Excerpt from HER ROTTEN EMBRACE
Someone whimpered. The sound told me that he had another victim to offer to the swamp.
I hid behind a tree, waiting, watching.
He stood at the back of the car, finishing smoking a cigarette. Tossed the butt to the ground, looked around, as if he could feel someone’s eyes on him, before he turned to face his latest victim.
He was older now. Thinner, balding, dark circles under his eyes. His leather jacket worn in places. The car, rusted near the wheel wells, had seen better days.
The swamp murmured, sending out vines and tree roots to greet him.
He didn’t notice. He was too busy leering over the girl in the trunk. She was tied up, duct tape over her mouth, hog tied with it, wrapped around her wrists and ankles. The swamp grew over the car tires, wrapped around the door handles, cementing the car shut with her sticky, rotting vegetation.
“It’s time. Move now.”
The swamp urged me forward. She knew it pained me, seeing him again. He broke my heart, poisoned me, and dumped me here to die a slow, agonizing death.
My pain became her pain when I sunk into her murky depths.
The swamp no longer wished to feel my pain. She selfishly wanted me to get my revenge so that neither of us had to feel that way ever again.
I stepped up behind him.
Tried to speak, but there was no sound, just a squishing of mud and squirming insects.
The girl’s eyes widened. She screamed; it was muffled behind the duct tape.
She saw me.
I reached out, and he turned to see who was behind him.
He froze. I could see my silhouette in his eyes. Lumpy vegetation in the shape of a woman. Long tendril tree roots for hair. Burning white pinpoints of lights in my eye sockets. The jaw bone showed a bit beneath the rotting leaves that made up my face.
I made a sound; a low, pained moan. I wanted to say it was me, and even though no words passed my muddy lips, he knew. He knew the moment his eyes met mine, who I was, and what he had done to me.
All color drained from his face, the way that I wanted to drain all his blood from his body. I wanted to crush him, I wanted to tear him apart, limb from limb.
“Yes. Do it,” the swamp urged. “Destroy his flesh. Make him un-whole.”
It had been so long since I had something to smile about.
— HER ROTTEN EMBRACE by Cassie Carnage
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