A Jog in the Park

There’s a bite of chill on my skin and gooseflesh raises all over me, the rip of cloth carries over the crash of the waves and a muffled, smothered sound.  I think the rag-choked sound is me screaming into a gag of some kind.  I think that’s why my jaw hurts.  I think the sticky fluid on my clothes, on my hair, is blood.  I can’t tell.  I can’t move my hands.  I can’t even feel them anymore.  My ankles — I can still look down and see my ankles — are bound with something white, something strong and plastic.  It bites my flesh like a blade if I try to move my legs.  No, not “it” … “them”.  There are more than one; two or three, from just below the knobs of my ankles to the swell of my calf.  I feel the circulation dying and the pins and needles sensation, like my feet have fallen asleep.

I don’t know if I should leave my eyes open or not.  I see a man, just his outline really, against the cove beyond him.  The moon’s glow is ghostly in his wafting, white hair.  I can’t make out his face but his eyes glint a wet spot of white light from me.  It’s just a reflection in the inky dark, but it sends a shiver racing down my spine anyway.

That rip, the one I heard before, just a second before I broke out in a chill — that was my sweatshirt.  A flash in the dark catches my attention and I can see the long, savage and glinting blade of the knife he’s using to cut my clothes away.  The sports bra is next.  He forces my shoulder down to expose my back, and for a moment I’m sure he’s going to drive the point of his weapon between my shoulder blades.  It’s so cold it burns my skin where it touches and I try to scream again, but it’s nothing but a wheezing gasp.  Then it’s over, and the material falls away from me but I’m not hurt.

Not any worse, at least.

He’s panting.  I don’t know if he’s exhausted from working so hard to get me here or if he’s excited about what’s happening.  I don’t care.  I try to kick, to buck against him and move away, but there’s that sharp rap against the back of my head again, and that splash of hot-white stars in the black field, and I’m sobbing, unable to garner another resistance.

I feel my body twitch again when he pulls the waistband of my shorts away from my body.  I try to arch my back away from him but I can’t get far before I feel that cold bite of steel on my lower back.  It snakes down into my underwear and then, in a sharp snapping motion which steals my breath, the blade slices through the last of my clothing.

I’m naked on the beach, and he stares at me.  I shut my eyes and turn my face away.  I flinch again when he starts to trace my outlines with the tip of that knife.  I jerk so hard there’s a pinch and I know i’ve cut myself on its razor edge.

“Shhhhhh ….”  His voice, his breath, caresses my ear and makes me cringe.  I still can’t see and now I know I’m crying.  “Don’t move.  This will be so much easier if you just … don’t … move.”

12 thoughts on “A Jog in the Park

  1. Powerful, powerful, powerful.

    Thank you … thank you so much. That means a lot to me.

    I liked that the POV was from the victim; a lot of fiction writes from the killer’s POV or third person. You captured her intial hope, then realization of reality, then despair really well. I liked how you kept the “my dad will come for me” theme going throughout the entire story, even when she was being dismembered.

    Thank you. My wife was a bit disturbed by the whole thing and pointed out that this POV is one no one WANTS to get. I took that as a compliment. 🙂

    I didn’t see the body parts being lopped off coming at ALL. This makes me not want to run in the park alone.

    Probably a good idea not to do so. 😉 Thank you for reading and commenting! I really appreciate the time!


  2. Wow. What is wrong with you? LOL j/k. That scared me. And grossed me out. And scared me again. Yay! New fiction!

    Thanks, sweetie! I’m always so touched when you read my work … being all editorial and everything. 😉 (J/K — I appreciate when you take the time to read stuff online knowing how you don’t like to do that.)

    This piece fits in nicely with the question I posed on my blog today, about characters.

    You know, I responded to your post, but never even thought about this piece as an example. Weird, huh? I missed it altogether. Thanks for reading!

  3. This was very well done and very dark. It brought to mind stories like Joe Lansdale’s NIGHT THEY MISSED THE HORROR SHOW.

    Keep filling the darkness with words my friend.

    Thank you, Al! I appreciate the support and encouragement. Sorry it took so long to get your comment approved; it was stuck in spam and I just found out about it.

  4. I think my heart is stuck in my throat. It is also breaking in half – half to the victim, half to her father.

    Thank you, Jaymie! What a great compliment. I’m glad you stopped by!

  5. OMG!!!!! When I read an opener like this, the book goes to the cash register with me and I do nothing else until I finish it. Wow, for lack of a better adjective.

    Goodness, thank you, Sara! That’s very humbling! I’m honestly speechless. Well, more or less; I can still manage thank you though. 🙂

  6. And I have to tell you that I DID NOT fall asleep last night till about 2 am I was still seeing the toes in the sand. When can I read the rest of this book? Have you read “The Surgeon” by Tess Gerristen? Your “Jog in the Park” is just like that. I picked up the surgeon while I was waiting for someone in another cubicle and read the first couple of pages. Left work went to Border’s and stood in the aisle reading, but it was too scary to bring home. The following Saturday, me and a coffee spent 3 hours in the stacks at Borders with the surgeon scaring myself silly. Really fantastic!

    Well, thank you Sara! I wish I could tell you the rest is somewhere online, but there IS no rest. This is just self-contained vignette, like most of my short stories. But I’m very glad to know you liked it! You flatter me!

  7. Sara Fryd

    Well fine then. What are you going to do when the call comes and they want 3 chapters next week? Huh? I’m going to glue her toes back on, her Dad’s going to rescue her and kill the bad guy. It’s why I write children’s stories, I’d scare myself to death. 🙂

    LOL! Well! If that call comes, I guess I’ll figure something out PDQ! From your keyboard to God’s eyes, Sara! And thanks for the vote of confidence. 🙂 I’m glad you write children’s stories … my kids can’t read my work, but they can devour yours!

  8. Elizabeth Himes

    Wow, I am blown away! Ben said you are an awesome writter, but I could not have dreamt this awesome. Dark and disturbing, my kind of treat.

    Well, thanks very much! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I really appreciate your warm compliment! Thank you for reading!

  9. A Jog In The Park: I loved this story! Sooo Creepy, it sent chills everywhere. I’ve recently created a blog to showcase my own horror fiction and as I was searching for other Horror Writer’s Blogs to check out, your story showed up in my search engine. I also love the LAY-OUT of your blog. It shows me that I still have much work to do to get my blog off the ground. I hope you keep writing! I plan to come back from time to time for a “fear fix.”

    Louise, thank you so much for coming by. I’m glad you enjoyed the story, and I’m very happy to meet another aspiring horror writer! Please, feel free to come back and visit, peruse the older stories I’ve posted, and let me know what you think. I can’t take credit for the pages and layout of the blog, though; that’s all done by WordPress.com, a free blogging platform, and I feel the best one available. If you’re interested in moving your blog to an easy, simple to set-up and maintain blogging platform, check out http://wordpress.com/ and get one for yourself! Most of all, have fun. And thank you again! I’m glad to have met you!

  10. elisa

    Scary story! It kept me with bated breath.

    Elisa, thank you so much! I’m very glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Much appreciated. 🙂

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