Chapter 22 - Quicksand

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'ENOUGH! Please Valentina, now that's enough,' said the voice of reason inside her head.

She had to think of what was important NOW.

What would she do when she needed to pee? What would she do when she needed to get down?! The duvet was there. She decided she would have to sleep in the kitchen. She went around checking all the bolts on all the windows, which she had already checked dozens of times. She bolted the door and put a chair in front of it, re-bolted the basement door and put a chair in front of that. Afterwards, she realised the bolt to the narrow little window in the bathroom had been screwed off!

So, she hadn't forgotten to bolt the door the last time! Now she had no choice. She would have to get up that ladder one way or another. It was precarious climbing up and down it at the best of times – for her anyway. Jerremee seemed to be able to get up a ladder the same height and half as high again, with it teetering on one leg AND while carrying a tray full of tea without any problem. It was something he often did when he was trying to get in from the outside. For some reason, in his crooked mind, he thought this was another meaningful, romantic gesture and that he was just 'helping' her by gently, calmly, innocently FORCING!! his way in!! when she had locked her room door, for the very good reason of keeping him out! It never occurred to him that love was not making cups of tea (when one said "no thank you") after continual deceit, and mental, emotional and sexual abuse, mixed with financial entrapment (and that it in fact totally freaked her out when he scaled the side of the house after she had already locked him out via the door!)

'Enough Valentina. RIGHT NOW! ENOUGH!'

She found the bucket in the bathroom at least. It was ridiculously painful, but she got up, taking the bucket, water, cereal, medicine and the important things from her purse in it, tied with some orange baling twine around her waist. She couldn't pull the ladder up like she usually did (he just got another ladder when he was ready to try and get in there anyway). She locked the door and laying on her back on the floor, pushed the dresser in front of the door with her feet. She looped another piece of frayed parachute cord around the busted window lock to the heavy –also busted– radiator and thought about pushing the armoire in front of the window, but couldn't manage it. She had some more painkillers and finally, fell asleep.

... It was about two in the morning when she heard the handle turning at the door of her bedroom. She was wide awake almost instantly. Her heart leapt to her throat and started pounding in the darkness. Her stomach followed.

"Oh! Ohhh! My sweetheart! Oh my love!! They called me from the hospital!" he announced theatrically. The door knob jiggled.

Valentina didn't answer. Her heart was racing.

"I came straight away. My girlfriend is more important than whatever I have to do... Everything is going to be just fine now that I'm here my sweetheart. We can talk about our getting back together later. I just want to be sure I can help you now." The door knob jiggled again.

Valentina's heart quaked, but she didn't make a sound.

"I just want to check if you're okay." He said in a very syrupy sounding voice. The lock kept jiggling and the knob kept turning. He must have had a bit of wire and started to try to pick the lock.

She walked to the door in the dark and commanded as loudly as she thought was feasible with her hurt chest: "Get away! UHaH-Hu-huh," she shuddered from the pain of raising her voice.

"I just want to check if you're okay." He said sounding completely reasonable. The door jiggled and the handle continued to turn back and forth. It never occurred to him that someone who was so utterly disturbed by his presence, was not going to be made 'okay' by him forcibly seeing them (no matter how much calm and normalcy he disguised it in) especially not when they were broken and ill and most especially not when it was two in the morning.

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