JOINED AT THE HIP - MARK JOSEPH KIEWLAK
“If you have sex with me, I’ll tell you where the girl is.”
The apartment was dark. I could see the lights of the city far below. There were candles everywhere. Soft music playing.
“I can lead you to her,” she said. “But first you have to have sex with me.”
I didn’t say anything.
I moved toward her. She stepped out of the shadows and I saw that she was naked. A natural blonde.
“You want to find her, right? You want to find the girl.”
I kept moving closer. She held one hand behind her back. She kept her eyes on me all the way across the room.
“Her parents paid you to find her,” she said. “What if she doesn’t want to be found?”
She let me move in close then she took a step forward. “What if she’d rather die?” she said.
I stepped forward to meet her and punched her as hard as I could in the belly. She doubled over. A straight razor fell from her hand. I kicked it away. “You prick,” she gasped. “You fucking prick.”
I handcuffed her wrist to mine and yanked her to her feet. She slapped me across the face. “Big macho prick,” she said. “Useless prick.”
I slapped her back.
“I won’t tell where the girl is,” she said. “Fuck you, I won’t tell.”
I dragged her across the room out onto the terrace. The wind was whipping. The lights of the city were everywhere.
“What are you going to do?” she said. “Throw me over the fucking railing? Or do you want an audience to watch you fuck me?”
I yanked her toward the railing. She tried to pull away but we got there eventually.
“Big macho stud,” she said. “You won’t fuck me but you’ll kill me? You can’t kill me. You need me to find the fucking girl.”
I bent down to lift her legs. She started to club me on the back of the head. “Let me go, you fucking bastard. I’ll scream. I swear I’ll fucking scream to wake up the whole world.”
I lifted her off her feet and spun toward the railing. Just then she remembered the handcuffs. “Fuck you, you bastard. You can’t drop me. If I go, you go. You fucking outsmarted yourself, you macho prick.”
I lifted her over the railing and let go. She dropped like a stone. Then the cuffs caught and nearly pulled my arm from the socket. I lost three layers of skin from my wrist. She was left hanging by one arm, naked above the city.
“Jesus Christ,” she said. “Jesus Christ, pull me up.”
I braced my arm on the railing and held her there.
“What do you want?” she said. “I told you I’d fuck you. I’ll give you what you want.”
My wrist felt numb. Hers might’ve been broken.
“Jesus Christ, pull me up.”
I didn’t move.
“You want Rudy?” she said. “I’ll give you Rudy.”
I let her hang there.
“He’s in the bedroom,” she said. “I’m giving you Rudy.”
Both our wrists were starting to bleed.
“Jesus Christ, I’m giving you Rudy. Pull me up.”
The wind was making my teeth chatter.
“Didn’t you hear me?” she said. “Rudy’s in the fucking bedroom. I’m giving him to you.”
She’d bitten her lip and there was blood running down her chin. “It was his idea,” she said. “It was Rudy’s fucking idea to take the kid. He wanted the fucking money.”
Her fingers were being crushed together and I was afraid she might slip out of the handcuffs.
“It was for the fucking money,” she said. "Where’s our fucking money?”
Her hand slipped a little through the opening.
“Pull me up,” she said. “Pull me up and I’ll tell you where the girl is.”
In a second, I was going to lose her. I pulled her up. Her teeth were chattering so badly she couldn’t speak. She collapsed in on herself, holding her wrist curled to her chest. She began pounding on my leg.
“You fucking crazy bastard,” she said. “You insane prick.”
I started to drag her back toward the apartment. She yelped in pain as the cuff yanked her wrist. I took her by the hair and dragged her. She stood up then and came on her own. “Keep your fucking hands off me,” she said. “Keep them off.”
We moved off the terrace and back into the apartment. I slid the door shut behind us. She fell backwards against the glass, dizzy and unable to stand on her own. I put a hand under her arm to brace her. Her lip was still bleeding. She tried to push me away but she was too weak. I lifted her away from the glass. Her body left a heat imprint upon its surface.
“Fucking prick sadist,” she said. “Fucking torture women for a living.”
We moved into the bedroom. I reached for the light switch but couldn’t find it. I was a bit dizzy myself. She’d hit me pretty hard on the back of the head.
