Saturday, October 22, 2016

TODD TRAVIS: Night is for Hunting

Copyright © 2016 by Todd Travis

Hey friends,
In honor of Halloween, my very favorite holiday, please find NIGHT IS FOR HUNTING, which was first featured in my horror collection THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, which was written for every woman who has ever been stalked, harassed or hurt.
~ ^ ~
Tamra got off the subway at Ninety-Sixth. She’d walked around down in the East Village, but other than a few obnoxious comments from drunk frat boys, her wanderings had come to nothing. So at about three in the morning she decided to call it a night. She sat on the train on the way back home, feeling very frustrated. 
Out on the street heading for home, she realized she’d picked up a tail. A man wearing a dark windbreaker darted after her a little too casually.
She reached her building, which had two locked entrance doors, an outer one and an inner one. You had to be buzzed in twice to get in if visiting someone. Tamra took her keys out, fumbled a bit, offering herself up as the bait.
She opened the outer door wide and entered, letting it close slowly. She quickly unlocked the inner door, for she wanted the extra room to move if she needed it. She watched behind her via the reflection of the inner door, and just as the outer door was about to close, a gloved hand caught it and held it open. In a second he was on her. 
Don’t make a fuckin’ sound, you hear me?” he grabbed her from behind and held a knife to her throat. 
He pushed her into the lobby of her building. He was still behind her and she couldn’t see his face. He pushed her face first up against the wall. 
 Fucking whore, don’t move ’less I tell you, unnerstand? I’ll cut you t’shit,” he growled, fumbling at her skirt. 
He ripped it, pulling it down. He was obviously going to rape her from behind. Tamra responded by rubbing her rear slightly against him. She could feel his erection. 
 What the fuck you doin’? You like ’dis, that it? You want it, do ya?” He pulled down his pants and freed himself. “You want it, don’t you? Tell me you want it!” 
          I want it, I want it,” she whispered. ”Let me have it, let me see it, please.”
          Bitch, you gonna git what you asked for,” he grabbed her by the hair and turned her around. 
She didn’t look him in the eye; she didn’t want to scare him off. His hood was drawn tight on his face, leaving a little circle that he had to see and talk through. He held her by the hair with his left hand and with his right he held the knife up against her throat. 
          You want it, don’t cha? Touch it, put your hand on it, bitch,” he ordered. 
She reached down slowly with her right hand, putting it around his penis, which, even though erect, wasn’t big. She could almost cover the whole thing and she had small hands. She held it lightly, then slowly brought her eyes up to his. 
          Ooo, that’s good, you fuckin’ whore, know what you doin’, don’t ya bitch?”
          Yes, I do,” Tamra said, and then put the squeeze on him.
She spent twenty minutes every day squeezing a tennis ball in each hand, so this was going to be fun.
He squealed. Tamra knocked the knife away with her left hand. It skittered away. She then hit him with an open palm right on the nose, breaking it.
With one hand on his penis and the other on the collar of his hood, she slammed him into the wall twice, then released him and he slid down the wall, slumping on the floor, out cold. She paused, listening to see if they’d disturbed anyone. All clear.
          She picked him up, dragged him out of there and walked him down the street, his arm over her shoulder, as though he were drunk and she were walking him home. They reached the park outside the projects and she dumped him on a bench, handcuffing him there by his wrist. Tamra took a can of spray paint out her bag, sprayed the word RAPIST on his chest and then liberated the man’s sweatpants and underwear from him, so that come morning the whole world would bear witness to the man’s obvious shortcomings.
          All in all it was a pretty good night, she thought.

