Gone for Good Page 56

“It wasn’t his fault. He asked me if I was over her. I told him I was.”

“You gave him the green light,” she said.


“But then you ended up following him.”

“You don’t understand,” I said.

“No, I do,” Katy said. “We all do stuff like that.”


I fell into such a deep sleep that I never heard him sneak up on me.

I had found fresh sheets and blankets for Katy, made sure she was comfortable on the couch, taken a shower, tried to read. The words swam by in a murky haze. I’d go back and reread and re-forget the same paragraph over and over again. I signed on to the Internet and surfed. I did a few push-ups, sit-ups, yoga stretches Squares had taught me. I did not want to lie down. I did not want to stop, to let the grief catch me again unawares.

I was a worthy adversary, but eventually sleep managed to corner and take me down. I was out, falling in a totally dreamless pit, when I felt a jerk on my hand and heard the click. Still asleep, I tried to pull my hand back to my side, but it would not move.

Something metallic dug into my wrist.

My eyelids were fluttering open when he leapt on top of me. He landed hard, knocking the wind out of my lungs. I gulped as whoever he was straddled my chest. His knees pinned down my shoulders. Before I could mount any sort of serious struggle, my attacker yanked my free hand to the side above my head. I didn’t hear the click this time, but I felt the cold metal close around my skin.

Both of my hands were cuffed to the bed.

My veins flooded with ice. For a moment I simply shut down, just as I always had during physical altercations. I opened my mouth, about to scream or at least say something. My attacker grabbed the back of my head and pulled me forward. Without hesitation, he ripped off a piece of duct tape and covered my mouth. Then, for good measure, he started winding a fresh band of tape around the back of my skull and over my mouth, ten maybe fifteen times, as if he were shrink-wrapping my head.

I could no longer speak or cry out. Breathing was a chore—I had to suck the air through my broken nose. It hurt like hell. My shoulders ached from the cuffs and his body weight. I struggled, which was totally futile. I tried to buck him off me. More futile. I wanted to ask him what he wanted, what he planned to do now that I was helpless.

And that was when I thought about Katy alone in the other room.

The bedroom was dark. My assailant was no more than a shadow to me. He wore a mask of some kind, something dark, but I could not see what, if anything, was on it. Breathing was becoming nearly impossible. I snorted through the pain.

Whoever he was, he finished taping my mouth. He hesitated for only a second before bouncing off me. And then, as I watched in helpless horror, he headed for the bedroom door, opened it, stepped into the room where Katy was sleeping, and closed the door behind him.

My eyes bulged. I tried to scream, but the tape muffled any sound. I bucked like a bronco. I kicked and flailed. No progress.

Then I stopped and listened. For a moment there was nothing. Pure silence.

And then Katy screamed.

Oh Christ. I bucked some more. Her scream had been brief, cut off midway, as though someone had turned off a switch. Panic took full flight now. Full, red-alert panic. I jerked hard on both cuffs. I twisted my head back and forth. Nothing.

Katy screamed again.

The sound was fainter this time—the gasp of a wounded animal. No way anyone would hear it, and even if they did, nobody would react. Not in New York. Not at this time of night. And even if they did—even if someone called the police or rushed to her rescue—it would be too late.

I freaked out then.

My sanity felt as though it were being torn in two. I went nuts. I thrashed around, seizure style. My nose hurt like hell. I swallowed some of the fibers from the duct tape. I struggled some more.

But I made no progress.

Oh God. Okay, calm down. Be cool. Think a second.

I turned my head toward my right cuff. It did not feel that tight. There was give there. Okay, maybe, if I went a little slower, I could pull my hand out. That was it. Calm down. Try to narrow your hand, squeeze it through.

So I tried. I tried to will my hand into something thinner. I rounded my palm by forcing the bottom of my thumb toward the bottom of my pinky. Then I pulled down, slowly at first, then with more force. No go. The skin bunched around the metal ring and then started ripping. I did not care. I kept pulling.

It wasn’t working.

The other room had gone quiet.

I strained my ears for a sound. Any sound at all. Nothing. I tried to curl up my body, tried to lift myself off the bed so hard that, I don’t know, maybe the bed would lift up too. Just an inch or two and then maybe it’d break on the way down. I bucked some more. The bed did indeed slide a few inches out. But it was not doing any good.

I was still trapped.

I heard Katy scream again. And in a scared, panic-filled voice, she shouted, “John—”

And then she was cut off again.

John, I thought. She’d said John.


The Ghost . . .

Oh no, please, oh God, no. I heard something muffled. Voices. A groan maybe. Like something being smothered by a pillow. My heart beat wildly against my rib cage. The fear struck at me from every angle. I flung my head from side to side, looked for something, anything.

The phone.

Could I . . . ? My legs were still free. Maybe I could swing them up, grab the phone with my feet, drop the receiver into my hand. From there I could, I don’t know, maybe dial 911 or 0. My feet were already on the rise. I contracted the muscles in my abdomen, lifted my legs, swung them to the right. But I was still in hysteria mode. My weight teetered to the side. I lost control of my legs. I pulled back up, trying to regain balance, and when I did, my foot hit the phone.

The receiver clattered to the floor.


Now what? My mind snapped—I mean, I totally lost it. I thought of animals caught in those claw traps, the ones who gnaw off a limb to escape. I thrashed to exhaustion, at my wit’s end and about to give up, when I remembered something Squares had taught me.

Plow pose.

That’s what it was called. In Hindu: Halsana. You usually do it from a shoulder stand. You lie on your back and flip your legs all the way over your head as you lift your hips. Your toes would touch the floor behind your head. I did not know if I could go that far, but it didn’t matter. I crunched my stomach and swung my legs up as hard as I could. I threw them back behind me. The balls of my feet thudded against the wall. My chest was up against my chin, making it harder than ever to breathe.

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