Mary’s forehead shone with sweat as she stared at her captor. She had no choice but to stare, after all. He had long since flayed the skin from her eyes, pulling the raw muscles of her lids back with rusted wire to hold her eyes open. At first, the streaming tears burned as they rolled down her face; now, there were no more tears to be had, as her eyes had dried up hours ago.
She wanted to scream. She tried to scream. All that came out, though, was a muffled groan.
He had stapled her mouth shut.
When he moved out of her line of sight she cringed. In the mirror directly across from her, she saw strips of skin hanging off her naked body. Barbed wire bound her arms, legs, and head to the chair she sat in. Rivulets of blood covered what was left of her skin.
His form slowly came back into view. He had walked a circle around her, examining his work. She looked into the eyes that she had once found so charming and now saw only a monster.
His online profile had seemed innocent enough. He was young, handsome, athletic…Mary was sure she had found a great catch. Little did she know what lay beneath the surface of those clear blue eyes and sculpted jaw line.
Though she had emptied her bladder earlier when she regained consciousness to see the scalpel aimed at her head, she once again felt the urge to urinate. She knew better, though; the first time, he had doused her mutilated body with salt water collected from the same ocean in which they had swam just hours before the terror began. Mary wasn’t about to make that mistake again. Salt had dried into her crusting wounds, causing fresh pain every time she shifted her weight. She tried not to move…a difficult task when she was being skinned alive, inch by agonizing inch.
Her captor—he had told her his name was Matt, but that could have been a lie—reached over to a table beyond her view and picked up something that sounded like metal. When he brought his arm forward, she saw the object: a large wrench.
This was it. This was the end. He was going to cave her head in, crush it like a melon.
At least the torture would be over.
A wild grin spread across his once-handsome face. He raised the wrench over his head…
…and, with a crack that echoed through the small basement, a hole opened in his forehead, dropping him to the ground.
Yes! she thought. Someone has come to rescue me!
Slowly, a male form came into view. At first, Mary could only see his back. She didn’t care what he looked like, though. All she cared about was freedom.
Then the man turned around.
Once again, she was staring into Matt’s face.
“So sorry,” the other-Matt said. “My twin is something of a psycho.” He reached to the table and picked up something. When Mary saw that it was a pair of wire cutters, her muscles relaxed. He was going to free her.
Other-Matt walked over, a friendly grin on his face. He cut the staples on her lips first.
“Thank you!” she gasped. “I was so scared, I—“
He put a finger to her lips. “Shh,” he said. “You need to save your voice.” He leaned in close, his lips brushing hers before he whispered in her ear. “You see, unlike my brother, I like to hear you scream.”