A week later, Tamra cruised through the city and night on foot. It was late, sometime after one o’clock in the morning, and she’d gotten that tickle in her chest that got her out of the apartment in the sexy getup that she wore only for these occasions.
She walked along Thirty-Eighth Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, the perfect area for her dark hobby, swinging her purse as if she hadn’t a care in the world. She’d already been propositioned twice, both times by desperate fat white men in shiny suits, but each were too timid to even ask her anything beyond “how much,” so she blew them off. She hoped the night wouldn’t go to waste.
          As she walked past a dark parking lot, an arm emerged from the shadows. Attached to the arm was a hand, and in the hand was a gun. 
          Don’t make a fuckin’ sound,” said the voice from the shadows.
Another hand darted out and grabbed Tamra by the shoulder and dragged her into the alley between the lot and the building next to it, the view of the street blocked by darkness and cars. He pushed her up against the wall, gun in her face. 
He was a dirty man. Maybe Italian or Greek, she thought. He was only a couple of inches taller than Tamra, but had forty or fifty pounds on her at least. He stood there looking at her, jacked up on something, she could tell from his eyes. He snatched Tamra's purse from her. He held it, shifting back and forth on his feet. 
          Is that all you want?” she asked, staring at the gun he held, a revolver, actually, which was much better for her than an automatic. It looked like a thirty-eight. 
          No. Shut up!”
He stared at the open cleavage of her shirt, drawn in. She wanted to wait and see how far he’d take this before she acted. Tamra looked closer at the revolver, a thought striking her. Then he went for it.
          Take off your shirt. And your skirt. Now!”
          Or else what?” 
          What? Or else what? Else I put a bullet in your head, whatta you think?”
          I think it’s not loaded, that’s what I think. I think you know that robbery with a loaded gun is an extra five years on your sentence if you got caught,” Tamra said. “I think YOU think you’re being smart. But you’re not, you know why?” 
          Why? Wait, shut up!” He was rattled by her calm. 
          Because a rape charge is a life sentence, so you’re about to move up in the world, unloaded gun or not.”
          Shut up! Shut up shut up! Get your clothes off and shut up, whore!”
When she didn’t move, he jammed the revolver in her face.
“You wanna find out if this gun is loaded, do ya?”  
          Sure,” she said and snatched the gun right out of his hand before he could react.
          Shit, give that back!” he said. Tamra brought the weapon up, pointed it at him, pulled the trigger and it CLICKED on an empty chamber. She pulled it a few more times with the same result.
          Empty. Just like I thought,” she tossed the revolver on the ground. 
          You … you … you fuckin’ whore! I’m gonna … I’m gonna …” he sputtered. 
          You’re gonna what?”
          After looking at her for a moment, he made a run for it, dashing for the street. Tamra anticipated that and countered with a spinning low sweep that caught him right at the ankles and sent him down hard on the grimy concrete.
          You’re not getting away quite that easy,” she said, standing over him. 
She moved between him and the street, blocking his escape route. He scrambled to his feet.
          I’m gonna fuckin’ hurt you, I’m gonna fuckin’ hurt you bad,” he said.
Tamra just stared at him. He rushed her. She shifted her weight, evading him but grabbing his right hand before it got to her. She pressed and twisted it, getting him in a full pressure-lock, a good one. It stopped him immediately. 
          Shit, ow, ow, you fuckin’ whore, fuckin’ let me go,” he whined, his legs bending with the pain. 
          Who’s a fucking whore? Who?”
          You bitch, lemme go …”
          We’ve gone from whore to bitch, so I’m sure cunt will be the next word out of your mouth. But let’s be clear about something …”
          She cranked his wrist as far as it could go and he screamed.
          “… the only BITCH here now is YOU!”
He kept his curses to himself as Tamra walked him over to where her purse lay on the ground. She bent over and picked it up with her right hand, never releasing his trapped hand, and walked him over to a handy trash dumpster. Got a pair of cuffs out of her bag with her free hand. She cuffed his hand to the dumpster, then released her grip. 
          What … what the fuck?” He rattled the cuffs, realizing he was trapped. “You a cop, you’re a fucking cop?”
“Nope, not even close.”
“If you ain’t no cop, what the fuck are you?”
“We are what we do. And you?”
Tamra grabbed him by the hair and rammed his face into the side of the dumpster. This dazed him for a moment, blood running. She ripped the shirt off his back, then pulled a can of spray paint out of her purse. Sprayed the word RAPIST on his back. 
“This is what you do and thus, who you are.”
His senses came back to him and he clawed at her wildly, like an animal.
Tamra grabbed him by the back collar and the seat of his pants and heaved him up and over the top, dumping him into the inside of the dumpster. She heard the shoulder of the arm cuffed the dumpster dislocate and maybe break as he went in. He howled. 
“As for who I am and what I do? I take out the trash. Trash like you.”
She tossed the revolver in after him. Dusted herself off, put her purse over her shoulder and headed back out into the night.
All in all, the night didn’t go to waste after all. 

