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I’ll never get used to being naked and wearing a diaper—the only piece of clothing my predator gives me, so I can go to the bathroom. I shuffled, rattling my chains. I felt the bald spot on my head where he ripped my hair out. It doesn’t hurt as much now.

I thought back to when I was five and accidentally hit my head on the dresser. I was sobbing when mommy came in, What happened sweetie?Mommy said as she rushed to hold me and inspect my head. Well it looks ok to me, want to go get some ice cream? She had asked me. I was hugging her and looked up and nodded, still crying slightly. She wiped my tears away, then stood up and grabbed my hands to help me up. She held my hand the whole way to the car, and even in the car she held my hand. Once I got my ice cream I was ok then and back to myself. I don’t even know what feeling like me is anymore. I don’t even know what home feels like anymore, if there is such a feeling for adults.

I wondered a thousand times what it would be like. I imagined my mother crying and holding me. I also imagined her looking at me like I was a complete stranger; I guess I would be after eleven years away. Would she even recognize me? She’d probably look at me like I’m a ghost. It’d be hard to believe myself if I make it out of here. I imagined her dead, and going home to no one. What if something happened to her while I was away? Did she keep looking for me or did she give up? Would it even be worth fighting for?

My stomach growled. I looked over at my food bowl. Empty. I picked up my water bowl and sipped some water. I remember when my mommy and I were driving to my soccer game. I was practically jumping up and down in the backseat in my goalie outfit. All of a sudden we hit something on the road and it started to get bumpy. She pulled over and hopped out of the car to inspect the tires. What’s wrong? I asked peering at her, trying to see what she was looking at from my seat. Looks like a flat tire She sighed. I felt horrible for her in that moment, she looked like she might cry. My mom’s tough though. She grabbed her phone and called someone to help. I heard her arguing then hang up and call a different number. Looks like we’ll have to miss your soccer game. I’m sorry honey. She looked at me with concerned eyes. In the moment I didn’t even care, I just wanted her to be happy. Is daddy coming to fix it? I asked my eyes lighting up. Not this time sweetie, someone from roadside assistance is coming. Why don’t we play eye spy while we wait? I could tell she was sad about something. I admired her for that, trying to make everything ok even though she was falling apart inside.

I hated my dad for leaving her, especially once I went missing. Here I was, missing, and my dad wouldn’t even know or care. My mother probably freaked out and felt so alone. Bastard. My mom didn’t even cheat or anything—like what, he just decided he didn’t want a family anymore? At least not our family. Nice. That’s just really nice. For all I know my predator could be my dad. I shuddered and pushed that thought out of my head. I looked at the clock: 3:30. My heart rate picked up. One hour until he’s home from work. I swallowed the lump in my throat.

I shuffled again, wincing slightly as the chains scraped against my scar. I hated that a tear slipped my eye. I took a deep breath—and that’s when my eyes landed on it. My eyes almost popped out of my skull. Was that my old bobby pin? I sat up straight and used my foot to draw it closer to my hands. I gasped, it was my old bobby pin! It must have fallen out of his shirt pocket when he confiscated it. I eyed the door. I bit the plastic tip off and used my teeth and one hand to make it into a 90 degree angle. I put the sharp tip in the lock of my handcuffs.

After about 30 minutes of trying to pick the lock it finally opened. I started crying hysterically and I tried to pick the other one on my wrist. I got that one open and picked the locks on my ankles. I shot up and rubbed my wrists while crying hysterically. I bolted towards the wall that had my pinned clothes on it to taunt me. I finally took the pins out and put on my clothes. I closed my eyes, remembering that day it happened. Oh my gosh thank you I told God. I looked around my black walls. I saw my dog dish filled half way with water and my empty food bowl by my broken chains. I stared at these walls for the last time, hopefully. I ran over to the door and within minutes I picked the lock.

My head jerked to the clock—4:30, perfect I whispered. I breathed in a shaky breath. I could feel my heart beat in every inch of my body. Only a faint light shone through the tiny window up high he had covered up. I was hiding behind the door trying to breathe as slowly as I could. My ears were on high alert—careful to pick up any sound. I heard footsteps coming up the stairs. My heart raced faster, Father God please protect me I silently prayed. My eyes were watching intently through the crack between the door and the door frame. I heard his footsteps drawing closer—glass crunching beneath his boots. His breathing was loud and husky. I knew it was now or never, he’d see my broken chains and replace them. Suddenly, the footsteps and breathing stopped—and so did my heart. I heard another door to a different bedroom slowly creek open. I heard his boots march in. This was my chance—My heart was thumping as I began to tip toe around the glass pieces I could barely see. My bare feet were sweating as I slowly made it from behind the door to the hallway. I reached and lightly touched the wall for support as I continued tip toeing down the hallway. I forced myself to look at the mirror in the open bedroom my predator had gone into to see how much time I had. My heart was thumping faster as I saw him emerge from the closet. A rush of panic went through my body—we made eye contact. I suddenly bolted for the stairs no longer looking at the ground; I screamed in agony as I felt the glass pieces knifing through my feet but I kept going. I had made it down half the stairs when I heard running footsteps. "HEY" he yelled, my heart jumped, as I looked up in utter terror. I ran down the stairs breathing heavily and crying out in pain trying not to cry hysterically. I ran for the kitchen biting down on my tongue in pain and trying to breathe deeply. I could hear his boots getting closer and closer. My whole body shook and I kept my focus on the door. I made it to the kitchen and saw my door to freedom. I snatched the keys he always leaves on the counter and shoved them in my pocket while frantically trying to unlock the kitchen door with my shaky hands. I heard his boots crunching roaring in my ears until they stopped. Right behind me. I could feel his hot breath on my neck. My whole body went cold and a shiver went down my spine. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and prayed that I would hit him right. Without turning around I elbowed him in the face and heard him cry out, "AAHH SHIT" as I unlocked the door. I started running as fast as I could. I climbed through the open window of his truck the way I'd imagined so many times before and grabbed the keys from my pocket. I fumbled around for the right key just as I heard the kitchen door slam open. I knew I only had a few precious moments. I found the right key and started the engine. "BOO" He said as I screamed and saw his face appear outside right next to me. His hands grabbed my neck as I gasped for breath. I had come too far to let him win this time. I fumbled around and took the key out of the ignition and stabbed his left eye. He immediately let go yelling in pain and clutched his face while backing up a few steps. I gasped for breath and stuck the wet key in ignition. I started the engine and slammed on the gas—glass cutting deeper into my foot. I winced while biting my lip and sped away. My heart was racing the entire 30 minutes that felt like forever until I finally found another house with an elderly couple out front watering their garden. I pulled in, got out of the truck, and started crying while limping towards them. The elderly couple raced towards me and embraced me while repeatedly asking me "My dear!! What happened? Are you ok?" I sobbed and all I could muster was "call 9-1-1." And for the first time in a long time—I breathed.


Bio: I am Michelle Brick and I love volunteering, working at an assisted living, and am currently going to school for non-profit organization. Writing has and always will be a passion of mine.


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