May 9, 2013
By , Yorkville, IL
I felt a crack on the backside of my left knee as the rest of my body collapsed into the hard concrete of the gas station’s parking lot. It was a hot summer evening and I felt my face pressed on the hot tar sticking to the blacktop. I was confused & disoriented wondering if this was the last memory I would recollect. I heard the raddle and tearing of duct tape as it was wrapped around my clenched fists behind my back. As I struggled to turn and get a glimpse of my attacker, I was quickly struck by his knuckles slamming on the back of my head. With sweat glistening and dripping down my face, the attacker’s counterpart quickly approached and helped lift me into the trunk of a smoky charcoal colored Chrysler 300 with no license plates. At that moment, I realized why I the target of this makeshift kidnapping in broad daylight.
Because of the rush, I was left alone in the pitch black trunk with only my hands being restrained by tape. The sweat continuously flowed down my face as my body temperature was rising. Oddly enough, I had yet to panic. In Philadelphia, we heard about scenarios such as mine on a daily basis. I knew my attackers were black not only because of my visual identification of the dark skinned stubble arm but also because of their mumbling dialect on a track phone that was stolen prior to my kidnapping. I could not make out the conversation they were having over speaker phone from the trunk, but I knew I would be a part of a hostage situation.
I lived with my grandmother who expected me to be home immediately following school. I hadn’t been home since 6:00 AM but recalled my iPhone battery was at a measly 24% as I was approaching the gas station. The only thing I had with me was my phone. I left my car running to rush into the gas station and my wallet was the first thing they took as I was jumped. The area where I laid was completely empty except for a pair of jumper cables, a sweat-stained wrinkled Flyers cap, and a spare tire. I saw in a movie once that the worst thing to do in an emergency situation such as mine is to panic. As of now, my “Action movie” plan has not worked. With my wrist still tightly tied around my body, I tried the thrust my pelvis in an attempt to release my phone from my front right pocket pressed tightly between my body and the floor where I was awkwardly laying sideways. With no luck, I slowly shifted my body towards the glowing rear break light.
As the trip to my unknown destination continued, my position did not improve. We made multiple stops but I was still clueless as to where we were. I was questioning my kidnapper’s intentions as hours passed and they seemingly ignored and forgot about me. I could now hear a slight base coming from the massive speakers whispering hip-hop music that was just activated. Although I was helpless, this felt comforting, as if I was not alone. Again, we stopped. This time, I knew exactly where we were. I could vividly smell the greasy aroma tripping onto the warm cardboard box of a Little Caesars pizza box. My friends and I come to this exact location sometimes multiple times a week for a Hot and Ready Pizza directly off of High Way 95. As my newly acquired enemy crawled back into the passenger seat of the car & slammed the door, I heard a roar of thunder cracking and echoing throughout of slums surround the pizza joint. The Chrysler picked up speed as we headed west onto the expressway. Stilled crammed and sweating in the trunk, the partners’ conversation was even more distorted by the sound of ponding rain and windshield wipers.
Remembering once again the situation I was in, I viciously thrust my torso in an attempt to free my tied wrists with no success. Again, I began inching closer to the rear lights. I then continued by slamming my left foot into the back right light of the car. Initially, my plan was a bust and nothing seemed to improve. But after several strikes and struggling to stay quiet, I heard a screech as the exterior of the red glass shattered on the floor of the trunk. Chunks of glass split into my forearm but I was too determined and fearful to take my mind off of surviving. Still without the help of my arm support, I kicked the remaining glass through to the outside and left my bloody leg hanging out side of the moving vehicle in hopes of someone seeing. We had to be going fast. I heard two honks, one gunshot, and a car screeching and swerving into the expressway median. Our car jerked into a new lane while accelerating and escaping the scene continuing to speed way. I panicked and swiftly realized the wreckage of the random civilian was partially my fault and might have been deadly.
After about twenty minutes of speeding out of the county we slammed on the breaks and swerved into a screeching halt. I heard both of the abductors climb out while screaming explicitness into the sky at the pouring rain. I clenched my body close, tightened my eyes, and waited the popping of the trunk. While waiting I heard a slam on the exterior trunk followed by screaming from further away. Footsteps of the abductors shuffled rapidly as they hustled back into the car. They started the engine, slammed the doors, and drove away in what seemed like less than a second. The spinning of the tires on the street sounded like gravel spitting out. As we gained speed, I began to smell the strong scent of burning rubber.
