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Brianna opened her eyes to darkness. It was a kind of darkness she’d never experienced before. She strained her eyes but saw nothing. Panicking she continued to search for some sort of light, but there was none.
She realized that she was lying on her back. The floor was rough, unpolished wood maybe. She attempted to stand up, her head colliding with the ceiling, not five feet up. But this was not the only shock. She was stiff. Any kind of movement sent aches throughout every muscle in her body. Her head pounded with such a force that she thought the world had erupted in an explosion of drums, banging and clattering in her ears. She cried out in agony. Her left shoulder bared the pain of a thousand knives plunging into her skin, scraping her flesh further away with every movement. Like nothing she'd ever felt before. Like no pain she'd ever experienced. She had other wounds, up and down her body, but none as hallowing as her shoulder. She had no way to see the harm done to her and was too petrified in fear to try to feel the damage with her good hand, so she lay there, ignorant as to what injuries she was baring. The only knowledge she had was from the nauseating smell of blood.
Where was she? And how had she gotten here? She tried to remember anything from before being encased in this dark room. She remembered being home today, or was it yesterday? How long had she been laying here unconscious? She wracked her brain for anything that could give her answers. Brianna faintly remembered fighting. No not fighting, rather an attack. Yes, someone had attacked her! She was satisfied with finding an answer, but her terror only grew as realized what it meant. She was trapped, locked in this room, this small, dark room.
And yet there was still the question of where this room was. Was she still in the quiet little town in Virginia where she had most recently been living? Or was she in another state? Another country? No way of knowing.
"Hello!" she screamed "Anybody?"
No one answered.
She thought to herself, I have to find a way out, there has to be some way out. Brianna reached her good arm up to feel around for a door or a window, but she couldn't reach very far without moving the rest of her body. There had to be a way out and Brianna had to find it. She bared her teeth and scooted forward on her back, letting out shrieks of pain as she moved. Soon her feet touch feet another wall. She frowned. The room wasn't a room at all. It was a box. After inspecting the box as much as her shoulder would allow, she determined about how big the box was. About five feet tall, six feet wide, and seven feet long. A box. She could feel the screws in its corners. Defiantly a box. She traced over the wall to her right, unable to see what she was doing, only being able to feel her way, searching for a weak point, but there was none. Her finger tips grazed over a hole in the wall. No light leaked through the hole, which was odd. It was small, just big enough for her to fit her pinky through. Something moist lay within it, something moist and soft. She recognized the smell of dirt.
Her heart stopped. The thought struck her, hard. No, no, no. No. No way. Not dirt. It couldn't be dirt she told herself. But it was, and she knew. Brianna was buried deep down under dirt, buried alive.
She moaned. She was hyperventilating now. Every heaving breath sent shudders through her body, and twinges down her left arm. The pain came back to her mind, the awful pain that rendered her absolutely helpless; a pain like fire burning down her shoulder. The smell of blood made her sick. Her head was spinning. How long until blood loss killed her? Or would it be thirst that did away with her? Of course air would run out soon, and soon she would die from that, much faster than thirst.
There was a sound, far above her. A car maybe, some sort of motor. Her eyes opened wide. She could barely breathe. But just as suddenly as it had come, it disappeared. There was only silence left in its wake. She did something that she hadn't done in a long time. Something that the immutable mask she had pasted to her face for so long had kept her from doing. She cried. She cried and cried until she had no tears left to cry. Lying deep beneath the ground, doubting there would find a way out.
She screamed, but her screams were buried as deep as the chamber she lay in. No chance anyone would ever hear her, or ever find her. She knew she'd be here until she died. This would be her eternal casket. She didn't want to die, she wasn't ready to die, but it was the only way out of this torture. The only way she could be free of this agony. It was clear to her that she would do anything to escape the impenetrable darkness that was slowly stealing the sanity from her young, fragile mind.
The blood from her wound soaked her shirt flannel shirt, puddling around her. To large of a puddle, Brianna thought.
Was anyone missing her right now? Was anyone searching for her, trying to understand why she had disappeared? She thought of her baby brother, Luke, and let out a sob. He was seven, five years younger than she. Brianna and Luke were foster care children. Foster care had given Brianna a hard edge. She never showed weakness in front of people. She never asked for help and convinced herself she didn't really need it anyways. But besides foster care, she and her brother faced other challenges. Luke was autistic. Not severely, but still autistic. They never stayed in one place very long. Many of the foster parents didn't want to deal with Luke and gave up on him, but Brianna never gave up on Luke. She loved him with all her heart, because he was all she had to love. And now he was alone. She wanted desperately to be with him, to hold his hand and tell him that things would be okay. But she knew things weren't going to be okay.
It was getting hot, hot like an oven that she couldn't break free of. She tried the take her shirt off but it was no use. She couldn't bare the torture. Her pain was growing, and yet a sort of numbness had set in. She had broken her arm once, defending Luke from a foster parent, but this was on hundred times worse. Half of her hair lay stuck in her wound, matted with blood. The other half lay drenched in sweat, in curly blonde strands against her neck. The air had grown thick with time and her lungs stung like acid.
There was a sound. A distant, muffled scraping that came from far above her. It was too soft to know what it was, or to be sure it was even there, but just loud enough to arise a glimmer of hope in Brianna's heart. It continued on for awhile, she wasn't exactly sure how long. It kept getting louder and louder, closer and closer, and all Brianna could do was wait. The torment and anguish that tore at her shoulder grew worse with every moment.
The noise was close now, seemingly just outside the box.
"Faster! Come faster!" she wept.
Her body was going numb. Her head was so dizzy that she felt as if she were floating, and yet it felt all the pain of a hammer striking her over and over again, never letting up.
Something struck the box, sending a wave of pain throughout Brianna's body. It struck the box again and again, cracking the wood. There was light then. Beams of light protruded from the cracked wood. It stung her eyes. She'd been here for mere hours and the light already seemed like a blessing.
Who ever was above her, pried the box open and the light poured over her like a bucket water. Through squinting eyes she saw a man. He stood still, staring at her. Hurry she pleaded, but she couldn't speak any of the words. To weak she thought, I'm too weak. I'm dying. Come on! She screamed in her mind. Why was he standing there? Why was he doing nothing to save her?
Every voice in her head told her not to say it, but she had to say it. "Help me" She whispered. I admit it, she thought, I need help. She would die here, but she couldn't die here. No. He would save her. She was sure.
She could see the horrific scene of smeared blood around her. It was terrifying, absolutely sickening. A pain jolted through her entire body. From head to toe she shook uncontrollably in quick spasms. She let out a blood curdling scream.
She could feel herself fading, slowly fading away. Her eyesight was failing her. She couldn't focus her eyes as they rolled around in her head. He had to help her, had to save her. He had too.
She saw another figure standing behind the man, holding onto his pant leg, but she was unsure of whom. She couldn't focus. This person was much smaller, a child.
And then Brianna knew. She knew him too well not to recognize his small figure and fragile body. His perfectly round face and light blonde curls, the same as hers.
A tear rolled down her cheek.
The man raised his pistol.