Riley was kidnapped at age six and for ten years she has been continuously tortured, with no chance of escape.
Then when a boy comes to work for the place where she is trapped he tells her thatb he will get her out, but what will happen when -or if- they do get out.
Will they find out why they kidnapped Riley?
Will they found out where Riley's brother Tariq is?
And will they ever be left alone?
I took a deep breath and shoved the nagging feeling to the back of my mind, slowly unbuckling my seat belt.
â€œRiley, honey,â€ Melanie said to me in a friendly tone, â€œI donâ€™t think itâ€™d be a good idea for you to come in, someone might get confused that you the patient,â€ Melanie laughed softly at her attempt at a joke before continuing to talk, â€œStay in the car with Vance and Iâ€™ll bring Jean in, Iâ€™ll be back out as soon as possible.â€
I nodded, despite the fact I didnâ€™t completely feel safe being alone with Vance from the glares Iâ€™ve received from him, but decided against complaining, and just stayed silent as Melanie got out of the car and supported an unconscious Jean into the hospital.
If I said it was an awkward silence between Vance and me, itâ€™d be understatement of the century. The only noise was our light breathing and the ruffling of fabric when we shifted our weight. I just stared at my fiddling fingers, waiting for Melanie to get back. I wanted her to get back now, but I also wanted to say something to Vance, to at least say sorry about what happened to Jean, to say anything.
I opened my mouth, not entirely sure what I was planning on saying, but Vance beat me to it, â€œIâ€™m sorry, you know, for not being very nice earlier,â€ the way he said it made me think he was being sincere, even though it also sounded as if he really didnâ€™t want to say it.
I shrugged, â€œits fine,â€ I answered quietly, â€œAnd Iâ€™m sorry, about what happened to Jean.â€
Vance didnâ€™t reply and instead just leaned back in his chair and stared out the window. I decided to stare at the clock on the dashboard counting the minutes that passed.
The time had just changed to 3:56 when Melanie opened the door and slipped into her seat meaning it had been a completely silent nine minutes since Vance and my little apology session.
â€œAnd theyâ€™re both alive,â€ Melanie said cheerily, Vance sent a glare her way and I just sent her a confused look, Melanie acted unfazed by Vanceâ€™s reaction and just said, â€œFigured one of you would be dead from being left in the car with each other, though Iâ€™m not sure who would win that fight.â€
I heard Vance let out a light chuckle before digging into his pocket and fishing out and iPod, sticking his earphones in and turning it up loud enough that I could catch the beat of whatever song he was listening to.
Melanie let out a soft sigh before speaking again with a hard tone, â€œVance.â€
No reaction, he just continued to stare out the window and tap his finger on the small section of the glass from the window that hadnâ€™t been rolled down the whole way.
Melanie reached back and grabbed the chords for the earphones, roughly pulling them out, her tone completely exasperated, â€œVance,â€ she repeated, waiting until his glare faded before handing back the earphones and continuing, â€œJean is going to be fine. So quite your winging because itâ€™ll get you nowhere.â€
â€œThanks for that helpful advice,â€ Vance shot sarcastically, he then glance over at me, â€œHey, Riley, did you know if you can see someone elseâ€™s face in the mirror, they can also see yours?â€
â€œUm... no, I didnâ€™t know that, Vance,â€ I was completely confused by the random fact so when Melanie started the car I looked forward, then after a few seconds, I couldnâ€™t help but steal a look up at the mirror to see Vanceâ€™s reflection and to realize that his deep green eyes looked as if they were staring out of the mirror, and at me.
A tiny look of shock crossed my features for a second and I saw the corner of Vanceâ€™s mouth tug upwards and he stuck out his tongue at me and mouthed something at me, I didnâ€™t catch it and he could tell from the questioning look on my face, letting out a way over exaggerated, silent exasperated sigh he tried again, extra slow this time and I only just caught it. Cheer up.
I turned my head, glancing at Vance and he just grinned at me, I was completely confused, I swear a second ago he hated me, despite the fact that he had said sorry, he still didnâ€™t exactly act friendly towards me. I turned back to the front and leaned back in my chair closing my eyes; might as well get some sleep while Vance wasnâ€™t glaring holes in my back.
