This is the twenty-eighth part of a fiction serial, in 812 words.
I already knew enough about Cynophobia to be aware that fear of dogs was never going to kill anyone in itself. In Anton’s case, he would almost certainly resort to fighting any dogs that I acquired to scare him, left with no other option. The only thing likely to happen was that the dogs would eventually kill him by biting him, which was of no use in my field of interest whatsoever. He was not a good person, as evidenced by his shady past, but his only use to me had been to provide a reason to make Marta want to leave the workplace with me, believing herself to be colluding in his demise.
Now she was unconscious, and would not be asking to see him, I could just leave him locked in the container without food and water. Nobody would hear him shouting for help, and unless he was capable of biting off his own leg, he could not get free from the chain. Even if he did, the lock on the door would not allow an escape. It would be of minor interest to me to see how long it took him to die, as I suspected thirst would kill him before hunger. For now, I had to prepare Marta for my next real experiment.
Father had constructed a large metal-framed watertight glass tank some years earlier. I had once asked him what he intended to use it for, and he had touched the side of his nose and grinned. “That’s for me to know, and for you to find out”. It was stored in the back of the largest workshop, as I had a feeling it might prove to be useful one day. Leaving Marta unconscious at the kitchen table, I went out to the workshop and uncovered it. Using the hoist, I manouevered it into position on top of the biggest workbench, as the elevated position would enable me to observe what was going on inside from every angle, and also allow my cameras to record the images through the glass.
There were lots of metal plates in the workshop, and it was easy to find one heavy enough and big enough to place on top once Marta was inside. It would be too heavy for her to dislodge, I was sure of that. Using the industrial pillar drill, I made a suitable sized hole in it, and used the hoist to move it closer to the tank. When everything was prepared, I set up the video cameras on tripods and stood back to check on my work. The glass tank was almost six feet long, five feet deep, and four feet wide, covering the bench and overhanging the edge slightly. It was ideal for what I had in mind.
Although I was getting tired, I had to go back to the house to get Marta. I was strong enough to carry her over my shoulder, and laid her on the workshop floor as I undressed her. A small set of steps gave me the extra height needed to place her body inside the tank as gently as possible. I didn’t want to injure her. Using the hoist to move the heavy metal plate in position was trickier than I had expected, and I had to stop it swinging around in case it cracked the side panel of glass. When I was satisfied that it was in position and secure, I turned off the light and went back to the house to have a shower and get some much-needed sleep.
Obviously, Marta was awake when I got back to the workshop after breakfast. She was visibly afraid, and also looked confused. “Ricky, what’s going on? Where is Anton? Why am I here? Did you drug me? Tell me what you want from me”. Although the heavy lid and glass walls muffled her voice considerably, I could still hear her through the glass. I deliberately failed to respond, instead busying myself by turning on the cameras before walking to the back of the workshop. I returned with a hose and a connector, the exact size of the hole I had drilled last night. Once it was secure in the lid, I walked back to turn on the tap. Slowly at first, little more than a trickle.
During one of our conversations in her static home, she had told me that she had crossed the English Channel illegally in a small boat. Shuddering as she recalled that night in rough seas, she closed her eyes. “I don’t know how I survived that night, Ricky. I hate being on the water, as I have always been terrified of drowning. I couldn’t even learn to swim as a child. Even being close to lots of water makes me feel like I might just die of fright”.
She should never have told me that.