Deputy Hadley: What was that thing you said, Doc – comor-somethin’?
Dr. Ambrel: Co-morbid. It refers to the social phobia being experienced in tandem with the borderline personality disorder, but that is only a guess – not a diagnosis.
Deputy Hadley: Never been a fan o’ big words. So what’s this disorder do?
Dr. Ambrel: It is characterized primarily by emotional dysregulation, and –
Deputy Hadley: Whoa, back up! Dysregu-what?
Dr. Ambrel: Extreme ‘black and white’ thinking, the belief that something is one of only two things, and ignoring any possible ‘in-betweens’. The disorder is also characterized, as I was saying, by importunate instability in mood, interpersonal relationships, self-image, identity, and behavior, and a disturbance in the individual’s sense of self.
Deputy Hadley: Sounds like quite a party.
Dr. Ambrel: The disturbances suffered by those with borderline personality disorder have a wide-ranging and pervasive negative impact on many or all of the psychosocial facets of life – including employability and relationships in work, home, and social settings. Furthermore, sufferers may be marginalized by society due to their moods and behaviors.
Deputy Hadley: Marginalized? Persecuted, more like – ‘til he learned to persecute back. So what else is involved with it?
Dr. Ambrel: If Hewitt suffers from this disorder, he may make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment by loved ones. Within his unstable interpersonal dealings, with family and/or others he encounters, his feelings may alternate between idealization and devaluation, at times to extremes.
Deputy Hadley: That’s a lotta extremes. I guess treatin’ people like things is devaluin’ ‘em?
Dr. Ambrel: Precisely. The identity disturbance, however, the lack of sense of self, is one of the most debilitating aspects of the disorder. Others would be his impulsivity, or lack of self-control, in many areas, like promiscuous sex or eating disorders.
Deputy Hadley: Or takin’ up murder as a hobby?
Dr. Ambrel: Alas, yes. Hewitt may also suffer an affective instability, due to a marked reactivity of mood, including intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety, usually lasting a few hours, or rarely, a few days. Common problems are inappropriate and intense anger or difficulty controlling it, such as frequent displays of temper, constant anger, or recurrent physical fights. Also, he may experience transient, stress-related paranoid ideas or severe dissociative symptoms.
Deputy Hadley: What’s that?
Dr. Ambrel: Dissociative episodes are where the person may experience visual or auditory hallucinations, become disoriented, or experience depersonalization. The episodes occur generally in the context of hyperarousal, either through extreme emotion or anxiety. These generally last no more than a few minutes but may occasionally occur over hours or days. Aggressive or potentially dangerous behaviors may occur during these episodes. With borderline personality disorder, chronic feelings of emptiness or unreality are equally common, as are recurrent suicidal behaviors, gestures, threats, or automutilation.
Deputy Hadley: You’re losin’ me again, Doc.
Dr. Ambrel: It means self-mutilating behavior. A diagnosis of the disorder requires five or more of these symptoms to be present for a significant period of time.
Deputy Hadley: Hewitt’s your man, then, no contest.
Dr. Ambrel: I’m sure, but I cannot base a diagnosis on Fuller’s rumor mill, David. I must be able to study the man himself. If his murder of my uncle can be used to affect an arrest, the verdict in the case would most assuredly be ‘not-guilty by reason of insanity’. I could arrange, with Austin authorities, to have him remanded to my hospital for treatment.
Deputy Hadley: Treatment? I doubt you could do much with him. Better part o’ valor would be to take him out long-range, sniper style. In any case, keepin’ your distance is the main thing.
Dr. Ambrel: One cannot leave this man loose to potentially harm others merely out of a preference to remain at a safe distance – to do so would be reprehensible.
Deputy Hadley: Then I vote for the ‘shoot from a distance’ option. I’m tellin’ you, the whole clan is like a minefield – healthier to go ‘round it, the long way.
Dr. Ambrel: No, I think you’ve stalled enough, David; it’s time we took a drive.
Deputy Hadley: We? Up to good old Fuller, the cesspool of Travis County? Doc, I don’t think it’s a good idea, you comin’ with me. That house is a pocket o’ Hell, nestled between El Paso and Dallas, but skipped on the travel maps. Stay here. Lemme scout it out, okay? I already lost the fight with Jim Connor. No sense throwin’ good after bad, right?
