I hang in chains. I stand. The chains are connected to handcuffs around my wrists. The chains will jingle if I move, making a happy jingle bell sound. When that happens he looks at me. He hides in the corner and he thinks I donít see him, but I do. Iím somewhere cold and dark. I can hear rats running at night, over my head across the pipe Iím chained to. They donít scare me as much as the man in the corner. He scares me. He had a nice smile and straight white teeth. So did Ted Bundy. I should have known, I should have read more into the look he gave me when I met him. Iím writing this in my head, itís my story and I have no pen and paper. Even if I didÖhear the jingle?
Thereís blood on the floor. Not all of itís mine. When he cut me between my toes I kicked out and he twisted my ankle. I think it might be broke, I felt more than heard the snap, you know? No you donít know, but I do. Days and nights mix in here, I donít know what time it is and knowing what time it is has always been important to me. I donít know why, just a little piece of me for my story. I asked him once, what time it is I mean, he giggled and didnít answer me. Iím standing, most of my weight is on my right foot, and my left ankle is the one thatís twisted, broke or gone. Who knows? Iím naked; did I write that in my mind already? Iím not sure if I did, so Iíll just re-write it here. I donít like him looking at me. He touches me and I canít fight him. He sometimes enjoys himself in the corner, I can hear him and I play a song in my mind when he does that.
My name is Tina. Iím eighteen years old and a cheerleader at Baker High School. I have a lot of friends and I think Iím popular. Was popular. Itís easy to add italics in my mind, I just think of how I would say the word and the italics add themselves. My parents must be frantic. I told them I was going to the gas station on the corner to get a soda. I was really going for a pack of cigarettes. They donít know I smoke and I donít want to disappoint them. I bought the soda and pack of cigarettes and was walking out the door when he showed up. I bumped into him on my way out the door and we laughed and apologized. He told me to hold on a second and I stood outside while he paid for his gas. Surely they have video cameras in the station! They would see me standing by his blue BMW! I stood by him while he got his gas and he said he would give me a ride home. I told him it wasnít far and he laughed and promised me he wasnít a serial killer or rapist. I believed him, he wore jeans, a chambray shirt and that smile, I didnít think serial killers wore chambray shirts and jeans. They do. Thereís blood on the floor thatís not mine, so I know he told the same story to others and they believed him too.
I got in the car. If I could get out of here I would tell every girl I saw to stay out of cars of strange men even if they drive a blue BMW and they look safe. Heís giggling but Iím not going to hear him or respond. When I cry he huffs like heís holding back a laugh. I wish, sometimes, when I jingle the chains and the feeling comes back into my arms and the pain is so strong and hot and I cry out, that he would just kill me already. Thatís part of his game I guess, waiting to see how much I can take.
I got in the car and we drove and when I told him where I lived he went past my street. I tried to open the door and jump out but he hit me in the face. It stunned me and I wear my seat belt, I couldnít get out. I tried fighting for the wheel and then he held something against my side and I went out. I think it was a taser gun. One of those little things that you can zap people with. I remember hearing a zap, feeling a strong current through my body and thatís it. When I woke up I was hanging here. My arms are over my head and when I look up I can see my hands in the dull light coming through the window high up in the corner. They look black and disjointed as if the immobility has crippled them. Sometimes the feeling will come back and that only makes it feel like my fingernails are going to shoot off the end of my fingers so I try not to jingle the chains. I think Iím in his basement. I would scream and yell but thereís a gag in my mouth. Itís some kind of cloth and the thought that itís his dirty sock wonít leave my mind and I gag. If I vomit Iíll die, Iíll choke and I know he wonít save me. Thatís the point right? To be rid of me when heís had his fun?
Heís a cutter. He uses the knife and Iím the Thanksgiving turkey that needs to be carved. I have blood all down my arms and legs. He cut on my backside and if I get out of here I donít know how I can explain those scars without having to tell how stupid I was to get in his car. Itís my fault and Iíll write here so the world knows, itís my fault. If I get out of here Iím going to write this for real, with pen and paper and give it to high schools so they can give it to all their students.
