Excerpt of The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld
(Page 5 of 6)
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Seeing the shadow of the mans razor flickering on the far wall,
the girl shook her head. Again she tried to cry out, but the
constriction of her throat reduced her plea to a whisper.
From behind her came a low voice: You want me to wait?
I cant. The victims wrists, crossed and suspended together
over her head, were so slight, her fingers so graceful, her long
legs so demure. I cant wait. The girl winced as the gentlest
possible stroke was administered to one of her bare thighs. A
stroke, that is, of the razor, which left a vivid scarlet wake
as it traced her skin. She cried out, her back curved in exactly
the same arch as the great windows, her raven hair flowing down
her back. A second stroke, to the other thigh, and the girl
cried out again, more sharply.
No, the voice admonished calmly. No screaming.
The girl could only shake her head, uncomprehending.
You must make a different sound.
The girl shook her head again. She wanted to speak but couldnt.
Yes. You must. I know you can. I told you how. Dont you
remember? The razor was now replaced on the bed. On the far
wall, in the wavering candlelight, the girl saw the shadow of
the leather crop rising up instead. You want it. Sound as if
you want it. You must make that kind of sound. Gently but
implacably, the silk tie around the girls throat drew tighter.
She tried to do as she was bid, moaning softlya womans moan, a
supplicating moan, which she had never made before.
Good. Like that.
Holding the end of the white tie in one hand and the leather
crop in the other, the assailant brought the latter down upon
the girls back. She made the sound again. Another lash, harder.
The sting caused the girl to cry out, but she caught herself and
made the other sound instead.
Better. The next blow landed not on her back but just below
it. She opened her mouth, but at the same moment the tie was
drawn still tighter, choking her. Her choking, in turn, made her
moan seem more genuine, more broken, an effect her tormentor
evidently liked. Another blow, and another and another, louder
and faster, fell on all the softest parts of her body, rending
her garments, leaving glowing marks on her white skin. With
every lash, despite the searing pain, the girl moaned as she had
been told to do, her cries coming louder and faster too.
The rain of blows stopped. She would have collapsed long before,
but the rope from the ceiling, tied to her wrists, kept her
upright. Her body was now scored with lacerations. Blood ran
down in one or two places. For a moment all went dark for her;
then the flickering light returned. A shiver passed through her.
Her eyes opened. Her lips moved. Tell me my name, she tried to
whisper, but no one heard.
The assailant, studying the girls lovely neck, loosened the
silk binding around it. For one instant she breathed freely, her
head still flung back, the waves of black hair flowing to her
waist. Then the tie around her throat went taut again.
The girl could no longer see distinctly. She felt a hand on her
mouth, its fingers running lightly over her lips. Then those
fingers drew the silk tie yet tighter, so that even her choking
stopped. The candlelight went out for her again. This time it
did not return.
Copyright © 2006 by Jed Rubenfeld