My limp body shifted slightly and vibrated as my box was latched shut again and rolled into a separate room. The chatter of male voices slowly faded from my ears as we rolled farther away. We entered a quiet room, and then my box came to a holt.
I could hear a belt buckle hitting the ground, and my heart began to thud against my lump of a body. The tingling sensation ran through my entire body now, and I knew that I was so close to being able to move.
My ankles began to twist and turn as my feet started to wake up, then my wrists rotated around, finally, I cracked each finger awake; my body was returning to me.
The lid unlatched, and I felt a breath of fresh air hit me which I was thankful for then disgust set in. A cold, clammy hand ran up the inner side of my left thigh. My dress began to crinkle as the nervous hand crept higher.
Come on! Damnit! Wake UP!
My jaw fell open a little more, and with all the power I had, I raised my eyelids and looked the man straight in the eyes.
The man looked to be in his 40s. He was wearing a business suit and had a wedding ring on his finger. His eager smile turned downwards as his eyes met mine and his brain registered what was happening.
“What the fuck?!”
Fire and pins and needles ran through every inch of my body, like when your arm falls asleep and starts to awaken.
My arms and legs began to sway back and forth in the casket that I laid in. White satin linens held my body, the body that this man thought was deceased.
I lifted my head and ran my perfectly polished nails across my torso. I contracted my abs to wake up the rest of my body. The red lace dress hit at my knees, and I could see my calf muscles beginning to wake up with the slight twitch of each contraction.
My biceps contracted and my abs pulled against my chest as I pushed myself into a seated position.
The man stared back at me with an empty expression. He looked as if he had just seen a ghost, which I don’t blame him, considering he thought I was dead two minutes ago.
I lurched the rest of my body from the mahogany casket and hit the floor with a thud. I could finally move, but my coordination hadn’t completely returned.
The man sprang at me in a moment of panic as he saw his $100,000 purchase begin to escape. The palms of my hands flattened against the cold tile floor, and I pushed myself into a squatted position before my legs finally cooperated and carried me from the room.
Before I could make it to the door, I felt a tug on the bottom of my dress. My head whipped around in a sharp 180 degrees and saw the man gripping the fabric in my dress. I let out a scream, and then he grabbed my arm and tried to pull me to the ground.
“No! Please, let me go! Why are you doing this to me?”
The wrestling ensued as I tried to make my get away from the disturbed man.
“You’ll tell! You’ve seen my face! I’m a well-respected pillar of the community. I’d lose everything if my job or wife found out. I’m not going to let you ruin me!”
“I won’t tell! Please, just let me go. This has been a misunderstanding.”
The man was sweating profusely and shouted in a grunt at me.
“I spent $100,000 for a dead girl, and if they can guarantee dead, then I’ll do it myself!”
The fabric in my dress tore, leaving my thigh exposed.
My memory started to come back from the day I was taken. I vaguely remember struggling as a guy wrestled me down. The details were a blur, but I remember being given a shot, then blackness followed.
I was so close to freedom. I couldn’t let any man with a sick fantasy take that from me. Instead of pulling my arm away from him (which is what he expected me to do) I ran towards him as fast as I could and wrapped my other arm around his neck.
I pulled his head down and shot my knee up into his navel. He let go of my arm and used both hands to block my knee.
I knew I had to get him good though, or else I wouldn’t make it out the door. His hands started to reach for my throat before I swiftly bent down and head-butted his torso and wrapped my fingers just under the bend in his knee. The force of my head pushing his torso back along with the pull of my hands on his legs made him flip onto his back.
As he went down, he took a handful of my hair and yanked at it to take me down. The pain was fierce, but I used every ounce of adrenaline that I could to not surrender to the pain.
He coughed and grunted as he tried to pull the air back into his lungs, a clump of brown curly hair rested in his grip.
I ran my fingers along my burning scalp, my fingers ran over a raw patch of flesh which stung with each tender touch. I winced from the pain but knew that now was my chance to run.
I didn’t have long.
My ballet flats slid along the tile floor as I made my way to the door. I put my hand to the doorknob and looked behind me. The man was already on his knees. Could I outrun him? Possibly, but could I outrun every other man that gathered on the other side of this door?
I had no other choice but to try.
The door swung open and I watched as a gymnasium full of men walked between each new casket. So many girls my age, each dolled up and dressed in revealing dresses. Where they all dead, or were they in the same situation as me?
My legs felt like jello as I ran towards the exit sign. I heard a man yell, then I heard silence, followed by pandemonium.
“Get her! NOW!”
It sounded like a stampede was chasing close behind, but I didn’t dare look behind me. I had my eye on the prize, which was the exit sign.
I prayed that the door wouldn’t be locked.
The footsteps and shouting grew louder, but I used all my mite to push harder and faster for that exit. Finally, my hands met the bar of the door, and it swung open to the daylight.
I ran as fast as I could. Luckily, the gymnasium that we were in wasn’t too far from a busy section of town. Surely, nobody would be brave enough to chase me into traffic. That would raise a lot of questions.
I looked behind me as I made my way towards the traffic that rushed by, not a single man had stepped a foot out of that gymnasium.
I gave my statement to the police, but there was no evidence left in my body of any drug that had been administered. They went back to the gymnasium, but of course, the place had been cleaned and stripped to the last piece of dust in the corner.
I’m still trying to piece everything together. How did I end up in that situation to begin with? I had always been careful. I never met up with strangers; I never left my drink unattended.
One thing has caught my attention, though. Through this whole investigation, my parents had been acting…off. They didn’t seem too surprised that I had gone missing (which isn’t too odd since I was 21 years old and usually off with friends). However, there was something different about the way they were handling the investigation.
Whenever the detectives requested a testimony from mom and dad, they both looked at each other, my mom’s hands were trembling and my dad had a scowl on his face.
They almost seemed…nervous.
What would they have to be nervous about? Shouldn’t they be happy that their kidnapped daughter had made it home? Shouldn’t they be a little more eager to hunt down the people who did this to me?
That night, I snuck up to the air vent that connected to their room. I could hear footsteps pacing the floor and whispered arguing coming from them.
I made sure to keep nice and quiet and placed my ear to the vent eagerly. As the following conversation unraveled, I felt a wave of nausea stir in my stomach. My hands became clammy, and I knew that I had to leave the house. Now. Right now.
“I just don’t understand what happened.”
“We have done this a dozen times Harry, who would have thought that she would remember this time?”
“No Sheryl, that Mary is a loon. I knew we shouldn’t have switched companies. That lady didn’t know what she was doing.”
“You ordered both shots, right?”
“I ordered the paralytic like always, I told her we needed her back afterward. She should have known that we’d need the amnesia drug administered.”
“Well, from what the cops said, it sounds like the paralytic wore off early. Mary probably didn’t even get the chance to administer the second shot.”
“That’s just so unprofessional. That poor man…”
“What do we do about her friends?”
“Don’t tell the parents. We can’t afford to have this much cash flow come to a halt.”
“Let’s just let this blow over. We have covered our tracks. Once this dies down, we can go back to the old company and have her auctioned overtime to make up for the lost time.”
That was all I could let myself hear. I packed a duffel bag and left that night.
If you’re reading this, just know that there are sick people in the world willing to do vile things to others.
The people that you love, the people who are supposed to protect you from these horrible people, are sometimes…just as horrible.