I felt the rumble of my phone vibrating on my left thigh as it screeched out my ringtone. Terrified, I prayed for it to stop and slammed my body down against it eventually rejecting the call. Literally the only thing I could do at this time was skirmish my damp hands in hopes that they would come free from the duct tape lassoing them together. I assumed the incoming call was from my grandmother which gave me even more motivation to grasp for it. I could feel my skin being pulled, pinched, and scraped as the adhesive glue was being wrenched off my wrists by my forceful feet. I felt like I was at the end of a long tunnel even though this was a minor improvement of my situation. At last, my hands were free. I rubbed and favored my left wrist and rubbed it against my opposite palm. I realized I was distracted by a minor injury and immediately sprang to my pocket grasping my phone for the first time in nearly an hour. I had one missed call: Young Loaf (my childhood friend whose nickname has stuck).
As the trunk continued to be filled with stream from the humidity mixed with the dampness caused by the rain, I became distracted from searching through my phone by the overwhelming smell of marijuana surrounding my small capacity of air. I began coughing and I was hollered at to be silent. Our vehicle continued swerving and accelerating as my body was repeatedly jerked against each wall bordering the trunk. With raised voices, I could hear that the two responsible for my kidnapping were screaming and arguing with each other. In my mind, I could not figure out whether or not this would benefit me. Hopefully, they were disagreeing and in some type of miracle I would be released unharmed. But then it hit me that maybe the argument would cause more problems and I would be in even more distress. The car slammed to a screeching halt and my head was forcefully thrust slamming against the hard plastic cover dividing the back seats and trunk. The screaming continued to echo through the car. Both doors slammed and I was left in the silent car.

Scrolling in my phone I quickly pressed and launched the key pad command with my sweaty finger tips. Still in a slight panic mode my mind was racing with what I should do. I had never called the police in my life. However, I had also never been kidnapped and locked in a trunk for two hours. I was left alone and decided that now would be my best chance. The silent of the car did worry me, however I knew it was my only option. The phone began ringing. After three rings that felt like three minutes the dispatcher abruptly answered questioning:
“911, what’s your emergency?”
At first, I paused and then stuttered.
“Uhh…kidnapping” I mumbled.
“Who has been kidnapped?” asked the dispatcher.
At a loss for words, I was able to whisper an indistinct description of my situation. Unfortunately, I was still completely unaware of where I was. The very polite woman on the phone was very comforting and told me they would find me. She also told me to not hang up when we stopped talking, but the keep the conversation up, on my phone to make tracking easier. I was still clueless as to wear the drivers went, but I preferred staying in one location, rather than getting dragged further and further from where I was familiar. After about twenty-five minutes with still no movement or communication, I was startled by the shouting of a new, deeper voice that I had never heard before. It was followed the ear wrenching ringing of multiple police sirens. I felt blessed and relived but was also worried that I might be in even more danger now. I was obviously still clueless as to what was happening, but knowing that I had support felt tremendously well. I heard urgent screaming through the distorted grumble over a megaphone. The next thing I knew, the trunk was popped open. Buckets of rain began flooding into the exterior of the trunk. The trunk was open by my original kidnappers and I got my first glimpse at both of their faces, faces I had never seen before. I was still not quite sure about what was going on. I saw countless cop cars into the distance, the glow of their lights lit up the steamy sky. I was drenched with body sweat and rain. The two men put their hands up and looked back at me with the look of wanting to murder me in their eyes. Finally, after a long pause and screaming police officers, the driver of the operation looked to his partner and said:
“I can’t believe you didn’t wear a mask!”
Immediately following, he pulled a nine millimeter pistol out from the back of his waist band, under his shirt. I could feel my eyes widen in terror as he aimed the gun towards my head and gently pressed it into my greasy hair. He then screamed:
“Let us go, or the kid dies!”
“Drop your weapon or we will drop you!” screamed the police captain in retaliation.
The captor started counting down from five and a silent hum breezed over from the area where the police officers stood waiting, aiming their weapons, prepared to shoot. There was no movement from either side. The kidnapper eventually finished the countdown at one and I locked my eyes tight not knowing what was going to happen next. One gunshot echoed into the air and as quick as it started, the unfortunate circumstance ended.

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