Don't Read After Dark: Keep the lights on while reading these! (A McCray Horror Collection) (2 page)

BOOK: Don't Read After Dark: Keep the lights on while reading these! (A McCray Horror Collection)

“Help,” she cried, but it only came out as a croak.

She might have gotten away if it weren’t for her ponytail. The man grabbed it, jerking her back into his rough embrace.

With her cheek against his ski mask, she begged. “Please, don’t.”

He rubbed the wool against her skin. “Oh, if you think this is bad, just you wait.”

Thankfully, the chloroform went over her mouth again. Just as her eyelids got too heavy to keep open, Evie spotted a taxi filled with her co-workers, laughing and having a carefree time.

Was the waiting van that much worse than her life?



The first thing that made Evie realize that she was still awake was her throbbing headache. It was like she had a hangover on top of a nasty head cold. For a moment she just lay there, grateful she wasn’t as dead as she assumed she would be.

Then the cold from the cement floor crept into her bones. As did the chanting that echoed off the walls. A deep baritone was quoting from the Bible.

“Even though I walk through the valley of death, because you are with me, I will fear no evil.”

If only she had that much faith. Almost not wanting to, Evelyn cracked open her eyelids, but the room was pitch dark. Even though she couldn’t see beyond her nose, she could hear the subtle shuffling of feet. The dripping of water. Someone breathing heavily beyond her sight.

This was definitely not where she wanted to wake up.

“It’s a girl, right?” A male voice asked from the abyss.

A harsher voice answered. “Or it’s a drag queen wearing white diamonds.”

“Does it look like she works out?” a younger, more excited voice asked.

Who were these people? Where was she?

“Does she seem injured?” an elderly, concerned voice asked.

All through it, the raspy voice, the kind you only got after smoking for several decades, kept up his scripture.

Were the lights coming up, or were her eyes just adjusting to the lack of light? From her position cheek-down on the ground, Evelyn began to make out bars, like in a prison, and feet. Behind the bars.

“Look, people, I’m the closest, but I didn’t just pull out night-vision goggles from my ass,” the meaner voice said.

“But it’s a girl, for sure, right?” the first voice asked again.

“Even if it was,” the mean voice said as he snorted, “you wouldn’t know what to do with her.”

“Hey,” the higher pitched voice squeaked, “How many times do I have to tell you I am the original Back Door Rapist? And that you are the pale, uninspired copycat?”

Evie’s vision cleared enough for her to tilt her head. The cell nearest her contained a mid-30’s man with a scowl on his face. The kind of guy that looked like he would get into a bar fight at the drop of a hat.

Across from him was a younger man, a teenager, even. Scrawny with light acne, he didn’t look like he belonged in a bar, let alone a place like this. But like the other men, he was behind bars. There were several other men down the row, but she couldn’t make out their faces. Only one cell didn’t have a man’s face plastered to it. Evie couldn’t make out exactly what was going on down there, but there seemed to be a figure on a cot toward the back of the cell.

“She’s breathing, right?” the teen asked. “He wouldn’t throw her in here if she was dead already, would he?’

A man with a heavy hick accent added, “Unless she’s supper?”

* * *

Nancy squirmed on the small bar stool. A very large pink and orange drink sat in front of her, with brightly colored umbrellas sticking out, and a section of pineapple. She hated pineapple. Why she let Phoebe convince her to buy the damn drink, Nancy wasn’t quite sure.

As the other two girls laughed at a young financial executive’s jokes, Nancy checked her cell phone again. Nothing.

She’d called Evie a dozen times now, each message begging her co-worker to call her back and let her know that she got home safe and sound.

Apparently twelve times wasn’t enough, as she hit speed dial number four again. The phone didn’t even ring, it went straight to voicemail just like it had the other dozen times.

“This is Evelyn Montgomery. Thank you for calling. Please leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as I can.”

Nancy waited for the beep, then stated, “Evie, I am getting worried. Please call me back, like right now.”

She flicked off the phone to find Phoebe looking at her.

The younger woman patted Nancy’s hand. “She’s curled up reading
Fifty Shades of Grey
on her Kindle or
The Notebook
, whatever losers like her do on a Friday night instead of getting laid.”

