Scars are just reminders that you were strong enough to survive.
"Just promise me you'll be careful."
I rolled my eyes. "I promise Daniel. We'll be careful. Nothing is going to happen though. Ryckie, Olivia and I are sleeping in the same room and it's only for a weekend. Ms. Wilson said she would check on us periodically, all three of us have cell phones and you will only be half an hour away so if you are really worried you can always drive your handsome self over to see how we are doing. I'm sure Olivia wouldn't mind you interrupting her documentary. We do need to take breaks after all." I said before leaning up to kiss him.
"Well when you put it that way." He smiled and kissed me again. I heard Ryckie calling for me to hurry up.
"I have to go." I whispered against his lips and pulled away reluctantly.
"Okay. Call me when you guys get there Anna."
"I will. Bye."
"Bye." I grabbed my bag and started walking toward the car.
"Anna!" I turned at the sound of my name to see Anthony, another counselor at the camp we were working at, walking toward me.
"Oh hey Anthony. I'm actually in a hurry."
"Oh okay. I guess I'll see you next summer?" He asked.
"Yeah. See you next summer." I gave him a quick wave and hurried into the back of Ryckie's car.
Olivia turned around from the passenger seat.
"What did Anthony want?" she asked.
"Just wanted to see if I would be working next summer I guess."
"Probably so he can creep on you some more. Something is seriously wrong with that guy." Ryckie commented.
"He's not creepy." I retorted. "He's just not very sociable."
"You never saw the looks he would give you when you weren't paying attention. I'm telling you Anna, he's creepy."
"Whatever. So how long until we get there?" I asked effectively changing the subject.
"About an hour."
When we finally got to the old hospital where we were shooting the documentary I called Daniel.
"Hey. We just got here."
"Okay. Are you doing any filming today?"
"No. We're just going to get our stuff set up and check out the hospital to see where we can get some good shots. Then we'll probably just go to bed. It's been a long day."
"Yeah that's probably a good idea."
"Well I should probably help the girls get stuff set up. I'll call you tomorrow."
"Okay sounds good. I love you Anna."
"I love you too Daniel."
I hung up and slid my phone in my pocket before going into the next room.
"Let's get this done. I'm exhausted." I said as I grabbed my sleeping bag and started to unroll it.
When we were finished getting our beds ready I changed into some shorts and a tee-shirt and went to the bathroom to get ready for bed. Ryckie and Olivia were in the other room messing around and throwing pillows at each other. I could hear the occasional squeal when one of them would hit their target hard.
"Anna!" Ryckie screamed suddenly.
"Olivia! What are you doing to" I stopped mid sentence as I wrenched the door open. Standing by the front door was Anthony. He had a hold of Ryckie and had a knife to her throat. Olivia was lying on the ground beside them. I was hoping she was just knocked out and not dead. I slammed the door closed and reached for my phone. I didn't even think I just hit the call button twice. I needed to contact somebody. As it was ringing I reached over and locked the bathroom door just before someone slammed into it. I let out a scream as Anthony pounded on the bathroom door.
"Please pick up. Please pick up. Please pick up." I whispered as the phone continued to ring.
"Anna. Come on. Come out and I won't hurt your friends. Much." Anthony said as he jiggled the handle and pounded on the door. "Don't make me break down the door Anna."
"Hello you've reached Daniel." Thud "I'm not able to answer" Thud "the phone right now" Thud "so please leave a message" Thud "so I can get back to you. Beep."
"Daniel help! It's Anthony. He's here. You have to" CRASH! I dropped the phone and screamed when the door broke off its hinges and Anthony walked in and grabbed me. He threw me over his shoulder. I pounded on his back and screamed.
"Let me go! Help! Somebody help us!" I yelled and screamed and punched and tried everything to get out of his grip. I was carelessly thrown off of his shoulder and onto the sleeping bags. They did nothing to pad the hard concrete floor and my head hit with a sickening crack and I saw spots. By the time I got my bearings back Anthony had already come back from retrieving my phone from the bathroom.
"You won't be needing this." He said as he removed the battery and threw my phone across the room.
"Now I don't appreciate being ignored Anna. So I'm going to have to make sure you don't ignore me again." As he was saying this he was walking toward the unconscious Olivia. "I think that seeing me inflict pain on your friend might make you reconsider the next time you think about ignoring me." He grabbed Olivia by her arm and yanked her up. She stirred at the sudden movement but didn't wake up. He dragged her over to where he had a backpack and pulled out a whip. "I think a few lashes might make her wake up don't you?" he asked looking at me. Olivia looked like a rag doll in his grip and I couldn't let him do that to her, especially to hurt me. Anger flared up inside me and I looked into his face. His eyes glittered with happiness and he smiled sadistically.
