Heather had been chained to the wall for two days. She didn't know where she was or remember how she got here, but she certainly wasn’t dumb and she had some idea of what was going on. She’d been kidnapped.
The man who’d taken her (Heather assumed it was a man because, let’s face it, what woman kidnaps a seventeen year-old girl and locks her up naked in a closet?) had chained her hands separately in large, thick cuffs. Each hand was chained to a different bracket on the wall at different heights. The brackets were spaced so that she could not pull her right hand down far enough to sit down and her left wouldn’t come high enough to let her stand up straight. The sick fucker wanted her tired; Heather didn’t waste much time guessing what for.
She spent the better part of the day much as she had spent the first, pulling fruitlessly on the chains that bound her. She tried every conceivable angle, but the bonds proved too strong and she succeeded only in rubbing her wrists raw.
Heather found the closest thing to a comfortable position by pressing her back against the wall she as chained to, pushing her feet onto the opposite wall, and letting her legs form a forty-five degree angle with the floor. Every so often she would drift off to sleep but her knees would buckle, and she would slide quickly along the wall toward the ground until her right hand's chain would pull taut, digging deeply into her already raw flesh. Every time she woke screaming.
On the third day, when her thirst burned as hot as her tired legs, Heather finally met her captor.
She was about to drift off to one of her painful sleep sessions when she was roused by a door slamming above her, followed by slow, heavy footfalls on a hardwood floor. The footfalls continued down a flight of steps directly above her head- dust and cobwebs fell from the ceiling of the closet into her eyes and mouth. She coughed and tried to spit out the debris, but her mouth was almost completely dry.
The footfalls stopped in front of the door, which swung open to a large man silhouetted by blindingly bright ceiling light. Before Heather’s eyes could adjust the man lunged forward and took a firm grip on her throat.
“This is simple,” he whispered to her. His voice was low and gravely; his breath was foul with the smell of cheap cigarettes which, mixed with the smell of his cheap cologne poorly masking his terrible body odor, would have made most people in Heather’s position gag. Heather had a strong stomach.
“Either you’re good,” the man continued, “and I get what I want, or you’re bad and, well…” Heather opened her eyes to see the main raising what looked like a short length of thick, black rubber tubing in his free hand. “You get the hose.”
Heather was fairly certain he did not intend to bathe her.
“So, what’s it gonna be, girl?” He asked with a hideous smile “You got a kiss for daddy?”
Heather gave her best impression of a coy smile. The man seemed to like this, and leaned in toward her with mouth open wide, his tongue stuck out and waving disgustingly. When he was about six inches from her face, she bucked her head forward, brining the corner of her forehead down hard on his nose. Hot blood spewed from his nostrils onto her face.
“Kiss this, asshole,” she mocked as she brought her foot up swiftly to his testicles, or so she thought. The man caught her leg with both hands. She still couldn’t see his face due to the bright back-lighting from the room outside, but she caught a glimpse of his eyes – he was furious. He brought a fist down hard onto her face, knocking the back of her skull into the cinder block wall. Heather was dazed and slumped down against the wall until her right hand caught in the chain.
“You dumb bitch!” screamed her captor. He bent over and picked up the length of rubber tubing he’d dropped. “Looks like I still get to enjoy myself.”
The man was not gentle with the hose but, considering the alternative, Heather counted the beating as a victory.
After he’d had his fill of hitting her, he closed the door and walked upstairs. He returned in a few minutes. In front of her he dropped a gallon jug of water and an open, half-empty green bag with a picture of a dog on it. “Eat up, bitch,” he said, and slammed the door shut. She listened as his footfalls climbed the stairs and left the house.
Heather didn’t cry. She wouldn’t give that to him.
She pulled the gallon jug over to her with her feet, then reached her left hand down. The water felt glorious on her tongue and throat, but she drank to quickly. She began choking and had to spit out a mouthful.
Have to be more careful, she thought, don’t know how long I have to make this last. She dove into the bag he’d left, presuming it was food. She felt inside and her hand grasped several hard, round objects. He’d left her dog food. Fuck it, she told herself. If she was going to get out of her, she’d need some strength. Pride be damned.
More cycles of standing, bracing, falling asleep and waking to an aching wrist followed. Heather realized she no longer had any idea how much time was passing.