          Can I buy you a drink?” the big guy at the bar asked her. It was a couple weeks later, and she’d gotten tired of walking the streets and decided to see how the terrain looked in other areas. She picked a trendy hipster bar, one that pretended to be blue collar with a pool table and jukebox, but still had six-dollar beers and ten-dollar cocktails. 
          I’m fine, thanks.”
          Randi! Set her up with another one, on me,” he said to the bartender. 
          So,” he began with a quarterback smile, “my name’s Sean.”
Like it was supposed to mean something. “Hello, Sean,” she said.  
Big guy, six foot two at least, and about two hundred twenty pounds maybe, not a whole lot of it fat. Dark hair cut short, pug nose and a look of genuine insincerity in his eyes. Dressed all in black. Weightlifter from the look of the arms and pectorals.  Definitely thought that he was the shit, no doubt about it. He kept looking at her and then finally started laughing. She turned to him. 
          Aren’t you going to tell me what your name is?” he said, still grinning.
          Is that all you want from me?”
          It’s a start.”
          I see,” she sipped at her club soda. He kept grinning. Then he laughed again. 
          Randi, another Jack and Coke over here, I’m gonna need it,” he said. “You know, I’ve never seen you in here before, you’re new.”
          Are you sure?”
          Oh baby, I’m sure. I would have remembered seeing you before,” he eyed her. 
          Tamra was again decked out in her sex outfit, except for the shoes; she had her boots on, she just couldn’t deal with heels today.
“So what do you do?” he fished some more. 
          Different things.”
          He grinned, “It’s gonna be like that, is it? You’re gonna make me work for it, is that it? Make me sing for my supper?”
          She shrugged.
          I’m into real estate, here’s my card,” he said, flipping it down on the bar. “And let me tell you something, this is a great time to be involved in this business. It’s booming, baby, it’s booming! You wanna know who I just showed off a spacious loft space to?”
          Tamra shrugged again. 
          Shia LaBeouf and his girlfriend, whatever her name is, I forget, they looked at one of my properties downtown just yesterday. I think they’re gonna finally shack up together. They were pretty cool, though he was lot shorter in real life than I thought. 
“I told ’em if he ever wanted to hang out, grab a drink, I’m the guy to see, I am Mr. Party. I think they’re gonna spring for the loft too, it’s a steal at the price tag I offered them. How about that, huh? How about that shit?”
          Tamra didn’t have the slightest clue who he was talking about. Sean stood up and signaled for another drink. 
          Okay, Miss Mystery Woman, I’m going to the men’s room to see a man about a mule. Don’t go anywhere, okay?” and with a grin he ambled off. Tamra watched him go. She felt a tug on her arm and turned to see Randi, the tattooed bartender. 
          Hey, you’re new here, right?”
          Yeah, so?”
          So watch out for Sean, okay? I’ve seen him do his thing in here before, just be careful with him. I don’t usually say anything but you seem nice. Don’t tell anyone I told you nothin’, but watch your drink around him, you know what I mean?”
          My drink?”
          Yeah, watch that he don’t put anything in your drink, you know? I’ve never caught him doin’ it, but I know he does. And don’t tell anybody I told you anything, he spends a lot of money in here and he’s friends with my boss, okay? Watch your ass,” Randi went down to the other end of the bar.
          Well, Tamra thought, this evening just got a whole lot more interesting. The big man came back and slapped the bar. 
          Okay, I got it, you know what?” he said, touching her leg lightly. 
          What?” she asked, looking over the rim of her glass of soda with half opened eyes. She knew men loved that. 
          Since you won’t tell me your name, and that’s cool, I can respect that, then this is what I’m gonna do. I am gonna guess it, I am gonna read your name from your face, I got a talent for that, how ’bout that?” he touched her knee again, flashing capped teeth. 
          All right,” she said. Why not?
          I get three guesses, and if I get it right, then I win.”  
          You win what?”
          What do I win? That’s what I want to know.”
          What do you want?” She crossed her legs, just for him.
It worked; he ran his eyes up and down her thighs.
          What do I want? Well now, that’s the question,” he smiled at her yet again, and she allowed herself a small one back at him. This seemed to energize him. “I tell you what, I guess your name right, I get to see you again soon, how ’bout that?”
          Maybe. I’ll think about it,” she said, playing coy. Let’s test him.  
          Maybe! Isn’t my job hard enough? Okay, I’m not complaining. Okay, I gotta concentrate. Are you ready? Let’s see … you are a … Diane?” he gently took her chin with both hands and tilted her face up as if to get a better look at her. 
Tamra hid the urge to pull away from his touch. She felt very vulnerable with those strong weight lifting hands holding her face. One simple twist, my neck’s broken and I’m nothing but a memory. She shook her head. 
          Nope. Sorry.” 
          Okay, okay, I get two more. You are a … Catherine, you look like a Catherine!”
          Okay, I got one more, one more. You have the face of a … Tuhhh … Theresa!”
          How’d you do that?” Close enough for her. Now to play it out. 
