Two more days have passed since we’ve been in this dungeon-like room. She hasn’t become conscious still, and I am worried. Our captors have come and gone once each day, once cutting deep my unhurt palm, and the other day just making us plead stridently on the phone to someone at the other end. I think it was our parents. Today morning however, they unshackled us, knowing we’re too spent to try and escape.
She stirs slowly with as the morning’s first light comes through the window. I cannot see her face, but her unwary eyes are conscious of danger; fearful. I see them through the Jack-o-lantern’s eyes, and tears sliding down her cheeks. She tries to stand up, but she’s weak and falls to the floor in a heap. I slide off the bed and crawl to her side. I push the pumpkin shell off her head, and she gasps urgently for more air. The blood around her lips has dried, and there is some dappled on her wrists too, possibly from the tight handcuffs. Her pleated skirt is torn in some places. Unable to talk, I just hold her close and lean back on to the side of the bed, knowing it is not over, but relieved to see she’s not lost to me.
We get up together, gingerly, and go to the window. There is a baseball pitch on the other side of the compound; near the church. There is a game on, Little League I think. The baseball suddenly flies toward us and lands on the dried grass in the garden. We hear shouts of delirium; the game seems to be over. We turn around to drudge back to the bed, but a dull thud greets our ears. We look back to see Natalie, my neighbor’s daughter in the garden, retrieving the ball. She’s in good spirits, having won the game I suppose. She throws the ball into the air, and swishes the air with her bat. She looks up, and sees us at the window; then starts to run off.
We watch as seconds later, a masked man runs out the door and catches her. As he drags her back into the house, she emits a piercing scream. Our momentarily reignited hopes are once again, snuffed.
|The Sunday Whirl #28|