The Abused is a psychological thriller about 8 addicts who go to rehab only to have one start murdering the others. Reader discretion is advised.
Merry’s office was on the top floor of the St. John’s Rehab Center. She was the director of rehabilitation services and a Ph.D. in psychology and mental health with a specialty in addiction and substance abuse. Merry never did drugs or used her entire life. She never even took a shot of liquor. As a teenager Merry once witnessed some girls in the bathroom of the local dance club doing cocaine and she didn’t even know what they were doing. So when they offered her a snort of “blow” she said no without a clue to what she had just turned down.
Merry’s own childhood abuse fueled her desire to figure out what was wrong with her. She felt an endless unease and dissatisfaction in life. Nothing made her happy. No amount of education, academic awards or personal accomplishments could fill the empty hole in her soul. Even when she bloomed into a beautiful young woman with golden hair and sparkling gray eyes who could capture the attention of just about any man did she feel any sense of personal confidence in her looks or her inner beauty.
As a result, she married her first husband right out of grad school. He was a mechanic at the local Chevron Oil Stop. She met him the day she pulled her silver Mercedes in for an oil change. He came to her car and looked more male model with angular cheekbones and full lips than oil-stop boy who wore safety glasses. Everyone told her she was marrying out of her class, but Merry had low self-esteem and felt Kevin was the best she could ever get. Her childhood abuse coupled with her father’s constant criticism that she was “stupid” and “deserved ‘it’” whatever it was for the day, whether it was a beating by her older brother or a punching by the neighborhood bully. “It” didn’t matter. It was her father’s way of putting her down. He told her, “You’re too emotional.” “You’re crazy.” “You need your head examined.”
Well perhaps she was crazy. So, Merry sought through education to determine her own neurosis. She took every psychology course available. Despite her aggressive need to understand her growing discontent and suicidal tendencies, she finished grad school completely confused and married to her working-class boyfriend who talked more about fuel injection than his love for his wife.
Kevin routinely drank and did numerous drugs with his buddies. At first he only did it on weekends, but as a few years passed he was high more than sober. Anything from pot to meth to speed to prescriptions pills, Kevin willingly used them all. Sometimes he drank and did various drugs together and the result produced psychotic rages and outbursts. Merry never knew whether he would be Dr. Jeckll or Mr. Hyde. Most evenings he vacillated between both personalities. It wasn’t until he overdosed and nearly killed himself twice that Merry decided to go back and get her Ph.D. and specialize in substance-abuse counseling.
While Merry graduated top of her class, her marriage was falling apart. She pleaded with Kevin to get clean, but her words fell on his very high deaf ears. The lure of the drugs and the need to feed his addiction deafened him to his wife’s pleas. Merry watched him get up every day to go straight to the bathroom to find his “medicine” as he began to call it. She urged him to try the 12 Step Program, but he was too gone and uninterested in any solutions. Merry’s increasing salary at the local hospital as the resident therapist paid for his drug lifestyle, and he quit working. He stayed home, used drugs, got high, and gradually became agoraphobic. He even had his pusher Jude bring his drugs right to his front door versus go out and get them.
One day Merry came home early from work and was absolutely horrified to find Kevin fucking Jude from behind in their bed. She walked in to moaning and groaning and the muffled sound of ‘80s dance music – Dead or Alive, “You Spin Me Right Round”. As she curiously walked toward their bedroom, she spotted Kevin’s bare ass clearly moving in a sexual way. When she walked into the bedroom, the sound of the door opening wide startled Kevin. He immediately pulled out to face his shocked wife with a raging hard-on pointing right toward her. Jude fell forward onto the bed huffing and puffing from excitement and cool-down.
Merry stared at her husband and said nothing. She turned, closed the door, and walked out. She kept right on walking. She never returned to the house to pick up her material items not even clothes. She went to the local Comfort Inn, paid for a week’s worth of nights, and called St. John’s. She had seen a job announcement for a Clinical Director on Monster.com. They eagerly hired her, and she efficiently cut off her cheating husband from their bank accounts and made arrangements to move.
Kevin took her to court for the divorce to which she didn’t appear before the judge. Her absence resulted in Kevin looking like a hero and spurred husband. He made up some ridiculous story about her cheating on him and running off to Oregon. Since Kevin didn’t work he was entitled to alimony. So to rub salt in Merry’s already painful wound, she was forced to pay her low-life ex-husband $2,000 a month for the next 10 years.
About the time Merry was promoted to director of rehabilitation services, which was the highest position in the center, that $2,000 a month became mere change to her $200,000 a year salary. She never spoke of her past or her ex to her new friends or colleagues. She said nothing about her family. She was silent and very matter-a-fact in all her dealings – whether it was with patients or staff. No one really knew Merry, and she liked it that way.
So when the day arrived that Kevin pulled up in the Yellow Cab to be dropped off for treatment, no one realized that her ex-husband was now a patient. Merry stood at the window on the top floor and pulled back the Venetian blinds to watch Kevin exit the cab to Ms. Fisher’s care. Looking down on her pitiful ex-husband made her feel almost smug. She had a surge of electrical energy pulse through her body. She couldn’t help but giggle a little as she watched him trudge in. She wondered if Judge Wilson who had sentenced him after he got busted in a drug raid with Jude at his side realized where he was being sent.
“Probably not,” she whispered and laughed aloud.
She stepped away from the window, sat down in her soft and luxurious leather chair, and sat back in it. She couldn’t help but laugh aloud again. Her assistant Peggy buzzed her.
“Ms. Fenmore, the new patient just arrived.”
“Which room do you want him in? Ms. Fisher doesn’t think he’ll need detox.”
“Huh, no,” she smiled. “Put him in detox … just in case.”
“You heard me.”
Merry snickered to herself. Detox was no fun for anyone. You shared a room with another sick addict going through withdrawals. It was unlikely anyone would sleep since the moaning and sometimes screaming was a painful reminder of just where the person had ended up. She wanted her ex to have a firm grasp of the true meaning of misery. A night in detox when he was straight would do the trick. At this thought, she couldn’t help but think about the famous William Shakespeare quote, “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison use do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?”