The Evil of Hammond House Ch. 3byPatrick-Donovan©
THREE: "No Way Out"
Brenda bathed herself in the soothing rain of the shower, cleansing her body of all the exertions and passions she had experienced that night. She cleaned herself thoroughly, doing her face and neck, under her breasts, her stomach, her bush and inside her sex, and also between her buttocks. The pleasure of Robert's entry into that forbidden part of her body still glowed within her and she became aroused once more. She lay her shoulders against the wall of the shower, allowing it to support her as she prepared to enjoy herself.
Leaving one soapy finger remaining within her anus, Brenda let her other hand find its way back to her sex. She spread her labia apart with trepidation. She rarely masturbated, having been raised to believe it was wrong, but on rare occasions, when the urge was too great, she relented and allowed herself the joy of self-pleasure. Now she was exploring herself, rubbing her finger over the hood of her sensitive clitoris and into her vagina. Her buttocks stiffened, making her anus tighten around her invading finger. She made it move all the faster in and out and the tension inside grew.
The hot water cascaded over Brenda's perky little breasts, the ones Robert found so tantalizing. Sometimes he liked to make love to them, straddling her chest and rubbing his huge member between them until he came. The semen would run down around her neck like a liquid chain. He called it a 'pearl necklace.' That name always made her laugh. Now, instead of laughing, she was moaning. Her hands were making love to her most intimate places. She managed to get a second finger into her anus and was pumping them back and forth as hard as she could. Her other hand had three fingers inside and she was pounding so hard she was almost fisting herself. Flashes of color were beginning to explode around her head as her automatic reflexes took over. Ripples of pleasure coursed through Brenda's loins. She could feel the muscular walls of both her vagina and rectum undulating relentlessly. Her bottom smacked against the wet tile as she bucked and wriggled. The orgasm seemed like a machine gun, several quick spasms followed by a brief rest and another series of spasms. This went on for several minutes, nearly causing her to black out. Finally, though, her body began to calm down and she was able to remove her hands from her openings. Her arms trembled after the release of so much energy and she could barely stand up.
Brenda switched to cooler water, trying to snap herself to consciousness once more. She had generated a lot of heat during her lovemaking with Robert, let alone during what she had just done, so she needed to cool off anyway. After awhile she was beginning to feel like she was ready for bed.
As she reached for the knobs, she heard a soft thud. Turning off the water she grabbed a towel and began to dry off. Stepping out of the shower stall, she called for her lover.
There was no reply.
"Must be getting the new sheets," she said to herself and continued to dry off.
After about ten minutes she was getting concerned. She hadn't heard him come back into the room. She figured she was dry enough, so she grabbed her nightshirt from the hook and opened the bathroom door. When she looked towards the bed, Robert was sitting upright in it.
"Robert? Why didn't you answer me?" she asked, moving around the side table.
Then, suddenly, she realized why he hadn't answered her. He couldn't. She dropped the nightshirt. Shock and disbelief swept over Brenda as she stared at the scene before her: the feathered shaft of an arrow was plunged right through Robert's throat. Blood had poured out of the wound, but now there was very little flow. Now the shock gave way to horror and grief.
"Robert!" she cried out, tears beginning to stream from her eyes. She lunged for the bed and hovered over her lover's body. What should she so? What *could* she do? She should be remembering her medical training, but panic gripped her. She flailed her hands helplessly and a cry of grief welled up inside her lungs.
At the moment she let out her scream, she was grabbed from behind and her cry of loss turned to one of terror. A hand covered her mouth and an arm wrapped across her ribcage, the hand accidentally clutching her left breast. She struggled with all her strength to free herself from the grip of the person she knew *must* have killed her Robert.
"Please," spoke a muffled voice, "please don't struggle, miss. It will only make things harder."
Brenda felt a sharp edge against her throat and she ceased her struggles. If she cooperated, maybe the others would have time to get here and stop this madman.
"I'm sorry, truly sorry for what I have to do, my dear."
He gently relaxed his grip on her mouth.
"Why? Why did you have to kill Robert?" she cried softly, tears rolling down her cheeks.
"I'm sorry, miss, but it was necessary." He paused for a moment. "You loved each other, didn't you?"