Dr. Ambrel: Who is Jim Connor?
Deputy Hadley: An idiot, but a rich one. He’s got this notion o’ buyin’ up most o’ the town while it’s empty, hopin’ the economy will turn ‘round and he can sell it all dear. He even took his wife Dodie with him, the damn fool.
Dr. Ambrel: I have to see this Thomas Hewitt for myself, David – sooner or later, I will. Either your superiors must find a way to arrest him, or I shall have to seek him out with my own resources. I’m sure I could find sufficient reasons to have the man committed, with or without the benefit of lawmen.
She woke slowly, half-dreaming about the advice Uncle Hoyt had hurriedly whispered before leaving her on the stairs the night before. It had both helped her to succeed and probably also saved her life.
Amarie had kept her explanations and persuasions simple, childlike, and used her brother’s name repeatedly. She had adopted a soft tone combined with clear directions concerning things she expected him to do, and given him space when he got too keyed up. Finally, when he had managed to spook her, she had sung the mockingbird song to lull him out of an instinctive savagery.
How did he put it? she thought. ‘Don’t take it personal, but if you cross the boy’s wires he could still stab you without much warnin’, or break you’. Typical o’ the ornery old man, ain’t it, to expect me to not take bein’ almost stabbed ‘personally’?
The subject of these hard and fast teachings was still lying silently at her side, his stomach rising and falling with breath too quickly for him to be asleep.
Good – safer than tryin’ to wake him. Momma will worry, though. I should get upstairs and tell ‘em I’m all right. Will he fuss if I do?
She started to rise and barely succeeded in hiding her startle when he moved faster than she had thought he could have, turning to face her with one massive arm across her body. The masked face was close, his fearful eyes staring into hers as his heavy frame tensed with desperation.
“Tommy, listen, Momma will be worried, and I have chores to do, too. If I go upstairs, it don’t mean I’m leavin’ you, okay? You could even come with me, if you wanted. I need to change your bandage, anyway.”
His arm moved, but only enough to allow the hand to hover over her body, the dark eyes that had locked on hers almost begging her for something.
“You can touch me, Tommy, if that’s what you want.”
She kept her breathing even as his hand stroked her, his motions very similar to how she had explored him under their uncle’s direction. Was he mimicking the action? Soon enough, and not surprisingly, he grasped her wrist and leaned back to place her hand on his open pants.
As eager as she was to touch him there again, there was another lesson to be learned, and she knew she had to get it done right at the start. There was no freeing herself from his grip, but when he let her go, she turned the game on him, taking his wrist to lead him where she wanted him. Her free hand pulled her dress up to her waist as she set his fingers to her skin.
“It’s my turn, now. We have to share, Tommy, to help each other to feel good. Use your fingers again. I’ll help you.”
She had to give up on guiding him with her own hand as his single-minded eagerness to please went to work. Gasping and arching her back, she quickly lost count of how many times his strong, thick fingers made her come.
In spite of feeling drunk and dazed at once, she never forgot to keep talking to him, reassuring him, even if her words became a little breathless.
“Yes, good, that’s so good… Tommy … oh, God…”
He might never have stopped, if she hadn’t grasped his wrist gently, pulling at it to slow him down. He’d made her so hypersensitive that she feared she would mess up somehow, lose control, and confuse or upset him.
“Stop now, okay? Thank you … that was perfect, Tommy.” Taking a deep breath, she sat up, prepared this time for his arm to bar her from leaving the bed. “I’m not goin’ anywhere, all right? I just need to move to touch you. Can I lie between your legs? Open ‘em just a little, Tommy.”
As soon as he began to obey, she realized that the new directions worried him. She touched his cock with one hand, letting him know it was his turn, before she settled down with her breasts resting against his crotch.
I wish I could get us both out o’ our clothes. How big a fight would I have on my hands? Has he ever just slept or lounged naked? Probly not. One thing at a time…
Amarie drew the impressive organ out of the pants again, feeling the wetness he’d made trickling down her inner thighs at the sight and feel of it. The desire to place it in her mouth was strong, but she didn’t dare.