I woke up once when we had to change cars and we all got in a white Tarago, but once we were settled, Vance in the front seat this time and me stretched across the far back seats, I fell asleep once again.
When I woke up we were still in the car, but instead of the usual smooth road we were on a rocky road, I sat up and looked around to see we were surrounded by trees and bushes covering every inch except for the trail in front of us.
â€œWhere are we?â€ I asked groggily.
â€œThe middle of nowhere,â€ Vance replied smoothly, â€œwhere if you try to run away; if we donâ€™t catch you, the wild animals will.â€ Vance sent me a taunting smile through the mirror instead of looking back, I realized then that he and Melanie had swapped seats so that Vance was driving and she was sleeping.
â€œNot funny,â€ I grumbled, and even though it may not have been the best thing to say to most people after they had done what I had and just ran away from a hell hole like the one Iâ€™d lived in for ten years, theyâ€™d get all cranky and probably hit him or give him the silent treatment because it was too soon. Not me though, I honestly could help but crack a smile, even though it wasnâ€™t all that funny anyway.
â€œHow long until we get there?â€
â€œDepends on what you mean by â€˜thereâ€™,â€ he told me, â€œWe are stopping somewhere in about an hour for a couple of days. Then weâ€™re on the road again to where weâ€™ll be staying, for a while.â€
â€œAnd how long will that trip take?â€
â€œAlmost as long as it took to get here, maybe a bit shorter.â€
There was a bit of silence, then ruffling of paper and other things as Vance leaned over and dug through the glove department, only half paying attention to what he was looking for. When I hear the compartment close, something was thrown at me and landed on my lap.
â€œChips,â€ Vance told me as I picked up the pink aluminum bag, â€œSalt and Vinegar, hope you like them because I ate the rest of the food.â€
â€œThanks,â€ I muttered ripping open the packet and slowly nibbling on the chips. I finished the chips and we sat in silence until we neared a large silver gate that reminded me of something in one of the horror movies Tariq and I used to watch at the same time as Mum and Dad, hiding in the corner while they thought we were sleeping.
Vance slowed down and stopped so that the very front of the car almost touched the gate. He then pulled out a phone and put it to his ear, all was silent for around two seconds until Vance said â€˜Open the gateâ€™ and hung up, shoving the phone back in his pocket, slowly driving in as the gate opened.
The driveway was long and rocky; eventually we came up to a small house with peeling blue paint and looked as if it would only be able to fit a few rooms.
We woke up Melanie and made our way towards the front door where a man who was probably in his seventies stood, waiting for us. His eyes ran over Vance and a sleepy Melanie, taking them in and giving them a polite nod. But when his eyes rested on me they turned sympathetic.
â€œYou must be the girl they saved, come in, you look like you need a nice warm bath, a good meal and some sleep.â€
And I did exactly that.
When I woke up the sun was only beginning to rise, causing reds to bleed across the otherwise dark sky that I could see out of my open window.
A light breeze went through the window and I only realized how cold it was when I pushed the blankets away from my body, exposing my body. I only wore a silky short, baby blue nightgown with thin straps to hold it up. Bryan â€“the old man who owns the house- had given it to me, explaining it was his daughters before she left.
I wrapped my arms around myself and got off my bed, letting my feet softly walk along the cold, hard, wooden ground.
I didnâ€™t really know where I was going, I had only seen certain parts of the house when I had arrived, and I hadnâ€™t been paying close attention.
Eventually I found myself in the place which was obviously the kitchen, a white fridge sat in one corner, a gas stove sat opposite it and the rest of the space were completely bare benches with a few cupboards here and there.
The kitchenâ€™s tile floor was cold beneath my feet, but I hardly noticed it, in fact, it almost felt warm to me.
I ran my fingers lightly along the bare marble bench, stopping right in front of four drawers stacked one on top of the other in one straight line.
My fingers fell from the bench and softly landed on the handle of the top drawer. I watched as my slim fingers wrapped around the thin, silver loop handle and pulled the drawer, revealing what I know realized I had subconsciously thought would be there.
Along with the silver, everyday cutlery; the drawer contained multiple big, shiny, sharp knives.
