This piece may be a tad disturbing to read. Please continue reading at your own risk. Contains descriptions that are slightly graphic in nature.
She had been hearing the voices more frequently these past few days.
Though it was difficult to say, it sounded like people arguing. Muffled voices, one slightly feminine and nasal; the other loud and gruff. The latter, she knew belonged to him. The person who had made her life, or what was left of it, a living hell. She was curious about the other. Today, the voices were closer. In fact, she was tempted to scream, just to get some attention. But, she knew it was pointless. Nobody would hear her screams. He had made sure of that. As the voices continued to argue, she thought she heard her name.
‘Maybe my abductor and his partner had a fallout and she’ll free me.’ she mused jovially, trying to give her battered mind and body a glimmer of hope.
Sitting on the rickety cot in the corner, she looked around in the darkness. She knew every inch of the tiny 6×8 cell that had become her home for many days. How many? She did not know. But it had been far too long. Months even. The only light in this prison of hers came from a very dim bulb on the ceiling. The bulb holder had a wire that disappeared into the ceiling but there was no switch to turn it on or off. Not that a switch would have mattered anyway. The light only responded to her abductor’s whims and wishes. She had no control over it.
Right now, it was off. Based on her calculations, she knew it would come on in the next hour or so, when her lunch – two slices of dry bread, some milk, a container of shrivelled up raisins and a salad of sorts with some meat – was sent. She’d found it very peculiar. She’d been abducted and kept captive, but they always fed her a healthy meal. It was almost as if her abductors wanted her to remain in good health.
In the darkness, she waited. Alone. Tired. Dirty. Semi-naked.
There was a feeble grating sound, as the cover to the metal shaft slowly moved inwards. It moved with stealth-like precision, but with almost no light to power her sight, her ears had learnt to tune into every single sound that they heard – no matter how weak. There was a brief whirring sound, as the plastic tray containing her food quickly moved down the tiny shaft. And then a loud clatter.
‘That’s unusual’ she thought, ‘Must be something wrong with the mechanism.’
Despite the darkness, she slowly inched across the cell and pulled the plastic tray towards her.
She knew the schedule like clockwork now. The food arrived on this nondescript plastic tray, devoid of any cutlery. She had no option, but to eat with her hands; not that it mattered much to her. A hygienic way to eat was the least of her concerns; she had bigger things to deal with. As she ran her dirty fingers over the food, the light bulb suddenly flickered on. She winced, as the bulb gradually started to light up her cell.
The first few times the food had arrived, she hadn’t known what the sound was. She had been too scared out of her wits to think straight. Her abductor’s voice had floated in through the tiny shaft, instructing her what to do. She was to take the food, leave the tray back on the little base that moved up and down the shaft to bring the food. Nothing more, nothing less. Panic stricken, she had screamed into the shaft, every time the little door had opened. She soon realised that there was no one else apart from him at the other end. She could waste all her energy screaming or yelling; not a soul would come to her rescue. Or she could play along with her abductor and eventually figure a way to escape. Except, she had not had any luck so far.
She blinked a few times, to adjust to the light in the cell, and stared at the tray of food that was on her lap. It had exactly the same number items as expected. Except, something was different today. It took a few glances for her to figure out what it was.
If she had figured out one thing about her abductor, it was that he was a creature of habit and predictable. Every single day, the items on the plastic tray were arranged in a particular order. It hadn’t changed for as long as she could remember. Today though, it was different. Everything seemed to be thrown together haphazardly as if the person had been in a hurry.
Suddenly, she felt a glimmer of hope. What if someone else had put the dish together. Maybe someone else had sent the food down today. Which meant that someone else would be there to listen to her yelling.
As the adrenaline started to rush in, she felt goosebumps rise up on her arms.
‘But, surely that ‘someone else’ is in cahoots with your abductor’ said a little voice in her head, gently nudging her back into reality.
She let out a loud sigh as she realised that the voice was right. It would be pointless to even try. Dejected, she picked up the bread. She had always hated bread; yet, here she was, forced to eat it three times a day. She smirked at the irony.
As she separated the two slices of dry bread, something fell out from between them and onto her lap. She stared at it as if it was part of something alien. Throwing the bread slices aside, she gingerly picked it up. It was a small, carefully folded, piece of paper. She could feel her heart start to beat rapidly against her chest. Taking care not to soil the note with her dirty hand, she carefully opened it up. Her eyes widened in surprise as she read the four words scribbled in the note.
“Look in the shaft”
She re-read it multiple times. That’s all it said. Look in the shaft.
