Stay Strong

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Chapter 18

I struggle to open my eyes as the fog clears from my brain, replaced with a sharp, pounding headache.

I crack open my eyes and am meet with darkness before they adjust to the little bit of light shining through a small window and the single light bulb that swayed from a thin metal chain in the center of the room. I slowly sit up and take in my surroundings, holding my aching head.

It seemed like I was in a basement. And I was in a cell. What in the hell? I shot to my feet before clutching the metal bars when a wave of dizziness threatens to knock my feet out from under me.

I heard a groan and turned around to see where it came from. Lying in the corner of the cell was Landon who was just now waking up.

I watched as he slowly sat up before looking around and panicking.

“What the hell is going on? Where are we?” he half screams.

“In a basement. Where, I don’t know. But I think we were kidnapped,” I state, trying to remain calm. I slowly slide to the floor and pull my knees up to my chest. It was really cold down here.

“Who kidnapped us?” he asked, scooting closer to where I was sitting. I shrugged my shoulders when I heard the sound of a door opening. I shoot to my feet, Landon following suit when we heard footsteps descending the staircase on the other side of the room.

A man with sandy brown stopped in front of the cell and I instantly recognized him. “Theodore,” I spit.

“Hello again, girl.” He grinned wickedly as two other people descended the steps, carrying a tripod and...camera equipment.

“Why did you kidnap us?” Landon snapped, walking towards the bars.

“I never wanted to kidnap you boy. Only her,” Theodore nodded his head in my direction before turning to the men. “Hurry it up! I want them to get the video before tomorrow.”

I watched as they sit up a chain underneath the lightbulb and set up the camera in front of it. Then all three of the men walked toward the cell. Theodore opened the cell and I took a few steps backwards but Landon stepped forward and pulled back his fist like he was going to hit Theodore but the bigger of the two other men grabbed him and restrained him while the other reached out and grabbed up arms, yanking me out of the cell.

I was tossed to the ground, my head cracking against the concrete floor. Lights exploded behind my eyes as the headache I had increased ten fold. I rolled onto my back, staring at the ceiling while trying to get my breathing under control.

The same man hauled me off the ground, holding my arms behind my back painfully. Theodore approaches with a sick grin on his face. I glanced at Landon just in time to see the man that was holding him throw him further into the cell before rushing out of it and locking Landon in it again. I glanced between Theodore and the chair that I was standing beside. “What do you want?” I ask. He had said he only meant to kidnap me so maybe he has something against my father.

“I’ll tell you if you can guess.” He crosses his arms over his chest and tilts his head to the side.

“If I had to guess, I would say that it’s because of my father, isn’t it? He done something to you or a family member in the past and now you want payback? That or you want ransom money and a way out of America,” I state, watching him coldly while my head throbbed insistatly.

“You are one smart girl. You are right on all accounts,” he grumbled before snapping his fingers. Hands started to pull at my clothes and I instantly turned around to try and his the guy holding me but got no where.

“Be a good girl,” Theodore laughs. I snarl at him, trashing in the man’s arms, trying to break his hold as he continued to pull at my shirt.

“If you can’t listen then I’ll kill your boyfriend,” Theodore growled. I narrowed my eyes at him, not bothering to tell him that Landon wasn’t my boyfriend. It seemed so irrelevant. “Or I can make a quick phone call and I can have your sister here in a matter of minutes.”

My blood ran cold but I knew he wasn’t lying. So I let myself go limp in the man’s arms as he pulls off my shirt and pants, leaving me in my underwear before tying me to the chair facing the camera.

Theodore stands behind me as he orders the camera to be turned on. I watch has the light flashes red, showing that it was recording. I stared straight ahead, right into the camera, keeping my fear hidden behind my anger.

“Gavin Graves. Your daughter makes such excellent company,” he says as he grips my jaw hard enough to leave bruises. Then I felt something cold and sharp press against my throat and I had to keep myself from crying when I realized it was a knife.

“If I don’t have five million dollars put into a Swiss bank account with a way out of the U.S. in a week then I will just have to scar her pretty little body. And who would want that? You just found your daughter but if I don’t get what I want then at the end of the week she will be nothing but a mangled corpse, just like her mother. One week Gavin. One week.” Then the camera shut off and Theodore releases my jaw before ordering the other two me to throw me into the cell again.

My back met the cold floor of the basement before warm hands wrap around my arms, pulling me up. “Are you alright?” Landon asks, looking over my face where I was sure bruises were already forming. I nodded my head and swatted his hands away. I went to sit in one of the corners, curling into myself to conserve heat as I grew angrier and angrier at Theodore.

Landon and I don’t speak for a long time. But then Landon speaks up. “What was he talking about when he said you would end up like your mother?” he asks softly.

I bark a laugh. “Well. I guess I should be worried about you running away. You have nowhere to run right now and we might not make it out of here. So I guess there is no harm in telling you.” So I did just that. I told him about me seeing my mother’s dead body, Hector attacking my sister and I, and every horrible thing that had happened. The abuse I suffered at Lorelai’s hand, even my father showing up at my mother’s grave.

I glance at him to see his reaction. I saw sadness, pity but I also saw anger. A lot of it. “Those bastards,” he growled.

I shrugged. “Don’t worry about it. One of them is dead and the other barely looks in my direction.”

He shakes his head. “Why does your grandmother treat you like that?” he asks as he settles beside me.

I give him a small, sad smile. “I think it’s because of my father. I look more like him than I do my mother. My mother would look at me with such sadness at times. It was like she was slipping away slowly. Lorelai was loosing her daughter and she knew how much I looked like my father so she treated me with disdain from the beginning because I think she blamed me for my mother’s sadness.”

Landon doesn’t respond so we sit in silence for a while longer. I tried to keep myself from shivering but my teeth started to chatter and I thought for one dark moment that maybe I would freeze to death.

“Here,” Landon handed me the flanel he was wearing. I glanced at him as I took it, “Thank you.” He nodded his head and I slipped my arms into the sleeve, trying to ignore the way it smelled like his cologne. He puts his arm around my shoulders and I curl into his side. He was really warm and I didn’t like the cold.

“Do you think Gavin will give him what he wants?” Landon mumbles.

“No... Maybe… I don’t know. Just don’t tell them who you are or they might try to hold you for ransom too,” I plea as I rested my head against his shoulder. I fell him nod his head as we waited for Theodore to come back down the steps with that knife in hand.


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