          Hey. I got skills. Now I get to see you again, Theresa,” he rubbed her knee. 
          I don’t know, I said maybe, remember?”
          Ahh, come on, I played the game and I won. You ain’t gonna front me like that, are you? Come on!” he pouted like a little boy now. 
          Let’s see just how greedy he is, Tamra thought. “Well, to be honest, I’m not in the city for very long. In fact, not long at all.”
          How long?” 
          Not very long. Leaving real soon. Otherwise I would, you seem like a nice guy and all, but I don’t want to promise you something and then … you know.”
          Oh damn, that’s too bad. I thought we were getting along real well. Damn.”
          We were, we were. I’m just not here too long, you know? I’m flying back out of town real soon.” Come on, take the bait. Perfect and safe, that’s what I am. I don’t know anybody, she willed him. 
          At least let me walk you home, where you’re staying, I mean.”
          No, that’s all right, I’m taking a cab.”
          Where are you staying?”
          Somewhere downtown.”
          Downtown where?”
          You don’t like to say much about yourself, do you?”
          Well,” Tamra allowed, giving the full effect of her eyes and smile, “a girl has to be careful these days, don’t you think?”
          You’re right, you’re absolutely right. I tell ALL my female friends that very same thing, ’cause there are a lot of assholes out there and you gotta watch out for yourself, you do,” he said, playing the game. 
Tamra saw in his eye that he had another ace up his sleeve, though.  
          You think you might be coming back this way again sometime soon?” he asked. 
          I don’t know. Maybe. It all depends.”
          Depends on what?”
          On work. If my work brings me back here, then I will come.”
          What’s your work, you never told me. Wait, you’re not gonna tell me, are you?” He smiled at that, and she smiled back.
          So let’s play the game again,” he began, “I'll guess what your line of work is, three guesses, and if I’m right, I win something.”
          You win what?”
          Tell you after I win,” he grinned. 
          What if I don’t like what you won?”
          You will, you will.”
          I don’t know about that, Sean.”
That was the first time she used his name and he liked it. 
          How about this then, I guess your profession, then I, at the very least, get a good night kiss. How about that?” He was throwing down the glove now. 
          A kiss?”
          A kiss. A GOOD kiss, whatta say?”
          I don’t know.” 
          C’mon, just a kiss. What can it hurt? I been a nice guy, buying the drinks, the whole deal, I think I deserve a kiss.”
Some fire in those eyes now. He felt entitled. 
          Maybe. I’ll think about it. Maybe.”
          Another maybe, damn, you’re killing me here, Theresa, you’re killing me!”
          Tamra just smiled at him.
          Okay, you think about it, and I will tell you your occupation. And you know what, Theresa? I don’t even need three guesses. All I need is one. I got you figured. Are you ready for this?”
          Fire away.”
          Okay, first of all, you don’t live here, you come here on business and you have to leave right away, right? And pardon me for saying, but you don’t look like a fortune five hundred executive flying in for a board meeting and flying right out again, no offense, but I seen women like that before and you just don’t got that cold hard-up business look about you. And you’re an attractive woman, I’m saying that to you now, you are one hell of an attractive woman, one that puts other women to shame. 
“You could be an actor, but if you were famous for movies or something, I would’ve heard about it, no offense. Plus, you don’t got that actor-y way of talking, actors always have to talk about themselves, like on Letterman. Getting you to talk is like pulling teeth, so I don’t think you’re actor. You don’t move like an actor, either, you move well, you move like someone that knows her body real well, right?”
          Basic, but so far correct, Tamra thought, nodding.  
          But I still think that you’re some kind of performer, the way you hold yourself, like you know somebody’s always watching. So I think that you’re a dancer. Not one of those ballet dancers, no offense, you probably got the talent, but those dancers are snooty as hell and wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like this where regular people are.”
          So what kind of dancer am I?” she asked. 
          I think, that as hot as you are, and as careful as you are about telling guys who you are and what you do, I think that you are an exotic dancer. You know?”
          Oh my God, Tamra thought, a stripper. He thinks I’m a stripper!
          And not just any exotic dancer, I think you’re one of those famous ones, that pose in the magazines, do the movies, then get flown in to headline at the big clubs. I seen shows like that before, they get all these name gals in the adult business and fly them in for a show. That’s what I think you are, a famous exotic dancer, and if I’m wrong, which I don’t think I am, then you SHOULD be one, ’cause you are one hot babe and move like you know it. That’s what I think you do and I would put money on it,” he finished. 
          Whoa, I didn’t see that coming, Tamra thought. She looked at him for a moment. 
          Well, Sean,” she said, lifting her glass to toast his, “congratulations. You hit it.”
          Sean slapped his thigh, “I told ya, I told ya I was good at this stuff, didn’t I?”
          You sure did.”
          So how about my kiss, I think I earned it,” he said, leaning forward. 
