For a moment I was blissfully unaware. I feel almost peaceful before I start to register the aching of my shoulders and the burning of the rope as it rubs against my wrists. My eyes flutter as my recollection slowly surfaces to the forefront of my mind. Then suddenly I remembered. I remember running in the dark and them shouting after me like I was some game they were betting on. An animal they were pursuing. I remember thinking I could get away. Get away like I had always done for the past ten years. But suddenly, as I was running, I fell. Fell into a deep pit. I felt my ankles and knees as they hit the frozen ground. I felt the scuff of my palms on sharp branches and small rocks. My heart was pounding and something must have hit me on the head because I no longer saw the moonlight lighting up my hands sprawled in front of me, and I was plunged into an even darker night and then there was nothing.
My eyes shoot open and all at once I am forced back into my reality. As my body instinctively flinches, I feel the pull of my arms tied above my head that now is pounding. Where am I? I force my body to relax, panicking will do no good. The room is dark and cold, and my hands are bound together to a post on the side of the headboard. I am still clothed, but it’s cold in here, the bed is bare, and I am starting to shake. Looking around the room I can’t see much. Partially because it’s dark but also there doesn’t appear to be much in the room besides the bed and a chair in the corner opposite the closed door. The walls are bare, except for one window that has thick curtains covering it. What day is it? How long was I out? Who are these people and what are they going to do to me? What have they already done to me?
I wish desperately that I could check my waistband where I had sown a small pocket. Did they find it? Did they take it from me? I'm only missing the coat I had on, other than that I still have on all the same clothes. My heart is pounding, and I am trying to think up a plan. I have NOT survived this long to be taken out by some traders! But then I hear footsteps. Footsteps above be. I must be in the basement. How many could be up there? The doorknob suddenly starts to turn, and I shut my eyes instinctively and turn my head away from the door. They have probably already seen but habits don’t break that easily.
“Hey there, pretty lady”. A man's voice cuts through the darkness. “Time to wake up huh? It’s been a while.” The floors must be carpeted as I don’t hear him come over to the side of the bed and I jump as I feel his rough hands grab my chin and pull my face towards him. Even with the darkness, I refuse to open my eyes. “Oh come on now, let me see those eyes, we gotta know what we’re dealing with here missy.” I yank my face away from him. He yanks it back and I feel the warmth of his breath as his face is inches away from mine. His voice lowers as he whispers, “it’s alright darlin’ we’ve already checked...” His breath is sour. He lets my face go with a slight push and says, “you’ve been out for over 24 hours, some powerful stuff huh?”
I heard him at the end of the bed, so I let my eyes open just a sliver. In the darkness, and with the angle of my head he can’t tell they’re open. Looking at him I see he’s young. Maybe mid-twenties. But he’s strong. Broad shouldered and, of course, dark hair and dark eyes. His face is square with bushy eyebrows and a hint of facial hair. He’s leaning against the bedpost and eyeing me like a predator.
“So, here’s the deal darlin’”, he talks to me like he’s disciplining a child, whereas I am probably at least ten years older than him. “We can’t move you outta here for several days, possibly weeks because we are low on supplies. So, in the meantime, you will cooperate with us so we don’t have to hurt you okay? We need you in good shape to get the most outta you. I’m sure you understand.” I can feel my brows furrow and my jaw clench. There’s nothing to say to him that will do any good. I shut my eyes slowly and just focused on my breathing. He doesn’t say anything for a while, but I can feel him still standing at the end of the bed.
I jump again as I feel his hand on my hip bone. It slides up my ribs and my whole-body tenses as he does so. Even with my eyes closed I can feel his eyes piercing into me.
“Don’t worry, we won’t be too rough.”