It smelled of mold and mildew down there. The air always had a cold damp quality to it. Because of my asthma, I had never liked going there. All the walls were entirely lined with neat rows of shelf-stable food. Enough for a small family to survive an Armageddon. I always thought it strange. Then there was the safe. The massive safe hidden behind the stairs. Standing at well over 6 feet high, it was large enough with which to store a body.
All throughout our relationship, I was never permitted there while he opened the safe. It was always one of those unspoken rules. The mystery that shrouded the safe added to my wonderment of its contents. The only light was from the lone 60-watt bulb dangling from the ceiling. There were two dirty tiny windows meant only to allow light and ventilation. They were both sealed tightly shut.
He was cooking spaghetti and meatballs that night and asked me to run down to grab a can of diced tomatoes. I headed downstairs and began searching the shelves for the requested item.
Suddenly I heard him shut the basement door and then slide the metal chain latch over. Then I heard his footsteps on the floorboards above me trail away.
I bolted up the stairs heart racing and called out his name all the while feverishly trying the door handle in hopes it would open. It did not.
He did not answer.
It hit me then. The sheer and absolute terror. The blood in my veins ran cold as I realized I have become entombed in this cellar.
I yelled at the top of my lungs and began pounding my fists on the door, “PLEASE!!! PLEASE!!! I’m begging you!!Let me out!!!”
Still no answer.
More screaming, more begging, more pounding on the door,” I’m BEGGING you to please come back, I don’t have my inhaler, please let me out!!”
My tears turned to full on sobs realizing I would might never get out of this basement. My mind began to race: Would I die from an asthma attack and suffocate or would I die from thirst/dehydration since there was only food down here but no water. That I would never get to say goodbye to my family….
Seemed like seconds turned to minutes and each minute felt like an eternity.
When suddenly I heard his footsteps again and then the metal chain sliding to unlock the door.
“Why are you crying?” he laughed, “You didn’t think I was going to leave you down there forever did you?” He chuckled,” I was just fooling around with you.” He pulled me in close and hugged me. I felt relief, repulsion, anger…. The Stockholm Syndrome with which I was quite familiar, was unfolding right in front of me. I simply couldn’t see it.
I don’t know how long I was actually locked down there. It was long enough to know that I was not dealing with a garden variety “Daddy-Dom” into some weekend kink.
In retrospect, I think that’s why I stayed. He intrigued me. I thought with all my psychological acumen, I’d find out what made him tick. But by then it was nearly too late for that. For what I’ve failed to mention….was that by then I was in love with the monster.