I turned the handle, but the door was locked; searching the surface for a latch, or a bolt, I found nothing. Apart from the stainless steel knob, the facade was as smooth as marble. Peering in the semi-light, afforded by the small window on the opposite wall, I could see no means of unlocking this door. There was no keyhole, no visible mechanism, nothing.
My attention was drawn back to the bulge in the middle of the bed; did she hold the key to my escape? Had I been too hasty in my actions? She wouldn’t be much use to me now.
“Stupid bastard,” I muttered. “You should have thought this through properly.
Fuck! What you gonna do now?”
Feeling the sticky, wet slime beginning to seep through my clothes, I realised I needed to get a bath, wash all this blood and snot off me.
I kicked the bed in passing, the heap wobbled; “Fat bitch!”
Sitting down on the lavatory seat to take off my shoes and socks, as I turned the bath taps on, I racked my brain; how did the silly cow get in and out of the flat? There must be some way of opening the door?
I was about to remove my pants when I suddenly realised that the bath was still empty. Turning both taps fully, I waited for the sound of running water. When nothing happened I reverted to the old remedy of bashing the hardware with my shoe to force it to work; no joy.
No fucking water, this was great. Then I had a thought, maybe it’s just in here? Could be just the bathroom not working.
Striding into the kitchen, I gave the sink taps a good twist. Same thing; dry as a redundant crotch. Temper rising, I drummed my fingers on my lips, things not boding well so far.
My stomach growled and I suddenly felt ravenous; it had been hours since I’d downed that greasy burger while waiting for her to emerge from the bank.
I flicked the cooker switch on and pulled open the fridge door, a white vacuum greeted me. Not even so much as an old dried up carrot or mouldy piece of cheese. I darted a look back at the cooker. “Fuck.” There was no electricity either.
What the crap was going on? Why was nothing working?
I searched her desk for a telephone book, she must have numbers for emergencies; I could pretend to be a relative and tell them there was a fault.
Going through the telephone numbers, I almost yelled in glee when I came across what I was looking for. I snatched up the phone, then immediately lashed it across the room; it was as dead as a fucking dodo.
Stomping about the room, throwing things as I went, there must be something here to explain why all this was happening. I searched her desk again, picking up letters that I had previously flung about.
Ah! Southern Electricity; I quickly scanned the page.
‘Thank you for your instruction to disconnect your supply.
We can now confirm that this request has been actioned
with immediate effect. Please contact us on your return
so we can re-connect you.’
“Bastards!” I scrambled on the floor, rummaging through the discarded papers.
Again, disconnection notices; the water, the telephone.
Shit! Everything had been turned off.
From the conversation I’d had with her earlier, I should have guessed.
I banged my fists on my temples, “Think, come on you stupid prick, think!”
I was in the penthouse, top floor, out of sight. I tried hammering on the windows. The triple glazing was doing its job in preventing the sound to break through; even if I could be heard no one could see me anyway.
I should have been more thorough when I read up on her.
Belinda Black, rich, famous author and one time socialite, now a virtual recluse.
I had been searching through the list of ‘Who’s Who’ and came across this rich bitch that lived on her own. She was a bit of an eccentric and had moved into the penthouse at the top of the tallest building in the city where I lived. The builders had been given instructions to make the place entirely soundproof; the renovation had also included reconstructing the windows to replace the panoramic view with small triple glazed ones. Apparently, she didn’t like any distractions when working.
I had been watching her movements for some time now; for the last month the recluse had been very active. Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, she had arrived at her bank with a briefcase; it always seemed heavier when she left than when she arrived. I had put two and two together and come up with thousands.
As she left that Tuesday, I snuck into the building wearing one of the electricians overalls. There was a continuous stream of workmen in and out doing alterations all the time, so I was able to slip in undetected. Once inside, I quickly made my way up to the top level where her lift was situated. After a slight tampering, I managed to immobilize it.
When she emerged from the bank, I’d slipped back ahead of her, and just happened to be on hand when she found herself unable to get the lift to work. As it was the only means of accessing her apartment, she had allowed me to help.
As soon as the lift doors opened, I had pushed her inside and held a knife to her side. Once we were in the lobby to her apartment, while she let herself in through the door, I scanned the area. The door had clicked shut behind us.
She took quite a beating before showing me where the safe was. Oh how I laughed and danced as I threw bundles of notes into the air. I couldn’t believe it, there was far more than I ever could have imagined. Stuffing it all into a large holdall I’d left it by the front door.
