Sully lifted his eyelids and squinted against the harsh glare of light. His mouth felt like he’d sucked down a jar of cotton balls. Desperate to rub his heavy eyes, Sully raised a hand and stopped short, clinking metal chains rung in his ears.
He shifted his shoulders and met sheer resistance. An extended grip spanned the length of his chest, crinkling his dingy black t-shirt underneath it. He went to move his legs and found his ankles in a similar condition—bound.
A migraine split his brain leaving his head feeling like aching, useless mush.
Heaving, he peered ahead with wide eyes. A camera stared back.
Sweat trickled down his forehead as he tried moving his fingers, but they sat stiff and purple.
How long have I been here?
The last thing he remembered was the motel room off I-94. He and his rig were on the way to The Windy City to drop off some car parts from Albany. He’d made perfect timing, setting a personal record. There was more than enough time to stop two hours west of the Motor City at a dive, Pete’s Grill.
While sitting at the bar, a beaver, Pam, approached him. Her thick lips and cherry-red hair left him stiffened below the belt. The way that red dress hugged her curvy body made him want to explore what laid underneath it.
After a few beers, he remembered taking her for a ride up the road about fifty miles and stopping at the Go Go Inn, her idea. Soon after they’d checked-in, Sully complained about how the ugly floral décor looked like baby-sized cockroaches resting on the mattress and curtains before something heavy pummeled the back of his skull. He fell onto the scratchy, dingy carpet and mildew stuffed his senses before the room blurred and faded.
Now, there was a blinking red light from a camera intensifying his headache. With every shallow breath, the throbbing in his chest hitched, stuffing a sickening ball in his gut.
“Help!” he cried.
He flinched when a door opened and a shadowy figure entered.
The figure approached and stood between Sully and the camera before crouching. The only thing Sully could make of the man kneeling before him was the sweater taut against his wide chest and broad shoulders. Cursive letters on his right pec read: Father Paul. A black ski mask hid his face.
“Please…buddy…” Sully cleared his throat. The stale taste of sleeper’s breath coated his mouth making him want to gag. “You gotta help me. I don’t know where I am…where my rig is…”
The man only stared with thick goggles shielding his dark eyes.
“Where am I?” Sully cried. “Who are you?”
The black window across from them, just behind the camera, took on a rectangular gleam with a red skull spinning in its center.
Sully tried shifting his weight by rocking side to side. The chair underneath him stood still. Dizzy with exhaustion, panic riddled his nerves. “Answer me!”
The window went black before a short phrase popped up in red bold letters. The message appeared blurry before Sully’s wet eyes.
Father Paul stood and swaggered over to an oak bookcase, swiped up a rip saw from the top shelf, and walked back over. He took a handful of Sully’s thick hair and yanked his head back. Sully’s scalp screamed as he tried turning his neck and shaking his head, but Father’s Paul’s grip only tightened.
Through exasperated breaths, Sully said, “Wait, wait, wait! Please don’t. Uh…I’m sorry for whatever I did! Please, just don’t—”
Father Paul pressed the saw’s teeth onto the bridge of Sully’s nose.
Throat straining, Sully squealed as the saw’s teeth ripped into his flesh. A hot, sickening impulse shot through his limbs. His ears popped to the sound of snapping cartilage.
Flashes erupted before his eyes as if he’d been staring into a strobe light. Blood spurted from the fresh cut, painting the room crimson. He chocked as blood ran down his throat.
Sully yelped when Father Paul tore the dangling flesh free from the shred of skin keeping it attached. He held the nose before the camera.
Sully dropped his chin to his chest. Blood ran from his face, drenching his jeans and pooling on the cement floor.
He couldn’t die this way. Mangled and mutilated. Confused and petrified.
All he could do was shut his eyes and ramble off a quick prayer between truncated blubbering:
“Dear God, f—forgive me for all that I—I—I’ve done in this l—life. I succumb to your glory and come to you with an open m—mind and heart. Please God. Make this end. Make this torment g—go away and take me in your arms for eternity.”
A power drill roared to life and Sully’s body tensed.
Father Paul took another handful of hair. As the spinning tip progressed forward, every bruise and scar burned Sully’s skin from the many scaffolds and accidents he’d survived. Passing the CDL exam and buying his first rig, Ricky Red, sat fresh on his mind. Sully heard his first words and felt his first steps in his parent’s home out in El Paso.
He saw the dank motel room and red-haired Pam.
He belted a horrified shriek when the drill’s tip met his right eye.
Who will be Father Paul’s next victim? Find out in Book 1 of the Netted Trilogy today!