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The Fatal Love of Green
The Fatal Love of Green
My head throbs unbearably; the edges of my vision blur. Bile rises in my throat, and I strain to force it back down, fully aware that the suffocating strip of duck tape across my mouth secures the inevitability of me choking on the vomit. My entire body aches almost to the point of being numb as I survey the darkened room, unable to make out anything due to the blinding light above my head. The putrid stench of wastes and flesh burns my nostrils, and once again even the slightest idea of my location escapes me. I attempt to twist sideways, inhaling a sharp breath as pain flares throughout my shoulders. Stupid rope, I think, slumping against the stiff chair and my restraints. The rough fibers bite into my skin, and I look down at the filthy, muck covered floor, defeated. Tears stream down my cheeks; I watch them splash on the ground, creating tiny, clean specks in the grime. The sound of approaching footsteps causes me to whip my head up, triggering another wave of nausea to crash over me.
“Awe, is the poor little rich girl crying?” the menacing, deep voice mocks. He steps into the circle of light and I automatically cringe backwards and into myself. I look away, not giving him the power of seeing my discomfort and terror. In a flash, his gloved claw grips the side of my jaw, forcing me to face him. I squeeze my eyes shut, refusing him the privilege of seeing the doorway to my inner thoughts and emotions while he hides behind a disturbing clown mask. However, I know deep down that there exists only a black void in place of his eyes.
“Stupid brat. Look at me!” he bellows, spittle landing on my skin. I want to throw up, but I shut my eyelids tighter. He screams in outrage, and I know what comes next. I brace myself for the blow. The force of the strike surprises me, harder than I expected. The world turns gray, darkening around me as my captor’s yells turn into vague echoes. Finally, I think, relief. Then . . . nothing.
* * *
Three days earlier . . .
“Goodnight, Babe. I love you,” Jason says through the phone. Here we go again, I think. I tuck my knees in close to my chest, biting my nail. Gripping the sheets with my toes, I know I can’t bring myself to say it back.
“Night, Jason. See you tomorrow,” I reply, dreading the inevitable fight that always follows my hesitance.
“Jesus, Ally. Still? We’ve been dating for almost six months! Does rich ol’ Daddy not allow his Little Princess to love anyone besides himself?” he rages. Where did that come from? I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve explained that I simply lack the readiness to utter such a binding trio of words.
“My father has nothing to do with how I feel. I understand you’re frustrated Jason, but I’m not going to say something I don’t mean,” I sigh, “Goodnight, Sweetheart.” I try, hoping he gets the hint that I want a change of subject, but he continues anyway.
“No. I’m sick of this! I’m captain of the lacrosse team, I tell you I love you every day, and all I get back is that lame excuse of yours,” he yells, “You’re just a spoiled rich girl that doesn’t appreciate anything.”
Anger and hurt cause my cheeks to flame.
“Goodnight, Jason!” I repeat forcefully, trying to swallow the lump in my throat. Not wanting to chance a furthered argument, I quickly press the “end” button. Not even a minute passes, and my phone already starts singing its ringtone, announcing an awaiting caller. I snatch up the device.
“What?” I growl through clenched teeth.
“Ally? Are you okay?” the voice belongs to my best friend, Luke. Immediately, regret for my tone seeps in through my chest.
“Sorry, I thought you were someone else,” I apologize while walking to the vanity in the corner of my room. Attempting to slow my breathing, I push the curtains aside and gaze out over our massive backyard. The pool sits on the right side decorated with countless chairs, tables, recliners, and benches. Usually during the weekend my father’s business buddies take root in the furniture, but this week they are all out of town on some ski trip. I occupy the house alone because my Mom decided to tag along. On the other side exists our bar and patio, a popular site for my mother and her friends. The porch light glows, casting ominous shadows across the structures that cause me to swiftly yank the curtains closed. A sudden chill slithers up my spine and I nearly sprint to the king-sized Tempurpedic I received for my birthday last year.
“Hello?” I jolt in surprise and realize the sound came from the phone in my hand. Luke!
“Oh my gosh, Luke, I’m so sorry! I totally just zoned out. What did you say?” my heart thunders in my ears.
“Ha ha, that’s alright,” he says softly, “I was only rambling on about how Jason is completely wrong for you, the usual.” He laughs, which brings a smile to my lips. The sound of Luke’s voice soothes me into lying back against the over-stuffed, down pillows that line the head of my bed.
“You always say that,” I tease playfully. The constant battle between Luke and Jason wears me out at times, but right now I find myself laughing at its silliness.
“It’s true!” he says defensively, “You know I care about you, Ally.” I blush at his softened tone. Feeling slightly uncomfortable all of a sudden, I chuckle into the phone.
“You’ve been my best friend for ten years, and Jason is a total jerk,” he continues.
Smiling, I roll my eyes. Jason proves insensitive at times, tonight demonstrating a prime example, but there’s a sweet side of him, too.
“He has his bad moments,” I admit, “But remember that time he brought flowers and soup to my house when I was sick?”
“That was one nice thing,” he answers grumpily.
Luke never quits, but I feel like someone always watches out for me, making the battle bearable.
“I know you care, Luke, thank you for your concern,” I reply sarcastically, smiling to myself.
“I’m serious!” he says, laughing deeply.
Again, the blush. What is wrong with me? I twist my diamond earring back and forth, a nervous habit I developed as a child.
“Yes, I know,” I say sincerely. A yawn escapes my throat, and I notice what time it is: two o’clock AM.
“I’ll let you go,” Luke states, amused, “Goodnight, Ally Cat, sweet dreams.” Hearing my nickname brings another smile to my lips.
“Goodnight, Luke,” I respond. I place my phone on the nightstand and flip off the lights. I fall asleep within minutes, my body and mind welcoming the comforting embrace of sleep.