Star double-checked, then tightened the handcuffs and the bindings on his ankles. She had to be vigilant because Phil was smart and strong. He had almost escaped the first night. He slipped the ropes with which she had tied him up and headed for the stairs. Star hit him in the head with a nearby wrench, knocking him unconscious. She feared she had killed him but discovered he still had a pulse. When Phil became conscious, he found that Star had wrapped his ankles with duct tape and handcuffed his arms. Now, after two weeks of drinking water but eating no food, he looked pitiful. Star bet she had looked pitiful to him when she confronted him about his deception. Now they were close to being even.
Star felt sorry for this shell of the person she used to think she loved. It turned out that the person she was in love with did not exist, he was a series of lies and deceptions this cretin had created. They had dated for two years, plus been engaged for one. She lived for him, rearranged her life for him. Catering to his insecurities put distance between Star and her friends and family until it was just she and Phil. Phil had business that took him out of the country for over half the year. The absence seemed to make their bond stronger.
Everything seemed perfect between them until during one of Phil’s business trips, Star got a text containing a picture from Anna, her friend of 20 years. The picture showed Phil sitting in church with a woman and two girls. Star wondered who those people were and how he and Anna came to be in the same place when he was supposed to be out of the country. The text was followed by a phone call from Anna. Anna had been visiting her sister in Austin, TX. She saw Phil in church. He had not seen her; she had taken the pictures on the stealth. Anna’s sister knew the woman in the photo. She said her name is Keisha, she is Phil’s wife and they have two daughters, age 9 and 10. She also said she knew Phil as Brian.
Star thought Anna had misread the situation because she could not wrap her mind around the idea of her fiancé, Phil being married. After a closer examination of the pictures, Star could see that the kids were a perfect blend of the features of Phil and Keisha. Star decided to investigate. On his next “business” trip, Star followed him.
After confirming his deception, she began planning. Star had been raped and in the aftermath had vowed that no man would ever violate her that way and live. Phil had not raped her by the legal definition of rape, but the lies he told and the intimate violation felt even worse, and it had gone on for three years.
Star planned to tie him up and let him starve to death in the middle of the desert. Fear of getting caught led her to her basement instead. Phil had isolated her from most of her friends, so nobody came to visit her anyway.
Star sat thinking about his wife, Keisha. She is probably missing him enough to start looking for him now. Star is sorry his wife is worried, but knows that Keisha, who is a better person than Phil deserves, is better off without her lying cheating husband. All women are better off without a man like that in Star’s opinion.
Star stared at a packet of oatmeal in the pantry of her kitchen. Maybe she should feed him. Maybe death by starvation was too cruel. She could not release him at this point unless she was willing to go to jail or die at his hand. She felt her actions were justified, but knew the state would see it as a crime. This is his fault and he is going to die, she decided. The only question is will his death be fast or slow. Right now, Star is thinking she wants him to die slow.