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By Onaiza All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Mystery

Chapter 1

The tip of the grass brushed my skin as I lay lazily on the ground smelling the earthy mud that slowly soaked my back and my hair wet with dew or water I could not tell. A soft breeze swayed my skirt making me shudder just a little. My hair was messy but I liked the citrus smell of my shampoo blending with the natural aroma. I touched them, they were a little rough but I wasn’t meaning to pose like a cover model, so it didn’t matter. It wasn’t about how I looked but how I felt.

The early morning sun swept my skin with its warm light making me feel like a prism. Even with closed eyes, I could see the sun rays dancing around me in all the beautiful colors of a rainbow. It was like mixing warmth and love together in a perfect unbreakable bond.

I turned on my side and opening my eyes I stared into the greenery spreading across the place. I started to notice the grass near my hand and then my eyes went gliding to the very end of the garden. The fence. It was brown. And the sky was orange and then moving upward it got yellower. And upwards still bluer. The colors were so real and so palpable, I could almost touch them. Draw patterns on them with my fingers.

The wetness from my back had started shifting to my front. The sun had now heated up the ground stealing its wetness and covering me in sweat. I wanted to wipe it away from my forehead, get rid of it immediately but a long time had passed since I had felt the touch of sweat on me. So I let it stay.

Squinting my eyes trying to see in the face of the sun; the part roughness, and the part softness of the grass; the fabric of my dress clinging on to my perspiring body; It made me feel so alive, so real. It was intoxicating. And a sharp pang of chagrin cut through my dream waking me to the real world.

All that was just a dream. A beautiful one at that. That couldn’t have happened for real; because there is nothing real or natural around me, not even the air.

It has been months since I have been under the open sky; felt a stroke of real fresh air on my skin or the sun caress my body with its light and warmth. All I have is a window through which I can see it all and yearn for it every passing minute. The mountains, the skies and the sun forming a beautiful landscape and the winds blowing violently sometimes. Everything is in front of me but I don’t have access to a needle worth of air. It’s almost surreal.

I feel I might just wake up from another long bad dream one day and open the windows, bath under the sun, make coffee and complete a book I left unfinished on the night table.

But enough about dreams, in reality, I am a hostage not in a small cell or a dark dungeon but in a beautiful bedroom. This room where I spend my days is huge and beautiful, something you’d be happy to lose yourself into. Rectangular in shape, half of the area is left unused here. Empty. Plain. Neat. The cold marble flooring could send shivers through the spine. The artificial heating only sometimes forfeits its true nature. Otherwise, it’s as cold as ice.

But fortunately for me, I have a grand king size bed to sleep in which is thickly layered with mattresses, sheets, and comforters. It is warm and comfortable, yes, but far from my fantasies of the sun and grass. It is real and fake both at the same time.

The bed and a sofa set cover the rest half of the room with a tiny little wooden dining table sitting in the corner. A huge closet full of clothes, shoes, and a lavish bathroom is also here to meet my needs and perhaps make me comfortable. If that is even possible.

And a Television set for my entertainment is set right in front of the bed and is also visible from the sofa. But the idea of entertainment must be staring at the black or blue screen as there is no cable.

But instead of staring at that screen, I stare at the library door. Yes, there’s a library inside this room which is classy. But it is always locked and I’ve never had a chance to see it. Yet it fascinates me anyway. Sometimes I want to go in, see the shelves, smell the books, touch the paper, read something or just do nothing but be in there.

And that along with the glass window ends my compass of staring. Apart from that, there is an important task that I do, keeping track of time. There is a small calendar on the TV table. It’s an old one by the way. I just cross the days on the 2014 calendar and somehow manage to stay on the same course of time as the world outside. This calendar says first July 2014 is a Tuesday but I know that today is the first of July 2016 and I know it’s a Friday.

That’s my only connection with the outside world, the real world. I have hope that someday I will be free, I will be there too and it is not a foolish hope, its faith. I have faith in myself that I will always keep trying. And I have hope in that one god who claims to see us all and know everything about us. If he’s really there, there is no way he’ll let me keep failing in all my attempts.

Recently, like my eyes, my ears too have something to do. Listen to someone. They have another hostage now, just like me, somewhere downstairs, probably a man. I hear him screaming sometimes, screaming in pain, swearing even. I don’t know why he’s here, hell I don’t know why I’m here. I feel hurt for him, sorry. But more than that, I am curious of what he looks like, who he is or anything that I can find out. The only face I see except my captor is a black woman who brings three meals for me at 9, 1 and 7. She always gives me a warm smile but never speaks a word. I’ve tried to make conversation many times but she never replies. She has a sad look in her eyes which makes me think that she’s feeling bad for me.

