Claudia Pemberton



 “We each get to choose our own path in life.

We can choose to be good, or we can choose to be evil.”

— Granny Mae





Hidden amidst the desolate woods, void of any signs of life or humanity, the rustic log cabin stood nestled deep within the forest. It was as much a part of the trees as they were of it. Through the eye of any photographer it would be a rare and intriguing subject, lending itself to an image of serene beauty from the outside, with absolutely no indication of the unspeakable horror to be found on the inside. The events unfolding within this dwelling were anything but picturesque, giving credence to the age-old saying that looks can be deceiving.

              What remained of the sane and vibrant young woman who had been abducted and forcibly brought here three weeks earlier, appeared emotionless and defeated, tightly bound to a rigid wooden chair. The unthinkable physical and emotional torment she had been subjected to during her captivity was more than enough to strip away any and all desire to continue living. She closed her eyes as if relinquishing all hope of ever being rescued. Her will to live seemed to be ebbing away with each reluctant breath she took.

              The captor observed his prisoner from across the room. Once captivated by her resiliency, he found her belated, but peaceful surrender equally as mesmerizing. Although her physical body was obviously fighting the prospect of dying, her spiritual body seemed to be welcoming it. He wondered … could she possibly see death as a blessing?

              Her despondency caused a foreign, albeit fleeting, pang of remorse to course speedily through his demented mind, an almost inconceivable amount of regret for what he was about to do to her. He had grown quite fond of her, more so than with any of her six predecessors. He indulged himself in his deranged fantasy of their love affair, even permitting himself to call her by name, something he had never done with any of the others. But Sallie was different. She was quiet and submissive, cooperative and more than willing to satisfy his every desire. But she wasn’t fooling him, nor was he fooling himself. Though she was flatteringly convincing at times, he knew full well that her efforts were not born of pleasure or affection, but merely to prolong her own life. Still, he had become emotionally attached to her, going so far as to allow this misguided fondness to precipitate his decision to end her suffering now, well ahead of the appointed time of death in his otherwise inflexible transformation ritual.

              As he walked toward her, she remained still and resigned, as if waiting patiently for the inevitable, but praying that it would come soon. Standing directly behind her chair, the sound of his deep, menacing voice disrupted the silence. Although spoken at a startling volume, his words failed to induce so much as a flinch from his captive. She no longer feared him—that was obvious. Although he had complete control of her fleshly body, mentally she was far and forever removed from his grasp. The winsome smile on her face bared evidence to her blissful absence from reality. 

              “Sallie, I’m going to put the gag back on now,” he told her solemnly, knowing as the words exited his mouth that they were a lie. He had no intentions of replacing the thinly folded fabric between her dutifully parted lips. The fact that he lied to her about his intentions puzzled him. He had never before lied to protect a person—only to lure or hurt her in some fashion.

              With the gag pulled taut between his hands, he looped his arms over her head and lowered them slowly past her face, lingering just inches below her chin. Holding the cloth weapon poised and ready just millimeters from her fragile and fatally exposed neck, he paused. The image of her body’s violent reaction to this form of strangulation once again caused him a momentary measure of grief. Although the desired outcome would be death, it wouldn’t come quickly enough and the pressure and subsequent crushing of her larynx would cause her excruciating pain. Selfishly, he thought about the resulting damage and discolorations that the ligature would produce, leaving her attractive face and neck swollen and bruised.

              Having made his decision, he raised the piece of cloth back up to her mouth and gently placed it between her lips. He then proceeded to tie it loosely behind her head.

              Filled with a semblance of compassion, he began stroking her hair. Starting above her temples, he allowed his fingertips to slowly follow the length of her voluminous blonde tresses, pulling the hair away from her face and shoulders, and draping it gently down her back. With each stroke, his hands moved closer and closer to her throat, until finally his fingers were touching nothing but the soft and supple skin of her neck. He continued moving lightly up and down either side of the front of her delicate throat. Once his fingers located the area of the carotid arteries, he could feel the strong, steady throbbing of oxygenated blood being pumped to her head and brain. Following the course of the life-sustaining vessels, he aligned his fingers along the pathway of the flow.

