I feel tears stinging my eyes, as I stare out into the passing fields of green through the window. The setting of the summer sun makes everything seem so incredibly beautiful and peaceful, splashing blue and pink tones amongst sparse clouds. The vivid colors of nature seem to come alive, with interconnected shadows and areas of brightness, tints of yellow and orange. Ever since I could remember, I had loved staring at the sun setting on the landscape illuminating the world in such a strange way, pulling me into daydreams of a life like no other, giving me that short-lived escape from the harsh reality of the one which was my own.
The car slows down as it turns into a gas station, gently parking beside one of the pumps. The person in the drivers seat gets out, walks around the front of the car, and opens my door, reaching out and firmly grasp my hands, the carefully cuts my plastic handcuffs with a Swiss army knife from his pocket. The feeling of freedom on my wrists is very welcome.
“Now there, that might feel a little bit better. Why don’t you come and it up front with me instead?” His voice still bears an air of confidence but there is less coldness to it than when I’d first met him.
t ya kinda worried I'm gonna try to escape or somethin?” I whisper, slightly peering up at his striking blue eyes for a split second, but quickly shifting my eyes to something else. I cautiously edge out of the car. His offer seems just slightly suspicious. Like he’s about to beat the crap out of me.
He snorts. “Pfft! In all honesty, I could not care less. It’s really up to you.” Wow. Real emotion. So he’s not a robot. He shuts the door behind me and proceeds to go fill up the gas tank.
Yet, upon approaching the pump, he stops abruptly, and turns in my direction. “Then again, I’d like to think that you’re smarter than that, knowing very well the kind of situation you’d be forcing me into.”
“Right…” The words barely escape my lips in a whisper, as I open the door and got into the front seat. I awkwardly put on my seat belt, unable to establish for the moment on how to act or what to even say. I just stare down at the red welts that remain on my wrists.
They take me back to memories of when I was just a child and found my dad’s supply of plastic cable ties. Fascinated by the mechanism, I tried to tie one around my wrist. I kept pulling at it, until eventually it became so tight that my hand started to turn blue and I struggled to get it off. In desperation, I finally ran to my mom, and she easily cut them off with a knife. It’s strangely funny that even at four, I waited until the last moment to ask for help, because I had such strong desires to be self-sufficient. Story of my life, it would seem.
I look up to see the man at my partially open window. “Hey, do you feel like some coffee or donuts or something?”
“Uh, sure. A coffee would be nice.” As he walks away to pay, I consider for a moment that perhaps this would be the perfect opportunity to escape, but a strong uncertainty still lingers, holding me back. I silently weigh my options. I’m pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I don’t even know in which direction I’d run. Hitching a ride probably wouldn’t be safe either. I’ve seen the kind of creeps that stop for girls like me. I stare down at the white ribbed tank that
s peering out between the zippers of my black hoodie, and the short torn cutoffs Im wearing. Even my hoodie has orange bleach stains on the cuffs. They would probably take me for a cheap hooker or something. Too insane, even for me.
The man returns with a tray of two Styrofoam coffee cups and two brown paper bags in his hand. "Well, here you go. There are a couple of danishes in there, if you
d like. I'm guessing you might want to nibble on something. We still have about an hour and a halfs time until we get there.
I just nod as I take one of the paper bags and the coffee cup, laying it in the cup holder on the passenger’s side. I don’t feel like small talk. I can barely even look at him, let alone start a conversation with him, acting as if everything is just peachy. Nothing is fine. Nothing will ever be fine. The last place on earth I want to be right now is here in this very car, but my choices are limited. Well scratch that. Being in the presence of my uncle might be worse. Nonetheless, here I am, an adult, completely capable of taking care of myself, yet my fate lays in this very man’s hands.
“Do you mind if I put on the radio?”
“I don’ care.” I shrug my arms. The effects of the rolled down window being down as we drive off result in the wind blowing a few strands of hair out of my unkempt bun of dirty blonde. I quickly roll down the window and lay my head against it. The sky is still a bright orange over the horizon, the sun letting out only a slight sliver of light as it almost disappeared. I hear him switch the knob repeatedly on the radio until he gets to a country song I don’t know. I never liked country in particular, but I`m too deep in thought to care, the events of that day replaying in my head a hundred times. I feel my eyes get heavier as the tired muscles of my body take a toll and lull me to sleep.
I dream about running through fields of long thick grass with speed that no human could ever match. I run until I finally find a hole to hide under, leaving only the shadow of a moonlit sky, knowing in my heart I’d never be found again by a single huma being. I’d live my life in harmony with the trees and the sky and the seas and never for a moment feel the need to cry myself to sleep ever again. No one would ever find me. No one would ever hurt me.
“We’re here.” A strange voice startles me out of slumber, and I find myself surrounded by darkness with my eyes trying desperately trying to adjust to sparse shimmers of light outside.
“Where am I…? What time is it?” I ask, slightly panicked but mostly severely disoriented, my brain desperately trying to piece together my current situation.
“It’s almost 9 o’clock. We’re going to have to call in, to officially turn on your new fashion accessory for this location.”
With that, all the memories came crashing back, all at once. “Oh crap, I forgot about that.” I reach my hand towards my ankle and touched the plastic ring surrounding it, a small green light flickering on the thicker part every few seconds.
I slowly open my eyes, blinking a few times. My vision is blurry. I’m disoriented and feel very strange. Something is very off. I can’t explain the feeling. I try to extend my arms but they are weak and I can barely lift them. I move my right hand gently feel my left arm and my fingers touch something sticking out of it. I look over to it and through my sleepiness I see a plastic tube closed off by a piece of material is stuck in my arm. It’s connected to something. There’s a beeping noise going off rhythmically. My heart beat?
I’m in a room connected to a bunch of machines. I think maybe it’s a hospital? That’s probably it. But why? The disorientation leaves me unable to remember anything. What has happened to me?
Then something dawns on me. The strange feeling. Why are my arms so small? They shouldn’t be this small.
I’m distracted by the sound of someone moving outside in the hall, the only light source into my dark room.
“Hello?” My voice is weak and somewhat high pitched. It doesn’t sound anything like my own.
I notice I’ve caught their attention, as a person dressed in blue walks in, and turns on a small light, approaching me. My vision isn’t clear enough to discern their features.
“Oh my god! You’re awake.” The voice is a woman’s. She walks over to me and starts to fiddle with the machines.
“What’s going on?” I feel my body begin shake. “Where am I?” My voice breaks in panic.
“It’s okay sweetie. Calm down.” She reaches for my hand. I pull it away quickly.
“No! I’m scared…what’s wrong with me?” I whimper, my breaths becoming shallower. The beeps on the monitor begin to increase as my heart races.
Another woman walks in, her footsteps much more defined. “What’s going on?”
“She’s woken up!” The first woman pipes up, visibly happy.
“That’s great, but she’s obviously anxious. It’s too much for her body, inject some bentadrysyl into her IV.”
“No!” I want to get out of here. I try desperately to get out of the bed, but I lose the battle with my muscles, as I can’t even lift my head up. “Why can’t I move?!” I try to yell, but my voice can’t handle it and it comes out more like a mouse’s squeak.
“It’s okay. You’re just weak from all the meds we’ve been treating you with.”
“But…I don’t want to be here.” A tear drop slowly emerges down my cheek.
“It’s okay, honey. Give it a moment.” I feel a deep lull settle in my chest as the beeps of the monitor slow. My breath becomes barely a whisper in the wind as my mind drifts off into some parallel reality.