Kerry tried to crawl to the open door. Her nipples felt like matches and the mattress felt like flint. Her limbs seemed made of sand. She could hardly move her fingers. Her legs cramped and her arms convulsed. Her body curled up, tears of pain spewing down her face.
Gasping, choking, drool pouring out of her nose, sweat coursing down her body, Kerry writhed onto her side, the top of her head just clearing the mattress, her rich brown hair whispering onto the hardwood floorboards. She tried to straighten, to crawl, but the mattress held her sodden body like flypaper.
"Geez, Jim, that's rough," said Tom Brannigan downstairs. "I gave her a map to downtown and that's the last I saw her."
"Oh dear," said Agnes Brannigan. "To town, Tom? Didn't you hear the motorcycles?"
Jim the cop stilled, causing the Shermans to react. "Motorcycles?" Kerry's father asked. "What about motorcycles?"
Upstairs his daughter heard him, and suddenly she cringed, rolling until her head lolled over the side of the mattress. Remembering the thunking she had heard just before being dragged into this nightmare, she didn't think twice before immediately pounding her forehead onto the hardwood floor.
"Sir, I think you and your wife better come downtown with me," Jim the cop told the Shermans.
"No," Kerry's father insisted. "What is this about motorcycles? We're not going anywhere until you tell us."
For a moment all was quiet in the living room...except for a quiet, distant knocking from upstairs.
No one paid it any mind. Old houses in these parts were like that. Only Tom took a split second to look at his wife, seemingly with concern. "Better tell them, Jim," he said to the cop.
Kerry was dizzy from the new pain, but even she knew that her skull on the hardwood floor was hardly making a sound.
Moaning in the back of her throat, she forced her weight to the side again, her sodden skin stubbornly sticking to the mattress material like rubber cement.
"This area is one of the safest in the country," Jim told her parents, "but...."
"But?!" Kerry's mother practically snarled. "But what?"
They were silent for a split second again. A split second in which only Tom and Agnes noticed the far off thudding sound ... like a sack of foam hitting a cushion.
Kerry was on her side on the floor between the mattress and the door. Her eyes bulged over her bulging cheeks as she tried to will herself into the hall or shriek loud enough for her parents to hear. "Dad, mom, I'm here!"
"Motorcycle gangs," Jim said solemnly.
"Motorcycle gangs?!" Kerry's father exploded.
"I'm sorry, but there was an incident a few years back...."
"Incident?" Kerry's father all but boomed. "What sort of incident?"
"A girl," Agnes said, "from town. But they never found out whether she ran away with them or they took her...!"
"What?" Kerry's father bellowed as his wife began to cry. "What do you mean, 'they never found out'?"
Agnes looked apologetically at Jim, and then them. "They never found her...."
Kerry heard it all. She had inched her head into the hall. She was screeching at them, "Shut up, shut up, don't you see what they're doing? Listen to me, please!" But her cries were all just scrambled whimpers, drowned out by her parents' rage and despair.
"Now, now," Jim the cop was saying. "That ain't exactly right. She never came back is all. No one could prove anything bad had happened...."
"But this gang was around here yesterday?" Kerry's father demanded.
Jim looked at Tom and they shared a resigned acknowledgment. They had both seen the gang drive by. Images of bikers grabbing a pretty brunette teenager off a back road appeared in three people's minds. The other two thought of the same girl between them in their bed, trying to scream or claw away as they mauled and defiled her.
Kerry rolled onto her other side, choking -- trying to keep the momentum going so she could knock her knees onto the stairway banister, or to suck enough air into her mucous-stuffed nostrils to get some sound out from behind the mouth-filling, lip-crushing gags. Her back arched, tears pouring down either side of her face.
TO BE CONTINUED