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As she sat there contemplating life, she was reminded of the pain that had been inflicted on her since she was 6. But now was not the time to be thinking about that. She was on a mission, a mission of freedom and of escape. She knew that tonight would make or break her. Tonight was the night that she would find out what she was really made of.
12 years ago…
She lay in bed, her 6 year old mind thinking about all the fun that the next day would be. They were going to the fair, and she couldn’t wait. She tried to sleep, but it evaded her. No matter how much she wished the next day would come faster, her restlessness kept her wide eyed and awed at the next day’s events.
As she lay there, she heard a creak in the hallway, and the soft pitter-patter of footsteps. Her heart raced and her mind wandered. She thought her parents were asleep, but they must have been checking on her. The door creaked open, and instinct took over. She closed her eyes, pretending to be asleep, but curiosity was nagging at her. It wasn’t like her parents to come in in the middle of the night and check on her. As she opened her eyes she saw a man standing there. It wasn’t her father. She could hear her heart beating in her ears and she felt her stomach in her throat. Terror raced through her mind as the large husky man grabbed her and covered her mouth with his massive hand. She tried to scream, but the sound wouldn’t come. Her entire body was frozen with fear. He put a cloth over her mouth, and she felt her mind slowly slipping into a deep dark chasm that would forever haunt her memories.
She awoke in a small, dark room, just big enough for her to be able to get up and walk around. She could see a small sliver of light coming through a crack at the bottom of the door. Her mind raced through what could possibly be happening. Before she got far, the small door at the entrance of the room slowly opened, revealing a man’s face. When he saw that she was awake he swung the door open and grabbed her, dragging her out into the living room of what she now saw was a small, dimly lit cabin. She was kicking and screaming, but he was too strong, she couldn’t writhe away from his grasp. On top of the fact that she was only 6, he had a friend who, surprisingly, was stronger and heavier built than that of the first man. One of the men held her mouth shut, and the other held her arms down, she was immobilized.
She pushed the memory from her mind as she stuffed her clothes into a duffle bag. She looked around the room, it was now very evident that she really didn’t have anything that she could call her own. She grabbed her 2 books off the shelf; she couldn’t remember how many times she had read each of them. She could remember almost every line of each book. Twelve years and only two books to read; they had been ground into her memory and she knew them like the back of her hand. She slowly turned the books over in her petite hands. They were just another memory of this hellhole that she didn’t want to keep with her. As she slowly put the books back on the shelf she heard the door creak open. She yanked the duffle bag off her bed and kicked it under, where no one could see it.
Jim walked in. She knew what was coming. It was almost a nightly ordeal. He walked towards her, his eyes shifty and his hands darting. No matter how many times it had happened to her she refused to allow it without a major fight. As he came closer she threw the lamp at him, which he dodged coolly. She knew that her fighting always made him mad, but she hoped that one of these days it would work. Maybe one of these days she would win. She had hoped that tonight would be that night. She planned on tonight being the last night that she would ever have to go through anything like this again.
As he held her down she closed her eyes, going back to a time when there were no problems, no worries, and no abuse.
She could see her mother’s face, and she could hear her mother’s sweet voice singing her a lullaby. For 12 years she had been trying to remember the words, but they never seemed to come. Her mind wandered; trying to stay on a topic other than that of what was happening . She had been taken from her home at 6, holed away in a house never allowed to see the outside, and she had been employed as a slave. She couldn’t say no, or else the beatings would be worse than normal. On multiple occasions she had gone to bed bruised and sore, after having to clean the cuts on her face from the blows that seemed to never end.
It was now 11:35 pm and she was ready to put her plan to action. She finished shoving the rest of her belongings into her bag and zipped it up. She walked out of her room and slowly, careful not to make the floor creak, walked to the front door. She cautiously unlocked the door and opened it gently, praying that they wouldn’t hear her. She slipped out the door and onto the porch, shutting the door behind her. She felt so liberated, like she was actually taking her life into her own hands, not allowing jerks to ruin it. She started walking. Never being out of the house, she didn’t know where she was. She started walking down the gravel drive way which led to a road. She turned left, good as any way she thought. She walked for what seemed like hours in the darkness. As she was walking she felt wetness on her face, and looked up to see that the sky was dripping. Her heart raced as her clothes and hair was becoming soaked. She started running down the road, her duffle bag slung over her shoulder.
She saw two bright lights in the distance, coming closer. They were blinding and she had to shield her eyes from their brightness. She was petrified. She had never seen anything like this, after 12 years of captivity her senses were being awakened to a whole new world of terror. Everywhere she turned there was something lurking in the shadows, or hiding in the bushes. She felt that at any minute her heart would give out from the sheer horror of what she was going through. She contemplated turning back and staying at the house, to endure the torture and the beatings, but she talked herself into going farther and farther.
The headlights stopped next to her, a kind looking older woman rolled down the window and asked if Kayla needed a ride. She was very suspicious, mainly because she had grown up in a house with two men who didn’t care about her one little bit. They only cared about their own agenda and she wasn’t going to stop them. Kayla stood there, dumbfounded. She slowly nodded at the older woman and climbed in the car.
The woman, who claimed her name was Sherry, told Kayla that she would only be able to take her to Charlestown before she would have to drop her off again. Not knowing where this was, Kayla said that would be fine, and they drove in almost undisturbed silence for about 20 minutes on their way to town.
Kayla knew that moment, that she was free. She would no longer be a slave to the terrible wishes of the men she lived with. She would no longer have to destroy herself for their pleasure. She felt an enormous weight lifted off her shoulders. She felt, for the first time in 12 years, that she could breathe without the fear of being hit, hurt, or abused.
Under her breathe she said a prayer to God, thankful that he had delivered her out of that house, out of that life, and out of their clutches. The woman looked over at her, a look of awe and inspiration spreading across her face.
Sherry leaned over to Kayla, her face soft and sweet, and quietly asked her what she was doing out in the middle of nowhere at this time of night. Kayla didn’t know what to say so she decided to just tell her story. As Kayla talked, Sherry looked stunned. Her jaw dropped and her eyes watered. The torment that this child had gone through was too much to bear; she wiped away a tear as she continued to drive.
As she regained her composure, Sherry looked into Kayla’s eyes. “Welcome home Kayla.” She said through tears. At that moment, Sherry recognized the face. She had seen a picture of Kayla, but one of when she was younger. Without a doubt, this was the same girl. As she drove into town, she slowed at the police station, turning slowly into the parking lot. She parked the car and took Kayla into the building. As they sat there, explaining everything to the authorities, the police officers looked stunned. They pointed out that she was lucky to be alive, but Kayla already knew this. She knew that the power of her will was the only reason she had survived. She knew she would be freed one day, and she was thankful that today was that day.
While the officers searched through the system for her family, Sherry offered to allow her to stay at their house until she could be reunited with her own family. Kayla was happy to agree to that arrangement, and things were set. Soon she would be reunited with her mom, and she could finally ask her what the words were.
As Kayla and Sherry walked into her house, she was introduced to the people she would be staying with. They seemed nice enough, and she knew she would be safe with them. All the horrible feelings she had over the past 12 years were gone, she felt her heart and her spirits lifted as they all sat on the couch watching a movie. Her cuddled in a blanket, and everyone else with their own forms of warmth. For the first time she could remember, she wasn’t afraid to go to sleep. She wasn’t afraid of what she would wake up to, and she wasn’t afraid of the people she was staying with. Her life, although not yet perfect, or complete, was starting to look up, and she couldn’t wait for the day that she finally got to meet her family.