“Shall we go upstairs? There’s no one up there,” Tony, a sweet boy I had only met when I first arrived at the party, smiled at me sweetly. That was it, the promises of the perfect night for me had been shattered. He saw the look of fright on my face.
“Oh, uh we can just talk you know,” he offered, still I gave no reply.
“I thought you liked me Carly, I only want to talk, honestly.” A chill went down my spine, his tone of voice had changed, and had become slightly frustrated.
“Look, sorry I can’t,” I stammered, he laughed.
“Oh for god’s sake, if you don’t like me you should have told me!” he cried. He continued trying to persuade me to go upstairs and talk. Eventually I built up my courage and agreed after he’d suggested another couple could join us so that I realised I had no excuse not to.
We were up the stairs now, by the door, which with a swift turn of the handle opened. Tony motioned for me to enter first. I placed one foot in the doorway and could already hear the footsteps, the threats, the door locking, the four walls closing in on me. I pushed past Tony and rushed down the stairs and out of the door, tears streaming down my face.
Once outside the echoes still pounded in my head. “Look, no one wants you, they haven’t paid up yet have they??” and “Crying’s not gonna get you anywhere.”
“Stop! I said stop!”
I frantically gasped in immense amounts of air, my chest aching, and then yet again for the umpteenth time, the memories hit me. Gnawing at my brain, eating away my confidence.
This room seems the only one left in this squalid, dilapidated building which has the original walls and a lockable door. The once jagged-edged, crack and hole-covered window has been scruffily taped up now, ever since I foolishly tried to escape through it. I think that happened a few months ago, but this meaningless period of darkness and isolation seems in a completely different timezone to that of the human outside world and so I cannot be sure. I have tried to undo the sharp edged tape before now, so that I may breathe in some fresh air to replace this stagnant, unhealthy environment, but they caught me. I got three beatings for that and anyway it would only torment me being able to hear life outside these four restricting walls.
On one occasion I dared to ask if I could perhaps clean myself a little. All I got was a bucket of scalding water thrown over me, which covered my skin in blisters for days afterwards. The rats can obviously smell the scent of dirt and decay and so they regularly climb through the grating in the wall and clamber over me. It terrifies me, yet I cannot do anything about it as a I am too weak and disturbed to move.
Darkness and emptiness surround me, I am accompanied by nothingness yet it still manages to cause me to feel claustrophobic and breathless. At least I have my privacy you would think, but no that has disappeared now too. Recently I was given a new piece of clothing to wear, a baggy t-shirt and shorts with holes in and stains on. They said this was generous, but it was given to replace my thick jumper and trousers I had been wearing when they captured me. Perhaps if I had some energy I would manage to shiver from the overpowering, icy, chilled draughts that creep in through the cracks in the walls. Anyway, when I was given these garments to change into, they stood there and watched me standing nervously, bare, naked and exposed.
My throat is so dry and raspy, it feels as if it is constructed from sandpaper. My mouth is covered in ulcers and contains a bitter, unpleasant taste. A taste which feels like all the bitter feelings and thoughts in my mind have flavoured it.
They chuck a piece of bread in the room. That must mean I will not be getting any liquid until this evening (I can only tell it is evening by the way the cell begins to turn darker than it normally is). The metal bucket in the corner of the room, lying on its side, spilling out unmentionable items onto the bare floor. A few flies flutter around it, the rest are dead and rotting with the tiny mouse that the rats attacked a while ago. Yet they still expect me to use the bucket. I feel sympathy for the mouse, which got attacked as I do and is now being left to disintegrate into a small pile of waste like me.
Shaking, I awoke. Where was I? In bed? How did I get here? I looked around panicking, and froze with terror as the door opened.
“Carly, are you alright love?” It is my mother, bringing my mind slowly back to reality. I wipe my sweat-drenched face. Waiting momentarily to sip some tea I drift back into a deep, disturbing sleep.
Another day, using all my strength to life my eyelids, I am hit with the overpowering stench of waste, but notice the bucket and mouse are gone. I look around me concerned, frantically shaking my head, talking to the atmosphere and telling it to ‘Leave me alone’’. I feel exposed, not knowing when and by whom the little bucket was removed.
Tears pour down my face, as the rain drops outside stream down the window, causing bobbly lines to shadow. As these rivers of depression, anxiety and hurt flood from my eyes, I feel how moist they are making my dirt and pain-stained cheeks. It is ironic how I have too much liquid dropping from my eyes, yet not enough to relieve my torrid throat. As a storm brews outside so does the anger inside me boil up, furious over this feeling of invasion and yet thankful that at least the loneliness has been lost for some time.
The door bursts open and they storm in, as usual their faces masked with balaclavas.
“Get up!” they order, yelling at me.
“I can’t” I answer timidly and unbearably apprehensively. They don’t like this reply, so they brutally grab my arms, which are already stained with deep, purple bruising and drag me across the floor to the other side of the room, I ask why I have been moved and they say because they thought I ‘might like a change of scenery’ and then laugh. Then they leave me a rusty jug of water and a bowl of some lumpy mixture and thud out of the room, purposely slamming the door shut, so that it irritates my aching head. I hear their heavy, metal capped boots thumping along the floor and then floorboards cracking next door to me, where they play their television.
Deliberately the television is turned up when a programme is interrupted by a missing person’s plea conducted by my parents. Animals!
Gazing across at the sharp tape on the window I briefly consider suicide, but since this would satisfy them I’m not prepared to do that. I truly believe they are so disturbed now that money is no longer their wish, my suffering has replaced it. I slowly open my mouth to try and eat some food, experiencing unimaginable agony as the sores (from when I was gagged) are stretched during the process. I manage to swallow some of the unrecognisable coloured mix and gulp down some water, but I am ill from its stale and appalling texture. I hear the weather person on the television say it is snowing today and I long to see the picturesque view of snow covered trees and small children playing in it.
I take, what I guess to be an hour, before I manage to crawl to the other side of the room and lift myself up. Leaning against the wall, I paw at the taped window unsuccessfully, where I do not have strength or willpower to pick it off. What makes it harder is the fact I cannot even feel the tape, because of my pain-numbed hands, which I don’t even realise are bleeding from the roughly cut, razor sharp edges.
I fall to the floor and collapse in a heap, when I am startled by the sudden opening of the door and a figure above me.
“What the hell are you doing?!”
“I wanted to see the snow” I slur my words, even speech tires me out now.
“You what?!” He hits me round the face and rushes out of the room. When he returns, he has some rag which he ties too tightly round my head, covering my eyes. The pressure on them, enlarges my headache and thumping on my temples. I sob uncontrollably, now I am blinded. Further, more extreme darkness, left to my own thoughts.
“And don’t even think about trying to undo that!” He bellows.
The sharp, ringing trill of the telephone vibrates throughout my ears awakening me. My eyes are slowly adjusting to the room, when suddenly my Mum calls up to me.
“Carly, Tony’s on the phone.”
* This was another short story I wrote at around the age of 17, as part of a creative writing course.