‘What sort of message was that?,’ she wondered as she gave herself a pinch in an attempt to make sure she wasn’t hallucinating. She had already searched every nook and corner of the tiny shaft previously; there was nothing in there.
‘But what if?’ said the little voice in her head again.
‘Can’t be. Anyway, the shaft door shuts automatically as soon as I pick up the food’, she replied out loud, to no one in particular.
And then, just like that, the shaft door popped open. Cautiously, she put her hand into the shaft and felt around the space. There was nothing. Her eyes started to well up as the realisation hit her – the shaft was empty. As she started to pull her hand out, she suddenly stopped. There, at the corner of the shaft, partially hidden by the open door, she spotted the gleam of something metallic.
For the first time, since she had been abducted, she found a genuine smile forming on her lips. And then, the bulb went out.
She heard the loud thud somewhere above her head. This was followed by the rough screech that metal made against metal – the familiar sound of the trap door opening. As if on cue, the dim bulb lit up her cell once again.
She knew he was coming for her. Her ordeal was about to begin. Again.
As she got off the floor and walked up to the rickety bed in the corner, she felt the muscles in her body tense up involuntarily. She had cried, yelled and even hit out the first couple of days. Now, she no longer had the energy to protest. There was no point. He always had his way.
To him, the entire thing was like a perfectly choreographed scene. He hardly spoke, but from their previous encounters, she knew he liked it rough. She still remembered the first time, he had raped her. He had not spoken a word. She had felt his stubby fingers dig into her cheeks, stifling any sound that might escape her. His unspoken message had been clear. If she so much as made a sound, it would take him less than a few seconds to unhinge her jaw. Now, she wished he had done that. At least, it would have been less painful than what she endured daily.
As she reached the bed, she turned around and faced him. He was a beast of a man, well over 6 feet tall and bulked up like a heavyweight fighter. Well, like a heavyweight fighter who had seen better days. Now, he was just fat; his large paunch extended over his waist and fell well into his groin area like a tub of lard, almost covering his ugly-looking tiny erection. Next to him, she was at best the size of a doll. A life-sized, ragged doll that he violated almost every single day.
She watched the ugly beast walk towards her, his every step causing parts of his body to wobble like shapeless jelly pieces. She knew her piece in this play down to a T. Closing her eyes, she unhooked her bra, removed her torn underwear and tossed it on the floor. Those were the only two pieces of clothing that she had been given to wear after he had been done with her the first time. She shuddered briefly, as his grubby fingers ran down her flat stomach and down the sides of her thighs; and then up to her chest, cupping her breasts with such force that she almost yelled out in pain. Even with her eyes closed, she could almost sense the anticipation in his alcohol-laden breath. Like a predator closing in for the kill.
He pushed her onto the rickety bed, asking her to roll onto her stomach, and thrust her hip up, while being on her fours like a dog. That was Act One. It was always Act One. She had only two lines in this drama that had been carefully choreographed by him. She had to praise his small manhood and beg him to rape her, by telling him how badly she wanted it.
She had refused the first two times; he had retaliated by tying her hands and legs to the posts of the bed as he entered. Each time. The third time, she complied with his instructions. The insult to her dignity was much less hurtful compared to the pain she had to endure otherwise. Now, she had become oblivious to the pain. It had all become part of the act. An act that she couldn’t wait to finish.
But not today.
As he prepared to enter her from behind, she leaned forward and clutched the pillow tightly. She had been playing this scene over and over in her head since noon. It was now. Using her nimble frame to her advantage, she flipped over before he could enter. As his eyes widened in surprise to her retaliation, she swiftly took the cold steel knife that she had removed from under the pillow and shoved it into his lower abdomen. Before he could react, she gave it an almighty push, burying the knife into his abdomen, right up to the hilt.
Letting out a blood-curdling scream, he fell on top of her, trapping her under his bulk. Mustering every ounce of strength she could gather, she pushed him to the side, and swiftly climbed over him. In the dim light of the bulb, sweat beads glistened on her naked skin, slowly gliding down the arch of her back. She felt weak, but the adrenaline rush kept her going. As he slowly slipped into unconsciousness, she slapped him tightly, forcing him to stay awake.
Staring into his half-closed eyes, she smiled. And then she spat. Calmly, she pulled out the knife from his lower abdomen. Blood gushed out from the gaping wound, rapidly drenching the bed sheets on the bed. Without warning, she plunged the knife down with all her might. Right down into his genitals.
As his screams filled the tiny cell once again, she said. ‘Scream all you want. Not a soul will hear, remember?’
She wondered about the knife that she had found in the shaft and the note.
‘Maybe it was the other voice that I’d heard in the morning’ she thought, as she climbed up the ladder.