The Prisoner

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I woke up dazed and disorientated, hunched over in the backseat as the car hurtled down the spiraling country road. Even though the front windows were open, the air was still thick and dense with smoke which I was now surprisingly resilient to. Goosebumps rippled down my back as I slowly sat up. My vision eventually cleared and the red glare of the numbers on the dash board told me it was 4:30am and I knew it wouldn't be long before we reached Calvin's house.
He casually held the steering wheel with the one hand and a cigarette in the other. Calvin then looked up and noticed I was awake. I looked down at my feet the second he met my glance in the rear-view mirror. Without speaking, Calvin passed the cigarette back to me. I took it without hesitation, held it to my lips and inhaled deeply. He turned his head round to me and looked at my legs and grumbled irritably.
“I only just bought those for you,” he snapped.
I looked down at my thin legs and noticed the rips in my fishnet tights. I contemplated protesting to Calvin that it wasn’t my fault but then realized that wouldn’t be the best idea.
“I’m sorry,” I mumbled.
To my relief, all Calvin did was shake his head and tut.
It had been over a year ago since I ran away and as I gazed out the window, I wondered if I’d ever go home.
As we pulled up outside Calvin’s house, dread and fear came over me along with nauseous waves of heat. Calvin dragged me of out the car and into the house, looking around constantly to ensure nobody was watching. He eventually released his grip from my arm once we were in the spare room.
“I have some friends coming over soon. So get yourself cleaned up, okay?”
I flinched but then reluctantly nodded. Calvin starred at me with visible disgust, walked out and closed the door behind him. It was the first time he had ever left the door unlocked. The echo of the door closing filled the empty room. I looked around at the discoloured walls and festering floor boards and tried to swallow the lump in my throat. I picked up my bag that was by the door and went to the bathroom.
The idle bulb in the bathroom swayed as I pulled the cord to turn it on. The harsh light showed how prominent my cheek bones were in the cloudy mirror as I wiped the smudged mascara away from my cheeks. I merely looked like a shadow of what I used to be.
I dragged a brush through my tangled hair and smeared on red lipstick. Now I could hear unfamiliar voices coming from downstairs. I curled up on the floor and hugged my knees close to my chest and rocked back and forward.
I could hardly remember how my life used to be. It seemed so long ago now that it almost didn’t seem real; almost as if this life was all I had ever known. Even though I hate Calvin for making me what I am, in a way, I can’t live without him because he is all I have. He puts a roof over my head and food in my stomach and maybe this is just how I have to repay him. Maybe it’s just what I need to do.
No. No, I shouldn’t be expected to just do this and accept it. I can’t stand for it anymore. I can’t bow down to him and let him make me feel cheap and worthless anymore. It stops now.
I crept out into the hall on the upstairs landing, stepping carefully so the floor boards wouldn’t creak underneath me. I shuddered as I heard the men bellowing with laughter. I could hear cans of beer being opened and then thrown on the floor when they were empty. The vibrations from the stereo were shaking the paper thin walls and I realized that even if the floor boards did creak, they wouldn’t hear it.
I thought about it. I only had minutes before they would run out of booze and come upstairs. It was now or never.
I lightly stepped down the first three stairs and crouched down. The door was only cracked open and there was no way that Calvin or the others could see me. As cigarette smoke slithered through the side of the door, I listened intently to them. I slowly crept down a few more steps as the pungent scent of stale alcohol lingered through the air. I looked in front of me at the old, bulky door and wondered how quickly I could open it and run. My heart throbbed hard against my ribs as I thought about what I was going to do.
Calvin and the others were still oblivious so I quickly crept down the last of the stairs and dashed across the hall to the door, pressed my back against it and froze. The commotion in the living room continued. As adrenaline pulsed through my bulging veins, I turned round and grabbed the handle which immediately made a metallic clang that echoed through the hall and into the living room.
It was locked.
Suddenly the voices in the living room stopped. I started to panic and looked around frantically to find the key. The volume of the blaring music was turned down and I knew that I now only had seconds left. I spotted a set of keys in the corner on the floor and I picked them up, took the biggest one and put it in the lock. I could hear them mumbling. Suddenly, I heard Calvin shouting my name as he flung the living room door open and charged into the hall. He was only feet away when the key finally unlocked the front door and I swung it open and ran. I sprinted down the street as fast as I could push myself as I heard Calvin and the other men starting to run after me. I was far ahead and darted into an alley way adjacent to the wide street I had just ran down. I crouched down in the shadow of the alley wall and covered my mouth to mask the sound of my breathing and waited.
My weak legs trembled as I heard footsteps and voices getting louder, closer. As I had hoped, Calvin and the others ran straight past the alley, continuing on their pursuit to try and find me.
I waited for several minutes until the sound of Calvin and the others had faded completely, then I let myself breathe. I leaned against the cold wall and closed my tired eyes. When I re-opened them, across the street I could see a man out walking his small dog in the sopping rain. I suddenly felt a wave of relief.
I jumped up and ran over to him, pleading for help and finally allowed my bottled up emotions to flood out. He was immediately concerned and asked what had happened. In between breaths and delirious sobs, I begged him to call the police, my voice dripping and shaking with fear. He insisted on taking me to the station himself since his car was just around the corner as he slid off his jacket and gently wrapped it around me.
I studied this kind stranger for a moment and asked his name.
“My name’s Gabriel,” he smiled.
I looked into his eyes and saw kindness and love, something I hadn’t seen for so long that I had wondered if it still existed. His eyes made me believe that things were going to get better. They gave me hope.





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novemberswirl said...
May 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm

wow, this is one good piece of writing!

the ending, it makes you think if he is really is a kind stranger or if he will do the same.... shows what peoples lives are like!

 
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