Hanna’s eyes flitted open, unable to see through the black sackcloth covering her head. A rope, snug around her neck, held the sack firm. She caught a whiff of disinfectant in the air. Images of a hospital or doctor’s office flashed through her head. Zip-ties threatened to cut through her wrists as she struggled to free herself.
A clang from the other side of the room drew her attention and she whipped her head to the side. “Hello?” she said, her voice hitching. “Who’s there?”
“Uh— Hi?” a male voice returned.
“Who are you? Where am I?” she replied.
“My name is David,” he replied, his voice low and deep. “As for where we are, your guess is as good as mine.”
“What do you mean?” Hanna said, her voice rising. “You don’t know?”
The clang she heard earlier was repeated in rapid succession and David replied, “I ain’t friggin’ Igor over here ringin’ my bell. I’m trapped here too.” His voice is definitely eastern U.S.; Maine maybe. “I heard them bring you in.”
“They? They who?” Hanna pleaded.
“They! Them! I don’t know! The goddamn— bad— p— people!” he said, sputtering to get the last words out.
She swung her head around inside the bag, trying to get a piece of it in her mouth, but to no avail, making growling and gnashing sounds as she did so.
“That ain’t gonna help,” David said.
Hanna shouted back, “Well I’m not going to sit here and do nothing!”
“Let me know how yelpin’ like a mutt works out for ya,” he chuckled under his breath. “In the meantime, I think I almost got one of my hands free.”
Hanna’s heart was racing. “Really?” she said, “That’s great!” She paused for a moment. “You— You’ll help me get out too?” Sweat dripped from her sculpted eyebrows and into her eyes; the salt stinging them.
She bounced in what little room she had between her bonds and the chair. “Please hurry! I don’t want to know what they’ll do to us when—”
She stopped her bouncing. “David? Your voice sounds different.” No response but the echo of her own voice.
“David? Are you there? How— did you know my name?”
“Where are you?” she said, her voice wavering. The sound of metal clanking to the ground was the reply.
“Are— are you free? David?”
An eternity seemed to pass in silence. She heard heavy footsteps come closer, plodding and slow. “You’re scaring me. Please! Say something!” she screamed, her voice shrill.
“So lovely,” a low voice whispered in her ear.
She shrieked and tried to pull away. She could smell rancid breath through the black sack on her head. She began to sob. “Why are you doing this?”
A laugh followed by a sigh. “Why does everyone ask that? What does it matter? It’s either that, or ‘What are you going to do to me?’ which is just as stupid.”
She sniffled and coughed. “Screw you, asshole.”
She felt a hand grab the back of the bag and pull her head backward. Her skin of her neck pulled taut, her chair tipping back. The chair crashed to the floor with Hanna attached. She let out a moan and mumbled.
“What was that?” the man asked.
She replied in a whisper.
He stomped to her side, knelt down, and clamped her neck in his hand. “Speak up, Hanna. I’ll write your last words on the two-by-four that marks your grave.”
As he neared, she growled into his ear, “My ties came loose.”
Hanna wrapped one hand around her assailant’s wrist, still cinched around her throat. She felt his grip tighten further and stand up; lifting her up by her neck. Her other hand swung around, slapping him in the side of the head before moving to his wrist as well.
A slow gurgle replaced her words as her vision went black. She fell to the ground. Her legs buckled underneath her, the dead weight of her body snapping her right leg.
As Hanna laid waiting for death, the full weight of the man pressed down on her then rolled off to the side. A hand untied the rope around her neck and pulled the hood off.
She gulped air as slivers of pain shot through her eyes. Her eyes finally focused.
A man smiled in front of her as a beast of a man laid beside her.
"Dave?" she croaked.