Literature Colleen McCullough Naked Cruelty

ISBN 13: 9780007412594

Naked Cruelty

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9780007412594: Naked Cruelty

Locking your door won't help. He's already inside...America in 1968 is in turmoil and the leafy Holloman suburb of Carew is being silently terrorised by a series of vicious and systematic rapes. When finally one victim finds the courage to speak out and go to the police, the rapist escalates to murder.For Captain Carmine Delmonico, it seems to be a case with no clues. And it comes as the Holloman Police Department is troubled: a lieutenant is out of his depth, a sergeant is out of control, and into this mix comes the beautiful, ruthlessly ambitious new trainee, Helen MacIntosh, daughter of the influential president of Chubb University.As the killer makes his plans, Carmine and his team must use every resource at their disposal - including a highly motivated neighbourhood watch, the Gentlemen Walkers...

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About the Author:

Colleen McCullough was born in Austalia. A neurophysiologist, she worked in Australia and the U.K. before joining the department of Neurology at the Yale University School of Internal Medicine, where she remained for ten years.Publication of The Thorn Birds, her second novel, in 1977, saw the end of her scientific career. She moved to Norfolk Island in the South Pacific, where she lives with her husband, Ric Robinson.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Didus ineptus permitted himself a slight laugh as he strode along the sidewalk of Persimmon Street, Carew. By the time he reached the two-family house that was his target, however, his amusement had long gone. At just before five in the afternoon of Tuesday, September 24, in this Year of Our Lord 1968, the sun was still shining and the streets were relatively deserted. In another half hour the student and graduate ingress would be in full swing as young people poured out of classrooms and laboratories from Science Hill to the secretarial colleges on State, and the kerbs would fill up with VW bugs and clunkers as those too far afield to walk home grabbed parking.

No one noticed him as he turned off the sidewalk and trod coolly down the side of his selected house to its back door, open as most such were; he slipped in and listened intently at the downstairs door. A child was wailing, its mother’s voice harried—no worries there. Up the rubber-sheathed stairs silently to the tiny top landing, which Maggie never used. She came in at the front, always. Of course she shared the top floor with another girl, but Carol was away at a seminar in Chicago and wouldn’t be back for four days yet.

Out came his lock picks. Expertly wielded, they got him inside within a minute. Now he could shed his knapsack—a relief, for it was heavy, weighted down by auxiliary equipment he didn’t plan on needing. First he toured the interior of every room to make sure nothing had changed, paying particular attention to the area around the front door. She would enter, carry her attaché case to the work table not far away in the same room, then head for the bathroom and a pee. His women all saved their urine, too fussy to use a public convenience. So, he had ascertained on earlier visits, his best position was over there, behind a tall wing chair that Maggie or Carol must have brought with them to Holloman; it was not the kind of piece a landlord included in rented furniture. What significance did it have for its owner, that she had lugged it a thousand miles?

Having decided on his opening gambit in this delightful game, Didus ineptus carried his knapsack to the bedroom he knew was Maggie’s. A tad unorthodox in its color scheme—he disliked beige women—yet extremely neat, the double bed made up as smoothly as a boot camp rookie’s, the dressing table’s oddments tidily arranged, the closet door and bureau drawers fully closed—oh, she was neat!

A chest stood against one wall, its big top free of objects—ideal for his purposes. Working swiftly, he put his tools on it in order before cutting off a piece of blue duct tape six inches long, then a yard-long piece of thick twine. Everything was ready; he walked to the living room and its huge mirror, there to prepare his body, and finally positioned himself behind the wing chair.

Her key sounded in the lock at exactly the correct time: within three minutes either way of six o’clock. She’d had a good day, he could tell because he hadn’t heard her on the stairs; a bad day meant she plodded, thump, thump, thump . . . In she came, attaché case in her left hand, and walked across to deposit it on the table, ready for some work later in the evening. That done, she aimed for the bathroom.

The duct tape was lightly fixed to the swelling curve of the chair back, and was across her mouth before she could think of screaming. In an extension of the same movement, he twisted her wrists behind her back and tied them with the twine, so cruelly hard that her face bulged with the pain of it. She was powerless!