Not just yet … there’s time – plenty o’ time. Take it slow, or you’ll upset him; if you upset him, you make him dangerous.
The threat of that slowly became an added thrill as she coaxed the thing to life, caressing and squeezing gently, loving his low moan. He had a skin hood on it like Frankie. She smiled as it pulled back while she stroked it.
It won’t take much. Poor thing, just like me, it never does – but we can learn better together, now.
She caught most of it in her hand when he came, and made sure he watched as she licked it from her palm.
An idea had occurred to her, and without knowing quite how it would sound to him, she decided it was worth a try. Frankie had done the same to her, and while she hadn’t ever believed it in reality, Tommy probably would, and it might help to make him obey her more.
“If I swallow this stuff, Tommy, that means part o’ you is mine. Do you understand?” She shifted and moved over him, straddling his powerful body. Settling on his thighs, she laid his cock on his stomach and licked her fingers.
He remained still, watching her, but his right hand moved, the fingers reaching to push inside her opening. They came back out covered in clear fluid, and when he placed them in his own mouth, through the hole in the mask, she felt herself come all over again.
Amarie jumped when the metal door opened in the distance, the movement making Thomas grunt, though he didn’t appear to know that he should be embarrassed to be interrupted. She barely got him and herself covered with her dress before their uncle rounded the corner and found them.
“Well, well. Good mornin’, all. Havin’ fun, Tommy? I hate to say I told you so. Ah, hell, who am I kiddin’? I love sayin’ that shit.” He leaned on one of the wooden support columns and grinned. “Work table’s a mess, I see. Momma was worried sick, too, sure the late night saw fest was her darlin’ makin’ a mistake. I’ll be pleased to tell her different.”
Blushing hotly, Amarie asked, “Could you bring down the iodine and bandagin’ stuff, sir? Tommy’s leery o’ lettin’ me leave just yet, but I need to doctor him.”
“Don’t blame the lucky fucker a bit. Sure, I can play fetch. Let’s get you both upstairs for breakfast, though, in ‘bout an hour.”
“Yes, sir, thank you.”
“I’d say ‘my pleasure’, darlin’, but I think you two got that sewn up.” Laughing, he slipped away, whistling as he clomped back up the stairs.
Smiling, Amarie leaned down from her seat on her brother’s thighs. Propping her forearms on his chest, she looked into the dark eyes that stared up at her in fascination. “That means we have to get up, Tommy. Don’t worry, we can play again.”
~ ~ ~
Thomas straddled the chair at his sewing table for the bandaging, his large hands gripping the back of it in front of him.
Amarie’s hands were as gentle as always, but her patient was still and quiet for the first time.
Nearby, Uncle Hoyt had taken on the chore of repairing the work table. He’d shown her the stash of hardwood posts and boards under one of the many shelves along the basement walls. It had all been pre-cut to measure, with a bucket of long nails and a rusty hammer beside it.
When the bandage on the back of his right shoulder was replaced, Amarie asked Thomas to turn around in the chair. His swift obedience and stillness as she picked up the iodine bottle elicited a grunt of approval from their uncle.
“Got the boy as tame as a mouse, by the looks o’ it – good work.”
Uncle Hoyt started to hammer in the next nail, but paused when he saw her hand the iodine-stained towel to her patient. Thomas lifted it to her chest, wiping it over the shallow cut there. Amarie took the towel back after a moment and started tending to his cuts.
“Did he get you last night, darlin’?”
“I let him,” she replied, smiling. “He didn’t understand me at first, and it helped.”
“I see. Well, don’t you start carvin’ yourself up, too – we ain’t got no more o’ that stuff.”
“Don’t worry, Uncle Hoyt. I’m teachin’ him that he don’t need to do that no more.”
“Just how are you managin’ that?”
“By givin’ him somethin’ better to do.”
The old man’s bark of laughter pleased her. “I bet you are, honey.”
After she finished, Amarie caressed her brother’s chest once before fastening his shirt buttons. Looking beyond their uncle as she capped the iodine bottle, her eyes rested on the curious wheeled machine near him.
It seemed to be a heavy piece of equipment, perched on its own thick wooden stand near the head of the work table. She had looked through it from the stairs to watch Thomas work before, but never wondered what it was.