Looking at them I flexed my fingers, they longed to pick them up. I had this hollow feeling in my chest and I knew I had been feeling it as soon as I had gotten out of that hell, I just hadnâ€™t realized it until now. It had been almost completely covered up by the rushes of adrenaline I had been experiencing from running away; being on the run, being away from that place in general had kept my mind from this hollow feeling.
The empty feeling grew and ached more, the more that I thought about it. It felt like I had this big chunk of me missing and I had to fill it up somehow, but my mind couldnâ€™t process how.
Before I even knew what I was doing my hand reached out and wrapped its way around the handle of one of the largest and sharpest knives in the drawer and I pulled it towards my forearm which I held before me so that the cool blade was sitting on the bottom of my arm.
You know when you are dreaming and you know you have to start running or stop whatever it is that youâ€™re doing but you just canâ€™t?
That was what it was like for me, I knew I shouldnâ€™t be doing this, not after what all that that Melanie and Vance had done, not after everything that Jean had gone through and done.
But I couldnâ€™t bring myself to stop, the pressure of the knife made my skin dip in.
I bit my lip before pushing the knife as hard as I could and slicing it towards myself.
Blood gushed out of the wide wound and a sudden joyous feeling came over me.
The dripping blood pooled around my feet, but I stood, staring at my arm, because, before my eyes, my skin was stitching itself back together, centre meter by centre meter, the joy slowly fading away as the gash healed itself.
â€œRiley!â€ I heard someone shout in an urgent tone, followed by footsteps and two large hands on my almost healed arm.
Only then did I really realize how much I had bled and what I had done.
My eyes widened when I caught sight of the large puddle of blood that my feet soaked in.
My gaze flickered to Vanceâ€™s angry and slightly distressed expression.
I opened my mouth to explain myself but I couldnâ€™t seem to form words or think of an explanation.
â€œWhat are you doing?â€ Vance all but growled at me.
I shrugged helplessly.
Vance groaned, pushing me lightly to the side before hastily pulling out a tea towel and holding it to my injured arm.
â€œWould you care to explain?â€ Vance questioned, sounding extremely exasperated.
â€œI...â€ But I still couldnâ€™t think anything up, my mind felt all fuzzy and I couldnâ€™t help but yearn to grab the knife and cut myself again, to feel the rush of bliss I had felt.
â€œMy arm...â€ I whispered, attempting to push Vanceâ€™s hand away, but he resisted it there, managing to keep it firmly in place while still only having it gently on my arm.
â€œStop,â€ he told me harshly, â€œWe need to stop the bleeding and patch you up.â€
He grabbed the hand attached to my uninjured arm and rested it on top of the tea towel, holding it in place, his warm hand holding mine down. â€œStay here and keep it on the wound, Iâ€™ll be back.â€ As soon as he was out of sight I dropped the already blood-stained tea towel into the puddle at my feet and stared at my arm.
Instead of the gaping slice that had been losing an unbelievable amount of blood just a minute ago my arm was completely smooth and soft, like it had never been cut open, the only thing that showed it had been done was a extremely feint red line that traced where I had cut myself with the knife.
When I heard footsteps my blood-covered arm fell to my side and my head snapped up to find Vance in the door way holding a first-aid kit. His eyes flickered to the bloody tea towel on the floor them to my bloody arm, his expression turned angry.
â€œDo you choose to ignore what I tell you, or are you mentally impaired in a way where you canâ€™t help it?â€
I flinched but turned angry, he thought he could just insult and be mean to me like that, like I hadnâ€™t had enough stuff happen to me in my lifetime.
â€œWhy do you even bother trying to help me?â€ I asked him, my voice rising just the slightest, and â€œIf I am such a burden on you, donâ€™t bother trying to help me, because-â€
But before I continue my rant a head pooped up behind Vance looking distressed, â€œWhatâ€™s happened? Vance, what did you do?â€
Vanceâ€™s mouth twitched up in the corner a little into a sadistic grin even though you could see in his eyes he was so obviously enraged, â€œYes, of course it was me who did this to her, couldnâ€™t be anyone else, right, Melanie? Because Iâ€™m a violent little-â€ he stopped a second, to let out a small breath, his eyes met mine, â€œYou know, I donâ€™t even know why myself, because you are such a burden, you have done a lot more than you think you have, little girl. Donâ€™t ever think Iâ€™ll help you ever again.â€
â€œThatâ€™s okay, I donâ€™t ever want you help,â€ I told him, my voice quiet but it didnâ€™t waver or make me appear too weak, I donâ€™t think it did anyway.