"Don't hurt her. Punish me instead. I'm the one who ignored you, not her." His smile widened as he dropped Olivia back on the ground. Ryckie grabbed her and cradled Olivia's head in her lap, tears streaming down her face.
"Go stand by the wall with your back to me. And you might want to use the wall to brace yourself."
I held my head high as I walked toward the wall. I didn't want to show him or Ryckie and Olivia, if she as awake, that I was afraid. He wasn't going to get the satisfaction of knowing that he scared me and he was going to know that I wasn't weak enough to use a wall to brace myself. I faced the wall and clenched my hands into fists at my side.
"Suit yourself." Anthony said.
Crack. A second later I felt a white hot flash of pain across my back propelling me forward. I gasped loudly and had to put my hands against the wall to stop myself. Anthony laughed and I gritted my teeth against the throbbing pain and prepared myself for the next one.
Crack. I cringed as I felt the biting sting against my back once more. My shirt slumped forward and hung on my arms from the whip splitting it in half.
Crack. I cried out this time as the whip bit into my back. I could feel the gentle trickle of blood coming from the wound. I could hear Ryckie sobbing in the background.
"Oops. Didn't mean to break your pretty skin. I just got a little carried away." I clenched my jaw at his words. I stood up a little straighter and curled my fingers into my palms, digging my nails into the skin to distract myself from the pain in my back.
"Oh, stubborn one aren't you Anna? I'll break you of that soon. Promise." I could practically feel his smile.
Crack. Crack. Crack!
A strangled cry escaped my lips when I failed to hold it in after the quick succession of lashes hit my now raw back. My back felt swollen and tender and I knew it probably had angry red lines marring my fair skin. I could still feel the blood trickling from the hard lash Anthony had given me and I could feel a few more fresh trickles of blood from the last one which was harder than the others.
A rush of cool air suddenly washed over my back, easing the pain a tiny bit and the tinkling of keys reached my ears.
"So how are you girls doing?" I heard a female voice ask from the doorway. I turned around to see Ms. Wilson frozen right inside the door, her eyes wide in disbelief of what she was seeing. Quicker than I figured she would be able to move with a possible concussion, Olivia grabbed the knife that Anthony had previously held to Ryckie's throat and had carelessly left by his bag, and pointed it at him. He dropped the whip and slowly raised his arm. Olivia kept the knife pointed at him and started walking toward him, forcing him to walk backward. I saw her mistake almost immediately, but before I could warn her, Anthony was close enough to the still shocked Ms. Wilson to grab her around her neck. She gasped and started clawing at his hand as it quickly constricted her airway.
"Drop it or she dies." Anthony said in a deep menacing voice and I knew that he wasn't just throwing out an empty threat. He would kill Ms. Wilson if he had to. I felt cold as I realized that he would kill us too.
Olivia dropped the knife.
"Walk over there." Anthony ordered and as Olivia walked away, he walked forward to retrieve the knife and slipped it into his back pocket, letting go of Ms. Wilson's now limp form. She thudded to the ground and Ryckie let out a small scream.
"Will you shut up!" He yelled and backhanded Ryckie across the face. She quieted instantly and held her hand to her cheek where it was already turning red. "She's not dead. Now take this rope and tie her to that chair. Tightly." He threw a coil of rope to her. As Ryckie was tying Ms. Wilson up, Anthony walked over to where Olivia was standing, holding his own coil of rope. "Because of that little stunt" he practically spit the word at her "I have to tie you up." He grabbed her left wrist and tied the rope tightly around it. He spun her around and grabbed the other one. I saw her wince slightly as he tied the rope around her wrist and I was positive he didn't care if she lost the circulation in her hands. When he was done he pushed her onto her knees roughly and walked over to Ryckie to do the same. He put them kneeling back to back with Olivia facing me, her face stone cold.
Anthony crouched next to her. "Know that every strike to her skin is because of you Olivia." At his words I saw her mask crack a little. He stood up and walked over to where his whip was laying. "Turn around and spread your legs." He ordered me. I was scared, but I slowly did what he wanted, the pain in my back still throbbing mercilessly.
I screamed when the next lash landed on the back of my left thigh, right below my pajama shorts. I could hear Ryckie crying. I was more prepared for the next one and managed to hold in my scream. The whip came down on my legs six more times, once more on each of my thighs and twice more on each of my lower legs. I bit my tongue to keep from screaming, but couldn't do anything about the tears streaming down my cheeks. My legs were shaking and I thought he was finished when I felt the whip go right across the inside of both knees. Pain sped through my legs as they gave out and I fell to my knees with a scream. I heard shouting and crying coming from Ryckie and Olivia as I sat there. I wanted to stand, but I knew my legs wouldn't support me anymore. I heard footsteps coming toward me and whimpered when Anthony grabbed my hair and yanked my head back. He smiled when he saw my tear stained face and pulled me roughly up by my arm. I saw Olivia sitting there with tears running down her face. I could see the apology in her eyes.
