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.”