Without another word, Vance dropped the first aid kit and pushed roughly past Melanie, disappearing to who knows where.
Melanie appeared unfazed by the shove and rushed over to me, â€œAre you okay, Sweetie? What did he do to you?â€
â€œIâ€™m fine,â€ I said automatically as I was still processing the words said, then when they fully sunk in I couldnâ€™t help but ask, â€œWhat makes you think Vance did something?â€
â€œWell... your voices sounded angry and there was blood all over you,â€ It was only the half truth, it obviously wasnâ€™t the true reason that she thought he may have hurt me.
â€œMelanie, if there is something about Vance I should know... I mean, if he is violent or anything...â€
â€œItâ€™s not that,â€ Melanie protested, â€œItâ€™s...â€ she sighed, â€œSome things have happened in Vanceâ€™s life, other than the whole Jean thing. Along with that he hasnâ€™t been feeling well â€“not that heâ€™s told anyone, I can just tell- and his temper is worse than usual. You need to forgive him, though, if he is rude, feel free to be rude back, heâ€™ll most probably deserve it...â€
She gave me a small, encouraging smile, â€œNow, would you like to explain what happened here?â€
â€œI slipped while holding a knife and cut myself,â€ I lied quickly, hoping she wouldnâ€™t question why I had a knife in the first place.
Fortunately, she decided that I wasnâ€™t going to say anything else and nodded, â€œWell, be careful, dear. How about you go to bed, Iâ€™ll clean up this mess, and it seems you do heal very fast.â€
I nodded, and with a quiet word of thanks walked back to my temporary room.
I stared at my arm completely healed arm, not even beginning to fathom how it could have possibly healed a gash as deep it had just two minutes ago.
The next few days went by with me watching the television all day, trying to hear it over the sound of Melanieâ€™s phone calls which always commenced in this room due to lack of cordless phone in the house and no reception so mobile phones couldnâ€™t be used. Bryan was almost always either sleeping or wasnâ€™t at the house; and Vance I only saw if I woke up really early and Iâ€™d see him leaving the place on an old motorbike and then wouldnâ€™t see him again until the next morning.
It became awfully boring; nothing on TV really came of an interest to me and all the books that Bryan had were old, dusty, and not in English.
Around five days into our stay I was watching some show about a sponge and a starfish that didnâ€™t make much sense to me. Melanie had just returned to the house as she had gone out previously, deciding we needed some groceries.
She spoke quietly into the phone, sneaking glances at me when she thought I couldnâ€™t see that made me slightly uncomfortable because it made me feel that it was either about me, it was something top secret that I couldnâ€™t know about, or both.
Suddenly, the front door opened and Vance strolled in carelessly. Melanie gave him a nod of acknowledgement and then continued her phone conversation.
Silently, Vance walked over to the lounge and sat right next to me, so that his shoulder touched mine.
I quickly glanced at him and saw him staring at the television with a strange fascination, â€œI never understood this show,â€ he told me, then, like before, the only sound was Melanieâ€™s whispers and the sounds coming from the TV.
Vance leaned closer to me so that his face was right next to mine, then he whispered in a voice so low I even struggled to hear it, â€œDonâ€™t you want to get out of the house?â€
I just shrugged, keeping my eyes on the television, not making a sound.
â€œYou must be bored,â€ he said softly, â€œYouâ€™ve been here five days and done nothing but watch â€˜Spongebobâ€™â€
Once again, I shrugged, my eyes flickering to Melanie who seemed completely oblivious to the conversation that was commencing, crashing my hopes of her saving me from the conversation continuing.
â€œOkay,â€ Vance said in a not-so-quiet voice, causing Melanie to glance up but she still didnâ€™t come to the rescue, â€œYou are coming outside, right now. Keeping you inside is not helping anything. We are going out now.â€
Just then Melanie ended her phone call and caught up with the conversation.