Nancy was not all that certain about that statement. “I think I should go by and check on her.”

Phoebe’s face scrunched up as Cassidy moaned, “You can’t go Nancy. You’re our wing girl.”

As much as Nancy might appreciate the fact that she could socialize with women much younger, she had a feeling in her gut that something was wrong.

“I’ve got to go,” Nancy said, and stepped off the stool, gathering her things.

“No, no, no,” Cassidy moaned, but Phoebe pulled her friend back toward the bar.

“Let her go. She’s just bringing down the energy, anyway.” Once Phoebe got Cassidy reseated, she yelled toward Nancy, “But mark my words, Evelyn is fine.”

Oh, how Nancy wished that were the case.

* * *

Evie could no longer keep her body still, praying that this was all just a nightmare. It had been going on too long, and she could feel the grainy texture of the cement against her palms.

This was real. Which meant she was going to need to face it.

With a groan, she pushed herself up off the cold floor.

“She’s alive!” the teen exclaimed.

“Goddamn it!” a wiry older man from the back of the room cursed. Evelyn was pretty sure it was the voice that had been chanting scripture. “Forgive me, Father, for I have taken your name in vain.”

The rise and fall of scripture began again.

“Yeah, but she ain’t moving much,” another voice from deeper within the dungeon said. He looked like the type of guy that you did not want to meet in a dark alley, or a darkened dungeon.

Evelyn curled up, wrapping her arms around her legs and wondering what she had done in a previous life to deserve this.

“Maybe she’s paralyzed,” the teen said, sounding surprisingly sympathetic.

The meanest of the bunch, and also the closest, spat a big thick loogie into the common area. “Then she’d be right up your alley, wouldn’t she, Andrew?”

“Hey!” Andrew squealed. “That’s not fair!”

The mean man didn’t even look to the teenager, he locked Evie’s gaze.

“It’s been one year, three months…”

Evelyn tried to stay strong. She tried to not flinch under his glare, but her body betrayed her. Before she knew it, she’d risen and was backpedaling until she hit a wooden door. There was no escape in that direction.

The man lashed out with his arm. Evie scrambled away, but unfortunately that drove her deeper into the cell block. She found a camera, its red light blinking brightly.

“Help me! Someone, please help me!” she cried out to the camera.

One of the men scoffed. “He’s the one that put you in here, darlin’.”

Evelyn searched the cells for someone, anyone, who might be sympathetic to her plight. Since he was not at the cell door, Evie ran to the man who was lounging on his cot.

“Please, help,” she begged.

Without saying a word, the man’s brought his chin up. His eyes were devoid of compassion. They were devoid of caring. Evie felt more disturbed than she did with the rapist in the first cell.

“And twenty days since I’ve had a bitch like you…”

Evie ran back to the front of the room. There may be a door there, but at least there wasn’t a man trying to claim her. Evie pulled on the door handle, desperately trying to get it open.

An intercom system beeped to life. A distorted female voice announced, “Random Cell Door Opening on the count of three.”

* * *

Andrew clapped his hands together. You just never knew what was going to happen in the dungeon. “Oh, I hope it’s me!”

In the cell next to Back’s, Door shook his sandy blond head. “No way, I’m due.” He snorted toward Andrew. “You got that fat, deaf, Mexican last time and still couldn’t take him down.”

It was Andrew’s turn to snort. He so rarely got those. “Yeah, right. Like you fared any better with the lumberjack.”

“Wait a minute!” Door exclaimed. “That guy was strong.”

At the back of the cellblock, Papa reached through the cell doors. “Ma’am, I know that you don’t know me from Adam and are disoriented and afraid.”

Like the biggest understatement in the history of understatements.

Papa continued, “But you
trust me.”

Yeah right.

Luckily, the woman didn’t seem to believe Papa any more than Andrew. She continued to tug on the door.

“Pull all you want, bitch, that door’s double-locked from the outside.”

Back may be a sadistic serial rapist/murderer douche, however, he wasn’t wrong on that one.

“With a larger, metal door behind it,” Papa stated.

Neither was Papa. Yet the woman still tugged.

