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I woke up with a bad headache and the quick-paced sound of my beating heart. Reaching up to run my hand through my hair I notice that I’m damp from perspiration.
“It’s just a bad dream,” I tell myself to calm down. When I open my eyes, I find everything in my room how I left it—except for one thing. In the dim moonlight through the window, I can see my closet door slightly ajar and a light shining through the crack.
Trying to stay as still and calm as possible, I study the light. The light is shaking slightly and it’s a thin streak. I don’t hear anything strange, but when I look above it I see a sight that makes my stomach hide in my toes and my heart just stop. I feel like puking.
The sight above the light was part of a masked face—enough to be showing one dark, hard, unforgettable eye. Our eyes lock and when the stranger glances at my window, which I realize is open, I shut my eyes and uselessly pretend I’m sleeping. I know it probably won’t do any good but maybe the person would think they were seeing things.
When I open my eyes just a slit, I see that the stranger has opened the door more and is now hidden in no way what so ever. As I study the strangers’ physique I can tell it’s a man. He’s dressed in all black. I want to scream but I can’t bring myself to do it. I’m paralyzed with fear.
I shut my eyes and pray to God that he just leaves.
A couple of minutes later I hear loud shuffling, my bed shake, and a sharp blow to my head knocks me out cold.
I wake up without opening my eyes. The bed under me is gone and its soft comfortable feel was switched with a cold hard concrete. I’m laying on my stomach which it weird because I never do. I open my eyes slightly to make sure no one is around. When I see nobody I open my eyes and sit up. My vision went black from sitting up to fast.
When my site came back I found that I was sitting in the middle of a garage. I scan my body to make sure I’m all right. I don’t see anything wrong until I look at my ankles. They both have metal clasps around them that chain me to the ground. The clasps are barely tight enough so I can’t get my feet out.
Suddenly, two hands wrap tightly around my neck. That’s when I realized I never looked behind me. My airflow is cut to a point of barely being able to breathe. The hands, I can tell, are urging me to get up. As I’m getting up one hand lets go. It is instead replaced by the inside of an elbow and the other hand clamps my mouth shut. My head gets yanked back so it’s resting on a shoulder.
I take a deep breath since I can now breathe. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see the eyes of the masked man.
“If you scream I’ll kill you.” His words cut through the air like a sharp dagger.”Do you HEAR ME?” The arm squeezes even tighter. Afraid of speaking, I nod. His arm loosens.”Good,” it’s almost as if I can hear the smirk in his voice.
“Now. I’m going to take the chains off your ankles. If you make one move you’ll regret it.” He slowly lets go one arm at a time. “Close your eyes.”
Once I shut my eyes, I feel the clasps fall from my ankles. I keep my eyes closed. His hand grabs a chunk of my hair and the other grabs hard at my waist. I can feel his nails digging into my skin.
“Your eyes will stay closed while I bring you to another place. You’ll wish you were dead if you open your eyes.” Too late. I have since I woke up last night. He starts pushing me forward. I go and after a few steps we stop. I hear the opening of a door. As soon as we are in the house the door slams shut.
The stranger turns me left quickly and we stop once again. “Stairs. Going down. Go!” I take a slow step down. When we get down the first couple of steps I trip, falling forward. My hair catches and I can feel it ripping out of my scalp. The pressure from the hand on my waist spins me around on my way down. My eyes open as I’m falling; I see the reason I had to close my eyes. The mask was gone, and the face was eerily familiar.
After flipping backwards many times I land on wood floors. I stay on the ground in a crumpled ball. Quick heavy steps told me that the man was running down.
“Man was that a mistake!” I feel his foot before I see it. Once again everything goes black.
When I wake up this time I open my eyes as soon as I can. Except when I open my eyes this time I see nothing. I squeeze my eyes shut and open them again. There still wasn’t anything. I try to sit up but when I do I hit my head on something hard. I keep trying to move any part of my body but find that I can’t. A box. I’m in a box.
My hands grope around trying to find a way out. All I find is an object that feels like a walkie talkie. I press the button on the side and say, “Hello?” Seconds later I hear static from the other end. “You’re up,” says a voice. It’s the man.
“Where am I?”
“Oh, sweetie. You’re in a box,” he says tauntingly.
“So I realized,” I snap. A minute passes without an answer.
The static returns. “Since there’s no point in keeping it a secret—“
“—I’ll just tell you. You’re not going to get out. To ensure that I don’t get ratted out on, I’m not going to let you out ever.”
I start noticing a musty, humid smell. “Who are you? And what’s that smell?”
“I’ll answer you’re second question first. That smell, that exact smell, is earth, baby. Get used to it, ‘cuz it’ll be the last thing you smell.”
“But why earth?” All of this was just confusing me.
“Why earth? Let me see… because that’s the only thing you can smell six feet under.”
And finally it all clicked. Everything he’s said makes sense now.
I’m buried. Alive.
“Why would you do this?” I yell. “Who are you?”
“I’m doing this because no one wants you here anymore. No one wants you alive and neither do I. I’m killing you because I wanted to do it myself! I wanted to see you whine and suffer! I WANTED TO!”
I let it all sink in. None of it made sense. I have so many friends, even a boyfriend. Had, I correct myself. I’m only 15. Who would want to kill me? I can’t think of anybody who would want to kill anyone, let alone me. Except for one person. And they’ve already tried once before.”You’re lying.”
“No. I’m not.”
“Why are you doing this, dad?”
“Yes. I am your dad.”
He paused. ”Because you ruined everything in my life. You got me and your mom, my pride and joy, divorced. You got me into jail because you whined to your beloved mom about one little incident that occurred when you visited me three years ago.” He spat the word “incident” like he thought it was scum.
Loneliness and betrayal shot through me followed by hatred. Why me? Why my dad? Those questions spun through my head over and over like a broken record. He’s really doing this. I’m really going to die. And this time I can’t get myself out of it.
“You’re and ungrateful little brat! Bye, Julie. I hope you suffer.”
Two days later I felt like my stomach was being ripped open. I was so hungry! I wished that I’d die right then and there. My tongue was getting swollen from not drinking anything. My joints were stiff from not moving. It hurt to move them even the slightest bit. The box smelled like a bathroom and seemed to be getting smaller and smaller. The events of the last few days keep replaying in my mind when I’m awake. When I’m sleeping I have nightmares just like the one I had the night I got kidnapped.
My fifth day buried, I swear, was going to be the day I died. It wasn’t. I’m now used to the hunger, but not the thirst. My tongue is now so swollen that I can barely gasp for air. It felt as if my body was shutting down one organ at a time.
The next day I wake up and my airways are completely blocked. It feels like my head is about to pop off from the pressure. I keep nodding off but wake up seconds later. Finally I nod off once and for all. I never woke up again.
Julie Peaton died just hours before investigators found her.