So she had been raped. She had been possessed by an ape of a man who
cared nothing about her except as a piece of flesh, an organism he
presumably found attractive. It wasn't the kind of experience she would
have chosen for herself, and it wasn't something she would recommend to
other women, but she had lived through it. And her husband and baby
were still alive. That had been her choice: whether to hold onto her
honor, to use an old-fashioned term, or to let her family hold onto
life. There hadn't been any contest.
They were all in for a rough time, of course. And maybe this crew
intended to kill them no matter what they did. At any rate, every extra
moment they stayed alive was worth something. And those moments might
lead to something.
They might lead to escape, or rescue. It was their job to stay alive,
now, for as long as possible. And to help each other stay alive. If
that meant that Julie had to go to bed with that slimy bastard then
she'd have to find some way to live with herself afterwards. And with
her husband, of course.
She found some bacon and eggs in the refrigerator and put on a pot of
coffee. The man who had just raped her, Max, sat in the kitchen with
the rifle across his lap, watching her with a smile. The others
remained in the living room, standing guard over Jim.
It was awkward, trying to work with one hand, while she held the robe
closed with the other. Max sat and grinned at her attempt, and finally
said, “I just fucked you, honey. And I'm going to fuck you again. Isn't
it a little silly to be coy with me?”
He was right, of course. It was silly. But it was a link with
decency, something that allowed her to hold on with her fingernails to
the woman she had always been.
While the bacon was frying in its own fat, she thought about Jim. It
had been rougher on him than on her, probably. No, she told herself.
That was maudlin sentimentality. It hadn't been rougher on him than on
her. But she had no doubt that it had been rougher than hell for all
that. A man like Jim wasn't built for this kind of thing, this
helplessness. He was built for action. And right now action wasn't
called for. That was why she had helped them, telling them where the
rope was. Jim would have let them beat him to a pulp before he'd have
bent that much. And that was foolish. Because they were in the driver's
seat at the moment. The only tack that made any sense was to follow
orders and offer no resistance until a chance came, if it did.
Resistance at this point would only cause them all to be killed. And
so, no matter how hard it might be on him emotionally, Jim was better
off, they all were better off, while he was tied up and under guard.
She set the table, very much aware of his threatening nearness while
she did it. It just wasn't possible to perform that job with one hand.
The robe hung open, and Max grinned his appreciation at the sight of
her body, exposed in front. It made her blush for a moment, but then
Julie felt a surge of defiance. She walked back to the stove and
continued to work, leaving the robe to its own devices. But it was a
poor way to show defiance. The bastard was enjoying it, and he knew how
embarrassed she was. What kind of man was it, she wondered, who could
enjoy a woman's embarrassment and humiliation, her disgust, the way a
normal man would enjoy her pleasure?
Whatever kind of man he was, he was better than the animal in the
living room, with the body of an orangutan and a brain to match. It
wasn't a very good position to be in, but Max was her White Hope. Her
protector, and the protector of her baby.