          I’m still thinking about it.”
          Come on, you can’t play me like that, I’ve been good, I’ve been a good boy.” 
          You’ve been behaving yourself just so you could collect a kiss?”
          Well,” he confided, “do you want to know what I really wanted to play for, what I really wanted to win?”
          A dance. A private dance for me, back at my place,” he held his hands up. “But I don’t want to be too forward, I don’t want to pressure you. You’re a beautiful woman and I can’t help myself, that’s what it is. But think about it, okay?”
          A dance now? Now you want a private dance?”
          Sure. We go back to my place, it’s this great loft, it’ll knock your lights out.”
          I don't think I know you QUITE that well.”
          How well do you need to know me? You know I’m a nice guy, and it’s not like you’ve never done it before, right? I’m a gentleman, I got some champagne, we’ll have some laughs and good times before you gotta fly out again,” he pushed even harder.
          I’m still thinking about the kiss,” she got up off the stool.  
          Hey, I EARNED that kiss, I worked for it. You can’t play me like that now after I put all that effort into it,” he grabbed her arm. A glimpse of hardness there.
          Sure I can, if I want. I’ll think about it, and you, when I’m in the bathroom,” she said and walked away. Very conspicuously left her drink at the bar, nearly full.
Come on, she thought, let’s see if you go for it. Dose my drink and then I got you.
She went downstairs where the signs said the bathrooms were, down a twisty staircase to three doors, one for the gents, the other for the ladies and the last one marked private. She walked into the ladies room and blanched. What a pit, it had to violate some sort of health code. Just as well she didn’t really have to go.
          After taking a moment, she washed her hands, threw her purse over her shoulder and headed out the door. She was surprised to find Sean waiting for her right outside the bathroom door, leaning on one meaty arm against the wall. 
          Hey, we gotta stop meeting like this,” he grinned. 
          That’s what happens when you hang out outside the women’s bathroom, isn’t it?”
          Maybe. So listen, how about that kiss?”
          What about it?”
          Why don’t we just, you know, get it over with, whatta say?” 
          Maybe later,” she smiled slightly and walked passed him and headed for the stairs. He grabbed her arm and stopped her. 
          What’s wrong with right now?” he pulled her gently but firmly toward him. 
          Why are you so impatient?”
          It’s unfinished business between us, gets in the way of everything. We had a deal, I played and I won, you gotta pay up,” he said, a dangerous glint in his eyes.
          Well, Sean, I say when and where I have to kiss someone, and I say that you’re just gonna have to wait,” she replied. She turned toward the stairs again. Once more he pulled her back. Tamra had to bite back the urge to dislocate his shoulder. 
          You wanna know what I think, Theresa?”
          What do you think?”
          I’m thinking that you don't have ANY intention of kissing me, I’m thinking that you sat there and drank the drinks I bought you and let me entertain you and after all that you’re just gonna cut me loose cold, that’s what I think.”
          He positioned himself between her and the stairs, cutting off her line of retreat. In this cramped space, the advantage was his, owing to his bulk. 
          So what I think is that you owe me a kiss, and I think you should pay up, otherwise you’re nothing but a cock-tease, and there’s nothing worse than a cock-tease.”  
          You can think whatever you want, I don’t care,” she made another move for the stairs, but it was just a feint to see if he was gonna get rough with her. He did.
          Give me the goddamn kiss!” his grip on her arm tightened considerably. 
          No,” she said, “I said no and I mean NO.”
          We’ll just see about that,” he snarled. He thumped his other hand against the door marked PRIVATE and it opened. He dragged her into a dark basement office that was dimly lit and empty. He pushed her up against the wall and held her there. 
          I fuckin’ hate teases, and you’re either gonna give me the kiss or I’m gonna take it,” he growled, his face an ugly mask. 
He went for her lips and Tamra moved her head away from his. He slobbered on her neck and cheek, seeking her mouth, which kept moving. 
He was stronger than she expected. She got her hand free, she jammed her left thumb into the nerve juncture in the exact center of Sean’s neck. He gasped as the jolt of pain hit him and took a step back, holding his neck. 
Once both arms were free, Tamra didn’t wait around. She kicked at the inside of Sean’s right knee and he went down. She brought her fists together and raised them up high to break his collarbone, but he shot forward like a tackling linebacker, picking her up and crashing her against the wall.
She gasped as the wind went out of her. She got her senses back fast and boxed his ears. He released her and grabbed them. She took the opportunity to knee him in the groin. He grunted and went down again and caught another knee to his face.
She grabbed his ear with one hand, raised the other to deliver a finishing strike. But the blow never arrived as that ANOTHER MAN’s hand caught her fist and stopped it before it landed. She turned quickly to face her new adversary, but before she could react, the stranger touched her chest with a stun gun and she was out, just like that.

