Sixteen thousand, one hundred and fourteen. The meticulous spacing of the bricks and precision troweling of the mortar between them gave off a freakish vibe. If Jim hadn’t also been tied with meticulously looped and knotted lengths of rope, that vibe would’ve been less freakish and more appreciative.
He had to give the brick-layer-slash-rope-artist his due. Even if he was a psycho. Under other circumstances they could’ve been friends. Gone out for beers after a long day at the construction site. He was not above shooting the breeze with a crazy man as long as that man didn’t tie him up and throw him into a basement. Stranger things had happened to him… Yeah, no. Actually not. Not even close.
He shook his head. He just couldn’t come up with stranger things, scarier things, no matter how much he tried.
This was definitely one of those aw-shit moments when you hoped you were having a bad dream. If you just let it play out, in the end, you’d wake up, take a hot shower and spend the rest of your day—or week, even—with a new take on life. A positive take. Because you really weren’t tied up and at the mercy of a psycho.
The shiver took him by surprise. The cold, damp flooring must’ve sent a chill slithering up into his bones. A few hours ago he’d lost feeling in anything actually touching the ground. It had been a welcome sort of numbness, but now he really worried about things like circulation. His hands and feet “felt” blue, but he couldn’t tell for sure, and the gag in his mouth had acquired the piquancy of a sweaty jockstrap about the same time his hands and feet went silent. There was no way this was going to end well. And counting bricks hadn’t been the distraction he’d hoped for.
Expert knot-work snaked around his knees, holding them at a set angle. His elbows were pinned to his sides and his wrists were anchored behind his back. Assuming they were still there. Yeah, circulation. Lack thereof, definitely a problem.
He heaved a sigh, straining against the rope constricting his chest. The muscles in his legs quivered as he bore down into the unyielding surface beneath him, and strained to inchworm forward. The resulting motion hardly seemed worth the effort. The destination—another wall—hardly seemed worth it either. He’d wear out the seat of his jeans scooting around the rough surface like a human burrito, and then he’d be cheeks and balls to the wall. Hardly a thing to look forward to, but he had to do something.
Why was this so hard?
It really couldn’t have been that long. Could it? Somewhere in the cobwebs of his memory was the knowledge that it took about three days to die of thirst. Maybe less, seeing as he’d started off slightly drunk. Because he hadn’t been above drinking beers and throwing darts after a long, hard day. Because he’d ignored the hair rising on the back of his neck. Because he’d been a nice guy. If he made it out of here he was going full-on jerk, twenty-four-seven. No question.
Copyright 2017 by Monalisa Foster