Only then did he turn her around, only then did she see the man who had achieved this so quickly she hadn’t had a chance. Tall and splendidly built, he was naked and totally hairless, his penis erect, engorged; her eyes filled with despair, but she wasn’t done struggling. For about a minute his attention was fully taken up with subduing her, at the end of which she was utterly exhausted. He forced her into the bathroom, where he pulled her panties down and sat her on the toilet. Her bladder was bursting; she let the urine go in a stream, transfixed by a new terror: he knew she had needed to go!

He yanked her up and marched her to her bedroom, kicking her buttocks with what felt like all his might, then flung her on the bed and cut her clothes off with a wicked pair of dressmaker’s shears. After that he drew a white cotton sock over each foot and taped it around the ankle to keep it on firmly. Next he rolled her over onto her stomach, sat on the edge of the bed and cut her fingernails down to the quick with proper clippers, indifferent to the blood he drew when he cut too hard. Out of the corner of one eye she could see his hands gathering the clippings into a small plastic bag, and see too that those hands were encased in the thinnest of surgeon’s gloves.

Didus ineptus turned her over again. Beside herself with fear, Maggie stared up into a face concealed by a black silk hood secured around his neck—she couldn’t even tell what color his hair was! Inserting himself between her thrashing legs, he pinched and poked at her breasts, her belly, her thighs. She kept on fighting, but her strength was flagging fast.

Suddenly there was a rope of some kind around her neck; the world swam, went dark, retreated, returned only to the pain of his brutal entry into a vagina hideously dry from terror. He worked the rope as if it were a musical instrument, cutting off her breath, releasing it to let her have one convulsive gulp of air, or two, or even five before he tightened it again, and the world went dark. If he came to orgasm she didn’t know; only that, after what seemed an eternity, he lifted himself off her. But not to leave. She heard him moving about in the kitchen, the noise of the refrigerator door, heavy footsteps in the living room. Then he returned carrying a book, sat down in her easy chair, opened it and started to read—if indeed he could read through a pair of narrow slits. Swollen with tears, her eyes sought her alarm clock: six-forty. Ten minutes to subdue her, nearly thirty for the rape and its asphyxiations.

At seven he raped her a second time. The pain! The pain!

At eight came the third rape, at nine the fourth.

She was sinking into a stupor by this time, the rope around her neck doing its diabolical work faster and better—he was going to kill her! Oh, dear God, make it quick! Make it soon!

Between the rapes he sat in her chair and read the book—her book, because it had her initials painted on its spine in Liquid Paper—more naked than any man she had ever seen, so smooth and hairless was he. Not a scar, not a mole, not a pimple, anywhere. Oh, Carol, why did you have to go to that seminar? He knew, he knew! There’s nothing about me he doesn’t know.

At ten he approached the bed with a certain purpose she thought new, closed her eyes and prepared through the waves of terror for her death. But he rolled her over onto her stomach and raped her anally, an unendurable pain that seemed to go on and on, for this time he didn’t put the rope around her neck, and consciousness refused to go away.

At eleven he anally raped her a second time, using, she thought, his fist: she could feel tissue tearing, even worse pain. How to face the world after this, if he let her live?

Finally it was finished; he rolled her onto her back.

“Please kill me now,” she mumbled indistinctly. “Please, no more, no more, please, please!”

He lifted something off the bed and held it up so she could see it. A neatly printed notice, meticulously measured off.

TELL ANYONE AND YOU ARE DEAD. I AM DIDUS INEPTUS.

The notice disappeared. She lay and listened to him making his departure at eleven-forty in the late evening, while there were still people walking on Persimmon Street.

Maggie waited five more minutes before she got off the bed and forced herself to stagger to the front door, where she turned around and managed to open its single lock, using both bound hands to pull it ajar. That done, she collapsed to her knees and crawled to the kitchen, where she knew her gas stove shared an exhaust vent with the kitchen downstairs. After resting, she got to her feet, seized her meat hammer in her bound hands behind her back, and lifted herself on tiptoe to beat on the vent.