She woke up groggy, her ears ringing. She was sitting in a chair, her hands cuffed behind her with plastic ties and a strip of grey electrical tape over her mouth. She didn’t open her eyes, but she heard two men talking.
“She’s from outa town, a dancer, you say?”
“That’s what she said. Said she was flying out tomorrow. And I’ve never seen her before.”
Through half-lidded eyes, she took a look at who was there. Sean, his lip bleeding, chatted with a bigger, older man with a shaved head and sleeve tats. The bald man rooted through her purse.
“No ID in her bag, but look at this,” the bald man said as he lifted the handcuffs out of her purse and whistled. “We got ourselves a kinky one here.”
“She don’t know kinky, not until I get through with her. Bitch busted my lip.”
“Well, now we’re gonna party. We already had last call upstairs, just let me get rid of Randi and the barbacks and we’ll get this show on the road.”
“I’m gonna have another drink, then.”
“Go on ahead.”
The bald one stepped forward and squatted down before Tamra. Lifted her chin up with his hand. She pretended to still be out, but he wasn’t fooled.
“Come on, now. I know you’re awake. Don’t fuck with me,” he raised the stun gun and triggered it. She flinched involuntarily and opened her eyes.
“Look at that, look at those eyes. She’s a spitfire, this one,” Baldy said. “Hey doll, you think you can come into my place, bust up my office and my best friend? You shoulda just given Sean the kiss you promised. Now you’re in our party room and you ain’t never leaving here. Show her, Sean.”
Sean grinned and opened up a cabinet. It was filled with whips, chains and other S & M gear. He lit a candle. Carried it over to her and kneeled down next to her.
“Bitch, you should have just went back with me to my place. Now you’re in the deep end and you’re not climbing out,” Sean said. “You like to play rough? So do we. It’s our most favorite thing to do.”
Sean dripped hot wax on Tamra’s bare leg. It sizzled but she didn’t move.
“You’re gonna scream, trust me. You’re gonna scream and beg,” Sean said. He dumped more wax on her legs and still she didn’t move or take her eyes off him.
“Not now, bro, we don’t want her making too much noise, at least not yet,” Baldy said. “Let me get rid of the staff upstairs, first. Go get a drink or two, I’ll have one with you. She ain’t going anywhere. Once the help is gone, then the fun begins.”
Baldy zapped her in the chest and like that she was out again.