“But hey, go for it,” Andrew stated. She didn’t seem to be catching on that her stay here was not voluntary.

“Three,” the chime voice stated.

Oh goodie! No matter who got out, this was going to be like pull-up-a-chair-and-get-your-double-buttered-popcorn-ready-to-go kind of good.

“Please let it be me,” Door said, his hands clutched in prayer, although Andrew wasn’t so sure how God would take to granting the other serial rapist-murderer his wish.

Andrew was pretty sure it didn’t work that way. Although, clearly, Clyde felt otherwise, as he knelt down, his lips muttering a prayer.

“Help!” the woman screamed, beating her bloody fists against the door.

“No one can hear you, puta,” Back said. “You are ours.”



Detective Jake Braut leaned back in his chair, feet on his desk, as he played his video game. The phone on his desk rang incessantly. Hello, didn’t people understand the concept of off-duty?

“A little busy here,” he said, for the edification of the janitor who was swiping the dirty mop head across the floor behind Jake. Even though he couldn’t see the older African American man’s face, Jake could feel his eyes burrowing into the back of Jake’s shaved head.

Finally, he couldn’t take it any longer. Whether that was the jangle of the ringing or the janitor’s silent judgment, Jake picked up the phone.

“Detective Braut,” he said, then nearly dropped his game. He tucked the phone under his chin so he could keep playing. “At your service.”

“Hey, this is Marion down at Missing Persons.”

Jake paid a little more attention. If this was the Marion from Missing Persons he was thinking of, she was a brunette with a nice “C” cup and could make some mean brownies.

The woman continued. “I’ve got a Nancy Coultran on the line. Her friend has only been missing for a few hours, so there’s not much I can do for her, but she’s certain that ‘something awful’ has happened to her friend.”

“Then send a uniform to the friend’s apartment.”

“Do you think I’d be calling you if I had a uniform available?” Marion asked tartly on the other end of the line.

“Fine,” Jake said. “Put her through.”

“Thank you,” Marion said as she put him on hold.

No, thank you. Jake hung up the phone. “C” cups just didn’t do as much as they used to for him, and she always put walnuts in her brownies, so there was that.

The janitor cleared his throat behind him. Jake swung around in his chair enough to answer the unspoken questions.

“What? I must have gotten disconnected.”

* * *

Evie used her fingernails to scrape at the door. About the only thing that was accomplishing, though, was peeling the thick old paint off.

“Help!” she screamed again, even though it was starting to feel useless.

“Two,” the chime announced.

The man that everyone called Papa pleaded with her again. “Please Miss, you have to listen to me. You are trapped. We’re
trapped in here. There’s no way out.”

Or at least none that he had found. Evie kept at it.

Esau, the man who usually chanted scripture, took a break to inform her, “As God as my witness, child, I shall be gentle and merciful.”

Somehow, coming out his gaunt face and thin lips, that didn’t make her feel any better.

The rapist the men called Back leaned through the bars. “I won’t be, though,” he informed her. “As a matter of fact, I look forward to you struggling. Screaming. Scratching. I want my flesh under your fingernails.”

Evie had to fight off the nausea to start trying to figure out the type of knob and lock the door used. There had to be a way out of here.

,” the chime announced. Evie could really do without the bitch’s chipper tone.

“If my cell opens,” Papa pleaded with her again, “you need to head straight here. Please believe me.” The man almost sounded pained, as if her own grandfather was speaking the words. He even looked a bit like her Papa—large belly barely contained by a sweater vest. “Your life is in danger.”

No shit.

“You got panties on?” the large lummox the men called Clyde asked. She didn’t feel inclined to answer him. “I hope you’ve got fancy panties on.”

The chime voice came back on. “And the winner is…”

Evelyn pressed herself against the door as she waited for the loud click as one of the cell doors was opened. It was Andrew’s. The teenager’s.

* * *

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh
, was all that Andrew could think as his door swung open. But he was so excited he couldn’t even form the words. He couldn’t believe his luck. The first woman in eons, and he got to have her first?

It was like getting the first print edition of
. No, it was even better than that.

“Jesus!” Back yelled, spoiling the moment. “Get out there! Rape! Pillage! At least give us a fucking show!”

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