front of Tessie, blocking her escape. He grinned at her, showing teeth that were dark with his own blood. He didn't yell, he didn't scream, he didn't seem to feel any pain at all.
Gregg didn’t have time to react before Ash backhanded Tessie across the face. Her head shot to the side, whipping back on her neck, and she cried out. Holding one hand to her face, she slid as far away from Ash as possible, whimpering. Her eyes filled with tears.
“That’s enough, Ash,” Clayton said.
“Now tell Gregg the truth, sweetheart,” Ash said in a soothing tone, as if he were trying to comfort her. The blood in his mouth made a gurgling sound when he spoke. “How old are you really?”
 “Six—” she started, but before she could finish his hand slammed across her face again. Screaming, she toppled backward over the log they’d been sitting on. Streaks of mascara and eyeliner painted her face in grimy stripes.
Gregg wasn’t sure why he let Ash start beating the girl. It wasn’t as if he cared about her or anything, but she was kind of his date for the evening. There was something about her that was making him angry. Something about the way she whined. And there was no reason for her to bite Ash like that. What a little bitch. She deserves a good slap…
Clayton cleared his throat.  “Hey, guys. Take it easy. What’s the big deal? I mean, who really cares how old she is, right?”
“Shut up, Clayton,” Ash said, never taking his eyes from Tessie.
“But what if she’s telling the truth?”
            “She's gonna start telling the truth.” Ash grabbed a fist full of Tessie’s red hair. Using it as leverage, he yanked her back onto the log. “I'm only going to ask you this one more time, doll face. How old are you?”
            Tessie's eyes darted from Ash's face to Gregg's and back again, hesitating. Seeing Ash's hand begin to rise, she scrambled as far away from him as possible, shielding her face with her arms.
            “I'm thirteen. I'm thirteen! Please don't hit me.”
            At that moment, Gregg felt blind rage. She’d made a fucking fool of him in front of his friends. He could hear Ash laughing and it only made him angrier. He wanted to smash Tessie’s stupid face into the log again and again, make her feel sorry for ever lying to him. “You little bitch! You lying little whore. You want me to go to jail?”
            She curled into a fetal position and sobbed into her knees. Her distress did nothing to calm him. Gregg suspected she’d reminded him of every stupid woman he’d ever known: the girl who had accused his brother of rape, his ex-girlfriend Terri, even his own mother.
            “Now, take it easy, Gregg,” Ash said. “You're still going to get what you want. In fact, we all are.”
            He seized Tessie’s ankles. Gregg felt gratified as the bitch screamed, kicking in a pathetic attempt to get away. He stepped forward to take hold of her wrists and together they swung her body over the fallen log onto the ground. Hard. Gregg smiled at the thud her tailbone made as it connected with the frozen earth.
            “What are you doing?” Clayton yelled.
            Ash turned to him as he knelt on the girl’s stomach, making her cry out in pain. “What does it look like we’re doing, asshole? Now shut the fuck up.”
            With one smooth motion, he ripped off the girl’s shirt. Gregg fumbled with her jeans as he sat on her legs, his knees pinning her calves to the ground. Tessie thrashed her torso and neck up and down, side to side, as she screamed. Her teeth snapped as they searched for something to sink into. Remembering her earlier move with Ash, they kept all vulnerable areas out of reach.
            “Hold her down,” Ash told Clayton, tossing him the flashlight. Ash fumbled with his belt buckle while he leered at her, and Tessie seemed to read his mind. A particularly piercing shriek split the air.
             “I can’t Ash, I can’t. This has gone too far. I can’t be a part of this.”
            Ash stopped what he was doing long enough to glare at him. “What’s your problem, Edwards? Are you a fucking fag or something?”
            “Yeah, Edwards, what’s wrong? Are you some kind of ass bandit?” Gregg taunted, his lips curling into a sneer. He’d always found Clayton annoying, but at that moment, he would have throttled him without a second thought. The guy was such a pussy.
            “No,” Clayton said, but Gregg noticed that he wouldn’t look at the girl as she bucked and shrieked underneath them.
            Ash grinned at Clayton and indicated the girl’s feet. “Then hold her ankles. I don’t want her to bag me.”
            Tessie wailed louder. Ash flicked a finger into her already bruised cheek, causing her to cry out with pain. “Shut up.”
            She moaned as he fingered the gold locket around her neck. Ash pulled on it until the chain gave way with a soft snap. He shoved the necklace into the front pocket of his jeans.
            “I don't know about this, Ash,” Clayton said. “This isn't right. She's a kid.”
            “For the last time, shut the fuck up. Stop being such a fucking baby.” Ash yanked down his jeans and jockey shorts. “Hold her legs and spread them. And hold that light steady.”
            Tears flowed unchecked from Tessie's eyes, mingling with blood from the cut under her left eye. Gregg’s anger turned to sexual frustration as he watched Ash penetrate her. His own penis strained against his jeans, but he told himself to be patient. After all, Ash was doing this for him. Ash was making that stupid bitch pay.
            Tessie screamed as Ash entered her. Gregg felt gratified as he saw blood flowing from between her legs. Serves the bitch right.
            He smiled at Clayton as Ash began to thrust. Clay looked like he was going to puke.
Ash no longer seemed human. He became an animal, breathing in snorts as he pounded away at her, his eyes evil-looking slits. “You like that, don’t you, bitch? That’s what you wanted, isn’t it, slut?
            Tessie’s cries were desperate sobs now.
            Ash pulled out, causing her to scream again. Her ankles jumped in Clayton’s hands but Clay held on, his mouth set in a grim line. Gregg was amazed, and not for the first time, at how much control Ash had over Clayton.
            “Turn her over,” Ash ordered, and Gregg obliged, slamming Tessie’s bare breasts and tender stomach into the dirt. Clayton turned away as Ash entered her ass.