The blood-curdling screams of the man downstairs are scaring the hell out of me today. The clock is ticking and my heart grows heavier at the arrival of my captor. At 8 o’clock sharp the door unlocks and he enters with a little smile on his face, his teeth gleaming white and his enticing black eyes digging in mine. He isn’t very tall, just a couple inches taller than me but somehow he always manages to tower and intimidate me. He tucks my hair behind my ears.

“What have you been doing sweetheart?” he asks with his tone as cool as it could possibly be. But I know that’s just a bluff. He is a monster in disguise. His beautiful black eyes don’t fool me anymore. I can see through them, the animal that is ready to rip apart everything that comes in his way. He doesn’t expect me to answer that, obviously, he’s only toying with me and my temper. It must be a game for him.

I replied with a dark stare. That’s all I do these days. I don’t understand the point of wasting my words on him. I don’t consider him human enough for carrying on a conversation.

“What are you wearing honey?” his eyes were now piercing mine with a sharp look of anger disapproving of my t-shirt and pajamas. He hates to see me in them. I am supposed to wear the silky and satiny clothes from the closet to please him. But sometimes I try to piss him off on purpose. That’s the only weapon I have, my attitude, never giving in to his ways.

Though I’m always the one who pays for it but yet I do it anyway. I hate dressing up for this monster who has no right to keep me here and treat me according to his whims and fancies.

With anger flaring up in his eyes, he just took off, without a turn or second look. I didn’t understand his behavior at first. Why didn’t he hit me or yell or do any of his drunk stunts? He just walked away. This was rare, very rare. I don’t recall him leaving this room after 8 o clock in the last three months.

But as soon as I heard the alarming scream of my new housemate, the realization of his intention set upon me. This man is probably paying the price of my tantrums. It hurt more than anything. I didn’t want to get anyone hurt for my actions. I’m not like that. At least I don’t think so.

The brute came back in an hour with a weird look on his face. I hadn’t seen anything like that before. It was a look mixed of victory and pain. He didn’t touch me after that, just jumped on his side of the bed and slept. This reminded me of the first night we’d spent together as a married couple. He had lifted me in his arms and brought me in this room, lay me on the bed and showered me with kisses. I had told him I was tired and then he let me sleep.

I was happy and proud inside that I had found a man who loved me truly. Had I known what was on his mind; I would have ran without ever looking back.

I lay on the sofa enjoying whatever it was that had saved me from his wrath for one night. I felt comfortable and safe even. Because I knew when I wake up in the morning, he’ll be gone. Alba will knock the door lightly and open it. The room will then be filled with the smell of coffee and French toast. Saturday is French toast day.

Suddenly it started raining cats and dogs. Everything outside the window got blurry and dark. The rain which had always been like music to my ears sounded like a battle cry today. The pattering of it on the walls and roof was as if an army of soldiers were attacking with pointed poisonous arrows. Slowly it all got scarier, the noise, the blur, the wetness.

For the first time in all these months, I was happy that I was inside the safety of this house and as ironic as it sounds I also felt a strange comfort in his presence. I was comforted that I’m not all alone. So, I quietly went to bed and lay beside him.

But I couldn’t sleep, the noise and the strange feelings got me so confused that sleeping was the last thing I could do. I kept lying there staring at the ceiling. It was so beautiful and yet it felt like the rain would anytime smash it into pieces and they’ll be all over me. The bricks, the rubble, the glass all breaking into tiny pieces and attacking me with a lightening speed and then the lightning itself would burn me to ashes.

I turned on my side and again when I saw his face, snoring lightly, in deep sleep, I felt better. His chiseled body, tanned skin, and the godly face shone like that of an angel’s. He had thrown his shirt on the dining table chair and hadn’t bothered to change his jeans. He looked so good that in any other situation, I would have worshiped him, actually I even did three months back. He was the man of my dreams. He was rich, intelligent, incredibly hot and gorgeous like hell. I hadn’t believed my fate that this man was so much in love with me and is going to marry me. My family had not liked my decision of marrying Daniel but I wrote them off. I cut all ties with them. All I wanted was him.

The weather didn’t improve at all. It got scarier through the night. I doubted if he’ll go to work today. I didn’t know how I would spend the day around him. I wished he spent the day downstairs in the house if he stayed. I wanted to be alone for those 12 hours. 8 o’clock in the morning to 8 o’clock at night. That was my time. Half of my life where he didn’t own me. Where I felt like a useless woman not a ragged doll he’s supposed to play with.

With all the thoughts running forward and backward in my mind I got more and more restless and once again I decided to think about the other hostage. The screams I’d heard. I had asked Alba about it and she had given me a surprised look. Sometimes I thought she understood me, she understood English but other times it felt like I’m talking to a wall. I tried to close my eyes and shut everything out of it. Though it took a lot of time but I was finally able to sleep.

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