It was only a duck pond, at the back of the farm.
There was no significance to it, no dedicated bench with a quote about nature and intransient life burned into the wood-work. No special memory bank sparked to life in the mind of myself or my abductor; it was only a duck pond, at the end of a lane, far-winding behind an abandoned farm; it was nowhere, just a thing that existed.
I watched the uncut grass wave as we drove through, heard the soft scraping against the door of the truck as the rutted road curled around the property.
I quietly and insistently continued to flex and slide my wrists and forearms together, gently trying to release the tacky inside of the duct tape from my skin, even if the bondage of it still held strong.
I was making better headway with the cuff around my ankles. About a half an hour earlier I’d made it known that my bladder was at full capacity, so it wasn’t out of character to be squirming around, trying to cross and uncross my legs.
He’d made two mistakes so far, to my way of thinking. First, he’d bound my hands in front of me instead of behind, leaving me a far greater range of motion to inflict some kind of damage. Second, he’d neglected to remove my socks before wrapping my ankles. The littlest bottom edge of the tape had adhered to cotton fibers instead of skin and so was already loosening up.
So the squirming was allowed, and I think was even offering a modicum of amusement to the smelly lanky stranger a few feet away from me on the bench seat of the old pick up. I didn’t mouth off any more. That got me nothing but a back hand that hurt like a sonuvabitch and had my left eye swelling almost shut. I decided being able to see would be more beneficial than being an asshole, although not nearly as satisfying.
‘So, hopefully you can already see what your problem is,’ he stated, apropos of nothing, conversational, as if we’d been in polite debate this whole time.
‘The light of your desire to live just isn’t as strong as the light of my desire to kill you. You’re just sitting there, trying not to piss in your pretty pants. A couple smacks to the face and hope fled your eyes like drowning rats bailing on a sinking ship.’ He shrugged, slanted a sideways glance at me without turning his head, the smirk in them a palpable thing, parasites crawling over my puffy skin and trying to smarm their way into my brain.
Coldly, efficiently, my mind dismissed and repelled. This creature isn’t even human and has no place in the grand scheme of my life.
He curled the wheel to the left as we reached the sandy bank of the pond, little poofs of grit and dirt spraying up as he tapped the brakes and nudged the gearshift to park. He tipped an imaginary hat at me, all gentleman courtesy.
‘Now ma’am,’ an exaggerated drawl, the third such accented affectation he’d put on so far, ‘I reckon I’m just gonna come around and open your door for you, slide you right on out. Don’t look like you’ve got much fight left in you, but I don’t think I need remind you what happens if you try anything.’
He reached over and, grinning, tapped me right on the bridge of the nose I figured might be broken. Pain zinged through my face, but I kept it locked in a blank stare, nothing to see here folks, this girl is gone daddy gone.
As soon as he opened his door and swung around to get out, I pointed my toes down like a ballet dancer and scissored my legs, a swimmer striving for the far away surface and a deep breath. I caught a glimpse of his face in the rear view mirror as he rounded the truck bed. I strained and tugged and dug for every connected muscle in my thighs and hips to stretch my legs as far apart as they would go. A denim jacket clad arm was reaching for the door handle when I jerked up with one last vicious screaming effort, and my right foot pulled free and shot up with enough force to almost smash my knee into my chin.
I cocked the leg back and pistoned it forward, into the car door that was just starting to open, catching Mr. Tex Mex Murderface full on in the chest and face. I laughed wildly as he flailed and stumbled backwards, launching myself out of the car with no thought but to disarm and disable, systematically stomping my heel onto kneecap, groin, throat.
I stood a moment to catch my breath. I wasn’t really winded, but he was. He lay there, awkwardly scrabbling to crabwalk, gasping and choking, mumbling curses. His eyes fired with a combustible mixture of hatred and rage, a controlled fury looking for an opening, wanting to hurt me, to break me and finish his nasty business his way. What I didn’t see, yet, was the silverfish of fear swimming upstream. So I smiled, stretched the feral grin of the lion in the arena facing the unarmed slave across my face, assured victory.
‘Resourceful little bitch,’ he wheezed. Still mostly assuming he’d pull the Hail Mary for the win, but a touch of false bravado was sneaking in around the strained edges.
I skipped forward a step and brought my heel down again, once, twice, three times on his left kneecap. I felt it shift under my foot on the last shot in a way that shouldn’t be possible and felt comfortable that he wasn’t going anywhere on two legs. There was an animal snuffling escaping through his fleshy lips now, along with frothy little bubbles of spit. I leaned over until my face was right in front of his, til his heated and confused gaze locked on mine.
‘You were looking for the wrong light, Hoss,’ I told him, tapping my temple. ‘I wasn’t looking for hope. I was looking for opportunity.’