“Uncle Hoyt, what is that wheel thing?”
“What’s what? Oh – it’s a bone grinder. That and the metal door, and a few other o’ Tommy’s toys, we brought back from the old slaughterhouse. I bet he’d show you how it works next time opportunity knocks.” He straightened, admiring his handiwork. Tommy’s work table appeared to be brand new. “Well, that takes care o’ that. Okay, upstairs, now, both o’ you. I promised Momma I’d prove you two were still breathin’ so she can settle down.”
~ ~ ~
Uncle Hoyt sat at his place at the head of the table with Momma at his right and Old Monty on his left. Amarie sat next to Momma and watched as Uncle Hoyt coaxed Thomas into the dining room.
“Sit down, son, in the chair, now. That’s it. No more standin’ up at your plate like you ain’t a member o’ this family.”
As he sat hesitantly at the foot of the table, Amarie reached to pat his hand. When the others began to eat the thinly sliced tender meat and hominy grits, she waited until Thomas ate. He glanced around the table nervously once, and then surprised her by reaching for the food with his fingers.
“He’s not much on forks, pay it no mind.”
Hearing their uncle’s voice, Thomas paused, saw her staring, and dropped his hands to the table, his head lowering.
Amarie watched him, struck by pity. Setting her fork down, she tweaked up a piece of meat between her fingers. As his eyes flicked up, she popped the meat into her mouth. Smiling her encouragement, she nodded when his fingers moved again to hover over his plate. Picking up another slice, Amarie bent it into a curve and used it to scoop up some of the white grits.
Thomas seemed to relax more after that, and breakfast continued, accompanied by Uncle Hoyt’s soft chuckling.
Gathering dishes after the meal, Amarie almost didn’t see her brother slip away. “Where’s he goin’?”
“Back downstairs, most likely,” her uncle answered. “Tommy ain’t one for hangin’ ‘bout up here much.”
“Thanks for your advice, sir,” she whispered, “last night…”
“A boy needs a man in the family, to show him what to do. My poppa taught me all I know, and havin’ no son o’ my own, I pass on what I can, what he can deal with, to my nephew. He’s done very well, too, for all his … shortcomin’s, and he always looks out for his family. That’s the most important thing, honey.”
Shifting the stack of plates onto her arm, she leaned in to hug him. “I know.”
In the kitchen, Momma Hewitt watched her clean up. “I’m happy to see you both in one piece, child.”
“Oh, Momma, he’s so strong, but he can be so gentle, too. He’s like a child, just like you said, but eager to please once he knows how. It hurts my heart to see him strugglin’ to understand, but it seems so sweet somehow, too.”
“He didn’t hurt you, then, when he…?”
Amarie blushed instantly, looking away. “We didn’t do that. I think he’s very nervous ‘bout it. That’s okay, though.”
“Just take things slow, child, and keep in mind that your uncle may have confused him. If you spook him, he could hurt you before he knows he has – he’s simply too powerful to toy with, so be careful.”
“I will, Momma, don’t worry.”
“A mother cain’t help but worry, Amarie. Promise me this: don’t take my boy too far ‘til we can be sure that he understands things properly.”
Trying to hide her reluctance to make that promise, she mumbled, “Yes, ma’am,” and turned back to washing up. “I wouldn’t never rush him,” she added, almost under her breath.
~ ~ ~
When her chores were finished, she slipped back through the basement door the moment she saw Momma Hewitt walk off the front porch to speak to Uncle Hoyt. He was about to leave in the squad car for the day, and then she would go to the store. That would only leave Old Monty at home, and he couldn’t get down the basement stairs.
Outta sight, outta mind? she thought with a smile. I’ll go with her to the store tomorrow. For now, I need to prove to Tommy that I’ll come back like I said.
She found him sitting at the sewing table, his hands open on his thighs, his head down.
He looks so lost… I know somethin’s wrong with his mind, there would have to be. Focusing on the mask he wore, she fell to wondering what was wrong with his face, too. Would he lemme see?
Momma Hewitt touched his mask sometimes, though no one else in the family seemed to try it. He always allowed her to do it, but Amarie had noted that her touch there was always light, and very gentle.
