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My deep brown hair whipped ferociously across my face as I grew faster and faster in speed. I couldn’t give up, I couldn’t let him catch me. Suddenly the earth slowed down, and all I could hear was the slow frantic breaths that slipped in and out of my nose and mouth. Within the blink of an eye the violet purple sky vanished from above me and I could no longer feel the cool dewy grass braising under my toes. He had caught me
It was a late July afternoon in the summer of 1942 back when life was simple, and neighbors trusted another and people didn’t take a dime unless they had earned it. Back when kidnappings were almost unheard of. Or at least that’s what my small Michigan town was like growing up. It had started off like a normal day doing my daily chores feeding the horses, cleaning the stalls, and getting the eggs from the hen house. Day dreaming about getting off the farm and seeing the world and having adventures like in the books I had always loved to read.
I had never been out of Wenton County. Being the oldest of nine I understood at a young age that we were very blessed when my father’s prayers were answered and we saw the first bloom of corn plants hooting up into the earth after a long, harsh winter. I always knew we struggled threw the payments and bills but my father was always determined to make us believe we were fine and that there were many less fortunate than us, but never the less we were happy and we had each other. Me, Dad, Mom, and my four sisters, Laura, Julie, Sara, Susie, and Wendy and my three brothers Paul Matthew and Daniel.
After what seemed like hours of wandering around the barn I decided to see if mother needed any help in the kitchen. I ran out of the barn feeling the cool July breeze whip across my sun freckled face as I ran up the green daisy filled hill to the four bedroom red brick house. I remember vividly thinking how that one day I would make something of myself and not just be a farmer’s daughter who would marry another generation of farmers.
As I whipped open the screen door I saw my three younger sisters busy at work and I caught my mother’s eye glancing at me as if saying it were about time. “Mary!” she said “ yes mother?” I sternly replied “where have you and that wild imagination been for so long, your three sisters and I have been in here working for the past hour” realizing I had been wondering around the barn for about an hour thinking I relied,” In the barn” “Mary” she said “I Realize everyone has dreams but you need to get your head out of clouds you will be fifteen next month and it’s time you stop with these childish games.” Yes mam’’ I said in an annoyed tone.
After we had been excused from dinner and seeing as how there was about forty five minutes left of sunlight I decided to walk by the stream which was about a mile down the dirt road. Hoping the wooden fencing into the skinny rocky road I began to slowly walk kicking stones and thinking. It had not been but fifteen minutes when I saw a brand new car making its way down the road with dirt flying up behind it leaving it aroused in the air. At first I couldn’t make out who was driving this luxurious machine until it started to
slow down as it approached me growing closer and closer. I stepped to the side of the ruts to make way for it. Expecting it to pass me it stopped in its tacks. A suspicious middle aged man with gray, slightly thinning, hair and rather large glasses stuck his head out of the window. Sort of frightened I stepped back instinctively. He then made his way to say, “Mary look at you, your all grown up!” Rather confused I starred at him trying to recognize his face. I then realized it was the man who lived on the neighboring farm to ours, William Parker. “Mr. Parker?” I replied in a questionable way.
I had never met this strange man before but I had seen him working in his tobacco fields many times. I often saw him staring from a distance at my sisters and me but I never thought much of it. I found it strange, however that he had never married and never had kids. He lived all alone on a five hundred acre farm. The farming business was hard enough even with a small army as a family with unending work and mediocre pay. I couldn’t even imagine farming by yourself. I knew momma always said not to talk to strangers but he seemed rather friendly and I wanted to be a good neighbor.
“May I help you with something sir” I presumed to say. He then gave me a sort of strange blank look and stuttered before saying, “why Mary, its getting very late and I’m sure your mother is worried sick!” I looked at my surroundings and realized as the last tip of the sun disappeared behind the horizon and the magnificent shades of pink and orange turned to an eerie gray and violet that I had been lost in my imagination once again.
“Yes sir” I began to say before he instantaneously interrupted me “why don’t you let me give you a lift home, Im headed that way and I’m always glad to help a neighbor!” I knew it wasn’t a good idea but when I thought of how much trouble I would get in for being out this late I thought I should maybe accept his generous offer. “Why Mr. Parker thank you kindly are you sure I don’t want to be putting you to any trouble?” “Its not trouble at all youngen” he replied. “Come on over to the other side of the car and I’ll open it for you.” Hesitantly I walked to the other side of this metal beauty. I heard the sound of Mr. Parkers door open and the crunch of the small stones under his feet. He then made his way over to me a ferocious and fiery look about his eyes. He opened the door for me but worried I stepped back. “Mr.……Mr. Parker thank you for all your kindness sir but I think I’ll walk home it aint but a half a mile up the road there.” “ Nonsense girl get in the car” he said in an extremely impatient and ruff tone. I looked into his now blazing with fire eyes and said “ No, thank you” in a not so polite tone. Suddenly, I felt his cold hand clasp on to wrist and begin to pull me towards the car. I then began to scream and punch at him.
Breaking free I began to run faster and faster for what seemed like hours. I made an attempt to look behind me to see if he was pursuing me. I saw nothing and growing tired I began to slow down estimating I had run a fourth a mile. It was about another fourth of a mile to the edge of our fields and a mile of fields before I would reach my house.
Interrupting my thoughts I heard the loud roar of an engine begin to head south towards me. I knew it was Mr. Parker. Frantic I ran up the slope beside the road to an unfamiliar cow pasture and hoped the fence. I knew he had seen me however. My mind went blank the earth seemed not to move. All I could do was run helplessly as the flow of adrenalin took over my body. Praying he would tire and give me enough time to disappear into the long stretch of pasture that lied ahead.
My deep brown hair whipped ferociously across my face as I grew faster and faster in speed. I couldn’t give up, I couldn’t let him catch me. Suddenly the earth slowed down, and all I could hear was the slow frantic breaths that slipped in and out of my nose and mouth. Within the blink of an eye the violet purple sky vanished from above me and I could no longer feel the cool dewy grass braising under my toes. He had caught me.
Its been six years since I’ve seen my family. Six years of constantly being on the move and not knowing where I might end up being held. Six years of wondering if the cruel demon possessed man will finally un-enslave me to my once very real freedom. Six years of daily torture and rape. My innocence and youth has been ripped from my soul and sent into the wind. Everyday I set in the darkness of my heart and wonder if I will ever be set free into the world. I wonder if my family is looking for me. I wonder if Mary Smith is still a very real person to them or if I am but now only a name that haunts them in their minds. I wonder many things but mainly of all will these thoughts be answered or forgotten along with the sun freckled fifteen year old child I use to be.