“Rudy’s in here,” she said. “Rudy’s on the bed.”
I found a lamp and switched it on. A middle-aged man was sprawled naked atop the bedspread. His throat was cut. There was a pool of blood seeping into the sheets beneath him. It hadn’t all seeped in yet. He’d been dead only a few minutes. His eyes were wide and staring up at us.
“He was a fucking prick,” she said. “He deserved it.” She moved in close to me. She put her arm around my midsection. She looked up into my eyes. “It’s just us now,” she said. “It can be just us. They gave you the money, didn’t they? Didn’t they?”
I felt her hand reaching around my waist. She lifted her head and pressed her mouth to mine. I tasted blood.
“Forget the girl,” she whispered in my ear. “Forget all about the girl. I’ll fuck you like you’ve never been fucked. I’ll fuck your brains out. Then I’ll do it again. I’ll do it as many times as you want.”
There was a gun tucked in the small of my back. She pushed her breasts against me and her lips closed around mine. She put her hand ever-so-gently on the butt of the gun. I put my hand around her throat and lifted her on her tiptoes. Her hand slid off the gun. She gagged once then again. She clawed the side of my face. She tried to say something. I loosened my grip a little.
“There’s a... safe,” she said. “There’s a safe... in the living room. Behind the cabinet.”
I tightened my grip again. “I’ll... I’ll open it... for you.”
I let go of her. I could still taste the blood in my mouth.
I turned her toward the door and maneuvered her back into the living room. The candles gave off a scent of jasmine. The music was jazz.
When we got to the cabinet, she fell on her knees before me. “We can run away,” she said. She reached up and started to unbuckle my pants. “We can run away and we can fuck all day and night. We can do it doggie style. I’ll take it in the ass. Anything you want.”
I grabbed her injured hand and squeezed it in my fist. Her face got red. She tried to pull away. I let her go and pushed her aside. I got hold of the glass display cabinet and shoved it aside, toppling it, sending knick-knacks and china crashing to the floor, shattering into a thousand pieces at her bare feet. I yanked her toward me through the shards of glass. I got her by the hair and slammed the side of her face against the cold metal of the safe. The door was six feet tall by two feet wide. It was a walk-in, built right into the wall. I could tell by the furnishings that it was a man’s apartment. Rudy’s no doubt.
“I won’t open it,” she said. “I’m giving you one more chance. One more chance to be with me.”
I pressed the palm of my hand to the side of her face and began to apply pressure. Her face was being crushed against the door of the safe. The lock was right in front of her, at eye level. She raised her hand and began to turn the dial. I heard the tumblers click. I pulled hard on the handle and the door opened a crack. I led her by the arm back out onto the terrace.
“What are you doing?” she said. “I gave you what you wanted.”
I took the key from my pocket and unlocked the handcuffs. I slid them through the railing and snapped them onto both her wrists. I turned and went back inside.
“What are you doing, you fucking prick? Get me out of these. I gave you what you fucking wanted. I would’ve given you everything.”
I grabbed the door to the safe with both hands and pulled it open. I took a candle and stepped inside. It was smaller than a jail cell. It was smaller than a broom closet. The little girl was hunched against the wall, still in her Sunday dress. She’d soiled herself many times. She held her knees to her chest and hid her face between them. I bent and touched her arm lightly. She pulled back. “It’s okay,” I said. “I’m here to take you home.” She raised her head slowly. She had been crying and now more tears filled her eyes. I held my arms out and, when she didn’t move, I moved toward her and lifted her gently and cradled her to me. I backed out of the safe and held her tight against my chest. I glanced toward the terrace. The handcuffs were hanging empty from the railing. There were startled screams from the street below.
BIO: Since 2008, Mark Joseph Kiewlak's work has appeared in more than two dozen magazines, including Hardboiled, Plots With Guns, Pulp Pusher, Thug Lit, Muzzle Flash, Powder Burn Flash, Clean Sheets, and many others. He was privileged to have served as judge of the 2007 Wild Violet Fiction Contest. He has also written for DC Comics (FLASH 80-PAGE GIANT #2).