The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
“And? What did Gabriel say?”
“He said … he said the shoot was turning into a nightmare, so I should go ahead and eat without him. He wouldn’t get back until ten at the earliest. I hung up. ‘My husband is on his way home,’ I said. ‘He’ll be here in a few minutes. You should go, now, before he gets back.’ The man just laughed. ‘But I heard him say he won’t be back until ten,’ he said. ‘We’ve got hours to kill. Get me some rope,’ he said, ‘or tape or something. I want to tie you up.’
“I did as he asked. I knew it was hopeless now. I knew how it was going to end.”
Alicia stopped talking and looked at me. I could see the raw emotion in her eyes. I wondered if I was pushing her too hard.
“Maybe we should take a break.”
“No, I need to finish. I need to do this.”
She went on, speaking faster now. “I didn’t have any rope, so he took the wire I had for hanging canvases. He made me go in the living room. He pulled out one of the upright chairs from the dining table. He told me to sit down. He started wrapping the wire around my ankles, tying me to the chair. I could feel it cutting into me. ‘Please,’ I said, ‘please—’ But he didn’t listen. He tied my wrists behind my back. I was sure then that he was going to kill me. I wish … I wish he had.”
She spat this out. I was startled by her vehemence.
“Why do you wish that?”
“Because what he did was worse.”
For a second I thought Alicia was going to cry. I fought a sudden desire to hold her, take her in my arms, kiss her, reassure her, promise her she was safe. I restrained myself. I stubbed out my cigarette on the redbrick wall.
“I feel that you need to be taken care of. I find myself wanting to take care of you, Alicia.”
“No.” She shook her head firmly. “That’s not what I want from you.”
“What do you want?”
Alicia didn’t answer. She turned and walked back inside.
I TURNED ON THE LIGHT in the therapy room and shut the door. When I turned around, Alicia had already sat down—but not in her chair. She was sitting in my chair.
Normally I would have explored the meaning of this telling gesture with her. Now, however, I said nothing. If sitting in my chair signified she had the upper hand—well, she did. I was impatient to get to the end of her story, now that we were so close to it. So I just sat down and waited for her to speak. She half shut her eyes and was perfectly still.
Eventually she said, “I was tied to the chair, and every time I squirmed, the wire cut deeper into my legs, and they were bleeding. It was a relief to focus on the cutting instead of my thoughts. My thoughts were too scary.… I thought I would never see Gabriel again. I thought I was going to die.”