After a long while, Heather awoke to a strange rustling sound coming from the bag of dog food. She picked up the bag an shook it; the bag gave out a slight squeak. She reached inside and felt a sharp pain on her index finger. “Shit!” she shouted and withdrew her hand. She clenched her jaw and reached back in, this time her hand gripped the furry body of a small rat. It squeaked and squirmed in her hand, trying to get free. She squeezed hard and let the bag fall to the floor, then proceeded to bash the rat against the wall until the squeaking faded and the squirmed stopped altogether.
She couldn’t see in the pitch blackness of her prison, so Heather held the rat, stroking up and down its bloody, matted fur while she considered her means of escape. Her hands fell upon its small ears. She gave the head a light squeeze, feeling the hardness of the skull. She had it.
What seemed like an eternity later, Heather was again awakened by the slamming of the door above her. Her eyes shot wide open and she reached down to the spot on the floor where she’d left the rat carcass. Fuck fuck fuck. She brought her hands together and began twisting the dead rat frantically.
The footfalls began descending the stairs. Almost there, almost there! she thought.
His steps hit the concrete of the basement floor, and he made his way toward the door, clicking the light on in the process. Heather worked desperately as the shadow of his feet crept under the door.
The neck finally snapped and the rat’s head came free. Heather put it in place and dropped the remainder of the dead rat into the dog food bag just as the door swung open.
Once again, he didn’t waste any time grabbing her by the throat. “I hope you’ve learned your lesson from last time,” he said, and gave a little chuckle, “though, really, I don’t much care. I enjoyed the other way, too.”
Heather breathed heavily through her nose, keeping her mouth shut tight.
“Well, what’s it gonna be, girl? You got a kiss for daddy?”
Heather was still for a moment then gave a slight nod.
“Good,” he said, and once again gaped his mouth open, starting towards her.
When she could feel his hot breath on her lips, Heather opened her mouth and spit as hard as she could. The dead rat’s head flew from her mouth into his and found its mark at the back of his throat. He began gagging and reeled back wards, hitting hard against the corner between the closet wall and the doorframe. Stunned, he slid down against the wall. He couldn’t have landed in a more perfect position.
Now, Heather screamed at herself. She braced her back against the wall as she had so many times before, but instead of resting her feet against the wall, she planted her right foot firmly on the man’s throat, pushing as hard as she could. He grabbed her leg and began to struggle, but with his awkward positioning combined with the fact he was choking left him unable to move her leg.
He thought of a different approach, and began to bring his meaty fist down hard on her knee over and over. Heather gave out a cry of pain each time, but pure fear and adrenaline driving her, managed to keep her leg in place.
Then she felt the snap. Something in her knee had broken. “No!” she screamed, and gave out another painful cry.
The man raised his fist once more. It came down hard and Heather’s knee gave way with a loud crack, bending sideways, giving out a hot, sharp pain. She screamed and fell towards the ground, the chain on her right wrist catching her.
Believing he’d won, the man stayed where he was, desperately heaving and hacking, trying to loose the rat head from his throat.
Heather wasn’t done. She tried to push with her right leg, but it bucked even further under the weight of her body. She screamed again, then forced herself to concentrate. She knew if she couldn’t do it now, he’d kill her. She began to wrap the chain clockwise around her right wrist. With every circuit, she was pulled upward an inch or two.
Finally, she was able to bring herself high enough to brace herself in position, and put her left foot where her right had been a moment earlier – at the man’s throat.
He wasted no time coming down on her knee; after two hard smacks, she felt a snap. He brought his fist up a third time and it plunged to her knee, but she only felt a light tap.
He’d been without air for too long- he was dying. He began to convulse under her foot, fast at first, then slower and slower until the life was drained completely from his body and he went completely limp.
Heather screamed in pain and victory.
She worked quickly, pulling his body towards her by looping her foot under his belt. She felt in his jacket pocket and finding a set of keys. She found the right one and released her restraints, falling into a heap on the floor. She crawled over her captor’s dead body and across the cold concrete floor of the bright basement Her elbows hit hard on wood as she climbed the stairs and crawled towards the front door of the abandoned house.
Heather reached up to the doorknob and swung it open into bright sunshine.
Now she could cry.