Casualties of Pretty Things -- Chapter 1 -- WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT
A psychotic father kidnaps teenage girls and uses them as sex dolls in place of the daughter he raped, while her guardian will stop at nothing to find her. When sixteen-year-old Cybil believes her mother was killed by the father who raped her she runs away from Deloris, a woman who loves her like her own daughter and who operates the House of Rahab, a halfway home for young women with backgrounds in prostitution. On the streets Cybil finds the friendship she needs, only to lose it when her father finds her. Now Deloris must overcome an ingenious captor and bring Cybil home.
The hazy form of a surgeon was lit by crude lighting from above. He had done the work himself; converted these rooms to suit his needs. If not for the need for privacy he might take some pride in showing it off. He swayed back and forth in his patient’s field of vision. The teen girl mumbled, currently naked and wrapped in a clear body bag.
Sectioned off on one side, and standing in stark contrast, was a little girl’s playroom, pieced together haphazardly but lit with pastel colors. Dressing the walls were a number of family portraits, where hung Carl with his wife Jolene and their six-year-old daughter Cybil, a few years younger than Carl’s victim on the operating table.
Penny’s body lay bruised and torn with open wounds. Her face was red and swollen, her eyes nearly sealed shut from earlier abuse.
Carl walked over to a sink and ran warm water into a bucket. He prepared a sponge and towel. Then he waited.
Penny wanted to struggle, to fight back, but was not able. Carl noticed she was crying, trying to speak with difficulty. He walked back to her, letting the water fill the bucket. He said, “Ah, you’re awake. Very good. We can get started.”
He stared down into her eyes, making sure she was in fact cognizant enough to understand him. “How you doing in there, Penny? Firing on all cylinders? You can call me Carl. Pleased to meet you.”
“And here it comes,” he said. “Not the good part I’ve been looking forward to.” He returned to the sink and shut it off. He carried the bucket over to the table and his victim. “This is the begging part. I hate the begging part.”
Penny managed to beg. “You don’t have to do this.”
“What’s that?” He bent down, mocking sympathy.
“Look, you already know what’s coming. But, you’re determined to beg, so go right ahead. We’ve got a little time anyway.” He pulled the body bag away from her. “I know it’s hard to talk right now, but you’ll try. That’s because I’ve given you a small dose of what’s called succinylcholine. It’s a paralytic drug I’m quite fond of.”
“Please, not for my sake.”
Carl let the body bag fall to the floor. He took the sponge out of the bucket and applied it gently to the victim’s body. He said, “Let’s be honest with one another. I’ll tell you what my intentions are tonight. I mean, exactly what I’m going to do to you. And, naturally, you can try your best to beg your way out of it. Deal?”
“No, please. Let me—"
“I’ll take that as a yes, Penny. Now, I know you’re lying there helpless, wondering, and hoping against all hope that I’m not going to kill you. Let me put your mind at ease right now…” He leaned in close to her face. “I’m not going to kill you.”
“Good news, I know. If you were dead I would have no use for you. I want to keep you around, and I want you to be susceptible to my every whim. To achieve that, I’m going to perform a lobectomy. Specifically, an anterior temporal lobectomy.”
Carl wet the sponge in the bucket, pulled it out and applied it to Penny’s hair. He went on: “You probably don’t know what that is. It was once used as an effective means of combating epilepsy. Still is in rare cases. People confuse the procedure with the more popular lobotomy. It’s important to me that you understand what’s about to happen to you, so I’ll make it simple.”
He put the sponge back into the bucket and looked down again at Penny to speak to her very calmly. “I’m going to remove the frontal lobe from your brain. In doing so, everything about you is going to change. You will no longer be the very worried person you are now. In fact, you’ll have no worries at all, and be cared for entirely, all the remaining days of your life. Understand?”
Immobile, Penny wept while Carl returned to gently cleaning her naked body. She whimpered, “No. God, please, no.”
“But I did tell you before you’d have a chance to change my mind, so go ahead. No one ever has. That is, no one has ever compelled me enough, or even entertained me enough, to want to not do what I’m about to do. It’s just, really a lot of fun. For me. A lot of fun for me… sorry.”
She had to win him over. “Please, you can’t do this. I just found out this morning… I’m pregnant.”
Carl put the sponge back into the water and Penny sighed. He smiled down at her and laid a hand above her stomach. “What are you, sixteen at most? That’s a little young, but there’s nothing more important in this world than being a mother. You are blessed.”
He walked away from the victim, over to a workstation where he kept various medical and surgical tools. His hands hovered between a medicine bottle and syringe, and an electrical bone-cutter saw. He chose the medicine and syringe, then turned back to Penny. He injected the syringe into the bottle and withdrew its contents.
“I’m very moved by your begging,” he said. “So I’m going to give you a cocktail of mescaline and psilocybin, with a twist of klonopin. In addition to making everything painless it has the wonderful side-effect of causing severe hallucinations.”
Carl pulled the syringe out and sat the bottle down. He said, “You’re about to go on one hell of a trip, Penny. And not for nothing, but I really have to do my thing.”
Penny tried to beg through tears; tried to scream. “No, please. No.”
“I know. Screaming is hard.”
Carl stuck the full needle into a vein of his victim’s neck. “Don’t worry, Penny. It’s painless. But I should probably tell you…” He pulled the syringe out of Penny’s neck and smiled. “I’m a convicted pedophile.”
Penny’s eyes grew wide and then narrowed. She understood what he meant to use her for.
Carl sat the needle aside and picked up the sponge to go back to cleaning her body. As the cocktail raced through her system he said, “I know. Weird, right? Well, I used to have these horrible, just terrifying fantasies about my own daughter. Now, with your help, Penny, she doesn’t have to be a victim. You get to be her substitute. And, really, a hero.”
Her eyes glassed over. The drug was taking effect. She struggled to speak the last words she would ever say: “My baby.”
Carl rubbed his victim’s stomach to assure her. “That’s easy enough to remedy, Penny. If there really is a little miss in there I’ll just yank her out and flush her down the drain. And what kind of a mother were you going to be?”
He walked over to the workstation and readied his surgical tools, sanitizing them. Then he took the electrical bone-cutter in hand, and said, “I’m ashamed to say I never got over my addiction. It’s a strange beast, addiction. Something you have to keep fed.”
Penny, under the influence of the cocktail, watched the figure of Carl morph into a demonic creature, images behind him from the little girl’s playroom took the shapes of child-like living toys. Colors ran like a water painting.
He stood over her with the electrical bone-cutter, smiled at her, a demon with jagged teeth. He went over to a nightstand where a music box sat. He opened it and listened to its light playful music. He danced with the electrical bone-cutter.
“I can relate if you think you’re dying. Well, not really.”
The noise of the bone-cutter became the scream of the demon. It thrust its awful maw down onto Penny’s skull. Behind it the living toys watched with a sense of surreal joy. Shadows swelled and distorted; they contorted in and out of reality while it fed on its victim, now stoic. From her eyes pleading tears rolled down her cheeks. And the demon danced.