Friday, February 14, 2014

Labor of Love

Drew nearly dropped the screwdriver in his hand when the digital alarm clock on his workbench began to beep discordantly. With a sigh, he set the tool down in a small plastic tub and began gathering up the rest of his instruments. He carried the lot over to a small utility sink in the corner.

Filling it half full of hot water, he measured in the disinfectant and other cleaning agents he had found most effective for keeping his workplace and its contents both clean and sterile. Retrieving a metal basket from the countertop next to the sink, he submerged the tools into the chemical bath. While they soaked, he filled a bucket with the same mixture and, sponge in hand, he went in a slow, methodical fashion about his basement shop wiping down the various surfaces.

Glancing to the center of the room, he frowned at the disorder and disarray attendant with the body securely strapped to the sturdy platform he’d built and bolted down there. Well, he mused, in the same way one can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, one can’t systematically deface and dismember another human being without some…unpleasantness.

Convincing himself it wasn’t anything a mop and bucket and a good disinfectant hose down couldn’t cure, Drew returned to the sink and rinsed off the bucket and disposed of the sponges and scrubber. Putting the bucket back in its designated place, he drained the sink and removed each tool in accordance with his mental checklist. Each was checked for cleanliness, dried and replaced on the pegboard to the left of the sink. Satisfied the area was as clean as he could expect given his ongoing project, he returned to the figure secured there for a quick inspection.

She was unconscious and would likely remain so for an additional several hours until the chloroform/ether mixture he’d used lost its effectiveness. That was excellent. It would allow him to relax with a hot shower, some clean clothing and a bite to eat before resuming his activities. In other circumstances, he might have favored her with a kiss or a caress before leaving but that would be…impractical with her in her current state. Ascending the stairs with tired precision, he secured the cellar door before attending to his personal needs.

Precisely 87 minutes later, he placed the dishes from his soup-and-sandwich snack into the drying racks and went back to the workshop. He checked his watch against two other clocks in the room and nodded with satisfaction. It had been an emotional rollercoaster ride the last two days and Drew took satisfaction in seeing he had not allowed such to compromise his sense of punctuality and orderly living.

A low moaning whimper from the platform confirmed he had returned at a most propitious time. She had obviously regained consciousness thought he could scarcely imagine, given the blood loss she’d sustained, she was truly aware of her situation. That was perfectly acceptable to him since her presence here was for his benefit and not for her edification at all. In actuality, he had no reason to believe, given her frequent indiscretions, she was even capable of learning from her mistakes.

Pushing such conjectures to the back of his mind, he returned his focus to her. He was nearly finished with her but had a few more minor…modifications to make to her body before he would consider the job to have completed to his satisfaction.

Retrieving his tools, he disregarded her whimpers and weak attempts to free herself. She was going nowhere unless and until he wished it to be so. Selecting a pair of sturdy pliers, he prepared to resume working on her hands. As he leaned over her supine form, he was gratified to see a hint of intellect flickering in her remaining eye. She knew at least something of what was going on and what she could expect in the intervening few hours. He allowed himself a brief smile before reverting to the more serious mien his labors required.

Two hours and forty-five minutes later, his desktop alarm signaled the end of his endeavor. He had planned very precisely the timeframe for his interlude with her and had factored in very little time to deviate from the schedule. Donning dark coveralls and a knit cap, he drew no attention as he carried her up the cellar steps to the side door and placed her in the nondescript van he’d parked there the night before. Securely locking the outside exit door, he lamented he would be constrained to leave such a mess to clean up upon his return but time was a pressing issue. When she was properly disposed of, he would be free to clean at his leisure.

He would be returning her to the small bungalow home she owned on the far west side of the city. He drove well within the speed limits and did nothing to draw attention to him for the half hour trip. Now that he had progressed this far he reluctantly accepted after tonight his association with her would be forever at an end. That was fitting since they’d never shared much of a relationship to begin with.

He freely admitted, given his reticent nature and unassuming features, it was entirely possible she’d never been aware of him at all. This changed in no way his fascination with and attraction to her. While he was, for the most part, content to worship her from afar he’d taken steps often enough to ensure their paths crossed and she was provided an opportunity to acquaint herself with him. It was only after repeated failures on her part to take note of him that he abandoned any hope of her being enlightened enough to deduce his desires. It was entirely her fault he’d had to take measures to rid himself of her alluring temptations. It was entirely her fault he’d been forced to take measures to…chastise…her for her shallow and dismissive ways.

While she had not even a polite greeting to offer him on those occasions they’d crossed paths, she seemed to be habitually yammering on her wireless telephone to…someone. It seemed only right then to deprive her of her ears, her tongue, and her lips. If she could not be bothered to speak to him then by what right should she be permitted to speak to anyone?

Since she couldn’t condescend to return his friendly wave or in some way engage in physical contact with him when he’d offered her ample opportunities for such, yet would hug near-perfect strangers in the guise of co-workers or offer a friendly smile and wave to the geriatric doorman at her company’s entryway, then by what right should she enjoy the continued use of her hands or fingers?

The sobering blare of a car horn convinced him to return his attention to driving and save the recriminations and rationalizations of his actions for another time. Arriving in her neighborhood, he silently paid tribute to the gods of uncivility that the houses in this area all boasted high privacy fences and obscuring shrubbery that made it nigh on impossible he could or would be observed returning her to the safe confines of her home.

Twenty minutes later found her safely laid to rest on her bed. He confirmed she was still unconscious before injecting her with a hypodermic containing a drug guaranteed to most thoroughly eliminate her short term memory. That she had been disfigured would be readily apparent to all. How she had come to be so would remain a mystery not only to them but even to her as well. He thought that a delightful denouement to his efforts of the recent past.

When he had wiped down any surface he was liable to have come into contact with and assured himself no viable trace of him was to be left behind, he returned to survey her once more before turning his back on her forever.

He smiled with the realization that, while he would never have her heart, he did have both of her ears, her right eye, her nose, her tongue, seven of her fingers and, purely to be vindictive, both of her nipples and her clitoris. So while she would never be his to love, he was more than willing to bet she would never be anyone’s love for as long as her scarred, abused body should live. In that he found a certain satisfaction that would stay with him long after the fifteen minutes of media hoopla attendant with the unfortunate case of a certain woman he had once had deep feelings for. 

This story was written for the Friday Frights website website where I am a regular contributor for the monthly theme of: grotesque love. 

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