The Bait: Prologue ( a short story by Cory Graham)

I’ve always had a knack for getting out of impossible situations.  Some might dismissively attribute it to my looks. My expressive eyes, long hair, pale skin, and curvy, yet fit figure have even afforded me a few alternative modeling opportunities.  But my looks–that’s just a distraction. I’m clever. Savvy. Observant. Skilled.  After all, this isn’t getting out of a parking or speeding ticket.  This is about outwitting and overpowering and ultimately bringing down a serial killer.  Multiple killers and sociopaths. Each one unique and different and every time, I’m in for the fight of my life–literally.  This time I’m locked in my own trunk, headed to a killer’s lair.  I’m in my mid twenties and by all rights should be enjoying a drink out or a glass of wine and Netflix at home.  But instead, on a Friday night, I’ve dedicated my life to this–taking down and taking out some of the craftiest bastards on the planet.  A slayer of those who slay.

I’ve been patrolling local parking decks and garages late at night for days now, almost a week.  Hoping to find him. On of the last of my locations for the night, I pulled up to the ticket booth at the exit, defeated.  Assuming that maybe he had moved on to new hunting grounds elsewhere.  The older gentleman attendant with the bushy mustache was no longer there and a younger guy was in his place.  I rolled down the window, handed him my ticket.  He studied it for a moment.  Then pointed to the rear of my car. “Maam, you’ve got a tail light out. Might want to take a look at that. ” I smiled politely. “Thanks, but I’m good. I’ll have it checked out first thing on the way to work.” He leveled his gun at me. “Step. Out. Of the vehicle. Pleassse. ” A wide grin swept across his face, revealing unusually straight teeth, with sharp, pointed incisors.  My gaze was immediately drawn to them.  “Admiring my teeth, are you?” he inquired smugly.  “What are you, a fucking vampire?” I asked, with a mix of mock fear and genuine adrenaline coursing through my veins.  His grin faded to a knowing, thin smile.  “No, not all, but I will tear your throat out all the same, in due time.  My own little Lucy.  Only you won’t live as one of the undead.  I promise though, I’ll try to keep you alive as long as I can, keep you from bleeding out. That way I get to savor every second.  Now open the trunk and get in.” He exited the booth, the ajar door revealing a flash of the slumped bloody body of the old man with the bushy mustache.  He pressed the gun to my temple. I complied.

And we were off, with him in the driver’s seat and me in my own trunk.  For how long, I don’t know.  Seconds feel like minutes, minutes feel like hours when you’re a captive.  Rather than trying to gauge time, I’ve trained myself to take in every sensory detail I can–whether I’m blindfolded, hooded, or in a trunk.  Changes in light that might indicate a wooded area or tunnel.  The sounds of the roadway or off-road terrain.  Gravel, smooth asphalt, or the intermittent bumpy clack-clack of a highway.  Fortunately, I had chosen my car as one which has a partial fold down backseat–“Great for ski equipment!” as the salesman touted.  It might afford me an early way out of this ambush…

Cory Graham–2015

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