Monday, February 28, 2011

PUNISHED IS NEVER PAST TENSE, Stephen D. Rogers


PUNISHED IS NEVER PAST TENSE
by Stephen D. Rogers

On the corner of Main and Church, I finally caught sight of
the man who raped and left me for dead.

The fact that he didn't recognize me as I strolled the night air towards him came
as no surprise. Years had gone by since that night, and the trauma of the event
had been sufficient to change me forever. Even I wasn't so sure I recognized myself.

Before being attacked, I never would have prescribed revenge as a healing process
and yet I had so self-medicated. I'd thought about him every single day,
and every single day I planned what I'd do when I finally found him.

And then I did find him, pausing two feet away on the corner of Church and Main.

I licked my lips. "Looking for a friend?"

"I don't think so."

My nose never healed right, and no amount of cover concealed the damage he'd done.

"Nobody says you have to keep your eyes open."

He chortled, taking me in with one slow rake. "I'm not sure I know what you mean."

"Sex for money." I rippled my body. "Name your flavor and I'll name a price."

He nodded. "Can't get much plainer than that.

"Or safer. I have a room if you're willing to pay."

A smile. "I'm sure that can be arranged."

I smiled back. "Then why don't you follow me? We can work out the details once
we arrive."

I turned and started walking before he could answer.
I'd seen the hunger battling arrogance in his eyes. He wasn't about to decline.

No, he would follow me wherever I led him, and where I led him was through the
dark alley between the empty warehouse and the office building closed for hours.
I led him into the trap that I entered as though unaware of the danger.

As was he.

The streetlights didn't quite penetrate and nobody who owned either building
had bothered with surveillance cameras. We were alone and likely to remain that way.

He placed a hand on my shoulder.

I spun as if I couldn't wait to be near him. "Or we could just save the price
of a room."

"Is that what you want?"

"I want whatever you want."

"Good." He backhanded me, his ring tearing my cheek as the blow sent me reeling
but not to the ground. "You think I don't know you but I do. You're a bad girl who
wants to be punished."

My momentary panic retreated as I recognized the words that inflamed him as words,
only words.

He slammed me against the brick wall, and I failed to get my arms up in time
to keep from hitting the rough surface.

"Your body aches with the desire to be hit by me. You're wet with anticipation of
being taught a lesson. I am your master and teacher."

I rolled against the wall in order to face him.

He backhanded me a second time. A second time he gouged and tore.

I reached for the knife I'd kept warm with my flesh all these years.

"You are my teacher and this is what I've been taught." I moved towards him with
hunger and arrogance as I swung my hand up and under, the knife piercing
skin and organ and stopping only when hitting bone.

He screamed, and I twisted. Withdrew and plunged into him again and again.

I'd been a medical tech when he attacked me. No more. I'd been involved
with someone who had the potential to become my spouse. No more. I'd been happy.
No more.

Until now.

He dropped to his knees, wrenching the knife from my hand.

Falling forward, he grabbed my legs for support.

I felt his warm blood drench me. I leaned over so he could hear me over his
blubbering. "You taught me that --"

He slumped to the ground, dead or near enough.

I stepped away from him and waited for him to stop breathing.

Eventually, he did.

I raised my hand to the ragged tears on my cheek, unaware that they would never
heal properly. For all that it matters.

I've lived longer avenged than I did seeking revenge and that ratio will
only increase in time. I still think about what he did to me.
I still think about what I did to him.

Not a day goes by that I don't picture him dying at my feet.

I really don't mind the scars.

13 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

And the title is terrific too.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Splendid! Hardboiled revenge. Love it.

Fleur Bradley: said...

Nice, and the title has to be the best one in the bunch :-)

Mike Dennis said...

Absolutely outstanding, Stephen. Well done!

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw said...

Vengeance belongs to those strong enough to take it... Bravo, Stephen! Excellent story! Love it... and the title says it all!

Cap'n Bob said...

I didn't realize this was part of the contest until the end. Great use of the premise and a fine story.

Christopher Pimental said...

Masterful, as expected from Stephen.

Chris Rhatigan said...

Great work! I really liked how you waited til the last line to work it in.

Charles Gramlich said...

Excellent. And yes, the title is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Great story.

But I'll always remember Stephen D Rogers as The Lobsterman from Crimebake 2010.

Dan Luft

R L Kelstrom said...

Gripping! Loved the ending. I agree with others, the best title of the bunch.

Jack Bates said...

Good (?) bad stuff going on here. I could just feel her loathing coming through.

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

It took my breath away! Bravo, Stephen :-)