            Gregg cheered. “Yeah, man, give it to her. Nail her good, man. That’s what the bitch deserves.”
When it was finally his turn, Gregg fell on Tessie with the viciousness of a rabid dog, biting her breasts and digging his nails into her soft skin. The brutality of his assault brought the unconscious girl to life with a wailing cry. He slammed his penis into the gaping wound her vagina had become.
            As Gregg's teeth snapped at her nipples, Tessie howled like a woman gone mad. Her tortured cries went unanswered in the sheltered woods.
            “Shut her up,” Ash hissed. “For fuckssake, Gregg. Shut your girlfriend up.”
Panting hoarsely as he pounded away inside her, Gregg clamped a hand over Tessie's mouth so hard that her front teeth cut into her bottom lip. Fresh blood added to the dried streaks from her nose and the cut below her eye.
            With a flicker of a survival instinct still not dead, Tessie bit Gregg's palm. Unlike Ash, Gregg reacted. “You fucking bitch! The fucking bitch bit me!” He punched her in the face, her nose making a sickening crunch under his fist. It felt so good to hit her. He could have hit her all day.
“Gregg, cut it out! You’re killing her,” Clayton screamed, but no one paid any attention.
“You fucking bitch.” Not satisfied with his fists, Gregg searched for something harder to hit Tessie with. Finding a jagged rock, his fingers slammed it against Tessie's face again and again. The girl's features gave way under the stone like a wax mask. “That’s better,” he said, as she lay quiet.
 “All right, Studly, your turn,” Ash smirked at Clayton.
 “Jesus Christ, Ash. She's not breathing.”
            Ash didn’t seem concerned. He tucked in his shirt, whistling under his breath. Gregg walked to a puddle and broke off a sliver of ice, feeling its chill numb his injured hand. He was relieved to see that Tessie hadn’t broken the skin. The wound would end up being a small bruise at most, nothing anyone would notice.
            “So what? She's still the most action you've seen in a while.”
Gregg tried not to look at Tessie. Already he was ashamed that he’d let himself get so carried away in front of his friends. The girl’s face was gone, destroyed, lost underneath a mass of bloody tissue and shattered bone. Her blood looked like black paint in the darkness. It was everywhere, soaking the leaves and the ground beneath her.
Bright bite marks circled her breasts. Gregg saw Clayton stare at the marks, no doubt noticing the bloody hole where one of her nipples should have been. In Gregg’s savagery, he’d bitten it clean off.
“Hey, Gregg,” Ash said. “I think your girlfriend’s dead.”
Gregg laughed as Clayton ran into the bushes to throw up. But after his anger wore off, the enormity of what they had done began to sink in. He could feel himself start to panic. “Holy fuck,” he swore as he gaped at Tessie, whose white legs glowed paler in the faint light of the moon. Thick whorls of blood had turned her skin into a gruesome abstract painting. “Holy fuck.”
            “Get a hold of yourself, Limp Dick,” Ash said. “We have some work to do.”
            “What are we going to do?” Gregg asked, feeling sick. “Jesus Christ, Ash. She's dead.”
            “I can see that, you moron, and Jesus isn't going to help us.”
            “But what are we going to do?”
            “For fuckssake, Gregg—cool it. If you start blubbering on me, I'll fucking kill you too, I swear to God.”
This made Gregg stop his babbling and watch Ash in silence.
            “Grab her legs. We're going to have to dump her somewhere. Clay.” When Ash didn't get an answer, a dangerous tone crept into his voice. “Clayton.”
This time Clayton responded, limping out of the bush holding his stomach. He was careful not to look at the girl's body.
            “I need you to take her arms when I yell for you. Help Gregg out.” He scooped up the torn clothing that littered the ground. “I'm going to look for a place to dump her.”
            Within a few minutes of exploring the bush, Ash called to them and they set out in their grim task of carrying the girl's body. She was a lot heavier than Gregg had expected, and her limbs were already cooling. There was a sickening, clammy feel to her skin that made his stomach grumble warningly.
            He was sweating and breathing hard by the time they reached Ash. Ash stood in front of a natural trench in the earth, where summer rains and winds had worn the ground away.
            Working together with whatever they could find, they made the dimple deeper. They scooped dirt out with their hands, arms, and the occasional kick, laboring frantically and ignoring the pain and fatigue in their arms, chests, and shoulders.
            Gregg battled persistent nausea. Hot, greasy sweat broke out on his forehead and scalp, dampening his dark hair. Though the fever threatened to overcome him, he worked tirelessly on the grave. Fear of being discovered with the girl's body proved to be an excellent motivator.
            At last Ash decided the trench was deep enough to hide the girl. It would have to do. Gregg had reached his limit of physical exertion and he could tell Clayton had too. They both gasped for air, completely sober now.
            Grunting with the effort, they tossed Tessie Martin into the hole. Like a sack of garbage. There was a soft thump, muffled by the walls of dirt, as her body made contact with the ground. Ash tossed in her clothes, hiding the worst from view, before Clayton started kicking and shoving the pile of misplaced earth on top of her. Gregg soon joined in. A feeling of unreality had settled over the evening.
Gregg was exhausted. All he wanted was a shower and his bed, in that order.
            “Clayton,” Ash said when they were finished burying Tessie. The sound of his voice was startling in the quiet night.
Gregg watched as Clayton met Ash’s eyes with reluctance. He reminded Gregg of a whipped puppy.
            “Be careful,” Ash warned. “Accessory to rape and murder is as bad as participating. Maybe even worse. How will people feel if they knew you watched a thirteen-year-old girl die and did nothing? How would your mother feel, knowing that you held her down? How about Julie?”
            Gregg saw the grief in Clayton’s eyes and knew Ash’s words had hit home. They had nothing to worry about.

