Vagary :: Part One
I was out to dinner with my girlfriends, a little pub that made wonderful hush-puppies and home fries. I had gotten up to use the bathroom. On the way back, I stopped by the bar to pick up the drinks we had ordered, and a handful of peanuts. Some guy was sitting next to the compliments, and decided to pick me up instead.
"Cute." Was all he said. His voice was filled with gravel, and he covered his face with his long hair. What attracted my attention first were the electric-blue highlights that streaked the blond. It wasn't half bad.
I stared at him. "What is?"
"You." He sipped his drink. I had no idea what it was. I was recovering from a cold and I couldn't smell anything. There was a paper parasol lying on the counter, probably from his drink. Looking at the drink harder, I realized it just beer, but it was cut with some kind of soda. When he finally looked at me, it dawned on me that he was too young to drink. "Name?"
Maybe his one-word charm worked on others, but it personally just freaked me out. He stared right into my eyes- his own as blue as his streaks. Blond and blue eyes- he was Aryan. I thought of Germany, the Natzi Party- and panicked. "L-Lisa."
That's when he grabbed my wrist and escorted me out of the pub.
He hadn't bothered to blindfold me or make his path especially winding, but I still had no idea where I was. This place, wherever it was, buzzed with drunk men. Some waved to my captor, but he ignored them. They didn't seem to mind or expect anything different from him. This did not comfort me.
"Where are you taking me?"
"What do you want?"
"Who are you?"
He did not answer my questions. It was as if he was immune to them from exposure. He threw open a door which led to a bedroom. I assumed it to be his. In my mind I told myself that rape wasn't so bad, and that I would go home in the morning. He threw me on the bed as I expected, locked the door, and I closed my eyes. I waited for his weight to pin me down, but it did not come.
Instead, on my chest I felt a cold ounce. I opened one eye, then the other. A few more ounces were added, lined up across my septum to my bellybutton. I felt the blood rush from my face. I realized that I wasn't going to get laid that night. That young captor was lining surgical tools across my torso; scalpels and the like. Suddenly sex wasn't so bad after all. It was a lot better than being taken apart.
"Who are you, Jack the Ripper?!" My voice screeched. It hurt. I didn't realize that I had been unbound until he tied my wrists down. It was a little too late to realize my opportunities to escape. His face was calm. I wasn't sure how many times he had done this before.
He picked up the scalpel. He showed it to me. "Right-handed."
I stared at him. His eyelids sank a little. His joke had been lost on me, and he was disappointed. He put the scalpel in his left hand and shook it to emphasize which hand it was in. "Jack the Ripper."
"Oh." I choked on the word. Jack the Ripper had been left-handed? "I never knew that."
I took the moment to analyze him. He had a thing for buckles. His jacket was as tight as a corset. There were zippers, snaps, more buckles and straps. I couldn't see him breathing. The room was quiet enough, but I couldn't hear him breathing either. My mind raced with it. He suddenly became a dead man, who thrived off the shedding of blood and suffering of young maidens. He died at a young age, a tragic death filled with betrayal by a girl he loved named- Reality came back to me as he picked up the scalpel.
"Who was Lisa?"
He stopped. He stared at me for a moment. He searched my eyes for my train of thought. He didn't say anything.
"Well, I realized that the name set you off back there- that's why I'm here isn't it? Truth be told, that's not my name. It was just the name that was on the top of my head. It's really Trisha. Trisha Ryden. I grew up in Russia. Well, I was born in Maine but I grew up in Russia."
He stood over me, with one eyebrow raised. That's when I noticed they were pierced. His nose was pierced too, and his lip, and I couldn't see his ears because of his hair. He sighed, and picked up the tools. He put them away. He unbound me and I sad up. He continued to pack up.
"So... Who was Lisa?"
He didn't even hesitate. I heard the hatred in his voice when he spoke. My fear was suddenly replaced with pity and digust. I felt horrible. I knew I had no reason to, but I did. All he said was, "Me."
I awoke the next morning, pleasantly surprised. Not only could I find my clothes, but they were already on. I was neatly tucked into the sheets. The only article of mine that I wasn't wearing were my sneakers. Instead, they were sitting on a chest at the end of the bed, with the laces placed inside the shoe. I knew we did not fall asleep this way.
I turned over in the bed to find Lisa, but he was not where I left him. Instead, he too was dressed. He was half asleep on a stool in an opposite corner of the room. He didn't look comfortable. He was leaning on the wall, depending upon it to keep him upright.
I sat up. I yawned. I waved. "Good morning."
He waved back. He stretched a little, rubbed his eyes, and roused himself to his feet. "Ryden?"
He just nodded. Lisa gave me my shoes. I let my feet hang over the edge of the bed, and I put on my sneakers. He reached into the chest and pulled out the Yellow Pages. I glanced over at it- only to see that every 'Lisa' was marked. I shuddered. He flipped to my last name, looking me up. Once he found it, he looked up to the ceiling, committing me to his memory. "Come."
"Where am I going now?" I sounded a little exasperated. It wasn't what I intended. I was never a morning person.
He unlocked the door and then waited for me to join him. "Home."
I told my friends what happened. We sat in my livingroom, discussing the different sides of the horror story. They sat in silence as I admitted everything from that night. They held me, and told me that everything was fine now. They kept a close watch on me for the next week or two. When they were sure that my nightmare had ended, they eased up upon request.
I'm not sure what compelled me to do it. I went back to the pub. I sat at the bar, ordered a drink, and waited by the peanuts. Sure enough, he strolled in. He didn't even sit down. He paid for my drink and we left.
These past four years, I have called him Luke. And I only saw those friends once or twice since.