Field of Bones by J. A. Jance

Field of Bones by J. A. Jance

Author:J. A. Jance
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780062657596
Publisher: HarperCollins

Chapter 23

WHEN LATISHA OPENED HER EYES, SHE WASN’T SURE WHAT HAD brought her awake, her aching tooth or her aching toes. The broken tooth hurt all the time now. She had tried pulling it out by yanking on it with her thumb and forefinger, but it wouldn’t budge. In order to pull it, she’d need a tool of some kind—like a pair of pliers—and she didn’t have one of those.

In this case, though, the real culprit was her toes—her big toes—coming in contact with the blankets. Her toenails hadn’t been trimmed the whole time she’d been here. They were far too long, ingrown, and turned under. If she’d had shoes, she wouldn’t have been able to wear them, and the weight of the blankets on them was absolute agony. Looking for relief, she poked her feet out from under the covers. That helped with the toenail problem, but not for long, because in this unheated basement the cold made her feet hurt, too.

So what time of year was it? As cold as it was, it had to be sometime in the winter, but when? Was Thanksgiving over and Christmas on its way? It was maddening not to know what day it was, or even what month.

She lay there alone in the murky darkness that passed for daylight in the dungeon, wondering about the slow progress of time. How long had the Boss been gone? It seemed longer than usual, four or five days at least. There were dueling worries in the back of her mind. One said that he might never return and the other that he would. And if he did come back and brought along someone new, what was the likelihood that he would decide it was time to be in with the new and out with the old? What were the chances that sooner than later Latisha would be sent down the same path as Sandra, Sadie, and Amelia? As if to amplify her worries, from across the room, she heard the telltale click as the compressor in the freezer came on. Needing to keep that sound at bay, she got up and limped as far as the toilet, dragging her chain behind her.

Overnight the toilet-paper cushion she’d wrapped around the clamp on her ankle had come loose and disappeared. She sat on the toilet and made a new one—a thicker one this time—all the while trying not to think about what would happen if the Boss didn’t come back. Eventually there would be no more toilet paper, no more food, no more electricity, no more water, and no more Latisha.

And maybe, at long last, that’s what she really wanted. Maybe dying wasn’t such a bad thing compared to wasting away in the darkness with no idea of what was going on outside. Maybe she should just stop forcing herself to eat the dog food, lie down on her mattress, and wait to die. At least then it would be over.

Then, above the steady humming of the freezer, she heard the sound of an approaching vehicle.



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