She woke up, alone, but she could hear them upstairs. She wiggled in her chair. Her hands were cuffed with plastic ties, as were her feet, but thankfully she wasn’t cuffed to the chair itself. She hoped beyond hope that this trick she’d once read about would work. She slid her rear forward and got her hands under her butt. Brought them down under her legs. Now they were in front of her.
She looked around for scissors or a letter opener. Nothing. She knew she didn’t have much time. She put her arms out in front of her, took a deep breath and brought them in quickly to her chest. The plastic ties held. Didn’t break. The trick didn’t work.
She thought for a moment and then glanced at the burning candle. Held the ties over the flame.
The flame melted the plastic and it worked. She freed her feet, then got up. Tried the door. It was locked on the outside. She took a deep breath to calm herself. She was trapped in a small space and two men who outweighed her by eighty pounds each could easily overpower her without room to move. And they had a stun gun, too.
Tamra rooted through the desk looking for a weapon, for anything. There was nothing there but papers, junk and a couple of bottles of vodka, no laptop, no phone, nothing. She was stymied. Just as she heard a key fit into the lock of the office door, she got an idea and went with it.

Sean and Baldy waltzed on in the private office. Their victim sat in the chair in the same position they’d left her in, hands behind her back, her head hanging down. They were so confident they didn’t notice her feet were no longer cuffed with plastic ties.
“Okay, here we go!” Sean said. He slapped her head a couple times to wake her up. “Come on, hotness, let’s rock and roll, you’re gonna dance for me one way or another tonight, baby!”
She looked up finally, eyes angry, and shook her head.
“I’ll make you dance,” he picked up the candle again, leaned down over her to pour more hot wax. “I’m gonna start at your knees and work my way up.”
Baldy noticed something amiss from his desk, but couldn’t figure out what it was. Then it hit him.
“Sean, wait!”
With her free hand, Tamra tore the tape off of her mouth and spit a mouthful of vodka that she’d been holding right at the burning candle. The alcohol turned into a burning ball of fire that caught Sean right in the face and he screamed, his hair and shirt aflame, and scrambled backward.
Tamra caught the candle just as Sean dropped it, brought the vodka bottle to her lips and inhaled more of it, whirled to face Baldy, who broke out of his freeze and leaped at her. She spit out another ball of flame. He ducked under it and jabbed at her with the stun gun.
She batted the stun gun away with the bottle and kicked Baldy in crotch. He went down on his knees and she kicked him in the chin. Baldy flew backward, some teeth falling out of his mouth as he went. Tamra stomped on the inside of his knee, breaking it.
Sean screamed as he rolled on the floor, trying to douse the flames. Tamra took another big drink, held the candle up, spit and blew out another fireball at Sean, this time lighting his pants on fire. He howled again and kept on rolling.
She walked around the room, using the vodka fireballs to light up the desk, the cabinet, the cheap posters on the wall. In moments the entire room was aflame. Sean got to his feet, his skin blackened and his cheap slacks melting, and rushed for her. Tamra dodged, swung the vodka bottle and broke it over his head.
Sean went down, burning even brighter than before.
Tamra took in the two fallen men for a moment, then hawked and this time spit her own fluid on the floor.
“Now it’s a party,” she said.
She stepped out and locked the office door behind her. Made her way out of the bar and crossed the street to a bus stop. She sat on a bench and watched Baldy’s bar burn. The sky turned pink as daybreak approached, and Tamra sighed, tired and ready for bed. She was used to going to bed with the sunrise.
She preferred the night for hunting, after all.
* * *
The above is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living, dead or undead, is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.
* * *