Maybe cuz the skin there is sensitive? “Tommy?” she called. His head lifted instantly, his eyes staring at her so intently that she blushed. She came down the stairs, but hesitated at the bottom. Is the puddle gettin’ deeper? Hearing a tiny sound, she looked up and startled to find him right in front of her, his hands reaching out.
Reacting to her fright, he retreated, his head turning away as if in shame. Her heart constricting in pain for his misunderstanding, Amarie lifted her hands to entreat him.
“I’m sorry, Tommy. Those men, and Kelli, too – they did things to me that make me startle like that if I’m surprised. It’s not cuz you scared me. Were you comin’ to help me down?”
His eyes were full of confusion and fear, but he reached out to her again when he saw her hands outstretched. One arm scooped her up around her back, one hand against her stomach, as he swung her up and over the puddle.
Breathless when he set her on her feet before him, she wished she could have kissed him. He was far too tall, of course. She’d have had to try pulling him down more, and she didn’t want to upset him further by trying it.
Next best thing, she thought, and smiled as she embraced him, guiding his hands to where she wanted him to hold her. “That’s called a hug, Tommy, do y’know that? It’s like sayin’, ‘thank you’.” She placed her head against his chest, pleased when he relaxed into her touch. After a moment, she stepped back, breaking his light grasp to look around him at the sewing table. “What are you doin’?”
She took him by the hand and led him back to the ancient sewing machine. On the table in front of it was a face: Tony Scapelli’s face.
The sight of it, torn from the man’s head in mostly one piece, shocked her. The right temple and left cheek had been cut raggedly, and it appeared that Thomas had attempted to repair it with thick black twine. Yet in spite of the flatness of it, the planes of the expression were intact enough to make her shudder as one of her rapists glared up at her from beyond the grave.
Grave? she chided herself, knowing her disgust and fear were upsetting her brother again. Tony wasn’t buried in no grave, idiot – he’s in the freezer. Get it together, okay? At the same moment, she realized that he had intended to wear the thing, and her stomach flipped over at the thought of it. “Tommy, would you do me a favor? Could I have this? Don’t worry ‘bout your face, your mask is fine the way it is.”
Studying it closely for the first time as he watched her, she belatedly noticed that parts of the other two men were already infused into it. Recognizing the long ponytail of hair with another ugly shock, she slid into the chair before her knees could buckle.
Tentative and fearful, his fingers touched her shoulder. Without looking up, she clasped them tightly, well aware that she had to reassure him.
God help me, what am I gettin’ myself into? He like to near killed me last night. How many times did it almost happen? Overwhelmed, she couldn’t stop the tears. Slipping her fingers from his, she covered her face in her hands and sobbed. When his hand left her shoulder, she twitched, sniffed, and tried to regain control. “I’m sorry, Tommy, it’s just – that man hurt me. I guess you wanted a new mask, but I dunno … if I can look at him…”
When she dared to open her eyes, the face was gone from the table. Turning, she saw it stretched, pulled, in her brother’s hands. He watched her, quiet and questioning, as his fingers slowly tore the skin apart.
Rising quickly, trying to swallow her sobs, she hugged him again, holding him tightly. As his hands dropped the pieces of skin and moved to the exact places on her back and hip that she had just shown him, she melted against his chest and cried harder.
I don’t care, I don’t care, she thought, frantic. Maybe I’ll screw up one day and he’ll kill me, but I need him. Lifting her head, she stepped back to look up at him. His eyes were wide behind the mask, his confusion clear, yet the powerful body had held her, without question or anger for her weakness. Cuz he needs me, too. “Don’t you?” she whispered. “Tommy, I’m so sorry if I scared you, but thank you – for destroyin’ that face. Maybe I could help you make a new one, with parts that won’t bother me?”
Moving out of his embrace, she clasped his hand again and led him away to his bed, to the only way she knew for certain that she could fix the damage she might have caused. Lying down and then coaxing him beside her, her hands opened his belt and pants.
“I hope you can forgive me,” she whispered as her fingers stroked him. He watched her in silence, so trusting and pliant that she blushed with shame for having doubted that she could be safe with him. Feeling her tears drying on her cheeks, she whispered, “I do trust you, Tommy. Just be patient with me, please.”