“What the fuck were you gonna do with all that dough?” I asked her.
She had become so scared of me by now that she blabbed everything.
“I’m going back to France, I have a secluded place in the south; I just wanted to disappear. My ideas dried up and I can’t meet the commitments that I’ve already been paid for; the tax man wants his share too. I’ve told my publishers that I’m going away to a retreat for a few months to get some writing done. I thought it would give me time to vanish for good and still keep the cash. I’ll share it with.” She had that pleading ‘don’t hurt me’ look in her eyes.
“You crafty old bitch,” I said. “I’m not good at sharing, but I’ll help you to vanish alright.”
She screamed as I plunged the knife into her chest. It was a pity about her insistence on soundproofing the penthouse, as no one could hear her screams and pleas for help, and because she was a very large lady, it took a quite while for me to finish her off.
Now here I was, trapped inside this hell hole with her.
There must be something that operates the lock? I thought.
I hadn’t noticed any keys when we came in, and I’d been too busy checking that all was clear to notice how she opened the door.
I went back over to it and, inch by inch, examined the surrounding surface.
It was so small, it took me a while to find it, but there it was! It looked like a peephole, a tiny circle fixed into the wall; it had been camouflaged by the busy wallpaper, but it was there alright. I guessed it was an eye recognition device. I’d heard about this type of lock; was it something to do with the retina? Oh, fuck, I didn’t know, but I knew it was like a fingerprint and only worked for one person.
Could it still work? I’d have to get her over to the door. I dashed to the bed and threw back the cover. Holy shit! What was that stink?
As I tried to pull her off the bed I realised that she must have emptied her bowels and bladder during the attack.
Grabbing her scarf, I wrapped it around my face; I then attempted to move her mighty bulk. She was probably twice as heavy now; a dead weight as they say. I was never going to shift her on my own.
“Think, think, what now?” I screamed, banging my temples again.
Right, I don’t need all of her to make the lock work, just her eye.
Racing into the kitchen, I grabbed a soup spoon out of the drawer. Hurrying back, I thought, this better work or I’m going to be stuck with this fat fucker forever. So anything that had to be done, I was up for it.
The eye wobbled in the spoon as I ferried it over to the door, and it wasn’t easy to handle as it slipped between my fingers, but after a couple of tries I managed to position it in front of the scanner and waited to hear the click of the door unlocking. Fuck all happened!
After a couple more attempts, without success, I lashed the eye across the room and watched it bounce off the headboard and roll down the bed coming to rest by her hand. It seemed to follow me as I walked around the room. Oh God, I had to get out of there!
I tried to lift the typewriter but it was too awkward, so I picked up a big, round, glass paperweight from her desk and heaved it at the window. Unfortunately, I was standing too close and felt the full impact as it bounced off the toughened glass and smashed into my chest breaking a couple of ribs; it then dropped onto my foot, smashing my foot in the process.
As days rolled into weeks, I became more emaciated. I had drunk the water from the lavatory, rationing myself to a few sips a day; I was now sorry that I had pissed in there first.
My stomach had stopped growling, but apart from a packet of mints I’d found in her handbag, the flat was devoid of food. This was it; I’d just have to wait for the end.
Night followed day without any sound. Even that tapping noise in my head had stopped.
Then today, I hear the click of the door and voices as someone enters the room.
“Whoa! What a stench” he shouts. “Oh Jesus there’s no windows to open either. Hey Joe, two body bags up here, and quick,” he calls into his radio.
Something screams in my brain; two body bags? No, not me, I’m not dead.
I feel someone lifting me up and placing me on a plastic sheet. As the zip rolls up over my face, I try to scream. Nooo!
I can hear muffled voices through the plastic.
“Hey, look at this, Joe; it looks like this guy has typed up a confession. The last paragraph says he only had lavatory water and mints to live on, I wonder how long the poor sucker lasted after that?”
“Wonder why he didn’t leave?” Joe asks.
“He couldn’t mate,” the other guy answers, “she held the key? One of those new eye recognition jobs; we had to get them to override it for us to get in here today.”
I hear the swish of a curtain and a sudden rush of cold air surrounds me.
“What’s that mate?” One of the guys shouts.
“It’s the fire escape, don’t know why he didn’t use it; it’s a bit obscure, but you just pull this lever here, see.”