I saw a girl in the corner once. She was standing with her arms over her head, but no chains held her, she looked at me and there were tears running down her face. Can ghosts cry? Will I cry in the corner when the next girl hangs here and Iím done?
No! I wonít think like that. To think like that is admitting defeat and I wonít do that. Not yet. I have to finish my story. I have a little sister. Her name is Trinity. I used to hate her name and I would make fun of her and call her Trinnypants. Tina and Trinity. Sheís four years younger than me and if I donít go home, sheíll be an only child. I wonder if sheíll use my stuff. I hope she does, I hope sheíll remember me always. We went on a trip a couple years ago to the lake. My parents own a cabin on the water and weíd go there for a few weeks in the summer and once Trinity was standing on the dock behind me when we were fishing and I cast my line the hook caught her in the back of the head. She had to get three stitches in her head and I had laughed at her and told her she had to be the biggest fish out of the lake. I feel bad I laughed at her. She tried hard not to cry and I laughed. I canít wipe the tears on my cheeks and they itch. My nose itches and as the blood on my legs and arms dries, it itches. I canít scratch a damn thing. I tried scratching one leg with the other but with my ankle swollen I canít bear the weight or move my leg without pain. He gives me more pain than I can take so Iím not going to give myself more.
Iíd chew through my wrist with my teeth if I could reach it and he was out of the room. He has to work right? Am I his vacation? Does he take a vacation twice a year to do this? I think he might.
He took the tape off a few minutes ago and I wanted to scream but my voice is gone. I struggled a bit at the beginning and screamed behind the gag a lot, so now my voice is gone and my shot of getting out of here seems gone as well. Iím going to write this as fast as I can in my head because, if Iím figuring right, the room has lightened and darkened four times. If he has a week vacation the festivities are going to pick up and I may not be able to write later. He fed me soup and gave me water to drink. My God! How cold the water was! I would have drank gallons of it had he allowed. He didnít. One glass and I whispered, Ďmore,í and he shook his head. The soup was warm and soothed my throat the same as the water had. There were vegetables and I didnít know how good carrots and potatoes could taste! Heaven.
I sleep standing like a harnessed horse in a stall. When I get so exhausted I canít keep my eyes open, I let myself doze off. I have to be careful, though, heís snuck up on me while Iíve slept. I wake to the feeling of the knife, slicing through my skin. Heíll pick different parts, not parts that would end it all, but parts like my inner thighs, buttocks or breasts. He doesnít cut deep, just enough to produce blood that will run. He licks it off my skin. I shiver in disgust when he does it, and he seems to think Iím enjoying it. Iím not, heís a sick pig and if I can Iím going to kill him. I havenít figured out but Iím going to try.
Heís upstairs moving around, I can hear his footsteps on the floor above my head, the footsteps make a creaking groan sound as if the whole floor was going to collapse. This must be an old house, my grandmotherís house makes the same noise. He must be on the phone with someone, I only hear one set of footsteps, he sounds angry and that frightens me, if heís angry that might mean trouble for me. I have to think! Think how to get out of here and get home to Trinnypants and my mom and dad. I know Iíve given them grief in the past, not grief like I was pregnant and had an abortion or got the sudden urge to do drugs, just the normal teen-aged grief of a low math score and a boyfriend they donít care for. Nothing serious, in my book anyway. I miss them and it makes me want to cry but I wonít give him the satisfaction of letting him see me cry if I can help it, sometimes I canít.
I want to go to college and be a marine biologist. I want to save the oceans and I canít because I took a ride I shouldnít have. I want to make love to someone for the first time, I want to get married someday to someone who shares my views on saving the ocean and all things in it. I want to have children, one boy and one girl. I hear his footsteps pounding on the floor above me, theyíre loud! Oh, shit here he comes!
