Chapter 38, Leave the Grown-ups be
[BY KELLY KATHERINE RHODES]
“Get in,” my current captor growls before throwing me into the room we just got to.
I tumble and fall and hurt my jaw on the hard concrete floor. Scared about losing a tooth, I feel at my mouth, but other than a bit of blood I seem to be fine. My captor closes the door and I hear a lock before he walks off again, leaving me inside. Finally able to relax for a moment, I whimper when I notice I injured my shoulder as well. Thought that could’ve been from something else too.
“Oh my God...” I hear someone whisper.
“She’s so young...” Another says.
I look up and finally notice my surroundings. I’m in a fairly large room with high ceilings and plumbing crossing above. There are a few stray crates but other than that, the room seems to be reasonably empty. Save for the two dozen girls in here with me. Everyone is staring at me. Some move on and continue their nap on the cold floor, others start whispering amongst themselves. One girl starts puking in the corner and I don’t even notice the smell since I’ve smelled nothing but rot the moment I was captured.
Everyone here looks so... defeated. Worn out and tired. Like me, all the girls seem to be dressed in the clothes they were captured with. I can already tell by the torn clothes and sticky skin that again like me, nobody here has had a bath the last month. Unless you count that one time I was hosed at my previous location.
Knowing this place will be the same as the other rooms I’ve been in, I crawl over to the nearest wall and get comfortable on the cold floor.
“Hey, how old are you?” a girl asks. I look over and a brunette girl has made her way over to me. Her nose has clearly been broken and mascara had run down her face.
Don’t get to know her, I tell myself. It’ll only hurt more when you separate.
I still wonder what happened to my last friend...
Tears make their way to my eyes because deep down I know what happened to the last girl I became friends with. “Don’t talk to me,” I tell the brunette girl.
“Hey, no need to be rude,” another girl says. This time, a blonde girl shuffles her way over to us. Her glasses are cracked and her hair looks like someone just pulled it, but she seems better off than the brunette.
“What’s the point in getting to know each other? I’ve been here long enough to know it can’t end well,” I reply. I feel my nose getting runny so I sniff and wipe with my jacket sleeve.
“How long have you been taken?” The brunette asks.
“I was captured for a while, kept somewhere else, but it’s been about a month since I’ve been with these assholes,” I explain.
Dammit, why am I talking to these girls?
The blonde smiles sadly. “We’ve been with these assholes for about a year now. Though this location is fairly new to us.”
“A year?” I ask horrified, “What are they planning to do with us? Have they done anything to you?”
The two girls share a look before the brunette gives me a small smile. “Nothing much. We’ve just been moved around mostly. We’ll probably get moved again soon.” The blonde girl is smiling as well, but I feel like they’re hiding something. I look over and there are hand-shaped bruises on their thighs. Maybe they’ve just been thrown around a lot like me?
“How old are you?” The brunette asks again.
I sigh. “Thirteen,” I answer.
“We’re both nineteen,” the blonde says.
They’re a lot older than me... “Same age as my brother...” I say before I’m reminded of the awful thoughts haunting me. “Brother...” I whisper, “I don’t even know if he’s alive, but...” Without meaning to, I let a tear slip from my eye, “I’m sure if he was, he would have rescued me by now...” I can’t help sobbing. I’ve been nothing but a crying mess since the day those men came into our home and killed my parents...
I used to be proud of the fact that nothing could make me cry. I was tough. Like my brother, but now... He’d be so disappointed if he saw how much I cry.
“It’s okay, shhh, it’s okay,” the two girls soothe as they huddle in to hug me. I can smell blood and vomit in their hair. I can feel the oily texture and yet, I’m reminded of my mom back home. I hated getting hugs, always fought back when mom tried to pull me in... And now I’d trade anything in the world for her to hug me one more time.
The girls let go and smile sadly at me. “Better?” they ask.
“What’s your name?” The brunette asks.
“Kelly,” I reply.
“Nice to meet you, Kelly. Wish it was under better circumstances, but my name is Jude,” The brunette says, “And my friend here is Lovebird.”
“It’s a pleasure,” I say and stick out my hand.
“Such a lady,” the one called Lovebird smiles before she shakes my hand. Jude follows suit.
“Where are you from?” Jude asks.
“Oh, us too!”
“Yeah, we went to Tygerwell High. We lived near the Docks,” Lovebird beams.
This isn’t good... I’m getting to know them just like my last friend, but... It’s too late now.
“I lived on the East side of Town,” I answer.
“What a small world,” Jude says.
I was about to reply, but the door to the room suddenly opens. Fear washes over every part of my being at the sigh of three men entering. This is it. They’re going to take my new friends away. Just like last time! Unable to take it, I shut my eyes tight, cover my ears with my hands and curl up in a little ball. This is it. This is it. They’re both... They’re both...
Hey, Kelly, when we escape, let’s go find our brothers together. Mine lives a little further away, but we can do it.
Kelly... it’s been two weeks now... When do you think we’ll get our chance?
Kelly? Kelly! Kelly, help!!!! Call my brother, Kelly! Call him! Kelly! Ah, let go!!! Let go of me! KELLY!!!!!!!!
“Kelly, are you alright?” I hear Jude ask.
I look up and everyone’s still fine.
“They brought food and water,” Lovebird says as she shows the bread in her hand.
“Oh...” I say. Water... It’s been a while since I had...
I reach for the third bottle, but Jude swats my hand away. “Don’t drink the water,” she says. “It’s drugged.”
