13 in Stepping into Psycho

  • June 27, 2022, 11:27 p.m.
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  • Public

The police left, giving Carissa a number to call for help in achieving independence. It was some nonprofit organization that helped those with disabilities. Until then, Flora promised the officers that she would do good by her, not that she believed it.

Then they went to talk to Ethen but no one was home.

Carissa wasn’t sure which was scarier; Ethen being on the loose or Flora’s obvious lack of concern for her. She seemed quite angry and inconvenienced as opposed to concerned. She made things sound like Carissa was nothing but a troublemaker who had brought all her problems on herself.

“Just get to bed,” she barked. “I’ll deal with you tomorrow after work.”

“Deal with me? Did you not hear a thing I told the cops? I was nearly raped because you threw me out. I’d say you’re the one that brought my problems on right along with Ethen.”

“And I’d say you better get your ass into bed before I do something we’ll both regret.” Flora’s eyes were daggers that bore into her very soul.

“My only regret is you,” Carissa dared to say on her way to the bed in the guestroom.

The next day began like any other day only Flora barely said a word to her. Carissa didn’t mind. She didn’t have much to say either. When she was dropped off at the daycare center, one of the staff members she’d gotten to know, a matronly looking black woman named Maysie, could sense that something was amiss. “What’s up, hun?” she asked.

Carissa didn’t hesitate. She told her everything that had happened from when she first woke up from the coma to last night’s catastrophe. “I need to call the number the police gave me.”

“Oh, yeah. Those are good people to call for guidance. They’ll help get you set up somewhere. If you can’t get your own place, you can at least get in some type of group home where you’ll be around others like you.”

Carissa smiled. “I like that idea. When things went south with Flora I just wanted my own place. But the more I think about it the more I’m pretty sure I would enjoy being around others in a similar situation. I know I would rather live with a dozen others going through the same thing than just one person like Flora.”

Maysie smiled sympathetically. “Call them during break time. I know people that have dealt with them before. You’ll be assigned a personal counselor to help you. When you call today you can set up an appointment to meet with one of the supervisors. They will then assign you to the appropriate guidance counselor.”

A few hours later she had an appointment made for the following day. Their building was just a few minutes away and it was agreed that if Maysie couldn’t drive her over then someone else would. For the first time in weeks, Carissa felt some real hope. Despite her newfound sense of hope, however, she became more and more apprehensive the closer it got to when Flora would be picking her up.

When she finally came up the walkway to walk her to the car, she expected the same sour look and shitty attitude she’d displayed in the morning. However, she seemed quite chipper and smiled pleasantly. “Hi, there. Have fun today?”

“I don’t know if I would call it fun,” Carissa said, “but they kept me busy.” She decided not to mention the appointment just yet. She didn’t see why it was necessary at this time and she didn’t want to risk putting Flora in a foul mood while she still had to deal with her. Or take a chance on her messing up her plans for her.

“Hey, my brother has invited us over for dinner tonight. Sound good to you?”

It didn’t, but she said anyway, “Uh, yeah, I guess so. I didn’t know he was the type to have people over for dinner.”

“No? Why is that?”

Carissa shrugged as they pulled out of the parking lot. “I don’t know. No particular reason, I guess. Maybe I pictured him more into throwing parties because he has so much space for entertaining.”

Flora laughed. Oh good. She hadn’t said anything yet to piss her off. In that case, she would quit while she was ahead and not speak unless spoken to.

They spent their first hour home going through mail and catching up on social media. Carissa’s attempts at local friends had been a bust so far. She really wasn’t that surprised. If one couldn’t simply go out and find love with the snap of the fingers, why should they be able to find good friends that way too? Relationships were relationships whether they were intimate or not, and they all tended to happen by accident when one least expected them to.

Or maybe people were put off by her being disabled and carless.

When it was time to get ready to go to Kenneth’s house. Carissa found it odd that she wanted her to wear a nice dress for the occasion. “But it’s only dinner and it’s just your brother, so why am I getting all fancied up?”