His mouth opened, his back arching slightly as she pleasured him. Amarie saw his dark eyes roll upward before they closed, and then she smiled through fresh tears. Deep inside, a fierce feeling was growing, and she clung to the warmth it gave her as her fears faded away.
I’m goin’ to protect you too, Tommy, cuz … I love you, and I’m gonna teach you to love me back. Then we’ll be okay … you’ll see.
When she had licked her fingers clean, he moved to touch her without being told, and after they were both sated and tired, Amarie sang him to sleep.
Settling against his massive body, she snuggled up and closed her eyes, letting the natural heat he gave off keep her warm. One hand on his chest, she fell into the rhythm of his breathing and slowly drifted away, her dreams sweeter than they had been in months.
~ ~ ~
“Tommy? Are you all right?” Amarie sat up beside his hips, her hand on his heaving stomach.
She had woken up hours later, and judging by the way the light through their wood plank ceiling had moved and darkened, she realized it was either late afternoon or early evening. She suspected that Tommy hadn’t slept the whole time, but he had remained quietly at her side. Inspired by that, she had decided to try teaching him a thing or two.
Failing to convince him, for now, that it was okay to laze in bed nude, she had changed tactics and began explaining one of her favorite things. The biggest obstacle had been reassuring him that it had nothing to do with biting or eating anything, and in the end, she’d given up on words. Using their uncle’s method, she had asked him to trust her, and then simply demonstrated. Going slowly helped, but it was the pleasure that made him relax and finally accept what she wanted to do.
The salty-sour taste of his cum had almost been overwhelming from the source, but she had managed to swallow it smoothly. His size had nearly choked her, too, when his body had bucked upward instinctively once. She would never be strong enough to hold him down, but a warning pressure of her hand on his stomach had helped control the reflex some.
His eyes opened slowly, as if he felt a little drunk. Amarie smiled. “Hi. Did you like that?” He didn’t nod, or indicate that he understood her at all, but she decided to take his limp dazed response as a yes. “It’s nice, ain’t it? I’d love to show you how to do me, but I’m not sure how to explain it.”
Luda Mae glared at her brother as he swaggered into the store. “We have a problem … Sheriff.”
Taking off his sunglasses and putting them in his shirt pocket, he drawled, “You don’t say.”
“I called home a while back, asked Monty to send Amarie to me here, and he said she was with Tommy, had been all day.”
“So? It’s young love – it may take ‘em a little time to get jaded and bored with it, Momma.”
“Stop jokin’ ‘round and listen. You took my boy into your room and showed him your filthy games – how do y’know what he learned? What if you just taught him how to kill her, and that’s why she didn’t answer Monty when he yelled for her?”
“If you’d seen ‘em this mornin’, with that little filly just perched on his dick like she was born there, you wouldn’t be yammerin’ on ‘bout it. He likes her as much as I would if she was sittin’ on me, and that’s a lot.”
“She told me after breakfast he wouldn’t do that yet, that he was scared to. I lectured her again on bein’ careful, takin’ it slow – but she cain’t do that if Tommy thinks you expect him to finish her off!”
“If they ain’t done it yet, they will; have a little faith in my teachin’, will you? Besides, how loud did Monty yell? Those two were up romancin’ and carvin’ stew meat till the sun came up, and if they took it into their heads to grab a nap, they might not hear a lot. Monty knows how to get Thomas up if he wants him – all he’s gotta do is bash that cane on the floor over the boy’s head. Yellin’ won’t mean a thing to him; Monty bleats so much, he’s learned to tune it out.”
“Would you check on her? Two minutes, that’s all I ask. If she’s sleepin’, let her sleep, but I been worryin’ all day –”
“Yeah, I noticed. Fine, Momma, fine – I’ll go rattle the girl’s noggin, and make sure she’s still breathin’. Anythin’ else?”
“Explain to Thomas that you don’t kill your partner.”
“Well, that’s gotta wait, don’t it? I used up the last ‘partner’ teachin’ the boy how it’s done. I hope you ain’t thinkin’ I’m goin’ to play Fred and Ginger footsie with some bitch just to show him how to treat his sister!”
