Chapter no 52 – MILLIE

The Housemaid

It’s been an hour since Andrew was here.

I used the bucket. I don’t want to talk about it. But it got to a point where if I didn’t use the bucket, I was going to have pee running down my legs. It was an interesting experience, to say the least.

After I got that need taken care of, my stomach started rumbling. I checked the mini-fridge, where I usually keep a couple of snacks like yogurt. But somehow, it had been emptied in the last few days. The only thing left in there was three of those mini bottles of water. I chugged the contents of two of the bottles, although immediately after, I regretted it. What if he leaves me here for several more hours? Or days? I might need that water.

I throw on my jeans and a fresh T-shirt, then I examine the pile of books on the floor. Andrew said he wanted me to keep those books resting on my belly for three hours and then he would let me out of the room. I don’t quite understand the purpose of this ridiculous game, but maybe I should just do it. Then he’ll let me out and I can get the hell out of here forever.

I stretch out on the uncarpeted floor. It’s the beginning of summer, which means the attic is unbearably stuffy, but the floor is still cool. I rest my head against the ground and

pick up the book on prisons. It’s a thick textbook that has got to weigh several pounds. I lower it onto my belly.

It’s pressure, but not exactly uncomfortable. If I had done this before my trip to the bucket, I would probably have peed my pants by now. But this isn’t so bad. Then I pick up the second book.

This is the one on torture. I suppose the title of this textbook isn’t entirely a coincidence. Or maybe it is. Who knows?

I lower the second book onto my belly. This time the pressure becomes more uncomfortable. The books are heavy. And the protuberance of my scapula and my tailbone bite into the hard, uncarpeted floor. This isn’t enjoyable, but it’s tolerable.

But he wanted all three books.

I pick up the final book—the phonebook. This one is not only heavy, but bulky. It’s hard to even lift it with two other books already on top of me. It takes a couple of tries, but I manage to get the phonebook balanced on my abdomen.

The weight of all three books almost takes my breath away. Two was doable, but three is awful. This is very, very uncomfortable. It’s hard to take a deep breath. And the edge of the bottom book bites into my rib cage.

No, I can’t do it. I can’t.

I shove all three books off me. My shoulders heave as I suck in air. He can’t expect me to keep all three books balanced on me for hours. Can he?

I get back on my feet and immediately start pacing the room. I don’t know what game Andrew is playing here, but I’m not going to do this. He’s going to let me out of here. Or else I’m going to find a way out myself. There must be a way out of this room. This isn’t prison.

Maybe there’s a way I can unscrew the door hinges. Or the screws on the doorknob. Andrew has a tool kit downstairs stashed in the garage, and I would give anything to get my hands on that right now. But I’ve got

lots of stuff in my dresser drawers. Maybe there’s something I can use as a makeshift screwdriver.


It’s Andrew’s voice again. I abandon my search for tools and rush over to the door. “I put the books on top of me. Please let me out.”

“I told you three hours. You only did it for about a minute.”

I have had enough of this shit. “Let. Me. Out. Now.”

“Or else what?” He laughs. “I told you what you need to do.”

“I’m not doing it.”

“Fine. Then you can stay locked in there.”

I shake my head. “So you’ll let me die in here?”

“You’re not going to die. When the water runs out, you’ll realize what you have to do.”

This time I can barely hear his footsteps retreating over the sound of my own screams.

I have had the three books on my abdomen for two hours and fifty minutes.

Andrew was right. After the third water bottle had been drained, my desperation to leave the room heightened considerably. When fantasies of waterfalls started dancing before my eyes, I knew I had to complete the task he wanted. Of course, there’s no guarantee he’ll let me out if I do it, but I hope he will.

The books are really, really uncomfortable. I’m not going to lie. There are moments when I feel like I can’t stand it another second, that the weight is going to literally crush my pelvis, but then I take a breath—best I can with these stupid books on top of me—and I hang in there. It’s almost over.

