Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Disturbing Psychological Thriller on Abduction and Mind Games

The Shuttered Room by Charles J Harwood pushes the boundaries of abduction to the limit: obsession, forbidden love and sexual chemistry.

Stockholm Syndrome
This crime novel tells the story of hostage, Jess, who spies upon her captors from a spyhole in the bedroom floor. In this scene, she waits for her breakfast. Instead, her most feared captor, Justin emerges with a nasty surprise.

A Thriller on Psychological Warfare

The bolt disengaged on the ensuite door. Justin emerged through the bedroom door. He stood by the window and fished out a table runner from his pocket. Put this on,’ he said flatly.
Jess’s mouth fell open, a question teetering on her lips. She stood without thinking and stared at the cloth.
‘Put this on,’ he repeated. Justin’s eyes had that glassy obsidian look she’d seen yesterday.
Nonplussed, Jess took the runner and draped it over her shoulder as a scarf.
Twisted Stockholm Syndrome
Charles J Harwood
‘Not like that, stupid. Like this.’ And he took the runner and placed it over his mouth. ‘And no messin’. Do it up good and tight. I’m gonna get the loft ladder down.’
Tightness crept into her chest. She obliged, tying a double knot at the back of her head. She waited by the door, her arms hanging. With the runner over her mouth, her breathing had taken on a tidal quality. Clicks, grunts and a metallic rattle ricocheted in the hall.
Justin popped his head through the door. ‘Come on.’
Jess followed him into the hallway where a ladder had been pulled down from a hatch in the ceiling. Justin waited, indicating Her Ladyship first. The tightness in her chest increased.
Jess grabbed the handrail and took cautious steps. She looked up into the cave-mouth of the opening. A cool draft cascaded onto her face. Her heel slipped on the first rung. Her head drew level of the loft floor where she planted an elbow onto a strut. Up here, the traffic thrummed against the rafters. Jess hauled herself onto the lip of the opening. She glanced down to see Justin at the foot of the ladder staring up at her.
The weight of what lay ahead annihilated a fleeting relief that she was wearing jeans rather than a skirt. Justin jerked his head sideways indicating Her Ladyship to continue into the loft. Jess twisted her torso and crawled across the rafters, mindful of the gaps between. Clouds of dust billowed at her movements. She could imagine it coating her eyelashes and her throat if she moved too quickly. This and the gag contrived to make her breaths feel constricted.
This is a Dangerous Game to Play
Charles J Harwood
Jess twisted her body to rest her feet upon the loft insulation. Justin followed her up, eclipsing the light for an instant. Once drawing level, he took out a roll of duct tape and tweezed the end with his fingernail. ‘Hands behind,’ he grunted, ‘thumbs together.’
Jess complied, her breaths snatching. Justin tore a length of the tape with a rasping in the air and tethered her thumbs. He forced the backs of her hands together via the knuckles to the little fingers. The tape felt cold, sticky and tight.
‘Legs together,’ he said.
Again, Jess obeyed.
He lifted her jeans above the ankles and lowered her socks. He wound the tape tightly round her ankles. She appraised his lacquered, bristly hair partly concealing his pink scalp as he worked. Sandalwood failed to mask his sweat, yeasty and sour.
Satisfied, he crouched in front of her. ‘Lay on your front,’ he instructed.
Lay on my front? She looked at him questioningly. On what?
‘Lay on your front,’ he repeated.
This Hostage likes to Eye Spy
Charles J Harwood
Jess twisted her torso and lowered her stomach onto the rafter, head to the side. She followed through with her legs, resting them against the plinth. Justin rolled up the hems of her jeans and plied tape over her calves, backs of her knees and over the sides of the strut. He repeated the procedure for her wrists and elbows, urging them forwards as he attached them to the rafter. His breaths gusted into her hair as he pressed the tape down. If the rafter had been pulled upright, Jess would have stuck onto its surface like a witch about to be burnt at the stake. Try as she might, Jess could not lift her arms or her legs.
Justin adjusted the knot at the back of her head. Jess wondered why he hadn’t gagged her at this stage. Perhaps he didn’t want to hear her wittering on at him whilst he conducted his task.
Justin lowered his mouth to her ear. ‘Did anyone tell you, Jessica, everything we do in life has repercussions?’
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Jess could only respond with a sniff through her one nostril.
‘I tried to be nice to you, I really did, but I’ve moved on from that now. I’m concentrating myself on the pressing matter of your naughty little antic last week. They’re still in the area, and we’re all expecting them to come knocking. Not that it bothers me much. I’m just glad it gave me the excuse to put you up here.’
Jess closed her eyes.
‘So just remember this: you are here because of what you did. This is all your fault, not mine. Do you hear? Just think of that whilst you are up here with your little thoughts in your little head. And try to relax. The time will pass quickly if you do.’ Justin seemed to wait for something. ‘Do you understand me, Jessica?’
Jess nodded.
Justin retreated, taking his infusion of yeast and sandalwood with him. A brief eclipsing of light and the loft ladder clattered. The hatch closed, leaving her in darkness.

A Chilling Tale of Abduction
Can you guess what happens next? Read the blurb on the Shuttered Room

Note: This book is now available within a trilogy, entitled: Gone Too Far (3 Psychological Thrillers about Taboo).

Related links on my author website

The Stockholm syndrome relationship
The inner gremlins of kidnappers
What if human behavior had a voice?

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