Bound - Prologue
The image of the clock's hands burned into her retinas as she stared, willing her eyes to stay focused, there, on that spot. Above the sound of the blood pulsing through her ears, she could just make out the sharp click of its ticks, as the second hand laboured around the circumference of the dial.
Don't look, she thought. For Christ's sake, you can't look.
Her eyes stayed fixed on the clock.
He'll be home soon, please let him be home soon, she thought. Don't be late. Not tonight.
But what her eyes could avoid, her nose could smell; the wet, hot, metallic scent of blood, overpowering the sharp chemical tang of the adhesive on the tape slashed across her mouth. She closed her eyes, the photographic negative of the clock dancing in the darkness, but it was as pointless as resisting gravity.
They opened, their focus drawn to the inevitable.
She took in the ruined shell that had been John, the mangled mess that had been his face, now just dripping meat, bone and brain. She felt the spasm clench her stomach at the sight, the smell, and she started repeating the mantra in her head, You vomit, you die, you vomit, you die. She tried to take deep, even breaths.
Think of Declan, he's already lost one parent tonight, don't let it be two.
She slammed her eyes shut, concentrated on breathing, on forcing away the nausea. But while she could fight the nausea, she couldn't fight the tears, and as the sobs wracked her body, she began to realise that deep breathing was becoming more difficult. She strained against the ropes that bound her arms and feet to the chair, but nothing could stop the wave of panic that hit as she realised her nose was getting stuffier, and the more she panicked, the more she cried and the more she cried, the less she could breathe until she couldn't pull in any air and she felt a band of steel tightening around her chest.
She pulled against her bonds, but nothing. She twisted. She pushed. Her body fought for air and with desperation she shoved against the floor with her feet. As the chair tipped backwards, the last thing her eyes found was the clock, its second hand ticking away her life, before a white-hot flare of pain, and then darkness.