“You’re not that fancy. You’re just nicer than the usual jeans, sweats and other casual attire.”

“Not that fancy? What else do you call a low-cut black lacey dress that barely covers my butt, and where did this thing come from in the first place? I didn’t pick it out.”

“No, I did. Thanks for showing how much you appreciate the kind surprise.”

“Oh, it’s a surprise alright and I have no problem wearing it. I just didn’t think dinner with your brother would be where you would want to see me in anything like this,” Carissa said, wondering if the dress was stolen.

When they were invited inside Kenneth’s house not much later, Carissa was no less creeped out by the guy than she had been the first time around. The house also maintained the same museum-like feel to it that she’d experienced the first time she was there. She almost wished she’d faked an upset stomach or something and told Flora to go by herself.

Despite the sullen atmosphere, the food was delicious. Carissa had expected a cook to have cooked the meal and a maid to serve them, but it was just the three of them. “This is very good,” Carissa said between bites of shrimp scampi. “You prepared it yourself?”

Flora laughed and her brother cracked a smile. Carissa wasn’t sure how genuine it was either.

“The lady that usually does my cooking and cleaning has the night off, and she doesn’t usually work this late anyway.”

The good food helped make up for Kenneth’s creepiness and not-so-homey home. First, they enjoyed a fruit salad before the main course, and then they indulged in chocolate lava cake. Finally, they finished off with some red wine.

Then things got weird. Like really weird.

“She’s too old,” Kenneth suddenly said matter-of-factly, glancing from her to Flora.

What the hell?

“Well, I can’t make her any younger, Kenneth. You knew what she looked like and you said someone could use her.”

“I know, but she won’t bring us as much money, just to warn you.”

Carissa was just about to ask what the hell they were talking about when a woozy sensation came over her. “Ugh, I don’t feel so well.”

The fact that they ignored her and continued to talk without any concern for her was a red flag right there. But the topic of their discussion was even scarier. She listened disbelieving, trying to tell herself it was just whatever was making her feel so dizzy that was distorting what she heard. But there was no kidding herself. What was making her dizzy was obviously whatever Kenneth had slipped into her wine before he brought it into the dining room, and yes, they really were talking about selling her to a human trafficking ring. So that was what Flora’s brother did for a living. No wonder he could afford such a palace. He was raking a fortune off the dark web by selling human beings.

It also explained the little black dress Flora had chosen for her.

Apparently, she was too old to be trafficked as a sex slave but she would do just fine at cooking, cleaning and whatever other tasks she was physically capable of performing.

“Women are a lot less picky about appearance then men are,” Kenneth said. “I showed the boss her photos online and he assured me there were older women who could use her. If not for sex, then for other things. You just need to know that it’s too late. There’s no turning back now. She knows what I do.”

“Oh, I don’t want to turn back,” Flora said. “I got what I wanted from her and now I’ve had enough of the drama. She’s in an ungrateful, spoiled little bitch.”

Carissa slump back in her chair as the twisted brother and sister duo continue to talk as if she wasn’t even there. She moaned drowsily, wanting to get up from the table but knowing her legs would never support her.

“I’ve given her everything,” Flora continued to whine as if she were the victim and Carissa had been the horrible person she described her to be. “I opened my home to her, I opened my heart to her, I opened my wallet to her. None of it was ever good enough. Then she goes and blames me because one of my neighbors got a little too close for comfort. So fine, if she still wants out, she can have out. This time, however, I’m going to get back some of what I put out.”

This time?

“I understand,” Kenneth said in a manner in which one would use if someone was explaining how sad they felt after losing a beloved pet.

“I’ve invested so much on this one. This time I want something in return.”

“You’ll get it. Don’t worry. You’ll get more than she cost you.

I was an investment? Oh God, please tell me I’m dreaming. I’m not really hearing what I’m hearing!

“How much?”

“Well, as you know, younger is more profitable. I doubt we could get more than twenty, thirty grand for her. So you’re definitely at least ten grand richer, my dear Sis. Now, let’s get her to the loading dock.”

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