"Walk." Anthony told me.
I gingerly took a step forward and let out a small cry of pain as my leg gave out from under me. I grabbed onto his arm for support as he laughed at my weakness.
I jerked my head up when I heard a voice say, "Let her go."
"Daniel." I breathed. I felt my heart soar when I saw him.
Before I could react I was being yanked to my feet and pressed firmly against Anthony's chest. Searing pain shot through my raw back at the pressure being applied to it and a sob of pain slipped past my lips.
"What are you going to do Daniel?" he sneered.
Daniel's eyes flitted from me to the whip on the ground close to him and he picked it up. "Let her go." He repeated in a low tone.
Anthony laughed causing the pain in my back to increase. "Or what?" he challenged. "You're going to hit me? Go ahead. You'll hit your precious Anna before you ever get close to me." I saw Daniel hesitate slightly but then he tightened his grip on the handle. "Here, I'll even give you a nice target." Anthony spun me around putting one hand on my ass while the other gripped my hair, so Daniel could clearly see my back and legs, red, torn and bloodied. I heard him gasp and I started to cry when I heard the whip slip out of his hand and clatter to the ground. I was spun around again and pulled flush against his chest making me cry harder because of the fresh wave of pain that washed over my body. I felt the cold hard metal of the knife being placed against my throat.
"Walk." He told me as he started to walk closer to Daniel. "Go stand facing the wall." He told him. Daniel stared at Anthony as he stood there. I felt the blade press harder against my neck. "Go stand facing the wall unless you want her to die." With a murderous look in his eye, Daniel slowly walked toward the wall and stood with his back toward us. "Take off your shirt." Anthony ordered. Daniel did as he said and tossed it on the floor beside him revealing his smooth tanned back.
I started crying harder and begging with Anthony. "No. Please don't do this. I'll do anything just don't hurt him. Please don't do this. I'll do anything you want. Anything as long as you don't hurt him. Please!"
"Oh, I'm not going to hurt him." He said as he picked up the whip and placed it into my hand.
"No. No, I can't do it. I won't hurt him. No!" I said.
He leaned down until his mouth was right next to my ear. "Either you do this or I can kill him right now. It's your choice Anna." I let out a sob as I half-heartedly raised the whip and brought it down. Daniel flinched but that was it.
"No no no. That won't do." I heard him whisper in my ear again. He grabbed the hand that was holding the whip and brought it down hard on Daniel's back. I cried with each strike and on the fifth one Anthony finally got the response he wanted as a cry of pain was torn from Daniel's lips. My heart broke with each cry of pain and tears were blurring my vision. My body tensed with each crack of the whip and caused pain to shoot through my back as though I was the one receiving the lashes and not my Daniel. Finally Anthony stopped when Daniel's back was covered in lacerations and blood was trickling down from multiple places. He let go of my hand and I immediately dropped the whip as though it had burned me. I wanted nothing to do with that vile thing.
"Go sit in that chair." Anthony ordered. Daniel stumbled to the chair and I desperately wanted to rush over to him and help him despite the pain it would cause my back, because that pain was nothing compared to the pain I was feeling in my heart right now. Anthony just laughed as Daniel struggled. He picked up some rope and told me to walk toward Daniel. He gave me the rope and pushed me forward, keeping the knife on the back of my neck.
"Tie him to the chair." Tears were still streaming down my face as I started to do what he said.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't want to. I didn't. I'm so sorry." I told Daniel. I looked him in the eye and saw all the love I could ever hope for. He reached his free hand up, wincing slightly, giving me a reassuring smile when he saw the concern in my eyes, and brushed my tears away.
"I forgive you love. I know you had no choice." He smiled at me as I tied his other hand to the chair. I braced myself on his arms and leaned in to kiss him. Our lips moved together and I was getting lost when there was a burning in my scalp as I was yanked away. He pulled me against him again and I whimpered as he tightened the grip he had on my hair.
"I didn't say you could do that Anna." He growled in my ear before lashing out and creating a long gash on Daniel's left cheek. Blood flowed freely down his neck and across his bare chest. He glared daggers at Anthony. I felt Anthony smiling as he kissed my cheek. I turned my head away but he took the hand that was holding my hair and grasped my chin, forcing me to look straight at Daniel. He moved his other hand, the one holding the knife, down to my stomach. He started kissing the side of my neck and I saw Daniel's eyes flare up with hatred and anger. I knew Anthony was watching Daniel's reaction the whole time because I could feel his smile against my skin. He was thoroughly enjoying torturing Daniel like this. I felt tears slide down my cheeks as he kissed, sucked and bit at my neck leaving marks. When he switched to the other side Daniel started to struggle against the ropes holding him and I felt Anthony slide the flat side of the knife against my stomach as a warning. He just laughed as Daniel tried to calm himself. Finally he pulled away from my neck and I let out a shuddering sigh of relief.