She was so overcome with grief that all she could do was nod her head.
"I loved someone once, very much. Now she's gone, but I can get her back. You can help me."
He tightened the pressure on the blade at her throat.
"Please, please, don't kill me. I-I don't want to die. Please, whatever it is you want I'll do it. I'll do anything."
The voice paused, as if to consider, but its reply wasn't any consolation to Brenda.
"I'm sorry, miss. Please forgive me. This is the only way I can let you help me."
Brenda felt the sharp edge jerk across her throat. Tremendous spurts of blood shot out across the bed, covering the sheets and Robert's body with red raindrops. Brenda tried to cry out, but only managed to create a gurgling sound as she exhaled through the gash in her throat. She gasped for air, drawing in blood and making it harder to breathe. She started choking. Brenda Xu knew she was about to die and her thoughts turned towards the others, especially Angela and Mark, and she prayed with the last power of her dying mind for their safe escape from that terrible place.
The young Asian beauty shuddered in the killer's arms, then her head lolled to one side. The fountains of blood from her severed throat were reduced to a flow. The hand clutching her breast felt the beat of her heart grow slower and slower, then finally, and sadly, stop. Brenda was a small woman and he had no problem lifting her in his arms. For a moment the killer turned, as if he had heard something, then carried the naked form into the corner and disappeared down a long, stone corridor. The panel slid closed and the room, with it's grisly scene of death, was emptied of life just as there came a heavy thud against the door.
"That was Brenda!" shouted Angela.
Mark dropped his book and bolted through the door, rounding the bottom of the grand staircase and swinging his way onto it. He took the stairs in threes and Angela was far behind him. For someone in poor physical shape, he was doing pretty well.
When Mark reached the mezzanine, he stopped just short of the entrance to the East Wing. He started to step out, but Angela caught up to him and pulled him back from the corner to hand him something. It was an ornately-decorated dagger, gold handle inlaid with gems, with a foot-long blade.
"I grabbed this from the wall in the living room. I thought we might need it."
Of course Mark had no idea how to handle the thing, but there wasn't time to worry about it. He waved her to stay back on the mezzanine while he advanced down the hall. It was probably a chauvinistic move on his part, but Angela was too scared to argue. The cry had been one of such terror that both of them thought the situation to be anything but benign. If Mark was trying to protect her, she couldn't fault him for that. But, at the same time, she wasn't just going to hang out in the hallway. She followed Mark, but at a safe distance.
Mark was torn between rushing in to help Brenda and Robert and rushing in and getting them hurt. He was beginning to panic that he had waited too long when he gave in to his concern for his friends and grabbed the door handle.
It was locked.
Mark realized he had probably already alerted whoever was in the room to his presence so he did the quickest thing he could think of: he kicked the door by the lock. The second kick splintered the door and the third one broke the door frame. He threw his body against the remains of the door and it crashed open easily, sending Mark tumbling to the floor.
"Mark, are you all right?" he heard Angela call.
He shook his head and started to push himself off the floor, then realized he had put his hands into something sticky and warm. He lifted them and looked at the red liquid running down them, then also at the sanguine splotches on his sweats. He was streaked all over. As he stood up observing himself and the room, his gaze was cast to the bed and the horrible sight it contained.
"Oh my God," he whispered to himself, then called out: "Angela, stay out in the hall. DO NOT come in here."
Mark Petri moved slowly towards the bed, staring at the lifeless form of his best friend, Robert. The blood seemed fresh, some of it still dribbling out of the arrow wound in his neck, but the most disturbing thing to Mark were the eyes. There was a look of complete shock and bewilderment on Robert's face and his eyes seemed to stare right into Mark's.
"Mark, what is it? What's wrong?"
"Angela, please!" he cried, his voice choked with welling grief.
Mark reached out and closed Robert's eyes, then some of the uneasiness left him. He tried to gain control of himself. He had to be of use here, he couldn't panic. Someone had murdered Robert and that meant everyone else was in danger, including Angela. He had to be in control. He shut his eyes hard, took a deep breath, and then opened them again. It didn't make the painful scene go away, but it did make him feel stronger.