              As his fingers pressed in firmly on the carotids, he leaned over and kissed the top of her head. Her body remained still and calm as if she felt no pain at all. She made no attempt whatsoever to free herself from his grip. Within ten short seconds, and without so much as a whimper, she drifted away into unconsciousness.

              After only two more minutes of sustained pressure to the arteries, her life was over. The empty shell of who she once was belonged to him, now and forever, just as he had planned from the very first day he saw her.

              He cradled her limp and lifeless body in his arms and carried it into a small, but separate room inside the cabin—his makeshift workshop and sanctuary. He laid her down on the plastic-lined, wooden surface and promptly started removing her clothing. Working with practiced precision, he went about the task of preparing the body, speed being of utmost importance in order to circumvent the onset of rigor mortis and the resulting damage it would inflict upon her perfect face.

              Making the deep incision into her femoral artery, he used the razor-sharp scalpel to lacerate the alabaster skin of her groin. The honed instrument penetrated her body as though passing through warm butter. He then inserted the canula into the gaping blood vessel and secured the plastic tubing in place.

              With the quick flip of a switch, a small, motorized pump began to siphon the still-warm blood from her body. The natural pink hue of her skin began to gradually fade as the machine hummed steadily in the background. Leaning against the side of the table, he gazed at her perfectly shaped physique. Compelled to touch her, he began moving his hands lightly and slowly over her cooling naked body, delighting in the way his fingers rose and fell amidst the curves of her voluptuous shape. Leisurely, he trailed down the entire length of her form and back up again. Pausing momentarily, he cupped her firm, adequate breasts in his insatiable hands, his fingers tugging playfully at her soft, pink nipples, attempting to coax them to erection. Teasing them to react to his touch as they had several times before, he was dismayed at their lifeless response. Closing his eyes, he allowed his hands to continue their blind exploration of every inch of her perfect anatomy. The sensual sensation of his fingers entering her soft femininity filled him with animalistic desire. The act aroused him into such a frenzied state of excitement that rubbing his lower body against the table was the only physical stimulation necessary to bring him to climax. He moaned loudly as the pleasurable pulsation coursed through his body.

              Waiting for the last faint throb of ecstasy to pass, he opened his eyes and stared at her pale and unresponsive body on the table before him. Although sexually satisfied for the moment, he immediately regretted that he hadn’t gratified himself inside of her just once more before ending her ability to respond.

             With pity only for himself, he sighed heavily as he picked up her small, cold hand and laid it across his palm. It was delicate and flawless, having taken on a porcelainlike appearance. He marveled at the perfection of her skin and fingers, especially her fingernails. They were her natural nails and showed evidence of the painstaking care that she had taken to keep them meticulously manicured and polished. Reaching for his smallest scalpel, he decided that it would be a shame to discard them along with the remaining parts of her body that he no longer needed.

              By the time he finished the repetitious ten-finger task, the humming of the pump motor had ceased, indicating the completion of its intended purpose. He slowly straightened his torso and stretched his aching back. Painstakingly, he removed the canula and plastic tubing from her body.

              For the final step in this part of her transformation process, he would need his largest #22 surgical scalpel. The brand-new, stainless steel instrument was razor sharp and ready for use as he removed it from its designated slot in the red, velvet-lined storage case.

              Returning to the table, he stood alongside her, just above the area of her waist. He paused momentarily to appreciate her beauty in its entirety for the final time. It saddened him that this part of their experience together was over.

              Placing the thin surgical knife next to her ghostly pale skin, he began the penetrating incision in the area below the delicate hollow of her throat, just above her clavicle. With the expertise of a veteran surgeon, he continued the cut that would eventually sever the only part of her anatomy that he would preserve and keep with him forever.

              Try as he might to maintain his concentration, he could not keep his mind from wandering. He found himself envisioning his next female conquest. What would she be like? Would she be as sweet and fulfilling as the one lying on the table in front of him? The mounting anticipation of the hunt ignited a burning desire inside of him that consumed any false remnants of regret still smoldering in his dysfunctional heart for Sallie.

              I’ll know her when I see her, he surmised. But, the question is … where will I find her?

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