Walking around the small pond, he stumbles across her naked broken body there on the dock. His mind does not want to accept what he has seen, but yet he cannot look away. The dock under her body is stained with so much blood, but the surface is still wet with it too. His body moves towards her, his mind still grasping what he sees. The large heavy manacles of metal around each ankle had chains that were dangling down into the water below. Her feet and ankles swollen and purple and black, the soles of her feet sliced open with blood and dirt caked to them. Drawing his eyes up further her shins had slices across them as if someone drew a ladder up them. Some of the cuts he could see bone. All of them had been infected, blood and puss crusted around them. Her calves had what appeared to be bite marks over them. Deep enough he could see what appeared to be torn muscles and ligaments as they neared her knees. Almost as if someone had shaken their head after breaking the flesh. Both her knees were sliced open across the back, clear through the tendons. Even if she could have run, she would have been physically unable to work her knees to be able to do so. The boil that was in his stomach erupted and he turned and retched on the grass beside him. The burn in his nose as the bile came again in a wave brought him to his knees.

When he was spent, he wiped off his mouth and nose with the back of his hand and sat facing the girl. She had to have been late teens early 20’s by the size of her. But laying there bleeding and broken as she was, she was more vulnerable than any child. Still unable to take in the whole picture, he continued up her frail body. Her thighs had been shredded by what appeared to be hands. No, his mind would not accept that a human could do this; it had to be something with claws, some sort of animal. The cheeks of her ass were crudely stitched together with what appeared to be barbed wire. His mind reeled again and he had to close his eyes. He took a deep breath, but that served to fill him with the stench of blood and rotting things. With nothing left in his stomach, he turned and dry heaved until he thought he would pass out. Forced to see this was at least a monster in a human’s body now, stirred something inside of him. As the emotions flared to life he looked back at her. The curve of her hips covered in purple and yellow bruises. Around her waist was more barbed wire, as if someone had weaved it in and out of her skin as it went around. Her arms had wounds similar to her shins, but hanging off one arm was the answer how those wounds got there. A string of small bones dangled from one elbow. Someone had pierced her skin with the bones and then ripped them out with the string. Her wrists bound in the same heavy manacles as her ankles, with the chains dangling off the dock into the water. The nails on her fingers had been bent backwards, only half ripped out, but still half connected to the nail bed. The backs of her arms were sliced with something thick and deep. These wounds were older and appeared hard and dry. Her breasts were just gone, but what was left didn’t appear smooth, the flesh and muscles torn in jagged lines. Her collarbone was broken on one side, the bone not quiet protruding from her skin, but very close to the surface. More purple and black bruises over here and her shoulders, there was something familiar about them, something he couldn’t quiet place. They were roundish bruises, flashing back to her hips and her feet, almost the size of the head of a small hammer.

He closed his eyes and tried stop the thoughts. That only led to a vision flashing of her being chained up as some unseen terror attacked her. Slowly piercing her pale flesh with the bones, only to rip them out of one limb in a flash of movement, and using the string to tear out the rest more slowly. Flashing to the dark figure peeling back the finger nails one by one. Couldn’t have been done with bare hands, had to be with pliers or some other tool. Seeing the blood spurt from the wounds behind her knees as he sliced through them, he swore he could hear screams echoing. Opening his eyes, he realized he was the one that was screaming. His knees pulled up to his chest as he sat there rocking himself. Face wet with tears he didn’t realize he had shed. He looked at her again, and saw her face. Her lips sewn together with something that was heavy and black. Her hair matted around her face in a mass of blood and knots. Her face was bruised, but not with the same round shape to it. Her eyes were the only thing untouched, as if she was supposed to see everything. Her eyes were open, and there was a spark of something alive still. It couldn’t be, how anyone could survive these horrors that her body spoke of. Things he had not even fully grasped yet. And she made a small whimper sound, but the look in her eyes was all wild. She moved her arms and the manacles that were bruised into her wrists made the chains rattle. He knelt and reached out, shushing her, trying to make soft cooing sounds past the fear that built in his throat. She’s alive! Trying to reassure her, but seeing she was beyond reach, he sat back on his heels. She’s alive, but what kind of life could this be? The unimaginable horrors she must have experienced, could one recover from that? How would he find help for her? She kept trying to push herself back further, but her broken body did not work anymore. Her eyes had nothing left in them that were human, more like a caged animal, her mind broken too. Pity flashed through him for a moment and he heard a noise behind him. Turning to look, he only caught the edge of a dark figure. And just before the world went black, thought he heard a voice say, “Well done, my bait.”

<Back to Short Stories>

2 thoughts on “Broken

  1. Elizabeth, you need to go to the nearest bookstore and get a copy of The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen. You need to know how good your writing is and that it is possible to publish an amazing book. Oh my word, this is fantastic!

  2. I just went out and reserved it from the library. 🙂 Your words are so humbling! Thank you so much! I’m learning, every story I write, I’m learning just a little bit more about how to be better.

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