If there was one thing that was absolutely clear in Lexi's panic and terror-driven mind, it was that unless she found a way out of this basement and this house, she wouldn't have another chance. Based on what Logan had said, he planned to kill them both tomorrow. Although he didn't say when exactly, there was a small chance he would leave her alone at any point of the day, least of all alone for enough time for her to escape.
No, if she was going to fight for her life, it had to be now.
Roughly an hour had passed, or at least she thought, since there was no way to tell time down in the dark. She shook, feeling cold and clammy. Her legs felt cold and sticky, the blood drying to coat her skin in the dark red liquid. Some had already crusted, leaving her with the irritating itching sensation.
There had been no noise from upstairs for quite awhile, and she assumed that Logan had fallen asleep. Unfortunately, he'd left the cd player still going in the background, thankfully at a much lower volume than before, but still there at the edge of the room. It was driving her slowly insane, but she ignored the repeated lyrics as much as she could.
Her eyes having adjusted to the darkness, she looked around at the shapes she could make out. The table, too far away to reach from her sitting position, held lots of tools on them. Before, when he'd been torturing her, he'd debating whether he wanted to use his other 'instruments,' as he called them, gently grazing his hands along their sharp edges.
She remembered seeing an old handsaw, on the closest edge of the table to her. Maybe, if she could somehow reach forward, she could reach it.
The chains clinked against one another, reminding her how impossible that would be. She'd never been very flexible, unable to dislocated her shoulder enough to bring her arms around her head like that, so that was out of the question. Her only hope would be to break the chain somehow.
Experimentally, she pulled her hands apart from each other, stressing the links of the chain. It halted immediately, but she couldn't give up now. This was a do or die scenario. She had to try everything. Gritting her teeth against the rough metal against her wrists, she pulled as far apart as she could. It held fast.
Her fingers probed around the cuffs on her wrist, feeling a dry and grated-feeling material on both sides, randomly dispersed. Her eyes widened, realizing that it was probably dried blood from previous victims. The metal was worn away a little, small scratches and indents plainly felt around the cuffs. She tried reaching for the links themselves to try to feel for any imperfections. If the links were worn…
Her eyes widened, feeling a small cut in one of the chain links on the left side. There was some of the crusty feeling on it as well, old dried blood. If the liquid had been there and already dried into such a hardened substance, it must have been there awhile, never washed by her kidnapper. Maybe it had helped weaken the metal some more…
Clutching onto this small hope, Lexi pulled at her hands again, the chain tightening up stiffly. She pulled and pulled, holding her breath to focus of exerting all the effort she could. Between tries she panted hard, hoping to regain her breath before trying all over again.
Over and over she pulled, feeling her energy draining with each try. The loss of blood from her wounds was making her lightheaded and dizzy. But now wasn't the time to be wimping out. Pushing through the pain in her lower body, as well as the quickly-growing pains in her wrists, she continued pulling, her hope lifting when she felt a little bit of give in the chain. Her hands parted another fraction of an inch, just enough to be noticeable but not enough to make much of a difference.
Feeling newfound strength, she clenched her fists and pulled, grunting out at the force she was exerting. Her arms were on fire, the skin around the wrists being pressed painfully into her skin, but still she continued.
Another little bit of chain gave way, then a tiny bit more, until suddenly she heard a little snap! and the clinking of metal against the floor, her arms springing forward as the tension disappeared behind her back. Gasping in relief, she brought her hands to her chest, cradling the injured wrists in sweet bliss, ignoring the agony of her shoulders as she was allowed to move around once more.
She glanced up, suddenly terrified that Logan had heard the chain break. But there was no sound of footsteps or doors opening, and so she assumed he hadn't awoken. Perhaps the still-playing cd player had a use. It masked small sounds of her trying to escape. That much was appreciated.
After several moments of rotating her shoulders to pop the kinks, she gently laid her hand on one of her exposed legs, wincing and hissing with pain as her fingers touched one of the various cuts.
They'd thankfully stopped bleeding for the most part, but there were still trickles. First things first, as soon as she was free she had to find something to cover her legs. Too much open exposure could lead to serious infection, and she'd rather not have to be an amputee for the res too her life if she could help it.
Looking upwards, Lexi noticed the string dangling down from the lightbulb, debating whether turning on the light to see better would alert Logan to what she was doing. There weren't any windows or anything, so she decided it was worth the risk. Stumbling around in the dark with all these sharp and possibly infectious weapons around wasn't too thrilling of an idea.