Mark searched the bathroom. Someone had taken a shower recently -- evidenced by the wet tub and towel -- but there was no specific sign of Brenda. He washed his hands in a hurry and walked out. On his way across the room he stooped down to pick up Brenda's blood-stained nightshirt and then realized something about the patterns of blood on the floor and bed. The blood from Robert's wound couldn't have caused all the blood on the floor because he hadn't been moved. If he had, the blood on his neck would have run down the sides before he was sat upright. Nor could his injury have caused the spatter pattern on the bed, because the spots there spread out from a series of large streaks originating near the side of the bed. Unfortunately, that meant someone else had to have been bleeding and that wasn't news he wanted to pass on to Angela.
Mark tossed the nightshirt into the bathroom to keep Angela from seeing it and walked to the hallway. She was standing just outside, looking back down the hall. She heard him approach and started to turn.
"I'm worried about Lisa and Carl. They would have heard Brenda's scream and been here long before we --" and then she saw the blood on his clothes. "Mark! Oh my God, what happened?"
He took her hand and held it, trying to find a way to tell her. There were tears already on his cheek and she knew it was something awful.
"Robert's dead," he tried to say flatly, but with little success. "S-Someone killed him."
Angela's mouth hung open and her chin quivered with shocked grief. Robert, dead? Why would someone murder him? What was going on in this place?
"Brenda," she said after a moment, "where's Brenda?" She tried to push past Mark into the room.
"She's-She's not in there, Angela," he responded, trying to stop her. "We need to look for her. Let's go and check on Carl and Lisa and then see if we can find Bren, okay?"
She continued to fight him. "I'm a nurse, damn it, Mark! Maybe he isn't dead. Maybe I can help him!" She broke free of his grip and dashed into the room. He followed.
"I think he's beyond any help, Angela," he added softly, as she stopped in her tracks.
The sight of so much blood was not unfamiliar to her, nor was the sight of a deceased human being, but this wasn't a way in which she was used to seeing it: the savage murder of someone she knew and cared about. It took her a moment to find the strength, much in the same way Mark had done, to move on. Angela went to the head of the bed and knelt carefully next to Robert. She put her fingers on his neck and then his wrist, confirming the absence of a pulse. Under the circumstances, that was enough for her and she walked back to Mark and embraced him.
"I'm sorry," she said through a flood of tears.
"No, no," he consoled her. "You did the right thing. I jumped the gun thinking he was dead. I was just worried about Brenda and the others. Come on, we need to look for them."
Reluctantly she left the room and followed Mark down the hall towards Carl and Lisa's room. When they reached the door, he held up the dagger and told her to wait. Every instinct she had wanted to tell him to stuff it and let her go in with him, but she resisted the urge when she saw that he was shaking so bad he could barely hold the knife. He was as terrified as she was.
Mark carefully turned the knob and opened the door. This one wasn't locked. Why had Brenda's door been locked? She and Robert may have done it to keep the others out of their room, but if that was the case, how did the killer get into their room in the first place? And if the killer locked it upon leaving, how could he have done it so fast and yet taken Brenda hostage or, God forbid, been carrying her body? Not to mention there wasn't any blood on the floor in the hall. Too many questions and too much for Mark to think about at the moment. For all he knew, the killer was stalking them at this very moment and, from the looks of it, he had a weapon that could kill them at a distance. Mark's heart began to pound in his chest.
The door creaked open and revealed a familiar gruesome scene. Mark turned his head away for a minute and sighed. Angela, realizing it was safe for the moment, moved past Mark into the doorway. The sight of Carl's stiffening body hanging from the wall with the arrow through his skull made her bile rise, but she forced it down. There was blood on his legs, abdomen and genitals. They moved into the room together, then Mark went to check out the bathroom and Angela went to the bed, checking Carl in the same way she had Robert. He was dead, of course, but cold and bluish, as if he had been dead for several hours, and rigor had begun to set in.
"No sign of Lisa or anyone else," observed Mark as he left the bathroom.
"There's a lot of blood on the bed and the floor and on Carl's ... Carl's ... body, but it didn't come from him," she reported.
Despite how clinical she was trying to be, Angela couldn't hold back the grief and fear. She knew, in her heart, that the blood was Lisa's, but she didn't want to face that right now. Mark gripped her shoulders and looked into her teary eyes.
