Caught in the Web is free to download on Kindle until tomorrow - 25th March. Here is the next chapter.........
Another long night stretched ahead.
Karen tried not to sleep. She wasn’t sure what staying awake would achieve but felt too vulnerable to let herself relax into oblivion.
It was nearly dawn when she felt herself finally slipping into sleep. Her head was aching from all the thoughts which were fighting for her attention. Her body was sore from Peter forcing himself on her. She was frightened. Afraid to stay with Peter and afraid to leave him.
She could see no way through this.
In the early hours, she started to wonder if Peter was right and she was mentally ill. The darkness brought its own demons which fed on her tired brain and troubled emotions.
When Peter got out of bed at seven, Karen was immediately wide awake and on edge. She kept her eyes closed, feigning sleep, hoping that he would go to work and leave her to make her escape somehow.
But he was in no hurry to leave.
She could hear him moving around downstairs and fearfully heard him clanking up the stairs with a laden tray.
‘Wake up darling,’ he said. ‘I’ve made you some breakfast.’
Karen opened her eyes and watched as he fussed about with placing the tray on the bed. There was a single red rose in a vase on the tray. ‘Blood red,’ Karen thought.
Peter pulled open the curtains.
‘It’s a lovely day.’ He turned and smiled at her. ‘Now, I don’t want any nonsense from you today,’ he continued. ‘You will eat this all up and then I’m taking you out for a drive. You need a change of scenery I think.’
‘Where are you taking me?’ she asked. ‘What about Margaret? She said she’d come round this morning.’
‘I told her not to come, remember?’ he said.
‘But... what about your work?’ Karen clutched at a straw, already knowing the answer.
‘No work today. You’re my priority,’ he said. ‘Now, be a good girl and do as I ask for once.’ He pushed the tray towards her.
Karen looked at the tray.
‘I’m not hungry,’ Karen began, wondering what was hiding in the marmalade.
‘Don’t be like that,’ he snapped back. You’d better eat now, we could be out for a while.’ He sat and waited.
Karen ignored the tray, pushed the covers back and got out of bed. She gathered her clothes together. ‘I’m getting dressed in the bathroom,’ she said and left the room with a flourish of bravery that she did not feel inside.
‘Silly girl,’ she heard his loud whisper as the door closed.
She stayed in the bathroom for as long as she could, trying to work out what she would do next. Eventually, she had to come out.
Determined that he would not get the better of her, she went straight to the kitchen and made herself some toast and tea. Peter said nothing, just stood watching her from the doorway. He moved out of the way when she took her breakfast into the lounge and watched her as she ate each piece, carefully brushing the crumbs from her mouth when she’d finished.
‘Are you going to take your pills now?’ he asked, as she sipped her tea. He took the bottle from his pocket.
‘I don’t know why you think you have to look after those,’ she replied. ‘I am an adult you know. I can decide whether to take them or not without your help.’
‘We both know that’s not true,’ he sneered. ‘Now you make sure you take them properly or I’ll have to get the Doctor back again.’
‘I wish you would,’ Karen said.
He stood over her. ‘Take the bloody pills,’ he held them out to her. ‘Or do you want me to make you?’
Karen shuddered. ‘I’ll take them.’ She took the pills from him and dropped them into her mouth, quickly swallowing a mouthful of tea. She managed to conceal them in her cheek again without them going down.
‘That’s better,’ he said. ‘Now, get your coat on. We’re going out.’ He ran up the stairs to the bathroom. ‘I’ll be down in a minute,’ he called.
Karen slipped the pills from her mouth into her pocket. She could feel her strength returning now that she wasn’t drugged all the time. Maybe getting out of the house would be her chance to get away. It was with a certain hope that she got into the car a short while later.
The countryside flashed past the car window.
Karen gazed out at the fields and wondered what Peter hoped to achieve by all of this subterfuge, keeping her away from Margaret, Dr. Wright, and her work friends. He’d have to take his eyes off her eventually, she knew that. Sooner or later, people would see that it was Peter who was off his head, not her. She just needed to bide her time and keep calm.
Peter drove in silence. Karen was left with her thoughts, hoping that they’d stop somewhere in a town when she stood the best chance of giving him the slip. She was lost in her own thoughts sometime later as they pulled into the driveway of a secluded house. The nearest neighbour was just beyond some trees which surrounded the house.
‘Who lives here?’ Karen asked. ‘Where are we?’
Peter said nothing. He pulled the car up outside the house. The windows were dark and gloomy, giving the place an air of abandonment. He got out of the car and went round to the passenger side, opening the door.
‘Hop out,’ he said. ‘There’s someone I want you to meet.’ He reached in and took Karen’s arm.
‘Who?’ Karen tried to push down the feeling of panic. ‘Who lives here?’
‘Just come along and you’ll see,’ he said. ‘It’s a surprise. You like surprises.’
As Karen was pulled from the car she looked up at the house. A black crow sat on the roof, eyeing her. She shivered.
‘You’re cold,’ Peter said. ‘And such a nice day. You must be coming down with a chill.’
The keys jangled as he opened the door. He held onto Karen with one hand. She struggled in his grip but he had already ushered her in, the darkness in the hallway enveloping her.