Shakily, she began to slowly hoist herself up from the chair, using her hands as leverage to rise.
The pain in her legs increase tenfold, the cuts where the skin moved opening and splitting blood that had already clotted. She panted, gasping in pain, but still held herself upright to wait it out. It would dampen eventually, and finally, when she felt she could move without breaking into tears, she reached up and searched above her for the string.
Grasping it with clammy fingers, she pulled, bathing the area in light once more. Squinting from the sudden change, she looked back over to the table. The assortment of tools and knives were still there. Any hope that he'd somehow forgotten the key to her shackles down here was dashed, not seeing it anywhere in the various metal objects. But she did spot that handsaw on the corner, the handle facing away from her.
Judging the distance, she tried simply bending at the waist and reaching over, but her fingers were about 6 inches short of touching it. Sweat dripped from her forehead, the strength required to simply stand up with her injuries unimaginable. That lightheaded feeling returned, and suddenly she was falling forward, black dots creeping into her vision.
Reacting just in time, she held out her hands to prevent her from face planting loudly into the cement. Her palms stung from the hard impact but otherwise nothin else was injured. Her legs were burning intensely again, but it soon subsided.
Logan had avoided her knees for the most part, and she was able to carefully lean her weight onto them, easing up the tension in her back.
Well, while the fall had been unprecedented, it did place her closer to the table. An ear still listening intently for any sounds upstairs, she reached up and grabbed the saw, inspecting the blade. It was stained in brownish-red, but she tried ignoring that lump in her throat.
With great struggle, she returned to her seated position on the chair, using a lot more upper body strength than usual seeing as her legs were torn up. She was able to sit and turn her attention to the shackles holding her ankles.
At first glance it appeared to be a complicated series of chains, all as one unit, but she rapidly discovered that it was actually three separate cuffs; two holding her ankles around the wooden legs of the chair, and another holding her ankles together. So, she couldn't move them far apart or away from the chair by more than a few inches. It would seem she'd have to saw through each one individually, which meant it would take longer.
Sighing, she leaned down and picked up the chain securing her right leg to the chair. She picked a link in the middle, and held the saw up to it, steadying her grip and praying that it wouldn't be too loud.
She pulled back and forth a few times experimentally, judging the noise level, but was pleased to find that it only produced a scraping sound, not too much louder than the music being played. Thank goodness he'd forgotten to turn it off, because she could work in relative peace.
It took several minutes of sawing, and pausing to make sure Logan hadn't woken up, before she cut through the chain, dragging her leg a ways from the chair. By the time it was free she was sweating profusely, chilling her already cold skin as the moisture dried. But the adrenaline was helping her along, pushing her past the point of giving up as she bent over to work on her left leg.
Lexi's best guess for how long it took to hack through all of the shackles securing her in place was about half an hour. It took a lot longer on the last two, since her exhaustion was beginning to show through. Still, her heart leapt as she pulled the legs apart, finally free from all of the chains holding her down.
She quietly placed the saw on the ground, panting from all of her hard work, slowly easing out of the chair and laying face up on the concrete floor. The pool of her blood had long dried, but she could really care less at this point if some of it got on her. She was just thankful to be out of those chains.
"Lexi?" Brittany called, her flashlight searching the darkness for any sign of her friend. Law was a few feet away, directing his attention in another direction so they didn't miss anything. Bepo walked several yards ahead, nose alternating between the ground and the air, but he hadn't picked up a possible scent yet.
The forest was just as thick further into it, but not that condensed to prevent finding a path around the fallen and tilted tree trunks. Stray branches and leaves crunched under their feet, and every once in awhile Brittany could swear something furry brushed past her legs, but after awhile thoughts of her missing friend trumped any spooky feeling the dark forest was giving her.
They hadn't heard anything from Penguin and Shachi, unfortunately. And the other three's search wasn't going much better.
"It's been about half an hour." Law finally said, pulling out Brittany's phone to check the time. He'd had to ask her how the buttons worked so he could. She gave him a glance at his words and sighed.
"I guess we should make our way back? Go up a little further and search more?" He nodded, giving the area one last sweep before directing them back towards the way they'd come.