I hurt! Oh God, I hurt all over! I think Iím dying. Iím weak and I canít fight. He could let me out of these chains and all I could do was lie on the floor. He cut long into the night. He mumbled and I tried to talk to him through the gag, but he wouldnít listen to me. I screamed and he looked into my eyes and smiled. I closed my eyes and he taped them open. I guess I could consider myself lucky that he didnít cut off my eyelids. He hasnítÖyet. Thereís a pool of blood under me. He forced more water and soup on me. I think I was dehydrating because when I cried, no tears would come. I have to think of something soon, or Iím going to be too weak to ever do anything. Ever. And then Iíll be dead just like the girl in the corner. She came back last night when he tired and went upstairs. She looked at me and shook her head as if she knew the end for me was near. I canít have it! I want to see the sun and hear the ocean one more time! Iím too young to die! Itís not fair the world will go on without me as if I never was. I canít take this, I have to get out of here! He ripped the tape off my eyes and went upstairs. He turned the light off and Iím in blackness.
I jingle the chains, the pain the movement causes is too much to bear. I blackout and when I wake my knees are bent and all my weight is on my arms. My right shoulder is now dislocated and the smallest move makes it scream. Iím going to die. Itís official, all my hope is gone. Iím not going to take any more water from him, no more soup and Iím beginning to be okay with the fact Iíll never see the sun again. If I close my eyes I can see it and I can hear waves crashing against the shore. Thatís my heaven. Iíll be there soon and it will all be okay.
Thereís pounding footsteps upstairs. Sounds like several people are up there! Heís in the corner and he stands when he hears them. I think it might be the police! Thereís yelling. Heís coming closer! Heís going to finish me and theyíre upstairs and I canít yell for help! Hear me! Please! Hurry! Heís in front of me, heís looking in my eyes and for the first time, I look back. I see him, really see him, for the first time since he smiled at me at the gas station a million years ago. He looks scared and I almost feel sorry for him. I try to smile through the gag, but it doesnít work. He rips the tape off my face and the gag falls to the floor. The movement makes my arm burn, but I donít call out. Thereís no need. The knife he holds tells me that much. Heís going to kill me now. He runs the knife down my face leaving one more mark before the end. The blood runs and I no longer care. I canít live, I canít. I want to stay with him. To live through this I will never look at life the same, I wonít be the same person I was before I got into his car. Iíll be scarred forever, scarred with worms on my skin and worms in my brain. The basement door crashes open and footsteps pound down the stairs. He looks at me and smiles. This time I smile back. The knife is so cold! I shiver as the blood pours down my legs. Heís gentle with the cut. Iím still looking in his eyes as he drives the knife in and I push against it before itís too late and he leaves me. Suddenly he is gone from me, pulled away and there is another face. This face is gentle and kind. Booming noises fill the room and the air is acrid with gunpowder. The chains are removed and Iím lowered to the floor. Thereís yelling, but Iím too tired and weak to care. I close my eyes to rest and someone jiggles my arm. My eyes fly open and I scream. I look around and I see him, my captor, lying on the floor beside me, his eyes are open and heís smiling at me. I smile back and reach out to him. I love him. He closes his eyes and dies. I find my voice and begin to scream, ĎNooo!í His blood mixes with mine on the floor and then Iím loaded on a stretcher and taken away.
This is not the end of my story. My recovery was long and filled with surgeries to remove the scars he left. I didnít want the surgeries, but my parents insisted. I have no reminder of him, the scars that were too bad to cover have been altered so I canít read his words on me any longer, his chapters. I miss the words he left. I want to have them back. I want to have him back. I want to look into his eyes as he cuts me. Iíve tried to make the scars his again, I take a knife from the kitchen drawer late at night and work on my breasts. I want the scars to be his and mine again. the pain is bad, but itís been worse and Iím eager for the cold blade against my skin. Trinity stays close to me as I recover. I wonít go back to school, they are going to let me graduate with the seniors in May. Thatís just a few weeks from now and Iím scared to think Iíll be going out into the world soon to make my own way. He might be out there, looking for me. I know heís dead, but he could come back and some nights he does and I smile as he cuts. He comes and he cuts and I smile at him. I must be crazy to miss him, my therapist says itís normal. Bullshit!
I went to the gas station the other day. The gas station where I met him. I went in a bought a pack of smokes and a diet soda. As I was coming out, I bumped into a guy. We laughed and apologized and he offered to take me home. I got into the car with him.