It’s all over
Cleo and I ran through the forest as fast as we could, all the while my stomach flipped. I checked every five seconds to see where Cleo was, making sure that she didn’t leave my side, or get lost. The feeling only deepened as I thought more about the torture Dave had put me through. The sleepless nights, and endless fears, the nightmares, mom, and Charlie. Because of him, I was running through a forest, scared and alone, with only one more living family member. Well two, I thought of the way Dave looked at me, with loving father eyes, he seemed harmless at the station. When I didn’t know the connection, but now that I did he was my biggest fear of all.
Now running faster than my feet could carry me, I came to a sudden halt, where was Cleo. I searched frantically for her waiting in the open, I felt like a sitting duck, just waiting the attack. An urge to scream, only came out in a creepy cautious mumble, but as soon as I talked my pulse quickened causing me to jump, afraid of my own voice. I felt like a coward, I was fine, but then the crack of a branch lead to my adrenalin powered instinct. I spun around, and before I could see her face Cleo was unconscious. When I finally realized it was her, the rush died down into a complete panic. I dropped my fists and cupped my mouth, breathing heavily. I called her name, I knelt down shaking her shoulders desperately. “Cleo wake up,” I cried, “wake up!"
I tried so hard to wake her, that I didn’t even notice the man standing over us “well, well, well” a voice sneered from the shadows. “Thank you for making my job a lot easier” the voice hissed, as I stood and wiped the tears from my cheeks, I’d recognize that snarling, disgusting person anywhere. Dave! “leave me alone” I shouted, I tried to sound strong but the words came out all shaky. Dave only slithered closer, “I had the plan all perfect in my mind, but I still had to figure out what to do with the witness. I didn’t realize I could sit back, and watch you do the deed for me.” I could only repeat myself, over and over “stay away,” I yelled more confident now, but he ignored me, coming at me faster now. I backed away, but with no warning he leaped, pinned me down, and landed with a crunch on my stomach. I screamed in agony, “my arm,” I yelled “my arm, it’s broken, you’re sitting on it.” The cracks burst in my ears, but Dave wouldn’t budge, instead he leaned all his wait on me. “Be quiet, and listen to me, you did this to me” he pointed at his neck brace, and I winced at the pain. “No more games” he cursed, “you’re not gonna screw me over again, not this time.” Then as he stood, I tried to make a flea. The weight was lifted from my sore back, and like that I was gone, the gap between the time when I was under him to the time I was free was limited. When Dave saw that I was trying to escape he reached out grabbing a tight hold on my broken arm, I hollered in shock, as the pain made its way up my arm, vibrating through my chest. He pulled me back, tearing into my arm with his claw like nails, and his strong grasp. Making faces like torture, I bit my lip trying to hold back my cries. Trying to play along, I nodded and stared down at my shoes, “no” he said “oh no, I’m not gonna fall for this again. This charade of yours, of acting sorry not again, that’s how you ambushed me before and it’s not gonna happen again.” He pulled me, and I restrained but every time I pulled away, he squeezed harder. I felt my bone start to snap back out of place, and I stopped pulling away. I followed his lead to the car, where he dragged me, it was a black van with tinted windows to keep by passers from looking in at me. My hope died as I was forced into the vehicle one last look at the world, and once again I was back in his clutches.