"I love you." I saw Daniel mouth to me before Anthony pulled me away from him and to the other side of the room where Ryckie and Olivia sat.
"We'll finish this later." He said as he pushed me down onto the sleeping bags. He didn't bother tying me up because he knew I couldn't escape and he was right. My legs were numb with pain and my back felt like it had been split open, which it basically had been. The only way I was able to stand up before was because Anthony was holding me up.
I looked over and noticed dried tear stains on Olivia's face. I could see Ryckie's body shaking with hysterics and hoped the Anthony didn't notice. He did though. His face contorted with anger as he looked down at Ryckie. He crouched down and grabbed her chin forcibly.
"If you can't shut up on your own then I'll make you shut up." He said with a smile as he brought his knife up and with one powerful movement, cut her cries off forever.
I felt everything go cold and like time slowed down as I watched Ryckie's lifeless body slump over. I could see the blood stain quickly pooling on the sleeping bag underneath her and I could hear screams and sobs but I couldn't tell if they had come from my own mouth or Olivia's or Daniel's. Olivia was thrashing about as he grabbed her, desperately trying to get to Ryckie. Anthony threw her down across the room and when she tried to crawl back, he kicked her in the stomach. She keeled over from the blow.
Anthony crouched beside her and grabbed her hair, pulling her up and continuing to pull her head back. He used his other hand to drag the knife down the front of her shirt, effectively slicing it down the middle. He pushed it open so her stomach was exposed. I could do nothing but watch as he dragged the knife across her stomach, blood trickling down. Tears streamed down her face but she couldn't scream because he was pulling her head back so far. He did that once more on her stomach before moving to the top of her breast where he dragged a line parallel to the cup of her bra. I could see she had her eyes squeezed shut and tears were cascading across her cheeks and down her neck. Anthony rubbed the flat side of the knife down her cheek, smearing her and Ryckie's blood on it in the process.
"Shh shh. It'll be over soon. You'll see, everything will be okay." He said to her. He reached down to mirror his previous actions when he jerked his head up at the sound of sirens and I saw red and blue lights flashing in the windows. He must have loosened his grip on Olivia's hair because she butted his head with her own and stumbled away from him before he could take any drastic measures. Before the police came through the doors, Anthony had taken off down one of the darkened hallways and disappeared.
It was a blur of police, E.M.T's, worried parents and hysterical ones after that. Doctors, nurses and policemen became frequents in our life over the next few weeks, either to take care of us or to ask us questions. It was emotional and draining and I was glad when it was finally over.
After a month of police protection after being released from the hospital, my dad sent them away. Nobody had seen any sign of Anthony after he fled the hospital and my dad was sure he had left the state. At least he did if he knew what's good for him.
I was helping my dad outside when I suddenly felt a knife to my throat and the voice that haunted my nightmares. "Did you miss me Anna?" he whispered in my ear.
"Dad." I cautiously called so he would turn around. Anthony pressed the blade a little harder into my skin for that.
"Yeah sweetheart?" he asked before he turned around and saw what was wrong. He looked at Anthony with a look I had never seen before on my father's face. I knew that if he got the chance he would kill him and I was hoping he would get that chance.
My dad reached behind him to grab the nail gun he had strapped to his tool belt. "Let her go." He said in a deadly calm tone, pointing the tool at us.
Anthony just smiled and held me in front of him. "I came back to finish what I started and that's exactly what I'm going to do." He turned me around in his arms and kept the knife to my throat. Then he kissed me hard and rough, forcing his tongue into my mouth. He didn't like when I bit it and he showed it by putting pressure on the blade still at my throat. "That wasn't nice Anna. Now be nice or Daddy is going to have to watch his little girl suffer."
He kissed me again and I knew what I had to do. I kissed him back. One of my arms wrapped around his neck and the other one guided his free hand to my ass. I then tangled both hands into his hair and pulled him closer to me effectively distracting him with my lips on his and my tongue in his mouth. He pulled back for air with a dazed expression on his face, not realizing I had rotated us so he had his back to my father. Pop! I heard and I stepped to the side quickly to avoid him falling on me. Unfortunately I couldn't avoid the blade that was still near me and I felt pain from the top of my chest all the way across the top of my right breast. I heard two more pops before Anthony fell completely and I saw the top of three long nails in the back of his head.
I was suddenly enveloped in my dad's strong, warm, comforting arms as he kissed the top of my head and held me close.
"Everything's going to be okay now. He's gone Anna. He's gone." He whispered and for the first time since I was a little girl I believed him unconditionally.