by Ken Goldman
An intermittent brightness from above allowed Shelby a study of her captor’s lumpish face that seemed more pockmarked with each new illumination. Standing near, the man stank like raw sewage. He polished off what remained of a sandwich, licking brown grease from stubby fingers that somehow remained filthy.
Shelby struggled against the knots at her wrists and those inside her stomach. Attempting some semblance of composure she breathed deeply, filling her lungs. It didn’t help much. A rotted smell imprinted itself inside her nostrils. Near her, shelves housed a grotesque assortment of stinking pumpkin heads, maybe a dozen of them reduced to disintegrated lumps surrounding the room, one-time jack-o’lanterns whose carved smiles had long since decomposed.
Fighting the urge to gag Shelby focused outside where the black ink of the Atlantic heaved in the darkness. Distant lights of the Jersey shore towns glimmered like painted stars, but nearby no lights shone. Rotating from a pedestal above, a huge beacon scoured the circular room. Its single ray flittered upon the ocean’s whitecaps and exposed a beach that turned to marshland, impossible to traverse. A small boat had been dragged away from the surf, its tracks upbeach indented in the sand near a small shed. The bastard had removed the outboard, probably locked it inside that shack. He had tendered her to this middle-of-nowhere light house, as isolated as it was remote, dragged her to its lantern room to fuck her and then kill her.
Or maybe he would kill her first, and then . . .
Shit . . . oh shit . . . breathe . . .