By: Gracie Friedrich

I was sitting on a swing in the park, minding my own business, when someone grabbed me from behind. I screamed. A cold, clammy hand clamped over my mouth. I bit down on it as hard as I could. The hand let go. I ran. I was freaking out and my breathing was becoming impaired. My stupid asthma was kicking in. I could hear the stranger's footsteps pounding behind me, so I ran faster. I ran not only for my safety, but also for my life. I knew all the stories about kidnappings and what the kidnappers did. Deep down I knew I was going to lose, but I wouldn't go down without a fight. "Time's up," I thought as he grabbed me by the waist and slammed me to the ground. I heard my head smack and it hurt my ears like fingernails on a chalkboard. I was being dragged then carried when everything went dark.

When I woke up, I thought that I went blind, but I soon realized that there was no light. I tried to move but my hands were bound, I tried to move my legs, and they were also bound. In fact, they were bound from hip to toe. Good. So he hasn't done anything to me yet. I moved around some more, enough to realize that I was on a lumpy mattress. I lay there for what seemed like hours but was probably only a few minutes. When suddenly I heard this strange creaking sound. Something was opening. A door? The lights flashed on for a few brief seconds before they were turned back off and a dim overhead light was turned on. It was the kind of light that you have in your laundry room. But, in the brief seconds that the light was on, I did notice one thing - I wasn't alone. There were others. Others like me. Others who were kidnapped. I was both excited and horrified. This man or woman or this thing, it did this to other people. I wasn't alone. There was the creaking noise again. He left, but why would he come in and turn that dim light on? Even with the dim light, I couldn't see the others. I would later come to realize that the light symbolized the day. But in the moment I was in utter bliss.

I had nothing to do, and I was too afraid to speak, so I counted. I counted seconds to minutes to hours. It was three hours twelve minutes and thirteen seconds before he came back. This time he brought food. I assumed that it was lunch, but was confused on how we would eat. There was a brief a buzzing noise and then a click. Was that the chains? The others were stirring now. No one said a word. The only noise I heard was the clacking of plates. It was a while before he came to me. It seemed that I was the last. I looked up expectantly; I hadn't had anything to eat since lunch yesterday. He chuckled. "You don't get any food, you're new here."

"Well why not?" I couldn't help but whine. I was so hungry.

"Like I said, you're new here. You don't have privileges yet. You have to earn them." His voice was gruff and slimy. It gave me the creeps. I sighed.

"Whatever," that was the best thing I could think to say. In a blink of an eye he pulled a needle out and inserted it in my arm.

"Sleepy time," I heard him laughing as I once again fell into the darkness.

When I awoke something was different. I was in a different position my arms were above my head and my wrists and ankles were in shackles. He must've given me a sleeping drug. Maybe this is how the others were? Other than my body position there was something else different. It was brighter in here. I could see more. There were beds that were maybe a hundred yards from me. There were girls in those beds.

"Hey," I whispered. I didn't trust my voice. "Hello!" I said it louder, "Can you hear me?" I saw movement. Someone stirred. "Hello?"

"Shh, don't say anything he'll get mad. He likes the quiet," A voice warned.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"He doesn't like us talking, are you stupid? Now shut up," the voice said, "If you know what's good for you." I was so confused. But now I knew why everyone was so quiet. If they weren't he would get angry. Out of habit though, I had to respond to her.

"Ok your majesty," I said sarcastically. My comment was followed by a sharp laugh. "Well at least somebody laughed," I thought.

My arms were starting to ache and out of habit I tried to bring them down to my sides. Surprisingly I could. There was a kind of spring or something that let me move my arms. I tried the same thing with my legs. It worked. I wanted to see how far I could go so I started pulling the chains toward me. I got to a certain point and suddenly they pulled back. I wasn't sure if it was a person or a machine. I tugged again and there was that same familiar tug back. I was having fun. Now I was not only doing it out of curiosity, but out of pleasure. It took my mind off of what was really happening. Sadly though, after about fifteen minutes of me doing this someone yelled, "STOP IT GODDAMMIT! STOP PULLING ON MY CHAINS!" I dropped them that instant. I heard groans moments before I heard the familiar creaking of the door opening. However, instead of quiet footsteps, I heard thundering ones pounding down what I reasoned to be stairs. In a flash the bright lights turned on. It took a minute for my eyes to adjust and what I saw horrified me. There were more than I expected. I thought that there were maybe five more people besides me but there weren't; there were maybe fifteen to twenty. They were all girls.