“Watch your mouth,” she flared.
“Oh, I’ll watch it, Momma. Just don’t expect it to be fastened to anyone’s ass, least o’ all a skirt’s. I’ll go waste my time checkin’ up on your son, though – hell, maybe I’ll catch round two and watch a spell.”
Furious, she cursed him under her breath as he left. The doors swung shut with a squeaking smack, and then the patrol car started up outside and drove away.
~ ~ ~
After supper, Charlie was in a friendlier mood, and smug from having found their young charges alive and well. When Thomas escaped downstairs and Amarie started on doing dishes, Luda Mae asked him again to explain things better to her son.
Picking his hat up off of the table, he stretched and then laughed. “Fine tunin’ is your specialty, Momma. I handle the demonstrations, the bits you ain’t got the plumbin’ for.” Grinning at her frown, he headed out of the dining room. “I’m goin’ to bed. Don’t wake me unless the house falls down.”
Luda Mae got up and went into the kitchen as Monty wheeled out and down the hall, heading for the den.
“Your uncles are no help whatsoever at times, child.”
Amarie smiled, but didn’t answer.
“I asked Charlie to explain things to Tommy, better than he had, but he won’t do it.”
“He won’t hurt me, Momma. He’s changed, somehow, since this mornin’, and I don’t think it’s a danger at all anymore.”
“It could be. Don’t you gamble your life like that, be careful with him.”
“I will, ma’am,” she answered, her tone mild and distant. Finishing up the washing, she hugged her quickly, and then slipped away. “Goodnight, Momma.”
Luda Mae stared at the dishes dripping in the rack as the metal door opened and shut quietly. Fumbling for her cigarettes and lighter, she lit up quickly and puffed smoke in a cloud around her.
Outside, a noise caught her attention. Opening the back kitchen door, she heard a rumble in the distance, echoing over the fields.
Is that thunder? Air don’t smell like rain…
Thomas shied away when his sister tried to touch his mask.
“That’s okay, Tommy, it’s all right,” she soothed. “Will you try it? It’s easier than what I just did. All you gotta do is use your tongue insteada your fingers, and I’ll be careful not to touch your face.”
He ducked his head a moment, avoiding her gaze. Long ago, before he had stopped going to the school, he had feared that he was ill. The thing his sister still held in her hand had become swollen over and over then, and at night, it would leak out the milky fluid. His mother had said nothing when she washed sheets, but she had become upset more than once. For a time afterward, he had expected that the illness might kill him, and then it had disappeared – but the shame of it had not.
“Tommy? Don’t you want me to be yours? We have to belong to each other, so that we can stay together forever.”
It was to bind them. Eatin’ the fluid will keep her from leavin’…
As he moved down, she released him and lay on her back. His breath quickened in fear when she opened her legs, bending the knees. Shoving himself back into his pants, he fastened the clothes and the belt with trembling fingers. Lying in the wide space between her legs, he curled his arms around her thighs and lowered his head to her warm, moist flesh.
“That’s it,” she encouraged him. “It’s no different from the soup, Tommy. You make it come out with your tongue, and then you just lick at it. Don’t bite, though – only your tongue.”
The image that rose from memory was of a bitch dog with nursing puppies. His uncle had said they had to drink the milk to grow strong, and if they didn’t, they might die. She had nursed from his body, and said it made her strong, and made him hers.
With a low growl, he touched his tongue to her flesh, slapping and licking at it wetly for a while until the fluid came. It didn’t rush or spout with the force of his, but the taste of it was sweeter.
It makes her mine? Want … want it… His arms flexed, tensing as hard as her body as she strained and shuddered in his grip. Fiercely lapping the fluid, he pressed his face closer, until the mask touched her skin. She don’t shy from it … she don’t fear…
He became aware that his body was in pain slowly, as the tightening pants and his own weight hurt the thing as it swelled again under him.
She will nurse from it? She has to grow strong.
“Oh, shit, Tommy,” she said, her voice straining.