Lexi gave herself some time to rest from the energy spent cutting through shackles. She'd almost had a moment of heart-stopping horror when she'd realized her eyes began drooping, the welcome tendrils of sleep beckoning her to just rest on the floor. Remembering what was at stake, she sat up straight, rubbing her eyes to dismiss that tired feeling. Falling asleep now would surely mean her death.
Her next priority was to find something to cover her legs with. Eyeing the ruined remains of her pants tossed carelessly into a corner with disappointment, she doubted she could make any use of them. Her eyes drifted over the table of assorted tools, spotting the towel Logan had used to wipe her own blood off of his blade.
A white kitchen towel, red streaks dried on one side. It would have to do.
She had no water or other liquid to really clean her leg, so she simply crawled forward and reached for it, pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually two towels stacked on top of one another. Good, she could cover both of her legs, then.
She wrapped the towels around her thighs. The material only reached a little past her knees but it was the best thing she had available. And she could really care less on how attractive it looked. If it meant she wouldn't die from any other blood loss or infection, she would wear a trash bag for all she cared.
Using the duct tape from the table to secure the towels around her legs, Lexi double checked that they wouldn't fall off, tying an extra piece all the way around just in case, because she would be running out of here, wherever here actually was, and the last thing she needed was having two unsecured pieces of fabric around her legs slowing her down.
She stood, testing her makeshift bandages and the strength of her legs, wobbling a little but maintaining her upright position. Then, stopping, she looked at the opposite edge of the table, spotting a very familiar and infinitely useful object.
Her cellphone. Logan must have confiscated it when he'd abducted her.
She snatched it greedily, pressing the home button. The screen lit up, indicating that it was 2:34 in the morning. Her elation soon deflated, seeing the irritating 'No Service' message right below the number pad.
'Dammit, I guess not everything could go so right.' She thought bitterly.
The last thing the brunette could think of needing before attempting her true escape from the house was a weapon. There was no way in hell she'd be running away from this bastard unarmed. And in his arrogance or overconfidence, he'd left her with a literal display of her options. How nice of him, she thought darkly.
Lexi perused the weapons on the table, finally settling on a long filet knife that looked like it was used for fish. It was long and sharp, and comforting to hold in her hands. Then, deciding that maybe it would be better for everyone this way, she grabbed a tiny pocket knife as well, stuffing it into her back pocket.
The shaking was reduced to a minimum, but it still remained, a testament to her prevalent fear and exhaustion. Ignoring this, she pushed away from the table. A quick double check ensured that there weren't any other useful items laying around the room, and she turned her attention to the stairs with a deep breath.
There was no turning back now.
Law had called the others on Brittany's phone ordering them to return to the vehicle so they could regroup and continue further up the road in search of their missing friend. They'd agreed, and after too long Law and the others all met up back at the truck.
"We didn't see any sign of her around. Just some stray trash and an old backpack." Shachi reported. At first they'd thought it to be Lexi's bag, but judging by the degradation of the material and the rotting things on the inside, it had been there a lot longer than when Lexi had gone missing.
"We found similar results. No sign, and Bepo couldn't pick up a scent." Law agreed. Brittany sighed, running a tired hand through her hair.
"There's gotta be something soon. I know Lexi. If she could, she'd put up a fight. There's gotta be something." She reaffirmed, and Law looked to her. For just having lost her best friend and a sort of adoptive grandmother, Brittany was holding together remarkably well. Perhaps she was simply the type to remain calm in a desperate situation, which worked well in his favor. It wouldn't do to have her break down crying in the middle of the woods.
Content to keep moving, everyone piled back into the truck. It was then that the first droplets of rain began to fall. Law looked to the sky with worry, knowing that Bepo's use of his nose to track the missing woman would be severely hindered if it began to rain heavily.
He only hoped it would hold off long enough for them to find her.
Lexi stared at the door to the basement, swallowing several times before slowly placing her hand onto the knob. This was it. The chances were, if she got caught trying to escape, he'd simply kill her where she stood. After all, it was technically 'tomorrow.'
Gulping once more, then taking several deep breaths to try to calm the tension in her stomach, she turned the knob steadily, pushing it open inch by inch. Her heart leapt. He hadn't locked it, thankfully. It seemed Logan's own sense of perfection and overconfidence was playing to her favor. He thought that she'd have no chance of escape, so he neglected to take the precautions to keep it that way. She smiled gratefully.
