The Knife

 This post is the third in a series about a dangerous situation from my teens. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you start by reading the first two posts, How I Got Drawn In   and A Minister’s Son.

The knife he is holding is pointed at me. “Don’t try anything,” he says.

“This is crazy,” I say, hoping I sound calmer than I feel. “This won’t get Abby* to come back to you.”

He doesn’t like that. “Just do what I say and you won’t get hurt. You needn’t bother screaming. Everyone else is away for the weekend, so the building is empty. Nobody will hear you if you scream.”

He’d planned this all along. He’d never given up on the plan he’d told me about three days ago, the one I thought he’d realised wouldn’t work. There’s no point in trying to bolt out onto the landing and bang on the door opposite. Nobody is going to come and help me so I need to get out of this myself. My mind is whirling into overdrive, I am smaller than him, so fighting isn’t an option, even if he didn’t have a knife. “You won’t get Abby this way,” I repeat. “You said you wanted to get yourself sorted out, this is not the way to do that. Don’t do this.”

“Just do what I say. If you don’t do what I want, I’ll rape you. Sit on the bed.”

A question keeps racing through my mind: what will it make it easier to escape? The bed is further into the room, but even if I make it to the door, there’s no guarantee I’d manage to get all the way back down those stairs before he gets to me.

You need to get him out of here. You need to get him out so that you can escape. And you need to get him to do it fast. Otherwise…

I don’t even want to think about otherwise.

If I have any hope of getting him to leave, I have to go along with what he wants. So I sit on the bed. A wool blanket covers it: black with brightly coloured squares and stripes. My sister’s bed at home has one just like it.

For someone who is scared to talk to boys, I am now scared to stop. “Abby will phone the police if I’m not back by five.” I’m making this up; she never said it. But the night he told me of his plan to hold me hostage and then gave me a knife and bottle of whisky to get rid of, Abby did say that she had thought about calling the police when I’d been away more than hour. When she said that, it seemed melodramatic. Now I am wishing that I’d taken her seriously and that we had arranged for her to do this. Today she won’t even be worrying, since I’d come back safely the time before, since he’d thought better of his plan.

But he believes my story. He tells me he is going to tie my hands and feet and then go across the street to the hotel payphone, from which he will call Abby and get her to come. I don’t bother telling him again that this is crazy. Instead I say, “You have to hurry, it’s nearly five o’clock. She’ll phone the police if I’m not back in time.”
Before I’ve finished speaking, he has a rope in his hands, pulled from somewhere in the split second I must have taken my eyes off him. He tells me to put my hands together, and ties my wrists. Then he bends down and winds more rope tightly around my ankles. He stands back up and looks at his handiwork.

“You better go now,” I say. “You need to hurry.”

“Promise you won’t try to escape?”

I promise. He tells me if I try it that he will rape me, and I promise again that I won’t.

He doesn’t move. “You might manage to get away like that. It would be better to tie your hands behind your back.”

My heart is racing as fast as my mind. He’s absolutely right that if he ties my hands behind my back it will be harder to escape. “You need to go now,” I say. “You haven’t much time. I won’t try to escape. How could I ever get out of this. Just leave it as it is.”

“If you won’t let me tie your hands behind your back, then I’m going to have to tie you to the bed.”

His threats of rape flash into my mind. What will it make it easier to escape?
“No,” I say. “It’s okay. You can tie my hands behind my back.”

From under a pile of records he pulls another knife, and slashes the ropes around my wrists. Counting the one he gave me the other night, that makes three. This terrifies me: a man with three knives is more than just upset, more than just obsessive. I remember Abby saying that once he grabbed her hands and wouldn’t let go, that she was afraid of him then. I feel certain she won’t come to him. I cannot be here when he gets back.

He ties my hands behind my back, and again stands looking at me.

“You need to go now,” I say. “You need to hurry. She will be phoning the police.”

“Promise you won’t try to escape when I go to the phone?”

I promise. He begins to walk towards the door. My heart slows just a fraction. If he will just go now, then maybe I somehow have a chance.

Then he stops, and turns around and comes back. He reaches towards the waistband of my trousers.

I can do absolutely nothing to stop him now. All my words have been a waste of time.

Read the fourth installment: The Rope here.

* name has been changed. 


  1. I’m guessing this is NOT ‘delirious’ and I’m really, really hoping that it’s not in the ‘crunch!’ section.

    Also, OHMIGOSH you’re good at doling out the cliffhangers…

  2. Ugh… really? You’re gonna leave us hanging until NEXT Tuesday? How will I sleep? Oh Yvonne… this is just dreadfully terrifying!!! I keep telling myself you have lived through it and you are okay. Right?

    1. Sorry Chris, I did do a post on Saturday, but I can’t this weekend with it being the kids’ half-term.
      And yes, I have lived through it, and yes I am okay now – though there was a lot of emotional baggage, which I will be writing about after I finish writing about what happened.
      Thanks for your comment on this an the other 2 posts!

  3. If I didn’t know that this was real, I would be biting my nails with excitement. As it is, I’m just glad you’re still here to write about it.

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