The Ties That Bind (Friday Fictioneers, June 2014)

Copyright Mary Shipman

The ruined attic triggers painful memories; recollections of hunger, deprivation … humiliation. My pulse quickens at the sight of the now rusty chains.

Powerless, with no alternative but to endure all that a twisted mind could dream of, yet still that tiny flame of hope had flickered, defiant, inextinguishable.

Months passed, and ultimately a shackle of diabolical interdependence had been forged, as we fed off each others’ needs, desires and fears.

Liberation spawned many dark days; we’d become so close…I found I missed him.

I’ll handle things differently this time, I think, slipping silently from the shadows, chloroform in hand.

If you think this picture prompt is familiar, you’re right.  Rochelle is having a well deserved break from Friday Fictioneers, so this is one from quite some time back.  My story this week is one that I started for that prompt when it originally appeared, but I couldn’t get it right and finally submitted Dysfunctional.  I’m not sure I’ve quite got it right this time either, but I think I’ve just about exhausted my critical faculties on this one.  Enjoy your break Rochelle, get your feet up, commune with your muse and most of all… enjoy!

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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69 Responses to The Ties That Bind (Friday Fictioneers, June 2014)

  1. MrBinks says:

    Is it wrong that my first thought was, “ooh kinky!”
    I… I think, I’ve said too much. Well written (as usual) 🙂


  2. Sandra, That was quite a twist at the end. I was expecting the victim and I got the attacker. Well written as always. That photo does seem to call for some kind of horror story. 🙂 —Susan


  3. Dear Sandra,

    Thank you for the well wishes. I’ll be lurking but not as active this week or next. (rerun next week, too.) My first guest will be here tomorrow and the other the day after.

    Your story puts me in mind of a psychopath who kidnapped three young girls and held them captive for nearly a decade. One of them had his baby. The story is horrifying.

    Well done. Glad you were able to share it this week. And thanks for being such a faithful fictioneer.




  4. Really creepy – loved it.


  5. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    This was reminiscent of The Collector by John Fowles. Only you said it better in 100 words than he did in a whole novel.




  6. I like it! Interesting perspective! I got goosepimplies 🙂


  7. Oh I get a sense of a Stockholm Syndrome here… but finally breaking through…


  8. hafong says:

    Diabolical interdependence and feeding off each others needs, desires and fears makes me very afraid. There’s truth in those words.


  9. You sick, sick woman…

    I mean that in the best possible way. I had my hand over my mouth by the end of this horrifying tale. Excellent writing!


  10. This reminds me of Stockholm syndrome only the captive becomes the aggressor. Nice twist at the end.


    • Sandra says:

      Thanks. I’m not sure it’s clear that the piece is written from the POV of the captor. I carefully worded it so it would look the other way round, maybe too carefully. 🙂


  11. Ok, so the captor’s POV…..hmmm. That means the regret in “Liberation spawned many dark days; we’d become so close…I found I missed him.” doesn’t house the meaning my twisted mind imagined. I thought the captive had been released and was now planning to be the aggressor. Perhaps I’ve watched too many psychological dramas. Excellently terse and spine tingling.


  12. paulmclem says:

    Some nice prose to describe a not so nice scenario. Good one.


  13. I love a good twist at the end!! I enjoyed this quite a bit!


  14. I have to admit I didn’t get that ending until I read the comments, but then re-reading on that basis, it really does work. You let us think we’re in the head of the victim, and then you spin us round. Very clever, and I probably just read it too fast.


  15. Sandra says:

    Beautifully twisted! I love it.


  16. Like the others, I was viewing this as the victim until that chilling twist with the chloroform! Your writing is always so captivating.


  17. helenmidgley says:

    You sucked me in as well, I was going one way and snapped swiftly back the other way. Now that’s how to do a twist. 🙂


  18. Excellent twist at the end. You really keep me on toes. I don’t know how you’re going to do it in just one hundred words, but you always deliver a punch!


  19. I knew it wasn’t going to end well just from the title (and from knowing it was you and a FF story, but…) Deftly done as always.


  20. Sandra, another well done, creepy story. This reminds me so much of some of the horrific abduction stories that have come out in recent years… the co-dependence, terror, the tortured thoughts that must linger… As soon as I saw the photo, I had a feeling the stories would be dark. I also knew that you’d nail it.


  21. Really well-written look at the dark side of human nature, Sandra


  22. JKBradley says:

    Stockholm Syndrome came to mind, but I did also swerve towards the thought process of MrBinks as well. Very well done, as always.


  23. That’s a bit unnerving. There’s too much of that in the real world. Interesting interpretation of what those victims must have felt.


  24. Jan Brown says:

    I was hoping for revenge on the part of the victim, but instead we have the captor getting even more villainous. You have a very dark, dark, dark imagination!


  25. That is super creepy but fascinating. Remind me never to be alone late in the park with you, Sandra!


  26. hugmamma says:

    A mixture of love and hate. Depending on the circumstances…one or the other surfaces…oftentimes both. Nicely told…


  27. Ooh, well done, Sandra! I was completely taken in by the narrator.


  28. Creepy story with an awesome twist. Brilliant work!


  29. elappleby says:

    Hi Sandra
    The twist at the end of this dark tale means that a second reading feels like reading something completely new – everything is turned on its head. Great stuff!


  30. Alice Audrey says:

    i think you’ve got it just right.


  31. rgayer55 says:

    I was leaning one way, then got slapped back the other. Very twisted, sister.


  32. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Sandra, I must be twisted too, because I knew you were talking from the perspective of the villain. Maybe I should see a shrink. Excellent writing and like you, I knew this week’s story would be creepy. You did good! Nan 🙂


  33. draliman says:

    Dark and creepy! My take is that the protagonist started as the victim, suffered from Stockholm Syndrome and now free has decided to take a victim of their own.


  34. Bastet says:

    Wow .. that was one great write, the interdependence of victum and attacker was interesting, the first thought that came to mind was Stockholm syndrome .. and then the twisty ending and yes, I imagine the syndrome would work in both directions … wow!


  35. subroto says:

    Initially I had a similar story in mind when I saw that photo, Ariel Castro sprang to mind. You’ve handled it brilliantly as usual. The end is chilling as it seems that he seeks new victims.


  36. Maree Gallop says:

    Chilling story, great twist at the end. Beautifully told.


  37. Sarah Ann says:

    Very clever to write from the hunter’s POV but set it up as the poor victim. Love the ‘shackle of diabolical interdependence’ – so apt and chilling.


  38. Lynda says:

    Was a victim as a child, rescued and then grew up to be the perp? Creepy and evil. You are a very clever writer!


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