The Caged Bird Sings



The bed beside me is empty when I open my eyes, but there's this vast nothingness inside me that makes the space of the bed look minuscule. I could not sleep, not with his very presence radiating heat and tremors. I know he didn't sleep either, he was gloating the entire night. He never spoke to me—he only laughed, so painstakingly soft that it grated my ears to listen, a lover's chuckle, and made harsh sounds. He thrived on my pain.

I'm shivering, thinking of those hard, terrible things—I've been lied to, I've been disappointed, I've been abandoned, I've been hurt, I've been bereaved before; but I've never been violated. The adamant movements of his mouth on mine were too much, teeth biting into my skin—being eaten alive, a cannibal's feast—with his body pushing into mine. There was so much horrible, excruciating pain...! I was on fire and no one was coming to throw water onto me, to pull me out of the inferno I volunteered to enter into. Fire… I'm burned, scathed on many levels, and yet the fire has never felt colder.

I'm shuddering, feeling filth coat my skin, where his fingers and tongue touched, and each part of me is marred with something unseen and disgusting. I want to wash it away, but I can't find the strength to move. I want to be clean, but I know it won't fix anything—I'm soiled; miner's hands have a higher chance of becoming cleaner than I.

So I stay on the bed, torn between wanting to wash myself of the body that invaded me and attempting to flee. I don't know how, but I want to…. I'm curled up in a fetal position, feeling numb and lost. I shut my eyes, and he's there, naked and powerful, an awful god of war sent to destroy me from the inside out. I want to move, to remind myself I can, for it is so much effort even blinking. There's an awful ache between my legs and when I look down, there's blood, dark on my skin…

I'm puking onto the floor, my nerves snapping—despite eating nothing for days, things do come out, and it's blood, the coppery taste filling my mouth and it reminds me of how he would bite my tongue. I retch until my throat is raw, sticky within from my own lifeblood. The floor of the room has never looked more fascinating, with blood staining it, making it unclean…

My eyelids grow heavy, fingers shaking, fumbling to grasp the sheet to hide from the silent walls. The fatigue from the Games, of no food, of being touch against my will, all hit me and I find myself crying. Inside. I can't cry outside. I won't allow myself to cry. I can't. I've lost all feeling.

And suddenly it's night—it barely feels like the hours have passed.

The door creaks and my body is instantly alert, heartbeat frantic, my breath shallow. I don't know what comes over me but I find myself attempting to run—the desperation that fills me is so intense that I cannot help the overtaking of it in my legs, finding the will to finally stand, to move, to take flight and yet he's just as fast, faster, and he's pushing me back onto the bed. I'm pinned, his knees resting heavily on my wrists, bruising the skin. I rage, thrash, and his body is crushing onto my chest until I can barely breathe.

The mouth upon mine is horrid, and it's more frightening to know that he doesn't taste of alcohol—that he's not impaired because of spirits. He's like this because it's how he is, and it causes me to fight harder. I'm still in the Games, I'm still going to make it out alive—for the people I remember are far away, waiting for me… the alive and the dead.

He is laughing above me as I struggle, manic and brutal.

It feels infinite, having him impale my very being, over and over. The pain between my legs spreads, nails raking into the skin of my back, and I feel the bruises forming of where his fists pound into my frame. His fingers dig into my face as he fiercely ravages my mouth.

Something in me snaps. I bite down on his tongue.

He stares; smirks, "You little bitch,"

He instantly makes it clear that retaliation won't sit well with him, a blow to my face causing my mind to reel and spin, lights popping behind my lids, and I'm falling fast into black and it frightens me—because I won't be able to know what he does to me…. And I can't decide if it's better to know or not to know…

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