And when I get out of here…

At the three-hour mark, I shove the books off of my belly. It’s a massive relief, but when I try to sit up, my abdomen aches badly enough to bring tears to my eyes. There are going to be bruises left behind. Still, I push forward and pound on the door. “I did it!” I yell. “I’m done! Let me out of here!”

But of course, he doesn’t come. He might be able to see me, but I have no idea where he is. Is he in the house? At work? He could be anywhere. He knows where I am, but I don’t have the same privilege.

That bastard.

It’s an hour later when I hear footsteps outside my door. I want to cry with relief. I’ve never been claustrophobic before, but this experience has changed me. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to ride in elevators after this.


“I did it, you asshole,” I spit at the door. “Now let me out.”

“Hmm.” His lackadaisical tone makes me want to wrap my fingers around his neck and squeeze. “I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

“But you promised! You said if I kept the books on my belly for three hours, you would let me out.”

“Right. But here’s the thing. You pushed them off a minute too early. So I’m afraid you’ll have to start over.”

My eyes fly open. If there were a moment when I would morph into the Incredible Hulk and rip the door right off by the hinges, that would be this moment. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“I’m so sorry. But these are the rules.”

“But…” I sputter. “I don’t have any water left.”

“That’s a shame,” he sighs. “Next time, you’ll have to learn to conserve your water.”

“Next time?” I kick the door. “Are you out of your mind?

There’s not going to be a next time.”

“Actually, I think there will be,” he says thoughtfully. “You’re on parole, right? If you were to take something from our house—and I’m sure Nina would back me up on that—where do you think you would end up? One offense and you’re right back in jail! Whereas you only have to stay in this room for a day or two every once in a while if you misbehave. I think this is a much better deal, don’t you?”

Okay, this would be the moment I would turn into the Incredible Hulk.

“So,” he says, “I would get back to work. Because soon you’re going to get pretty thirsty.”

This time I wait three hours and ten minutes. Because I don’t want there to be any chance that Andrew will claim that I need to do it a third time. That will kill me.

My belly feels like somebody has been punching me in the abdomen for the last several hours. It hurts so much, at first I can’t even sit up. I have to roll onto my side and push myself into a sitting position using my arms. And my head aches from lack of water. I have to crawl over to the cot and pull myself onto it. I sit there and wait for Andrew to come.

It’s another half an hour before his voice reappears behind the door. “Millie?”

“I did it,” I say, although my own voice is barely a whisper. I can’t even stand up.

“I saw you.” There’s a patronizing edge to his voice. “Excellent job.”

And then I hear the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. It’s the sound of the door unlocking. It’s even better than when I got out of prison.

Andrew comes into the bedroom, clutching a glass of water. He hands it over to me, and for a moment, it hits me

that he could’ve slipped some sort of drugs into the water, but I don’t even care. I gulp it down. All of it.

He sits down beside me on the cot. He rests a hand on the small of my back and I cringe. “How are you doing?”

“My belly hurts.”

He tilts his head. “I’m sorry.” “Are you?”

“You do have to be taught a lesson when you do something wrong—it’s the only way you’ll learn.” His lips twitch. “If you had done it right the first time, I wouldn’t have had to ask you to do it again.”

I look up and study his handsome features. How could I have fallen in love with this man? He seemed nice and normal and wonderful. I hadn’t even the slightest clue what a monster he is. His goal isn’t to marry me—it’s to make me his prisoner.

“How could you tell exactly how long I was doing it?” I say. “You can’t possibly be able to see that well.”

“On the contrary.” He pulls his phone out of his pocket and brings up an app. A crisp color image of my room fills the screen. I can see the two of us sitting together on the bed in incredible resolution. The image of myself shows me looking pale and hunched over, with stringy hair. “Isn’t that a great image? Like a movie.”

That bastard. He watched me suffer in here for the entire day. And he has every intention of doing this to me again. Except next time it will be longer. And God knows what he’ll make me do next time. I’ve already been a prisoner once—I won’t let it happen again. No way.

So I reach into the pocket of my jeans.

And I pull out the bottle of pepper spray I found in the bucket.

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