I was still in shock when I saw him walk past me-I saw the kidnapper, he walked right past me- and was walking toward the direction that I had pulled the chains from. "Oh no," I thought with panic as the kidnapper lifted up his hand. There was something shiny in it. Suddenly a high-pitched noise blasted out. The kidnapper was unaffected. The noise kept getting louder and louder and I could feel my ears start to bleed. There was another noise now. A scream. I swiveled my head around to get a better look and what I saw was unspeakable. He had put the shiny box next to her ear. And not only were her ears bleeding but there was blood pouring out of her nose and leaking out of her eyes. I was sick to my stomach. I leaned over and puked. Once I emptied my lunch from the day before out, I looked around. All the other girls were just lying there with their hands over their ears. None of them willing to help. I don't know what angered me more, these girls sitting here doing nothing, or the kidnapper torturing that poor girl. I didn't want to be like these girls who just lay there. I wanted to help. I wanted to stop the noise too. My ears were killing me.

Finally I couldn't take it anymore. I dragged myself off the cot and staggered towards him. My chains clanged against the ground as I dragged my feet against the concrete. I almost reached him when my vision went blurry. I shook my head to clear it and I blinked a few times. I wiped at my eyes and came away with blood. I could see better but barely. So I reached out and ripped the box from his hand and before he could do anything, I smashed it onto the ground. The silence was wonderful, the two whole seconds of it. Then this roaring rage of a yell came out from the kidnappers mouth. I could feel my eyes growing wide with panic. I turned to run but found myself on the floor. I knew that I didn't trip. I tried to push myself up, but I was thrown across the room this time. I hit another one of the cots and I heard something snap underneath me. There was a gasp. Then a scream. I got up and squinted in the light to see what was wrong. The girl whose cot I landed on arm was at a funny angle. It was lying off of the bed and I must've landed on it when he threw me. The kidnapper approached, and I flinched, but he walked right past me and started yelling at the girl, his newfound attention. "Quit your screaming!" he yelled as he slapped her.

I don't know what came over me, but I couldn't stand him hurting another soul. I was fairly tall, maybe 5'8" or 5'9" but I had to reach up rather high just to tap his shoulder. Man, he was tall. As he turned around I hauled off and punched him right in the nose. The look of shock on his face was a match to those all around us. The room went silent then to my horror, he punched me back. I saw him smiling above me before everything went dark.

"God I have to stop doing that," I thought. I tried to sit up but I couldn't. My head was pounding. I pushed my hair back from my face and felt this crusted ooze in my hair. "Blood," I thought. I sighed and took in my surroundings. I was on my same cot, so the kidnapper didn't move me, but my head was strapped down. My chains were tighter too. My stomach growled so loud in the absolute silence. I laughed. Then laughed some more because these girls probably thought that I was crazy.

Once my little episode was over I decided to talk to everyone and no one. "So how long have you guys been here?" Silence. "I've been here for about a day. Is that right?" Silence again. "Well my head hurts what about yours?" Utter silence. "Why won't you talk back?" my voice cracked. "Please?"

"Shut up! Are you trying to get yourself killed? If you stay quiet enough then he'll feed you and let you use the bathroom."

"Who are you?"

"I'm trying not to get killed, unlike you," she replied. This girl was starting to get on my nerves. She wouldn't answer any of my questions, so I just decided to be quiet. As the silence started to settle in she whispered back, "Good you get the point now." This just made me want to say something witty back.

"Oh yea I think I got that point loud and clear," I said that last part pretty loud and it was followed by some rude shushes from the others.

A short while later I heard footsteps pounding down the stairs. The kidnapper was feeding everyone. He skipped me. This was the second meal that I missed. I was sooo hungry. He walked past me to the girl he had tormented earlier and took a key out of his pocket. I saw my opportunity.

