Borden (Borden #1)


by R.J. Lewis

Part One: Marcus and Kate

One

Kate

Funny what happens when you know you’re going to your death.

Your life suddenly feels like a million miles away in a separate reality. I couldn’t remember names or places anymore. I couldn’t remember a damn thing when fear had invaded every atom of my being, forcing me in place.

My hands were bound tightly behind my back, and I hesitantly breathed in the damp walls of the cellar I’d been thrown in just a day ago. Everything was black. I had roamed the tiny space for hours and hours, searching for a way out, but there was nothing but hard surfaces and silence.

God, the silence was murder all on its own.

I stopped fighting for a way out hours ago, when the hope I’d clung to dwindled away into the void. I began to accept my fate. They were going to kill me. I didn’t know how, but at this point it didn’t matter.

I stopped crying too.

Now I was just staring down at the ground, seeing nothing but black. Blackness everywhere. I felt resigned to this black. I wanted it to take me, consume me so that I’d stop praying for the light.

I stopped thinking about my father and how he’d cope the loss of his one and only child. I stopped thinking about my mother, and how her dreams of me walking down the aisle dressed in white would die away. I stopped thinking about my friends, the fake and the true, and I knew they’d mourn but carry on. I stopped thinking about my students, and how their young minds might struggle to understand the absence of their teacher.

I stopped thinking about them all, and thought of just one person. One man. The man that’d come back for me, mysteriously rich, mysteriously different, and nothing like the mess he’d been before. He was the one and only man I’d ever truly loved who was broken in a way I’d never fix.

Would he move on from me?

I hoped so.

I hoped he’d let me go and find a woman who could heal his pain.

Suddenly more tears formed, and I sucked in a breath, pained beyond measure, at the jilted life we’d led.

I doze in and out, my sadness heavy in my chest. My hands grew numb and my mouth went dry, and I wondered if I’d been left here to die.

And then I heard it, the sound of footsteps approaching the door, tearing through the silence. I tensed as the person unlocked it and shoved it wide open. I expected bright light to flood my vision, but it was dim and shadowy instead. A large body stood in the doorway, and trepidation coiled inside my belly. Was this my kidnapper? There had been two of them waiting inside my apartment, springing on me when I stepped into the shower, drugging me and dumping me, nude and vulnerable, in this very place for what felt like an eternity.

I backed away into the corner of the cellar as he slowly walked in, taking measured steps toward me. I couldn’t see his features, not with the balaclava he was wearing. Nothing about him spoke of his identity, but I could feel a cold chill in the air, could feel his lunacy, and it was further confirmed when he pulled a knife out of his pocket. I lost all air in my lungs.

“I won’t hurt you… yet,” he told me, his voice low and hard. He didn’t sound monstrous like he was. He sounded young, actually.

I felt chills run down my spine as he invaded my space, grabbing at my hands. I shook hard, holding back a whimper before I felt my hands come away freely.

“Do anything stupid, and I’ll tie you up again,” he warned me.

My shoulders and arms were sore. I rubbed at my wrists, stretching out my fingers, watching him move his tall frame to the other side of the tiny cellar. He slid down the wall, that blade still in his grip, and stared back at me.

There was that silence again, and when your days are usually surrounded by eight year old chatterboxes, the silence takes rank on the endangered species list, barely there and only in small numbers.

“What…what do you want?” I finally trembled out. “Is this about my father?”

He chuckled, and it sounded contrived. “The judge? No, it’s not about your father, but you already know that. You know what this is about. Say it.”

I looked down at my hands, shivering. “Marcus.”

“Mm. Good girl,” he said, approvingly.

For a split second my gaze shot to the opened cellar door.

“No,” I heard him say. “There’s no way out of this. Don’t even delude yourself into thinking you can escape. Nobody will hear your screams, we’re that isolated, and my brother will just hunt you down like sport if you think of running. He’s the hunter, you know, and he’s very good at it.”

My shoulders slumped. Tears fell from my eyes, that hopeless feeling tugging on my insides, splitting my spirit apart. I’d never felt so vulnerable in my life.

“Is this a ransom then?” I trembled out, knowing it wasn’t even before I’d asked. “Because if it is, Marcus will give you whatever you want. I know he will.”

“I’m sure he’d give me the fucking universe for you,” he replied. “But no. This isn’t a ransom.”

I swallowed. “Then what do you want?”

“I’m here to kill some time, to find out a little more about the mysterious Marcus Borden and the privileged teacher he returned for.”

“If this is about where he’s been the last four years, I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know where he got the money. I don’t know anything.”

“No, I’m sure you don’t,” he replied, dryly. He knew I was lying. “But it’s not about that. We don’t give a fuck about that.”

I looked away from his penetrating stare.

“I wonder why a beautiful wealthy woman like yourself got involved with a piece of shit like him in the first place.”

I wiped my eyes. “He’s not a piece of shit.”

“Well, not now, not anymore, but he was once, wasn’t he? Before he cleaned himself up, before he came back for you, he was just another thug. Did you fall for his lines? Did he promise you the world?”

“No.”

“So, then tell me. Help me understand.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “You couldn’t understand. You can’t explain our relationship with words. It was all feelings, right from the start.”

He shrugged. “That’s fine. Start from the beginning. Where did you meet the guy?”

I started to shake my head, not wanting to share that personal history with a man that was going to kill me, but then…just the mere thought of Marcus settled me. He’d always provided me comfort. He’d evolved so drastically, and I worried what would become of him after I was gone. It wouldn’t be so wrong to reminisce, just about this anyway. Would it?