Peering into the room outside, she spotted a washer and dryer directly in front of her. The rest of the house was dark as well, hopefully meaning that everyone inside was asleep. She hadn't heard any noise from upstairs, and she took that as a good sign. Easing the door open a little more, it didn't make a sound and Lexi gently released the knob, taking a measured and careful step onto the tile. Her shoes left small bloodstains on the floor, but that was the least of her worries. If she were successful, she'd be long gone by the time anyone discovered them anyways.
Her legs burned with every step. Underneath the fabric of the towels, she could feel several cuts begin to bleed again, but there wasn't much she could do to prevent that. Lexi tried her best to simply cope with the pain.
Stepping into the laundry room, she peered to her left, seeing only a washroom with a small tiled corner set off to clean dirtied shoes. To her left, down the hall, was a kitchen by the looks of it. Gripping the knife, she silently crept into the home-style kitchen, eyes glancing out the window above the sink.
At the sight of the many trees surrounding the clearing of the property, she almost sobbed. They were in the countryside, whatever countryside it may be. They could be anywhere, miles and miles in the forest or even across state lines for all she knew. This may now even be West Virginia anymore.
Turning away, she glanced around and spotted another open doorway. This one led to a walk-in pantry. Ignoring it, she turned the opposite way and found a bigger hallway with wood panel flooring.
It was windy outside, and she could hear the tiny taps of the first droplets of rain trickling onto the roof. Maybe it would give her a big of cover noise to mask any sounds she made. Heart pounding in her throat, she continued to follow the hallway until she found an open foyer, the front door within her sights.
Forcing a slow and silent breath to prevent her from running full pelt at her ticket out of there, she kept to the edge of the walls where the floor was less likely to creak beneath her feet. To her right was a staircase leading to the floor above. The wooden steps looked almost black in the darkness of the house, the railing a thin dark metal.
There was an open archway into another room to her left, and she glanced in, freezing when she saw a foot peeking over the cushion of a couch. Lexi's eyes widened. Her first thought was that it was Logan, but the skin of whoever the foot belonged to looked wrinkled and old, so she assumed it was someone else.
Maintaining those steady, careful steps all the way to the door, Lexi's hands rose to grasp the lock. Her breathing was unsteady and forced through her nose, careful so as not to breathe too loudly. With tense fingers, she slowly twisted the lock right, the metal tumbler within the door giving a tiny click sound as it was ejected from the lock.
Almost able to taste the fresh air of freedom outside, she gripped the knob and turned it slowly, pulling the door open towards her.
CREAK! The rusted hinges of the door gave a loud and definite squeak, making the brunette's heart stop. In the empty air of the house, it was ear-splitting, the weight of it ripping through her chest like a bullet.
Instantly, she heard a heavy thump upstairs. Adrenaline suddenly pumped fully into her system, Lexi abandoned any attempt at remaining quiet and run full speed out the door and over the steps of the wooden porch. The knife clutched in her hands felt heavy, but she gripped it tightly and held it close.
"NO!" She heard Logan scream, but the rest of what he'd said was lost beneath the blood rushing through her own ears and the crunch of gravel and twigs beneath her shoes. The sparse grass close to the house was becoming slick from the light rain, and she feared her low-traction shoes would betray her.
Injured legs be damned, she ran as fast as her feet would take her, not bothering to look back to see if Logan was gaining or chasing her at all. Gasping and sobbing, she closed the distance between her and the thick tree line, a semblance of shelter within the dense and dark forest.
"LEXI!" He called, his voice still far away but still close enough to cause her to cry out in fear. Pushing past the burning pain throughout her whole body, and ignoring the freezing drops of water as they hit her face, she plunged into the mass of trees.
This was their third stop. The previous two had shown no results or indication of where the man had taken their friend, but neither Law nor Brittany was willing to give up just yet. It may be past 3 in the morning, but no one really felt tired at all.
As before, the groups split into teams of Shachi and Penguin patrolling one side of the road, and then Brittany, Law, and Bepo on the other.
Though they tried no to show it, Law could tell that the others were beginning to lose hope. No sign of the brunette after several hours of searching was admittedly very disheartening, but the pirate wasn't willing to simply call it a night and return home. Hell, he'd make everyone stay out in the woods that night if he had to. The rain still teased them, not quite a downpour but the soft trickle it had been before had become stronger. They were now all pretty much soaked after being outside so long.
But these didn't deter Law. No matter what it took, he'd find her.ns 126.96.36.199da2