â€œNo, that is a terrible idea, Vance. You know Codas and his lot could still be looking for her, you know they donâ€™t give up easily.â€
â€œI also know what it is like to be trapped in this house with nothing to do, she wonâ€™t get caught; Iâ€™ll make sure of it.â€
â€œI want her to stay in the house,â€ Melanie argued.
â€œWhy? Nothing will happen to her, anyway-â€
â€œCan you stop talking as if Iâ€™m not here?â€ I interrupted, annoyed.
â€œYes, thatâ€™s a great idea,â€ Vance exclaimed, â€œWhat do you think, Riley? Do you want to go outside? Sitting inside cannot possibly be fun.â€
And now that I was being spoken to directly I actually had to think about what I really wanted.
On one hand I very much wanted to get out of this house, I was beginning to feel claustrophobic from sitting in here all the time, also, I had been stuck in my own, personal hell for years, then when I finally get out, Iâ€™m stuck inside for who knows how long.
Though, I most certainly didnâ€™t want to be found just after I had escaped.
But the desire to get out was crazy; I shrugged and spoke in a small voice, â€œAs long as weâ€™re careful...â€
â€œNo,â€ Melanie sated firmly, â€œRiley will not be leaving this house until we leave in two days time, until then, she will stay inside.â€
â€œYeah, because â€˜Spongebobâ€™ is going to get her in the condition she needs to be in if they end up finding us here. Sheâ€™s fragile now, yeah, but thatâ€™s exactly why we need her to go outside, to build up energy, so she can grow stronger,â€ Vance argued, his voice rising with each word.
â€œThey wonâ€™t find her here though,â€ Melanie retorted, â€œRiley is in perfectly good hands her, Vance. Sheâ€™s safer here watching TV than she is with you!â€
I was ready to cut in to remind them about talking like Iâ€™m not here but the last comment left everyone silent.
Anger flashed across Vanceâ€™s face, â€œYes, because Iâ€™m dangerous and not stable at all, I couldnâ€™t protect anyone,â€ he glanced at me, â€œSheâ€™s right, stay in here, Iâ€™m sure some steroids will get you ready, no need to leave the place.
Melanie sighed, â€œVance, I didnâ€™t mean it like that...â€
Vance let out a dry laugh, â€œBull shit you didnâ€™t.â€ And then he left again, leaving us in silence.
Melanie groaned standing up, â€œNo point,â€ she muttered to herself, â€œHeâ€™ll just walk away.â€ Then she walked into another room and didnâ€™t come back all day.
Codasâ€™ sparkling blue eyes gazed down at me with a look of curiosity. I tried to move my hands and legs but they were captured firmly onto the cold table I lay on.
/â€œHowâ€™d you find me?â€ I gasped out, still struggling against my binds.
â€œI will always find you, Riley, no matter what, you canâ€™t run forever, and you have to come back anyway, you know, if you want to find your brother.â€
â€œTariq? Where is he?â€
â€œNuh-uh, no spoilers, come to me and Iâ€™ll tell you.â€
â€œAre you hurting him?â€
â€œNot as much as we hurt you, no,â€ Codas replied, and I could tell her was being honest, â€œBut imagine how hurt heâ€™ll be when he finds out you just left him there.â€
â€œIâ€™ll get him back,â€ I swore.
Codas laughed then I felt his ice cold hand on my jaw, wrenching it open, and his other hand holding some pliers, â€œNow, open wide...â€
When I woke up I tried to scream but there was a hand covering my mouth, I couldnâ€™t see anything in the dark of the night but I thrashed around, trying to get away from my captor.
â€œMy god, woman, calm down!â€ I felt a familiar voice hiss at me, I calmed down instantly.
â€œYou wonâ€™t scream anymore?â€ Vance whispered to me. I shook my head and he took his hand away, â€œGood, now, get dressed quickly, and quietly, we donâ€™t want to wake up Melanie.â€
â€œWhere are we going?â€ I whispered as my eyes adjusted to the darkness and I could just see Vanceâ€™s form.
Vance shrugged, a faint smile on his lips, â€œJust... out.â€
Serious question for the awesomely amazing people who I love so dearly that read my story. What do you think is going to happen? What do you think has happened to Tariq? And what is your opinion on the characters? I'm very curious...