She quickly shut the cupboard door as she heard his footsteps slapping the bare wooden floorboards.
Shit! She thought. Still caught out.
Thinking fast, she moved over to the stove and began stirring the stew, just as she heard the creak of the door coming open.
‘Smelt like it was burning,’ she said, as she saw the curious expression on his face.
He nodded, his hands dripping water until he found a dirty tea towel and rubbed them dry.
He moved in behind her, again much too close for comfort, pinning her against the stove a little with his weight.
‘That’s just lovely,’ he leered. ‘The stew, I mean,’ he said hastily.
He moved back and she was grateful for the space.
‘Not long now,’ he winked.
‘It’s thickening up nicely. The stew, I mean.’ His smug grin sickened her.
He retrieved another couple of beers and offered her one.
She nodded, but left it unopened on the counter.
Gus opened his and drained a good half of it in one big gulp.
He turned away and began raking around in one of the cupboards.
He came back with a loaf of home-baked bread and began hacking at it with a blunt knife.
Deborah moved and slammed the cleaver down, carving the first slice away.
As she did so, she made eye contact and smiled.
He gulped, nodded.
He must have got the fucking hint by now, she thought.
He moved over to the stove, took a quick slurp of stew and nodded, smiling to himself.
‘It’s time,’ he grinned.
He dished up two full bowls of the stew.
The bread was there, ready for the dipping.
‘This is good,’ Deborah said. ‘Thank you.’
It was best not to think of where the meat in the stew had come from, but it was undeniably delicious.
The meal was gone in a matter of minutes.
‘Delicious,’ Gus said, fixing her with an intense stare.
Am I imagining all of this? she thought. Or is he really this fucking creepy?
She excused herself and went to the bathroom.
She closed the door halfway and peered round the gap in the door.
She couldn’t fully see him, but she could see his back.
He had two beers in his hand.
He opened one of them and went over to the cupboard where she’d seen the sleeping pills.
She couldn’t see what he was actually doing, but to her it seemed obvious.
Get out there and stop him putting it in, she thought.
Na, I gotta better idea, she grinned.
She made a big fuss of flushing the toilet.
He scurried back to his seat like the rat he was.
She played at washing her hands then came out.
‘I gotcha another beer,’ he smiled.
She noticed he had already opened hers.
She pretended to take a swig.
His grin widened when he saw her drinking the beer.
‘Gotta piss,’ he said. ‘Fucking baby’s bladder I have.’
She laughed, but it was more at the fact that she had him.
When she was sure he’d gone, she switched cans with him.
She drunk heartily from the can, chuckling to herself.
He came back and she was mopping up the remnants of the stew with another piece of bread.
He took a big swig of his beer.
‘You getting tired?’ he said, rubbing his eyes. ‘I reckon it’s nearly bedtime.’
You sly bastard, she thought.
‘Na I’m good. Could stay up a while yet.’
He nodded, looking slightly disappointed.
‘Say, do you want another beer?’ she said, getting up and going for another.
Round the corner, she pulled both ring pulls.
She emerged from round the corner.
‘This one’s yours,’ she smiled, passing him the can.
He took a swig.
‘Gotta pee again, this beer’s going right through me,’ she said, staggering off to the toilet.
She took a quick glance behind her and saw that he was beaming.
She shut the door tight behind her.
The shard of tile was cold against her leg.
She pissed. Her nervous bladder had kicked in.
‘You ready to do this?’ she muttered to herself, taking a deep breath in.
She felt her pulse in the hollow at the bottom of her throat.
She’d dealt with worse than him, she felt certain, but her body had still yet to fully recuperate from the ordeal of the past few days.
So she was a little reluctant to get into a physical confrontation.
She went back out, trying not to fidget as the tile dug into her side a little.
He’d got her a fresh beer, already opened. As she came in, he’d hastily moved away from the cupboard with the sleeping pills.
‘I’m feeling it already,’ he said, smiling.
‘Me too,’ she grinned, putting on more of a swagger than she felt.
She lurched over to the table, making sure to knock the can of beer over into his lap.
‘Ah shit I’m sorry,’ she said.
‘It’s fine,’ he scowled, mopping at it with one of the dirty tea towels.
She went round the corner and got herself a fresh beer.
Opened it herself, fighting to keep the smile off her face.
All of a sudden, he seemed to be doubly as drunk.
She again fought to keep the smile from her lips.
His words began to slur, his eyelids to droop.
His head lolled forward on his neck, jolting back as he fought to keep himself awake.
She was sure he slurred, ‘You fucking bitch,’ under his breath but couldn’t be certain.
Then he was lolling forward, his head bouncing on the counter.
He was already snoring and drooling.
‘You fucked with the wrong chica, dickhead.’
When Gus next opened his eyes he was bound to his bed tightly with the ropes Deborah had brought with her from Serenity.
‘Your dream come true, eh?’ she grinned.
His eyelids flickered like the wings of a tiny bird.
His eyes were still rolled back in their sockets, only a sliver of pupil revealed.
He muttered something nonsensical.
‘Oh I knew you were spiking my drinks, you creepy little prick,’ she spat. ‘You’re not as clever as you think you are. I switched cans.’
The realisation seemed to dawn on him, even through the haze of drug-addled confusion.
He let out a low groan.
His eyes finally focused, fell upon the bloody cleaver in her hands.
‘I’ve already taken your balls off,’ she beamed. ‘So you should start feeling that right about now.’
His brow furrowed and he went to say something, calling her out on her bullshit, no doubt, but she picked up his severed testicles and threw them onto his chest with a wet splat.
Gus went really pale really quickly, then he began to scream and writhe as the pain set in.
He felt something hard under his groin and he looked down to see the wooden chopping board from the kitchen.
He fought against his ropes, making the bed creak and groan beneath him.
‘But I couldn’t have all the fun while you were asleep,’ she grinned, running a finger seductively down the blade of the cleaver.
‘No, no, you don’t have to do this,’ his quaking voice called out.
‘Were you going to rape me while I was out cold?’ she said, ignoring his protests.
She fixed him with a sullen stare.
He looked away from her gaze.
Said nothing, but his silence spoke volumes.
‘I thought as much. Not even man enough to admit it. But then again you won’t be a man at all after what I’m about to do. Not in the literal sense, anyway.’
She moved the cleaver in close and he felt cold steel in the area he least wanted to feel it.
There was a sharp pain as she deliberately drew blood.
‘Oh that’s nothing,’ she smiled.
Then she raised the cleaver high.
When the cleaver landed, his screams were ungodly.
She watched him suffer for a few minutes, then left him bleeding out on the bed.