When Bob Simpson from downstairs found her door open and came in to investigate, she was still banging away with the big wooden mallet, gagged, tied up, naked, and appallingly bruised. The warning notice loomed in Maggie’s mind as Bob picked up the phone to call the cops, but Maggie Drummond didn’t care. She wanted Didus ineptus caught, yes, but she wanted far more than that: she wanted him dead as a dodo.

Captain Carmine Delmonico saw her in the Emergency Room at the Chubb Hospital.

“She’s been beaten, partially asphyxiated and raped a total of six times—four vaginal, two anal,” said the senior resident. “No foreign objects except, we think, a fist for the last anal assault, which tore her up badly enough to need surgical repair. It’s a bad one, Captain, but, all considered, she’s in remarkable shape mentally.”

“May I see her? It sounds as if I shouldn’t.”

“You have to see her, otherwise she’ll give us no peace. She’s been asking every two minutes for a senior cop.”

The young woman’s face was still puffy from weeping, and a crimson line around her throat told Carmine that the rapist had used a sleek, thinnish rope to apply his asphyxiations, but either she had passed beyond this most frightful of all ordeals, or she was made of sterner stuff than most women. Her eyes, he noted, were a clear grey in a face that, under normal circumstances, most men would call very attractive.

“There’s no point in asking how you are, Miss Drummond,” he said, diminishing his height, bulk and masculinity by sitting. “You’re extremely brave.”

“Right now I don’t feel it,” she said, reaching for her water glass and sucking through a bent straw. “I was—I was petrified. I really thought he was going to kill me.”

“What’s so important that you’ve badgered the medical staff to let you see a senior cop?”

“I needed to tell the police while it’s still fresh in my mind, Captain. That rope around my neck made me black out so often that I’m scared the asphyxia might have latent effects—you know, like damage due to cerebral anoxia.”

Carmine’s brows rose. “Spoken like a medical person?”

“No, but I am a physiologist, even though I specialize in birds. That’s a part of why I wanted to talk tonight. You see, he called himself Didus ineptus.”

“Which is?”

“The old Linnaean name for the dodo,” said Maggie Drummond. “Taxonomically the dodo is now Raphus cucullatus. I assume the monster who raped me is trying to appear better educated than he actually is. He must have gotten that name out of a very old encyclopedia—prior to the First World War, say.”

“Believe me, Miss Drummond, the monster’s garotte hasn’t harmed your brain,” Carmine said, startled. “That’s a detective’s deduction, and a valid one. You think an old encyclopedia?”

“Some old source, anyway. The dodo has been Raphus cucullatus for quite a long time.”

After a keen look at her face, which had, remarkably, grown less tormented, Carmine decided to stay for a couple more questions. This was an amazing woman. “Didus ineptus or Raphus cucullatus, it seems an odd kind of name for a rapist. I mean, a dodo?”

“I agree,” she said eagerly. “I’ve been racking my basic bird knowledge for an answer, but I can’t find one. The bird really was what we think of as a dodo—stupid to the point of imbecility. All animals trust men when they first run across them, but in no time flat they’ve learned to run, hide, fight back—whatever it takes to preserve the species. Not the dodo! It let itself be eaten into extinction, when you strip all the fancy language away.”

“The island of Mauritius, right?”

“Right.”

“So he’s calling himself incredibly stupid, but why does he think he’s incredibly stupid?”

“Don’t ask me, I’m a bird physiologist,” she said dryly.

“Another question. What did he wear?”

“A black silk hood over his head, not a stitch more.”

“You mean he was naked?” Carmine asked incredulously.

“More than merely naked. He was absolutely hairless, even around the genitals, and his skin was flawless—no moles, spots, freckles, scars.”

“No blemishes at all?”

“Not that I could see. It gave him an obscene look, somehow. He raped me at hourly intervals. Each rape lasted half an hour. In between he read a book.”

“Did you see its title?”

“No, but it was one of my books. It had my initials on the spine, and no dust jacket. I always remove the dust jackets.”

“What was his voice like?”

“He never spoke. He never even cleared his throat.”

“So how did you find out his name?”

“It was written on a card that warned me not to tell anyone, or he’d kill me. It was signed Didus ineptus.”

“Is it still in your apartment?”

“I doubt it. He was very organized.”

