The first of them was waiting just inside the door, laid innocently enough on the top of the modest pile of mail that had accrued during the day. She wouldn’t even have noticed had it not been for the neon pink, standing out bright against the off-white of junk mail and bills.
She didn’t pick it up at first. Her heels were digging into her ankles, and she wanted to get clear of her jacket, be able to relax a little now that she was home. But she tried to read it from standing, somehow will her eyes to focus on lettering that was far too far away for her to read. It was two lines, maybe five words, and that was all. Block capitals, single spaced, written with a marker, from the looks of it.
Her bag hit the ground, jacket slung on the peg, and she picked it up. The words made her arch an eyebrow, blush just a tiny bit, but she dismissed it as some innocuous game of his, a way to tantalise and tease, get her excited before he got home in half an hour. The sentence was simple, an expression of a desire.
I want to kidnap you.
The post-it fluttered a little, and she closed the door behind her, went into the kitchen to put the kettle on and consider exactly what it was that he was up to.
There was another on the fridge, and this one she really did almost miss, as it was lost among a feathering of other notes, all neon, some pink, others yellow, a few green. If it wasn’t for the relative sparseness of the writing, she might have lost it in the sea of colours, but as it was it stood out.
I want to do it today.
At which point, she had to ask herself how he knew what route she’d take through the flat, how he knew where she was going, and that she’d figure this out as she went. She turned around, and there was another one on the kettle, dangling from the handle.
There was more written here. Enough that she knew that this wasn’t innocuous, that he really did intend to follow through with it. That she was standing there in the kitchen, and he was somewhere close by, waiting to see how she’d react. Her mind blanked, got stuck five seconds ago and hadn’t quite caught up with where she was now, didn’t, until the pounding of her heart in her ears suddenly became noticeable.
If you’re ok with that, get undressed.
That’s what it had said, what it still did say, trembling in her fingertips as it was. Except it wasn’t the paper that was shaking, it was her, and she quickly looked around herself as if expecting him to jump out from behind the doorway, put a bag over her head and be done with it.
And then… nothing. Just a minute of silence, for her to think and consider. She didn’t know what he was planning to do, but she knew him well enough not to worry about it, not properly. That didn’t stop the anxiety, the fear, the concern and trepidation to shudder through her body with all the force of a chilblain. And it certainly didn’t stop her from thinking about all the ways it could go wrong, if it hadn’t been his handwriting gracing these little scraps of paper.
Taking off her work clothes felt like a surrender. There was something of the prisoner about her as she did that, as though she’d been caught and was being summarily incarcerated. She did it slowly, methodically, and with great hesitation, folding each item and placing it on the counter in a neat little pile. She stopped at underwear, and then turned around.
He wasn’t there. She wasn’t sure why she necessarily expected him to be. Maybe she was counting on that same prescience that he’d displayed with the notes to tell him when she was ready, but it had apparently not managed to carry him this far. So she walked out of the kitchen, wandered down the hall.
She stumbled into the next note on the back door, sitting pretty on the frosted glass. It was teeming with words, each of them vying for space until there was almost more black than pink. She leaned forward, squinted, read.
On the other side of this door I’m going to abduct you. I’ll put a blindfold over your eyes. Tie your hands. Put you in the boot of the car. And then take you somewhere. If it gets too much, you know what to say. Don’t hesitate. Love you.
Somehow that reassurance made it worse. It had the effect of smelling salts, grabbing her by the scruff of the neck and hurling her towards the surface, so that she couldn’t sink happily into the mystery and lust of it all. She needed to be present, at least for that moment, so that she knew what she was getting into. She knew this. She knew, too, that what he was doing was good, and right, but she couldn’t help but resent the sudden formality of it all, if only for a second.
So she waited. For the moment to come back, to slink around her and pull her under. It was like being hypnotised, just waiting for your mind to become occupied with the pageantry of it all, and then suddenly she was there, trembling again, riding that exhilarating line between aroused and terrified.
She turned the handle and opened the door. Stepped out, and waited to feel his hands.