Clayton would never tell anyone what they had done.

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  1. Wow, disturbing chapter. Literally gave me chills!

    1. Thanks, Cee. It's definitely not an easy one to read...or write.

  2. Definitely VERY difficult to read. I don't know if I've ever written anything that made me physically ill to write...I'd say if it brings that feeling in you while writing, though, that means it's going to really impact the reader, as well.

    1. When discussing this book with my beta reader/editor, he told me I could not flinch when writing this scene--if I did, I'd be doing both the book and the reader a disservice. So I didn't, it did make me vomit, and as a journalist and true crime reader, I'm not normally the squeamish type.

      The sad fact of the matter is that there are so many beautiful young people who have experienced much worse. We hear many terrible stories in the news, so many that we have become desensitized. If I had any hope for this chapter, other than telling Tessie's story the best way I could at the time, it was to cut through that blasé exterior and get to the heart of my reader.

      But my greatest fear was that people would think it was gratuitous.

      Thanks so much for reading, Stephanie, and for commenting. I'm sure I'm behind with your blog by now, but I'll catch up...haven't been feeling well this week.

  3. to read and I can imagine how tough it was to write... bravo

    1. Thanks, Lisa. Glad I haven't lost you.

  4. Finally at a computer (I haven't been able to post from my so-called 'Smart' phone).
    Unbelievable how such barbarity can happen so quickly. Seems like Gregg didn't even realize what he was doing, he was just instinctively barbaric. Ugh. To snuff out a life like that. Sickening.
    Onto the next chapter...with a pit in my stomach.

    1. Lisa, where have you been? I've missed you! You have no idea how much. It's been so quiet around here.

      Thanks for reading, and yeah, that mob mentality stuff can get out of control fast.