Her hands held his forearms, which she had stripped of the leather wrappings when she took his shirt. Her fingernails sunk into the flesh, but the pain was welcome. His tongue moved faster, eager for more, sliding around the flesh and then thrusting inside the hot opening. The fluid came thicker then, and when he did it again, she let out the small screams and softer sounds, noises she had said he didn’t need to fear.
It’s good, and she will not leave; she will not die.
His arms tightened to hold her still when her hips bucked against him. Though he moaned with his own distress, he never wanted to stop, and ignored the painful ache of the swelling. Then she pressed her hand against his hair, pushing at it, and he remembered that it meant he had to stop.
Forgetting how close he was, the mask scraped up her inner thighs when he lifted his head, the raw agony of it on the left side of his face making him flinch and shudder.
“What is it? Are you hurtin’ somehow? Oh, your face – I’m sorry, Tommy, but thank you. You are just … amazin’.”
Thomas shifted his body, rising and rolling to his back to try and relieve the pressure. His sister smiled, her hands reaching for his belt.
“It got you goin’ again, did it?” Sitting below his hips, she drew it out gently. “I guess it’s tough to lie on these when they do that, huh? Don’t worry, I’ll make it feel better.”
Vibration overhead – dust falling, and the cracks in the wood leered down at him, promising blood. The lust for it instantly broke the spell she wove. His hand groped, found her gold hair, and pushed at it. He almost forgot to be gentle in the rush of red that filled his mind. She stopped nursing, lifting her head.
Does she feel it?
“What is it, Tommy?”
He didn’t know the words, but then their mother’s voice screamed above, and cried his name.
Thomas rose, shoving himself into his clothes. Ignoring the pressure pain, he pulled the belt tight. When he reached for the chainsaw, his sister stood behind him, ready to follow. Whirling, he growled at her, the savage sound making her step back.
“I want to help fight ‘em,” she begged. “Tommy, please –”
His open palm struck her chest, rocking her back another step. Momma called again, frantic, directly over their heads, and he snarled, torn.
Gasping, his sister retreated, nodding her understanding. “You gotta go help ‘em, and you won’t risk me. Okay. I’ll stay here. Go!”
Turning away, he ran through the basement to the storm doors, toward the vibrating roar that promised blood. Tearing at the cord that gave life to the saw, he broke through the doors, the music of death drowning out the cries of the singing wounds he made.
Author’s Note: Much of Dr. Ambrel’s description of borderline personality disorder was borrowed from the entry listed on Wikipedia. While this guess on a possible diagnosis on Dr. Ambrel’s part is fictionally unofficial, I believe it to be a darn good guess as to what is wrong with Leatherface. Frankly, the more I study the disorder, the more spot-on it seems to be.
Also, to give a clearer idea on the subject of the masks in canon films, such as those dubbed the ‘Killing Mask’, ‘Grandmother Mask’ (or ‘Old Lady’ mask), and ‘Pretty Woman Mask’, I offer this excerpt from an interview with the original Leatherface actor Gunnar Hansen, who said:
“The reason he wore a mask, according to Tobe (Hooper) and Kim (Henkel), was that the mask really determined his personality. Who he wanted to be that day determined what mask he put on. So, when the Cook comes home, with Sally, Leatherface is wearing the ‘Old Lady’ mask and he’s wearing an apron and carrying a wooden spoon – he wants to be domestic, helpful in the kitchen. At supper he wears a different face – the ‘Pretty Woman,’ which has makeup.”
In another interview, Mr. Hansen added: “The idea of the mask is that there is no personality under the mask. That was the idea in talking with Tobe and Kim. When they created the character, they said he has to put on masks to express himself because he himself can’t do it. The way we tried to create him, there is nothing under the mask, which is what makes him so frightening.”
I hope that helps bring Thomas into better focus for the uninitiated… I’m not using these more infamous masks, per se, as I see them as coming along ‘later on’, as well as being from the original series of films, and not the remakes, which this tale is largely based on. However, Mr. Hansen’s comments are insightful in general as they relate to the character of Thomas Hewitt in this tale. In fact, the first mask he makes of a face in these remakes is the face of Eric, played by Matt Bomer. Thomas seems to realize the young man is handsome, and he wants that face to be his. Thanks for Reading! – AnonGrimm (@MET_Fic) (anongrimm-blog.tumblr.com)