Today’s giveaway is TEN ECOPIES (mobi) of Todd’s newest creepiest release TROPHIES!!!

To win: go to the Official FB Event Page; find the post announcing  today’s giveaway; and comment, “I WANT TO WIN” in that post and you just might!!!

Young beautiful women are disappearing. Different types, with different backgrounds, most with a lot of debt, few friends and no close family to speak of. Gone.
Someone is collecting trophies. Only one person can see it. Special Agent Emma Kane.
Kane knows she'll need help on this ordeal. But the only man who can help her, famed profiler Jacob Thorne, is no longer speaking to her. The clock is ticking and Kane is now a target of whomever is doing this.
As Kane gets closer to unlocking true cruel purpose the abducted women serve, the real question is not only will she survive what she finds, but can she handle what she discovers about Thorne and herself?
Emma Kane and Jacob Thorne are back in this thrilling sequel to Todd Travis' pulse-pounding debut novel CREATURES OF APPETITE.
TROPHIES a novel by Todd Travis
TODD TRAVIS (Creatures of Appetite) has gathered a haunting collection of suspense stories exploring the monsters, both living and dead, which surround us all.  THE LIVING AND THE DEAD

- A brilliant biophysicist on the verge of proving there is no life after death discovers, to his horror, that the dead are determined to stop him ...
- An abused small town boy finds a special friend in the woods next to his trailer, but his friend isn't like other children and cannot leave the woods, not ever ...
- A group of determined graduate students seek Bigfoot on a remote Alaskan range seek but discover a monster far more deadly than they ever imagined ...
- An elderly store manager, disturbed by a stranger eyeing the armored truck deliveries to his store, decides to take matters into his own hands ...
- A beautiful young woman walks the streets of Manhattan at night seeking men, but for her own dark purposes, because for her, night is for hunting ...
- A mysterious little girl somehow "invites" herself along on an abduction, leading her captors to wonder who really is in charge ...

Five stories of suspense and terror and a short novel exploring the darkness everyone eventually faces when it's their time to die, THE LIVING AND THE DEAD is a collection one may want to read with all the lights in the house on …
* * *
For fans of DEAN KOONTZ, JAMES PATTERSON and THOMAS HARRIS, a tale of snowbound terror and suspense: CREATURES OF APPETITE.

They call it the Heartland Child Murders.
Everyone else calls it a nightmare.
Locked doors don’t stop him.
He leaves no trace behind.
He only takes little girls.
His nickname… The Iceman.

A deranged serial killer roams wintry rural Nebraska targeting little girls with a demented purpose that no one can fathom.

Special Agent EMMA KANE, a former DC cop and damaged goods now with the FBI, is assigned to baby-sit burned out profiler JACOB THORNE, once the best in the business but now said to have lost his edge, as they both fly to Nebraska to catch this maniac.

Thorne is erratic, abrasive and unpredictably brilliant, but what he and Kane find in the heartland is much more than anyone bargained for, especially when the Iceman challenges them personally, where it hurts most. The clock is ticking and a little girl’s life is on the line.

And maybe even more with that, once they find out what he’s really up to.

Todd Travis

"You're used to clever plots, complex characters, twisted cases and brilliant writing. Few things can surprise you, because most times you figure out who the murderer is before the book ends. Well, let me tell you something: 'Creatures of Appetite' by Todd Travis is like nothing you've read before.Prepare yourself to be hooked from the very first pages, to forget that you need to eat or sleep, and to be taken by surprise by a twisted ending that you could have never guessed." -- Jo Ammons, NY Books Examiner

"If you start reading this book thinking that you'll be able to put it down before bedtime, you're wrong. You'll only be able to fall asleep after you turn the last page. Usually, readers who read a lot of crime novels gain the ability to guess how everything is going to end, or at least suspect. It's not going to happen with "Creatures of Appetite",because the ending will come as a shock." -- Top Books Worth Reading

"No, as a reader you won't guess who the murderer is before Jacob Thorne puts two and two together, but that's not what makes Creatures of Appetite stand out in its genre. What makes it really worth reading is on the very last pages." --All Fantasy Worlds
* * *
A geek. A fat chick. A slow learner. A psycho suicide girl. A wannabe criminal.

Five outcast high school kids with nothing in common except that nobody liked them. Five losers with nothing to look forward to but torment and harassment every day; nothing, that is, until they were introduced to the game.

An online game that would change their lives and give them power over others. They could do anything they wanted, sleep with anyone they wanted to, kill anyone who got in their way. Their every fantasy fulfilled. But at a mortal price. They soon discover that game will consume and destroy them unless they find some way to stop it before it's too late.

For fans of Stephen King and Joe Hill, a dark tale of horror, revenge and gaming gone lethally wrong.

a novel by
Todd Travis
Todd Travis's interests include conspiracy theories, the poetry of Michael O'Donoghue and pop music and movies of the 80s. He is single and moves around a whole lot. His current whereabouts are at this time unknown. He doesn't like cable news, views cellphones with suspicion and don't even get him started on email. He also believes poker is not a sport and therefore should never be allowed on ESPN.
He is the author of the thriller CREATURES OF APPETITE, its 2016 sequel TROPHIES, the horror novel SEX, MARRY, KILL and the horror collection THE LIVING AND THE DEAD. More books are on the way. You can contact him via a Facebook fan page that a friend set up for him.
Sign up on Todd's Amazon author page to be notified when his next novel is launched.


  1. Trophies sounds really great !
    Thanks for the chance..

  2. Trophies sounds really great !
    Thanks for the chance..

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