"You're doing good, kid. Hang in there. We have to get through this."
Angela wiped the rivers of grief away, but the emotion of anger remained with her.
"This is insane, who would do this? Why? These were good people. They were our friends," she cried.
Her words hit him to the heart. Mark had never been fond of Carl, but he respected his intelligence and would never have wished something so horrendous on him or Lisa, let alone on Robert or Brenda, whom he loved as dear friends. Why someone would do this was a question he couldn't answer. Who, on the other hand, was a different issue.
"Hammond. He's got to be the one behind this," he finally said.
"What do we do, Mark?" she asked, frantically. He took her hand and pulled her towards the door.
"We get the hell out of here and come back with the police," he answered and led her down the hall.
They stopped back at Brenda's room where Angela, trying to ignore the dominating presence of Robert's body on the bed, grabbed her bag and, at Mark's request, found her roommate's cell phone, plus a thing or two on her own initiative. Then they retreated to Mark's room to change into clothes better suited to a plan of escape. Angela jumped into her black nylon track suit and Mark, relieved to be out of the bloodied sweats, dug out and donned his black ones. As they prepared to leave, Mark asked her to check the cell phone but, as expected, it wouldn't connect to a service. They were on their own.
Mark peered down the hall and, seeing it was clear, they started on their way, creeping along slowly and quietly. When they reached the mezzanine, Mark pulled out the dagger Angela had given him and held it out in front of him. She noticed it wasn't shaking any less than before, but felt a little better assured when she pulled out her own weapon.
"Where did you get that?" he asked, in a barely perceptible whisper.
Angela held aloft a stun gun and pressed the trigger, sending an arc of electricity across the contacts.
"It's Lisa's. When I was getting the cell phone I remembered she had brought it with her on the trip."
"Good girl. Always the resourceful one. I'm glad I've got you with me." Mark, of course, would have preferred that everyone in the group was with him, but he tried not to think about that.
They crept down the stairs and into the foyer without interference. Angela moved towards the door, but Mark grabbed her hand.
"We might not get ten feet outside the house," he whispered. "Hammond's probably expecting us to do that. I want to surprise him." He led her instead into the lower level of the East Wing.
"Where are we going?" she asked.
"The kitchen," he replied, curtly.
It wasn't hard to find. A huge room at the far end of the wing with enough cooking facilities and equipment to feed a small army -- or a large family as had been the original purpose. Mark looked around for what he wanted and pulled Angela after him when he found it.
"The pantry?" she asked.
"It's only a hunch, but this is where my family always kept the keys to the cars...and it's close to the garage."
Mark's plan suddenly dawned on her. "We're going to steal one of Dr. Hammond's cars and head back to the valley!"
"Close. I just want to get somewhere that the damn cell phone will work so we can call in the cavalry."
They searched the room, but to no avail. There weren't any keys.
"Damn!" swore Mark.
"Now what?" asked Angela, her anxiety obviously returning.
Mark paced for a moment. "I refuse to believe he doesn't have a phone around here. What if he needed help? You know, an emergency or something?"
That made sense to her. "What about his study? He mentioned it before we went to our rooms. It might be there. Maybe the keys will be too."
This idea made Mark very nervous. Into the lion's den, so to speak? It was dangerous, but probably no more dangerous than just making a run for it. He decided it was a better plan than anything else he could think of.
"All right. So where do you think it is?" he asked.
"He said the West Wing, didn't he?"
"Yeah, but which one. Upper or Lower?"
Angela thought about this for a moment and then remembered something. "When he left us upstairs I don't remember hearing him going down the steps. They're made of stone, so I think we would have heard him."
"Very good. You're running up a good score on me. Keep your mind that sharp and we're bound to get out of here alive."
As hard as he was trying to keep her mind on their survival and off the horrible events of the night, Mark was hard-pressed to do it himself. Robert had been his best friend for four years and Brenda was like his sister. Dealing with grief had never been easy for Mark and tonight was the worst. Still, the task of keeping himself and Angela alive, plus the hope of finding Brenda and Lisa safe and sound, was doing a fair job of keeping him steady. At least for now. Hopefully soon he would be able to collapse and grieve a little, then get some sleep. His ability to cope with things was always better after a good night's rest.