I sat still as he buckled me in, and went to the trunk. The whole time watching me like a hawk. When I heard the trunk lid slam shut, I turned my head slightly, then watched as he came around to my side. His arms lifted and when the muzzle came over my face, I struggled to get it off, but his hands came over my head, making it impossible for me to move. As the straps on the muzzle tightened Dave let go of my face, and slammed the door shut making his way to the drivers side. I started scratching the muzzle against the seat, banging my head aimlessly trying to release its firm grip on my head. The time though was limited, because as soon as I shook my head for the second time, Dave sat in his seat. Then I saw it, the gun was pointed straight at me just waiting for Dave to pull and use right away. After that I obeyed the every command of what seemed like my new slave keeper. I slowly turned my heavy head to the window, and peered out. Dozens of cars whizzed past, I couldn’t talk let alone scream through the bulletproof, tinted, sound proof glass. With this muzzle I could barely breath, and then there was Dave’s extra insurance, I looked at the pistol, and then at Dave’s hand, only centimeters away from the trigger. It sat resting in between the driver’s seat, and the center console. I sat with my hands folded in my lap, the screeching pain from my arm felt like something was caught in it again, like a hammer had just smashed it in. The pain took control of my body, but I dare not scream, I could only imagine what Dave would do if I screamed. I pictured the gun pointed at my forehead, the bullet leaving red patches behind my droopy head. He would just probably drive away with me in the back, dead, and no one would notice, so I sat patiently. I caught Dave’s eyes in the rear view mirror, staring at me almost every time I looked up. It was confusing as to why he would do such a thing like watching me. Since he had already stuffed my head in a muzzle, locked all maximum security doors, and pointed a gun only a seat from my face. His expression in the mirror was far from kind, he looked determined, and courageous. He obviously had a plan, but what was it? The car suddenly slowed almost to a stop, we pulled over and before I new it we had stopped. Dave looked back at me, and I looked out the window, no cars were for miles. “Is this the part where you kill me?” I asked trying to sound confident, he didn’t answer. Instead he gave a grinch like smirk, and turned back to the driver’s seat. He took the gun out of the center console, and held it above his head. I ducked my head so only my eyes could see as I prepared for death, but as Dave opened the bullet holder, instead of a pack of bullets, a button appeared. A flashing red button, Dave made sure I could see, he wanted to taunt me with his freedom before he did whatever he had in store for me. As he reached his thumb down to push the button, I shivered.
Instantly I was in the dark, I was wrapped up like a gift in a box. It was a completely dark and tight box, with no windows or doors. I pushed on the sides of the cage, but there was nothing. Dave was nowhere, he locked me in a box, but how? What exactly did that button do? My arm throbbed, now I was on my good one, in a fetal position, but that didn’t stop the pain, it only made my other arm hurt too. My back was tortured by the restraint, I needed out. Five minutes passed before my claustrophobia kicked in, the walls they seemed tighter. Was that just my mind, or was it real? Dave was probably laughing at me from some hidden camera somewhere. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply to calm my nerves, the box was so squished now that I could barely breath. The oxygen was running low, and I could feel my lungs gasping for air.
All at once the cage shook, and I felt a stop, then a go, then a stop, then a go. A similar feeling to Dave’s van. That was it, I finally figured it out, he was hiding me from something, but what? The urge to move ate at me alive, I new if I opened my eyes that I would have a panic attack, so I kept breathing. I imagined being home for dinner with mom, Charlie, and Lily. I imagined the sweet smell of mom’s apple crisp cooking in the oven, the warm, toasty, delicious smell that could only mean one thing, Christmas. The time for presents, family, and only one thing that made me happy at the time, moms apple crisp.
Suddenly I woke to a bump, the car shook and when I opened my eyes, I found only darkness in front of me, but not the same darkness as before. Dave laughed “I know you sometimes can be a bit off, but I didn’t know you would sleep if I put you in the floor of the trunk. I raised my eyebrows, “I was in the trunk? How long was I asleep? Why was I in the trunk? Wait how, I was sitting in this same spot the whole time, unless there is some sort of trap door beneath me?” I stopped talking, remembering Dave’s short temper and control over my life. “Well I had to cross the border somehow, you can’t very well be sitting back there when they search my car now can you?” Before I could even speak Dave piped up again. “Check it out,” he whipped out a phony licence, and threw it back to me, laughing. “My new name is Franklin McGee,” he chuckled. “Those morons will believe anything.” I stared at Dave’s smug face as he made fun of the border guards, “how long have we been over the border?” I gritted my teeth “about an hour,” he replied, taking the licence back. “Now, no more questions daddy’s got work to do.” With that he went silent, and simply drove.
I stared out the window at the thousands of cars, we were in traffic, and the border was an hour away. I tried to think of where we might be, “come on Milly,” I whispered to myself “right now is a prime example of why you should have paid more attention in geography.” My mind went blank, and I stared into the endless column of cars, as we sped up I noticed a sign not to far away from where we were. The words were blurry, but as we drove closer and closer, I saw what they spelled.
“Welcome to California!"