He yanked her off of the bed and bound her with rope. He put the key in his pocket. He walked by me and I reached out barely skimming his shirt. He turned spun around which made my head spin.

"What?" he snapped. I was so freaked out and couldn't believe what I was about to do.

"I'm hungry that's all," I said as my voice shook, "can I get some food please?" He laughed as he turned to go. I grabbed his shirt harder this time and he spun around and slapped me.

"Don't you EVER do that again," he shouted, then he turned on his heel and half carried half dragged that other girl with him. I just lay there until he came back and turned the light off, signaling night. Now I started to put my plan into action. I uncurl my fingers the key inside them. I had to move quickly. I unlocked my wrists by the time I heard some rustling noises.

"Hello?" I whispered into the dark, "Who is it?"

"It's me, what are you doing?" a voice replied. It was the same girl who had warned me earlier.

"Escaping that's what I'm doing," I replied, "now be quiet and let me work in silence." I started working on my ankles.

"Escaping? How? Can you take me with you?"

Yes, with the key I stole earlier and yes, I plan on taking everyone with me. But I have to work fast." I was on my last ankle when I heard the click. I was free. "OK where are you?" I asked.

"Follow my voice over here," she replied. I did. I found her and felt around until I found her chains and started the whole process again.

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Emma," she replied, "what's yours?"

"Amy," I said," now go around and wake everyone else up. It won't help us rescue them if they're asleep."

"Ok," she replied. I started going around and unlocking everyone's chains and she was silently waking everyone up. About a half-hour later everyone was awake and free, well almost. Now came the tricky part. Escaping. No one knew his or her way around. So we just sorta fumbled around until someone found the door. It was locked of course. I used the key and it unlocked. We were free. Well not quite. There was still the chance that we might get caught, but what are the chances of him catching all of us? No, we still had a ways to go before we were free.

I slowly opened the door. It squeaked anyways. We tried to quietly tiptoe up the stairs but a in a group of girls that was hard to do. So as we climbed the stairs in a murmur of whispers and creaks we all heard a scream. Which was shortly followed by a loud banging noise. We froze. I was freaking out but I tried to be brave. I shushed the girls behind me and we stood there silent for what seemed like hours but what could have only been a few minutes. Finally I thought it was safe enough to move on so I signaled Emma and she whispered to the others that we were moving on and to be quiet or else.

As I got to the top of the stairs I tried the door out of habit and it turned out that it was locked. I tried the key and it didn't work. Figures. I sighed and turned around.

"What is it now?" Emma asked.

"The doors locked," I stated dumbly.

"Well move outta the way then," she said, "I'll unlock it for you."

"How?" I asked.

"Well this lock isn't a chain or a metal door. It's wooden." I raised my eyebrows in question. "So that means that it can easily be picked."

"Uh with what exactly?"

"With this," she said as she pulled a bobby pin out of her thick curly hair. She pulled it apart and stuck it into the keyhole. She jiggled it around for a while, and magically the door opened. I have to learn how to do that. Now we were out of the basement and in his kitchen. I could feel the pressure closing in. If we were caught it would mean death. I didn't want to die.

"Ok so let's go through the back door and run as far away as we can before we call the cops," I whispered. There was a nod of heads.

We tiptoed through his kitchen and when we reached the back door I slowly opened it and made sure everyone got out. I heard something and my nerves finally got to me. I bolted. When the other girls saw me they lost it too. We all ran and we didn't stop until we reached the nearest gas station. Once there I called the cops and no later than twenty minutes the police and paramedics were here. Shortly followed by every one's parents. They asked where we came from and Emma and I rode down in a cop car to the house. They knocked on the door and arrested him once he opened the door.

"What about the girl?" I asked the detective once he got back into the patrol car.

"What other girl?"

"The one that he took before we broke out," Emma said. The cop spoke into his walkie-talkie and a short while later they were searching the house. She came out in a body bag.

The next morning as I sat eating ice cream in my living room I saw the news. With one death and nineteen rescued they were celebrating. But all I could think was that it was my fault. I was the one who got her killed. Next thing I know I woke up with a start. The doctor said I would have nightmares for a while. It just seemed so real though. I couldn't believe we got out, that we are free.