Emily fainted from the shock. When she woke up, she was being dragged through the gravel again. She looked up, and locked eyes with a boy who had gray skin and gray eyes.
“Why are you gray? Why is everything black and white?” she screamed, looking at the gray and white sky, the black grass, and again, her gray shoes. “Who even are you?” she hissed.
“Chill, you can call me your Prince Charming. I saved you from the fence,” he smirked.
“Last I remembered, Prince Charming saved the princess from the tower, not put her back into it,” she mumbled. Her arms were untied, and she was thankful for that, but now they dangled at her sides, dragging against the gravel. She put her hands into her pants pocket and felt something. The pen. Emily still had her grandfather’s pen. She swiftly moved the pen into the waistband of her underwear, and then went limp again for the boy to struggle in moving her.
“You know, if you made this easier on me, I could possibly help you escape,” he grunted.
“You know, I enjoy making you work, Mr. Prince. I’m not that heavy, and honestly, I never asked you to carry me,” she snapped back. He dropped her onto the gravel, and Emily hit her head against the gravel.
“Carry yourself, Princess. I’m no longer helping you. If you get shot, that’s on you, because you never asked me to safely escort you,” he said, towering over her. She looked up and scoffed at him.
“What a great businessman you are. Letting your hostage go? You’re basically a kidnapper, just not a good one,” she critiqued, standing up and dusting herself off.
“A kidnapper? You think you’re a hostage?” He giggled, which turned into a laugh, which turned into him laughing with his hands on his knees, gasping for air. “A hostage!” he howled.
“I don’t get it,” she said, kicking at the gravel awkwardly, “explain. You’re making it seem like I wasn’t forced off my porch.” He was on the ground now, holding his stomach, still laughing. Emily was so mad. Obviously, he had known something he wasn’t telling her. She kicked him in the stomach. Not hard, but enough to catch his attention. Finally, he had stopped laughing. He patted the ground next to him, beckoning her to sit.
“Look, Princess, you aren’t kidnapped, but you are here unwillingly. Are those the same things? Possibly. But explain to me where your mom was when you got grabbed. Did she try to help you?”
Emily started pulling at the weeds between the gravel. “No, I guess not. She went inside and locked herself in.” She started to cry. Her own mother didn’t save her. “She’s supposed to be the one who protects me. I’m her daughter.”
The boy looked at her sympathetically but then smiled. “And you still think I’M the bad guy? The woman who was in charge of protecting you protected herself. I don’t know about your mom, but I would save you if our Captors were headed for you. Think about it. She had time to grab you, did she not? Look around Emily. Do you really think we’d hurt you?”
Emily grabbed her face, still sore from the foot. She tasted blood. She didn’t know if she could trust this kid. Maybe he was the kid who wasn’t hurting her, but he was working for the Captors or whatever they were called. “Well, aside from the face stomping, and the electric fence, and my legs from being dragged in the gravel. Sure, I doubt you would hurt me,” she said sarcastically. “How do you even know my name?”
He scratched the back of his head and wiped the sweat off his upper lip. He looked scared, and it took him a while to answer, like he wasn’t sure as if he wanted to tell her what she wanted to know. “You told me your name, but I also knew prior to that...Well, you see…you weren’t picked at random. None of these girls were. I know everyone’s name here.” He dragged out his words and paused a lot, and Emily didn’t want to trust him.
“Hmm, well Prince Charming, remember how I never asked you to safely escort me? Well, I never asked you to take me away from my mom either.” She stood, and jolts of pain shot up her leg. Her ankle was still sprained, and she had completely forgotten. She broke into a sprint anyways, not wanting him to see how much pain she was in and see her vulnerable. She ran to the electric fence, looking up and down and left to right trying to find a switch. Lo and behold, there was a lever along the side of the fence, and she ran, out of breath already, towards the lever. She felt him clawing at the back of her shirt, trying to regain control of her. Still, she didn’t break the sprint.
“Please! Come back! You’re gonna get us both in trouble!” he yelled at her. It was probably loud enough for the watchmen to hear, but none of them moved to the sound of it. They didn’t aim their guns at Emily. They didn’t move anything except for their eyes. Emily looked up at them, expecting to see loaded guns pointed at her, but there were none. Before she could reach the lever, she was knocked to the ground.
“Emily! Stop running! You’re gonna get me in trouble!” he screamed at her, pinning her to the ground. She could taste the gravel, and her arm was close to touching the fence. She thrashed, screaming.
“Get off of me! Get off! Get off! Get off!” she sobbed. The boy was shocked. He didn’t think he was hurting her at all.
“Unresolved trauma I assume,” he mumbled, just loud enough for her to hear.
“Mind your damn business! You know nothing about me! You know nothing! All you know is my name! You bash my own mother because she was in shock! You suck! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” she screamed, almost choking on her tears. Her face was red, and she was standing now, her fists pulled back. Before she could think, she straightened her arms, hitting the boy repeatedly.
“Stop! Emily, stop!” he screamed back. A force hit her in the stomach, and she saw his leg extended. She was winded, and had no choice but to stop, and sit down. She sobbed, holding her head in her hands. “Emily! Holy hell! What is your problem? Did I hurt you that badly? Was a rock impaling you or something? Seriously, what is your problem? You need to be in a mental hospital.”
She stood, and ran towards the cabins, her leg feeling broken at this point, but she ignored it. The wind blew against her face, and she could feel the grass under her socks. She looked around, missing the color already. There were flowers everywhere. Emily wondered what color they were. They could be pink, like her mom’s hairbrush. They could be yellow, like her beaten-up converse. They could be green, like her sister’s stuffed animals.
She felt her tears hitting her cheeks, but at least the heat was gone from her face. She was calming down. She ran towards wooden cabins, which she imagined to be a beautiful brown like her dining room table, or the kitchen cabinets. She ran into one of the cabins and saw empty bunk beds with cheap sheets. She was so tired at this point, anything would do. She climbed onto one of the top bunks, unlacing her shoe and throwing it down. Emily flopped down onto the itchy bed lining, happy she could rest on something that wasn’t the cold van floor.
She buried her face into the pillowcase and wished that if any of her senses were taken away, it would’ve been smell. It reeked of barbeque sauce and bleach. She couldn’t even give herself enough energy to care to flip the pillow or change the pillowcase. She closed her eyes, thinking of her mother not saving her, and drifted out of consciousness, willingly this time.