“Don’t answer this if you don’t want to—did he climax?”

She winced. “How disgusting! Frankly, Captain, I don’t know. He made no sound of any kind. The staff here found no semen, as I understand.” She blushed a dull red. “I—I was dying to pee when I came in. Once he had me bound and subdued, he pushed me into my bathroom, pulled my panties down and sat me on the toilet as if he knew I had to go.”

“Anything else, Miss Drummond?”

“He was there when I got home, and jumped me. I fought back, but I didn’t stand a chance. He wore me out. After he had his rope around my neck, all the fight went out of me. Awful!”

“Everything you’ve told me indicates that the Dodo—we’ll call him that—stalked you for some time before he acted. He knew your habits, right down to your need of the bathroom.”

Carmine got up, smiling down at her. “Miss Drummond, you are what an English colleague of mine would call a brick. High praise! Try to get some rest, and don’t worry about cerebral anoxia. Your brain’s in great shape.”

After a little more talk with Maggie—she was determined to instruct him about this and that, evidence of a methodical mind and a good memory—Carmine left the hospital in a dark mood, thankful for one thing only: that the Dodo had chosen a victim whose fighting back wasn’t limited to their actual encounter. Maggie Drummond was such a fighter that she was genuinely thirsting to testify against him in a court. But she wasn’t the first of the Dodo’s victims. His act was far too polished for that. How many had there been, all too terrified to speak up? The Dodo—what a name for a rapist to give himself! Why had he chosen it?

“How many have there been?” he asked his two detective sergeants, Delia Carstairs and Nick Jefferson, the next morning.

“At least this answers the true purpose of the Gentleman Walkers,” said Nick, a scowl on his handsome face. “Someone’s girlfriend is out there in Carew too scared to report what happened to her, hence the Gentleman Walkers.”

“We have to persuade the other victims to come forward,” said Delia, “and the best way is to remove men from the cop equation as much as possible. Give me Helen MacIntosh and I’ll guarantee to prep her well enough not to put her aristocratically narrow foot in her mouth. I’ll go on Luke Corby’s drive-home program this afternoon, and Mighty Mike’s breakfast show at six tomorrow morning. By noon, I guarantee I’ll have winkled almost all the victims out of the Carew woodwork. Between those two programs, I can reach every age group in Holloman.”

“Oh, c’mon...

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Locking your door won t help. He s already inside.America in 1968 is in turmoil and the leafy Holloman suburb of Carew is being silently terrorised by a series of vicious and systematic rapes. When finally one victim finds the courage to speak out and go to the police, the rapist escalates to murder.For Captain Carmine Delmonico, it seems to be a case with no clues. And it comes as the Holloman Police Department is troubled: a lieutenant is out of his depth, a sergeant is out of control, and into this mix comes the beautiful, ruthlessly ambitious new trainee, Helen MacIntosh, daughter of the influential president of Chubb University.As the killer makes his plans, Carmine and his team must use every resource at their disposal - including a highly motivated neighbourhood watch, the Gentlemen Walkers. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007412594

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Locking your door won t help. He s already inside.America in 1968 is in turmoil and the leafy Holloman suburb of Carew is being silently terrorised by a series of vicious and systematic rapes. When finally one victim finds the courage to speak out and go to the police, the rapist escalates to murder.For Captain Carmine Delmonico, it seems to be a case with no clues. And it comes as the Holloman Police Department is troubled: a lieutenant is out of his depth, a sergeant is out of control, and into this mix comes the beautiful, ruthlessly ambitious new trainee, Helen MacIntosh, daughter of the influential president of Chubb University.As the killer makes his plans, Carmine and his team must use every resource at their disposal - including a highly motivated neighbourhood watch, the Gentlemen Walkers. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007412594

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Book Description Harper, 2011. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. BRAND NEW paperback. RRP. £7.99. Locking your door won't help. He's already inside.America in 1968 is in turmoil and the leafy Holloman suburb of Carew is being silently terrorised by a series of vicious and systematic rapes. When finally one victim finds the courage to speak out and go to the police, the rapist escalates to murder. Size: 12mo - over 6¾ - 7¾" tall. Book. Bookseller Inventory # 301318

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