“Then... how?” I ask. My lips are already cracked and I feel my throat crave moisture. I’m too thirsty.
“When they take us to the bathroom, drink the toilet water. Trust me, it’s the best bet,” Lovebird says. She pushes back her glasses and tugs away an oily blonde lock.
I look over at the rest of the girls in the room. Some leave their water, but others gulp it down like it’s their lifeline. Those girls immediately become a little stranger... They look up at the ceiling in a happy daze before slumping onto the floor and staring into nothing.
They really are drugged...
“Thanks,” I tell Jude and Lovebird.
“When those guys come back, just act like the other girls that drank the water,” Lovebird says.
I’m not sure for how long, but the girls and I sit quietly at our spot and rest. When those men from earlier come back to take the bottles (which Jude emptied for us) the three of us pretend to be sleeping, huddling together much like my friends and I did at sleepovers before the world ended for me. Even after the men leave, we stay on the floor like this.
“What’s your dream after escaping?” Jude asks.
“Water that didn’t come from the toilet,” Lovebird jokes.
I can’t help but chuckle at that. “A bath,” I grin. The girls laugh as well, but then Jude sadly smiles.
“I want to get back... I want to get back at these fuckers. I want to go to the gym for a month and then come back kicking everyone’s asses. Especially that bald guy from yesterday,” Jude says.
“Oh my God, yes, Fackface Baldy. I want to kick him in the balls,” Lovebird agrees.
I laugh. Getting back at all these bad men sounds fun and all, but... “I just want to find my brother,” I sigh, “I want to find my brother and go somewhere far away. And adopt a puppy. Oh, and I want to tell the boy I like I’m sorry for not showing up at the date we planned.” I fiddle with my thumbs. “He must think I’m rude because I didn’t show up...”
“With a pretty face like that, he’ll forgive you,” Lovebird smiles.
Pretty? I look like my dad, honestly. Same copper hair and dark eyes. I cut my fringe myself so it’s a bit skewed and I’ve always hated how prominent my jaw is. Plus I have bony limps. The only reason girls talked to me at school was because my parents were rich. I preferred kicking ass on the sportsfield in any way.
“You guys are pretty too,” I tell the girls in an attempt to get the attention away from me.
Jude snickers. “Yeah, I used to think that too, but the guys I liked never liked me back,” she says.
“I, I was never interested in dating the boys at school really,” Lovebird adds with a nervous glance at her friend before she looks back at me.
The rest of the conversation goes about the same. We stay there on the floor and talk about futures we hope we’d still get to have. Exactly two days pass without much change. I manage to survive thanks to the help of Jude and Lovebird but something keeps gnawing at me. We can’t just be kept in here forever... At some point... Something will happen.
I wake up to the sound of men arguing outside. About the same time I perch up from my sleeping spot on the cold floor, Jude and Lovebird stir awake as well. The two girls look around confused as the arguing outside gets louder.
“They’re getting shipped off tonight, what’s the harm in having some fun before they leave?” One man asks.
“We can’t spoil the goods,” another replies.
The first man scoffs. “Spoil? Those girls are all fucked in anyway.”
The door to the room opens and two men walk inside. The bald man looks over my way and my body freezes at the greasy look he hands us. “This one looks a little less ruined,” the bald guy says as he walks over.
“Hey, Kiel, cut it out. The boss’ll kill you,” the second man says.
“Relax,” Kiel shrugs as he steps right in front of me, “Nobody will know.”
Without warning, Kiel grabs me by the back of my jacket and easily pulls me up into the air. I panic at being grabbed and instinct takes over as I start kicking in an attempt to free myself. Though after months of malnourishment, I have next to zero strength in my body.
“Let her go!” Jude yells.
Lovebird and Jude jump to their feet and try pulling me away, but Kiel merely kicks Lovebird away and smacks Jude hard across the face. “Shut the fuck up, bitches,” Kiel yells, “I’ll just have a bit of fun.”
“Kiel, let go of that girl. She’s a special order. I think our client would notice if she wasn’t a virgin anymore,” the other guy says.
Kiel stops in his tracks. I watch in horror as the wheels in his head turn before he lets out a disapproving sound. “I won’t fuck her,” he barters, “I’ll just have a bit of fun.”
The second guy sighs like he’s giving up on arguing with his friend. Tears spill down my eyes, because I know this is finally it for me. Kiel starts dragging me away. And just when my heart feels like it’ll beat out of my chest, he suddenly stops.
“Hey, don’t you remember me?” someone asks. I blink to clear my vision and watch as Lovebird crawls over - her one hand seductively clinging to Kiel’s leg. Lovebird removes her glances and hands Kiel an alluring smile. “We had a lot of fun last time. There’s no point in messing around with an inexperienced little girl like that in anyway. She’ll just cry the whole time.”
I watch the scene unfold in horror - too shocked to say anything. What’s Lovebird talking about? What fun did they have?
“Fuck yeah, I remember you,” Kiel says and drops me.
I feel my knees burn when I hit the floor. Finally, remembering how to speak, I look over at Lovebird in panic. “What are you doing?” I ask.
“Shut up, Little Girl,” Lovebird sneers at me, “Leave the grown-ups be.”
I watch in frozen shock as my friend gets up and follows Kiel outside. And there’s nothing I can do but stare as the door closes. Jude is too knocked out to have much of a say either.
There really isn’t any hope left... Is there?