Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Drip. Drip. Drip.
Tiny splashes echo in my head like a canyon, bouncing off the painful edges of my brain. It's like I'm swimming out of a dream, but I can't quite make it to the surface.
A new sound adds to the percussion - an electric hum.
These sounds definitely do not belong to my bedroom. Where am I and how did I get here? The last thing I remember was Jake - I think his name was Jake - buying me a White Russian. He'd been eying me from a corner table for the better part of an hour before he finally found a chance to approach me alone. My friends were on the dance floor, but I've never been much of a dancer. This guy seemed nice enough, and God knows I needed a distraction from the breaking off of my last tragic relationship. I had casually taken a few sips of the sweet tonic while Jake inched closer to me at the bar, but I'd gotten uncomfortable at his sudden proximity and excused myself to the bathroom.
Then it all went black.
The dripping and humming in my ears were the next things I became aware of - and this pain in my head, which I realize now is not just contained to my head. My shoulders burn, my wrists are throbbing, and I'm sure my knee has been slammed against something hard. I have no idea how much time is passed. Is it still the same night I was at the bar? What the hell happened?
I need to open my eyes, but I'm afraid of what I might see, so I wait. The dripping sound has made me realize that I'm thirsty. I try to swallow, but my mouth feels like it's full of sand. I take as deep a breath as I can stand and slowly exhale, then try to open my eyes. One opens, but the other is swollen shut. I am on my side, lying on cold tiles the color of piss, and based on the smell this seems an accurate description. I look around from my position on the floor. Glancing to my right I see a window, but the only view it provides is three other brick walls. My own apartment building has an identical air shaft, and I know that escaping through the window will only trap me further. The humming must have been the fluorescent light hanging above me, illuminating the shards of a cracked mirror. The fractured light gives my surroundings a jaundiced tinge and flares the ache in my head.
My stomach lurches. I have to sit up, but my hands are bound behind me. Slowly I slide my knees toward my chest, roll into the child position with my forehead on the floor, and lift myself up to kneeling. Part of me thinks that my yoga teacher would be proud if she saw me do that, and I would laugh if the setting hadn't sobered all of the humor out of me. Every movement hurts worse than the one before, and my confusion is turning into fear. My head reels from the effort. I think I might retch.
Take a few deep breaths, I remind myself. Easier said than done. Closing my eyes I begin to count as the air moves through my lungs. In one, two, three. Out one, two, three. In one, two... a new smell makes itself known through the acrid odor of urine - a smell I can't quite identify, but one that is vaguely familiar.
Out one, two, three.
Iron? Yes, but something more.
In one, two, three.
A flash of memory jumps into my mind. Two summers ago, while hiking with some friends, we found a dead deer in the woods. Most of it's flesh had been eaten by bugs. The eyes were gone. Only the bones and insides remained, and it smelled like a garbage can full of Thanksgiving turkey carcass and fresh diapers combined. The odor of bodily decay is not something easily forgotten.
Now I can almost taste the fear in my mouth, bile and mucus inching their way upward. Very slowly, as if delaying it will make it better, I turn around to see what is behind me in the bathtub. A pool of milky pink liquid fills the tub. At first this doesn't seem so bad, like a small child was mixing soaps, or someone was using the tub to dye fabric. But then I see it, sticking out of the fluid just a little bit. A finger... and down at the end, a toe.
Horror chokes me as the adrenaline takes over control of my body and I kick myself away from the bathtub. Up until now I had been telling myself that I would be OK, I would get out of here, I would go to a hospital and then go home. I'd already been beaten up. The worst I thought could happen next was probably rape. But the discovery of the body in the bathtub brought with it new fears, fears more primal than worries of simple bodily injury.
I have to get out of here, but I'm trapped. The door is probably bolted shut, but I couldn't open it in this physical state anyway, with my hands tied behind my back. A flashing light dances underneath the door from a nearby television. My only hope is to plead with my captor, try to convince him to let me go. I could promise to just leave and not tell the police what I have seen here, if only he won't kill me. At the very least, maybe I can make enough noise to attract some attention from a downstairs neighbor. Carefully I inch myself toward the door and, as much as it hurts, I lie down on my back with my hands still bound behind me. Kicking the door now, I scream at the top of my lungs. I cry and yell, and sob, and scream some more. I call out for someone, anyone, to come and help me. But no one comes, not even my captor. I will have no opportunity to beg my way free.
Collapsing on the floor I am exhausted and beyond all hope of escape. Truly, I am trapped.