He came to in complete darkness, unable to piece together what had happened. He remembered stopping for the pretty piece of ass with the smoking car on the side of the road. She was a little old for his taste, but he fell for denim shorts with high heels every time. Her bright red button-down tank was tied in a knot just under her perky tits, and he’d imagined untying it with his teeth while she babbled on and on about how grateful she was that he’d stopped.
Damn if he hadn’t fallen for the oldest trick in the book. She must have had a partner hiding with… with what? He tried to take stock of the aches and pains in his body. His abdomen was a throb of affliction, as if he’d burned it, or scraped it somehow. But he didn’t feel as if he’d been hit over the head, despite one killer of a headache. Maybe he’d been drugged somehow? Why? He could understand it if they’d wanted his Mercedes, if they’d taken his money, his Rolex. But he felt the familiar weight of the watch on his wrist, the lump of the wallet digging into his side. So why go through all this trouble?
He was on his side, hogtied and gagged, his muscles tight and aching. He didn’t feel the weight of a blindfold, so he blinked his eyes a multitude of times in quick succession, as if trying to net in any stray light with his lashes.
Despite the limited movement allowed by his restraints, he tried to test out the space he was in. He scooted up enough to feel that there was some kind of edge, or wall. Something. With just a little more effort, he found that both sides of his body were also close to walls.
He was breathing hard now and his skin broke out in gooseflesh, cold and hot all at once. Was he in some kind of coffin? Struggling against his gag, he screamed, tears flowing freely from his open eyes. His nose ran as he tried to focus on slowing down his breath. How much air did he have in this confined space?
While he floated in and out of conciousness, for what could have been hours or days, he dreamed. Shaking, he had fevered dreams of wriggling through tight tunnels in caves, of black quicksand filling his mouth and nose. His hunger and the intense need to urinate brought him to the surface of awareness time and time again. No longer able to hold it in, he released his bladder and choked on a sob of relief, the warmth spreading through the lower half of his body.
Outside his box, he heard a throaty laugh. A sexy laugh. He stopped breathing, straining to listen for more clues. Who was it? Where was he?
And then there was a voice filling up the space around him. It was a relief to finally know he wasn’t alone. That something existed outside of this box. Outside of himself.
“Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel across the sea, confined in a small space with just your shit and your piss, alone, with nothing but a dream of a better life to keep you company?”
Oh my God. Someone had found him. Someone had figured it out. He suddenly knew what kind of box he was in. One of those old wooden crates they’d used to ship those pretty girls from Vietnam over in.
The voice flooded his space again. “When the rats found me, I thought I was done for. I thought they’d tear me to bits.”
A scraping sound as something above him moved. A squeak. And then the voice whispered. As if it were right against his ear.
“But I’m a survivor. And a survivor has teeth.”
He felt a warm, plump body drop onto his hip and heard the wooden panel slid back into place. He went rigid and started praying.
The rat scurried along the edges of the crate, mapping out its space before exploring the man in the box. When it found the hurt, warm place of his stomach, it started to burrow.