I gasped forgetting the limited air space I had. “You took me to California?” I shouted, “that’s like five hours away from Texas, what are we doing here? What exactly is your big plan?” No matter how much I asked though, I couldn’t get him to talk. He new where he wanted to go, what he wanted to do, and he didn’t plan on filling me in on any of it.
The road was bumpy ahead, it was getting hard to see anything but headlights. The night washed over us, like a blanket in the sky. I was determined to stay awake, but I couldn’t fight instincts, I rested my head on the seat belt, and drifted off. The last image I had before I dozed off was Dave, peering through the rearview mirror at me with large, red, beady eyes. Still no sound had escaped from the devils lips, and I was once again alone. But at least alone in my dreams was better than sitting in a high tech van, staring through a sweaty muzzle, at an angry psychopath.
A shadow appeared from a bright wall made of clouds, I squinted to see who or what it was. “Mom?” I pleaded “mom,” I ran to her so fast I heard the wind in my hair. I jumped into her arms not caring if this was a vision, or a dream. The soft, tendre voice I remembered clinged to me, and stroked my hair. She pulled me closer, and whispered in my ear, “you must not forget the locket.” I squinted “what?” “The locket,” she repeated “what about it?” “Have you opened it yet?” “Yes” I said cautiously “why?"
“Don’t open it again until you meet the grave of the boy you once forgot, after you do what was once broken will be repaired, and what was once torment will be a memory."
“I need more than that, please mom. I can’t understand when you talk like you, like you, like your dead, please tell me more. I need you.” “Oh baby she ran her fingers down my cheek, I know, and trust me I will always be here. But who will be here for him, certainly not you.” The sound echoed, and she vanished, my arms were suddenly empty, and I was without her. I felt tears tickle my cheeks as they came down falling onto the floor that wasn’t even there. The cloud covered space lit with an unknown source started to fade. “Who?” was my final call before I woke up.
The muzzle straps had made itchy indents in my skin, I swished my cheeks to help make somewhat of a comfort to my suffocating face. The revolting stench from the muzzle smelled like wet dog, obviously used for a hungry terrier, or snarling bulldog before me. The angry expression in the mirror coming from Dave wasn’t paying attention, so I tugged my hand up to reach in my pocket for the locket, but when I tried I found that Dave had tied a rope around my wrists. The prickly material chafed worse than the muzzle, I tugged my hands, my shoulders moving frantically. When Dave saw me trying to break free, he reached into the center console and pulled out a second gun. He put it in the same place where the fake one was, and with it he warned me. “I know the other gun was fake, but if I catch you trying to escape again, I swear I’ll blow your brains out.” I stopped fidgeting at that point, and sat still.
The ride was long, but I kept awake, who knew what terrible things would happen if I fell asleep again. As we passed dozens of restaurants, I felt the grumble of my stomach. It ached and politely I worked up the courage to ask a question. With my stomach in a knot, I finally gave into my pleading belly. “Dave?” I basically whispered his name, then when he finally acknowledged me in the mirror, I gently twiddled my thumbs “can we get something to eat?” He groaned, and without another word he pressed a button on the dashboard. Slowly a black cover started to rise, separating the back seat from the front. “Dave?” I questioned, but he didn’t answer, before the separator closed completely, I witnessed Dave reach below his seat and pull a box. I got a glance at some of the contents before I was cut off again. Inside I saw a realistic mask, what I recognized as the licence Dave earlier showed me, a wig, and a heap load of cash.
When the dark was all I could see, I looked for mom. I could barely move my head, and my wrists were so tightly tied around each other that if I even moved them slightly, they would choke up even more. All I could think about was the last time, last time I saw nothing but darkness, she appeared the bulge in my pocket was shaped like the locket. The heart with an intricate chain holding its precious charm. Inside the picture held her love, and the truth, whatever that was.
Three clicks sounded before the black screen slowly, and loudly came down. “Well that was quick, considering you’ve kept me in worse spots for much longer.” I snapped, I scowled at the deadbeat in the mirror, and a greasy bag was tossed at my head. “So you didn’t want food?” he growled I scrunched my face and gave him the dirtiest look I could. With a quite noticeable attempt, I tried to reach for where the fried bag was tipped on the ground. Out spilled five french fries, and I looked up at Dave. “And just how, may I ask do you expect me to eat without any hands?” “Oh that,” he said with a dole voice, he pulled over and got out. When he got to my side, he opened my door and light pooled in, the warm sun twinkled in my eyes. I took a deep breath, and closed my eyes, allowing the cool breeze to dance through my hair, and it was gone. Dave had released my hands, and quickly shut the door to avoid witnesses. Not that he had anything to worry about since there was no one around for miles. Corn fields and wide open prairies went as far as the eye could see. Mountain tops blocked only a portion of the sun’s light, and streams separated valleys holding only the reflections of distant raspberry bushes, and blossom trees. I stared out the window, “did we take a turn down some dirt road?” I thought “there was no way we were still in the middle of the city, with streets of bustling pedestrians, and angry drivers honking, and cursing at that really slow car. “Eat quick,” Dave interrupted as he slammed his door, and yanked his seat belt on, to stop the car from beeping, were almost there.” “Almost where?” I added stuffing a chicken ball into my mouth, again he didn’t answer. The sound of his nervous heavy breathing filled the air, I looked to see what was happening, then I saw the police car pass. A breath of relief escaped from Dave’s lips, the beads of sweat were wiped away, and he kept driving calmly. Maybe even slower than before, to avoid getting pulled over. When I finished the greasy treat, I crumpled up the bag, and dropped it on the floor, covering the few fries that spilled before. I looked up at Dave, and starred in the mirror. Focussing on the road he didn’t notice how I was staring at him.
“I know you are still mad at me for putting you in the position to crash your car into a tree. And I get it, I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to be kept from your only children, but if this is about getting a relationship with me, this is not the way to achieve it. You kidnapped me and my brother, you killed my brother and my mother, and you separated me from my sister. Not to mention you locked me in a room, you got my arm impelled with a stick, you, you, you ruined my life. I took a breath my swollen beat red face was on the verge of turning purple, and I slowed down. I calmed looking to the floor, “so I think I deserve a little incite, as to what your planning on doing with..” “You deserve nothing,” he interrupted with a teeth grinding anger. “You deserve what you did to me, you deserve to lose everything.” He smiled “you took my freedom, because of you the cops are looking for me. I’m wanted by the law for first, and second degree murder. He chuckled, and kidnapping, and trespassing, breaking and entering, destruction of property, and a bunch more charges about a mile long. You took my freedom, so now I’m gonna take yours.” He stepped on the gas, and my head flew back. “Please slow down,” I cried “you don’t have to do this,” he was going to take my life. I clenched the seat “please,” I said it on a loop, the car sped up even more, and I finally got control of my flailing head, enough to look out the windshield. My teeth gridded as I screamed, “were headed for a tree.” The last accident flashed before my eyes, it was almost exactly how it happened. I held tight to the seat, and a tear rolled down my cheek screaming, my face bunched up. Just as the tree was basically touching the front of the car, it swerved right. Things flew in the back landing on me in heap, Dave had turned into the field, we were in the middle of nowhere. There was no sign of human life anywhere, no civilization, it was like an old book, before our land was discovered. With random trees, and bushes everywhere, it was as though we were in the middle of a maze. When we were so far out in the field that not even the birds could spot us, Dave pulled over, he got out of the vehicle, and started around to my side. Frantically I searched for any sign of a phone, or some sort of voice magnifier, to help myself with, but in a flash I was accompanied by Dave. He unbuckled my seatbelt, and grabbed my arm tight, dragging me out of the van. I resisted with all I had, but I was no use compared to Dave’s firm and strong grip. Wincing with pain, I tried to put off the fact that I was petrified, I acted as though I was stronger than the brute he was. “Get your hands off me!” I squirmed in his grip, he only squeezed tighter, my feet stumbled over each other as he dragged me to the trunk. With one arm he held me in place using the other to open the trunk.
Out he pulled a rock the size of my head, my eyes grew wide as he shoved me to the ground. I was so scared, I froze, Dave lifted the boulder high into the air, and smiled as he spoke.
“Trust me, this will hurt."
The whole world shook, and turned to slow motion. Red flashed, turning into black and white. I heard my screams echo in my ears, ringing. I heard the boulder crash to the ground beside me. The shrieking pain was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. I felt my skull sink inwards, as if the tiny fragments of bone had shattered, cutting into my brain, my stomach turned, and I heaved before blacking out.