8. Glimmer of hope

8. Glimmer of hope

A Chapter by Lynaelee

~Abuse warning. Explicit wording~

"Wake up," a gruff voice commanded as my something hard connected with my cheek. "It's lesson time." I didn't say anything and kept my eyes closed, not that I could open them if I wanted to. I could tell I was laying on my back on a concrete floor. All of my limbs were free, but everything still felt heavy, especially my head. The room acoustics gave me the impression of a smaller sized room, but I wasn't certain. There was no echo, and I couldn't hear beyond the room. However, I could tell my attacker and I were not the only ones in the room. Quiet sniffles were coming from across the room. Beside me to the left, somebody shuffled their feet as they paced back and forth. The voice above me boomed again, "I said up!" This time his foot connected with my right side, just below the rib cage, my body rolled with the motion. A muffled yell caught my attention, the whimpering continued. Two separate noises. There was at least four people in the room beside me. The voice connected to the boot was obviously Ronnie. I wasn't sure who was tied up, but my best bet was two of my fellow captured classmates; I wasn't sure which two though. 
"Give her five more minutes. It's better when they're awake," the voice now in front of me stated, as he continued to pace. Ark. 
"Makes sense. He has issues getting his hands dirty. Barely even know him and can already tell," I reasoned silently.  
"We'll be back soon. You three sit tight; we'll get to you in a minute or so," Ark ordered gruffly. Two sets of footprints receded towards the wall and a door clicked shut, and I began to count. Across the room, struggling commenced with frustrated groans. Lauren let out a high pitched, muffled wail and mentally I rolled my eyes. The grunting continued. Two distinctive sounds, Adam and Ryan. Whatever they were struggling against wasn't moving. 
I counted to seventy-three before I felt like I could move. I rolled to my back and opened my eyes. I took a deep breath and winced, but remained silent; the pain was manageable. Sitting up slowly, I looked over my left shoulder at the three of them then I took a deep breath and buried my head in my knees, trying to keep the room from spinning more. Sluggishly, I looked up and around as I turned my body to the left so I could face my classmates head on. This room was larger than I thought. My classmates were at least ten feet away from me and spaced three feet apart, bound and gagged; Adam on the far left, Ryan in the middle, and Lauren on the right. Nobody was close to a wall and their chairs were definitely bolted to the ground. Both men were fighting against their binds, Lauren was just crying. "I'm fine. Just please stop before you hurt yourselves!" I scolded irratably as Ryan and Adam seemed to rock in their chairs again. "Give me a sec and I'll help you. I'm a little dizzy at the moment." Adam relaxed slightly into his chair, Lauren tried to stop her tears, but Ryan remained tense and locked eyes with me. He gestured with his head; I followed his gaze. The whole wall to my left was mirror - a two-way I was certain. I was confused. Surely Ark and Ronnie went out that way, but I couldn't see a door. I quickly searched the rest of the room. No door was visible anywhere; just the mirror, two concrete walls, and a metal covered wall opposite of the mirror. I studied my reflection for a moment as I tried to make sense of the room. Bruises had formed on my neck, my right cheek was bright red, and thin lines were visible on my ankles and wrists. I shrugged and turned back to my classmates, suddenly remembering their injuries. "Adam, can you breathe through your nose?" He took a deep breath through his nose to show me it was okay, but nodded for everyone's sake. There was a gash across the bridge of his nose and his left eye was bruised, but he seemed fine. "Ryan, where were you hit, the chest?" I asked already knowing the answer. He bobbed his head twice, confirming it. That's when I noticed he had a bruise forming on the underside of his jaw too; thankfully, that one didn't look too bad. "Hard to breathe?" He nodded again. "Okay. Lauren, I'm going to untie you first so I can use your shirt; I'll have to rip it up as a bandage. I'd use my own shirt, but they already took my spare shirt and I don't feel like undressing completely. Sorry. Ryan, you're the first person I can help. I'm fairly certain your ribs need help and a bandage is the best way," I explained as I rose to my feet. I felt unsteady, but ignored it. Lauren glared at me but gave me a curt nod. Just then, the door clicked open. I turned around and gasped. There was a hidden door in the mirror! 
Ronnie and Ark walked through with a vicious smirk on their faces. Ronnie sauntered beside me. "Good news, bad news," Ark began and raised both his hands. "Good news, you're all awake. Bad news, your incarceration has begun and will last indefinitely. Good news, that statement is false for one of you. Bad news, for us, we'll have to say good-bye to one of you," he said in a sing-song voice, raising his right hand and lowering his left every time he said good news, reversing it for bad news as he cantered slowly through the room. "Good news, all four of you agreed on two questions. Bad news, for you only, Annette, is that you've been nominated to take the bullet for them." I had never been shot before and figured torture was their game; so I knew they wouldn't shoot to kill. However, I knew that I would bleed out before I could stop it, and I seriously doubted either of our captors would let me try to stop the bleeding. One bullet each, four bullets; the possibilities were endless in the ways they could injure me. I smirked at Ark as I quickly studied both men; neither had a gun. No gun, meant they didn't want me to bleed; not really. He scowled at me. "Most people wouldn't find that to be appealing news, Annette. I can't believe you would be happy about that. You're either as selfless as they come or the dumbest person I ever met." I smiled largely. He didn't scare me.
"Can we get on with it?" Ronnie bellowed. Ark smiled and walked around my classmates looking down upon them. Lauren trembled and shut her eyes tight when he passed her.
"Get away from them," I snapped, causing everyone's eyes to shoot up and meet me. "Yes. I'd be happy to take a bullet for them. That means you stay away from them. I'm your your target. I'm standing right here. Get away from them." Ark's eyes grew darker as he glowered at me and walked back towards me. My classmates' eyes held shock and disbelief. Ryan was shaking his head, but overall I could sense the fear and awe.
"Good news, we're not going to shoot you. Only because the big boss thinks you could truly be valuable. Bad news, your new friends will be Ronnie's fists and feet." He gestured towards Ronnie. His fist connected with the left side of my jaw. I let out a surprised yelp as I stepped a few steps back and covered it instinctively with my hand. He grinned. So his joy came from the sounds of pain; I couldn't give him the satisfaction. It had been a while since my face had been hit, but I could ignore the pain. I lowered my arm and stood tall. He swung again and connect with my left eye, I could instantly feel the swelling from his large, gaudy ring. I grimaced and stood tall again. A third punch landed squarely in the middle of my chest. I bent over and gasped for air and Ronnie's knee connected with my nose. I stumbled back a few feet but remained hunched over. Tears leaked out my eyes, but I could hold out. One of the guys let out a muffled yell and Ark continued, "good news, it's just her getting hurt and taking the metaphorical bullet for you guys. Bad news, the more noise you make, the more she'll get hit. Good news, you look like you're having fun, Ronnie. Bad news, if you damage her pretty face too much the boss will have our heads. Remember, she has the potential of making us lots of money." Ronnie nodded as I stood up tall again. He smirked and gut punched me. I gasped as I doubled over again, crossing my arms in front of me. I caught my breath and stood up again placing my arms at my side. My hands shook, my breathing was raspy, and I could no longer see out my left eye, but as I stood tall again, I looked Ronnie in the eyes and grinned. His mouth twitched and anger flashed in his eyes. He came closer and began double punching and combos to my gut. After eight combos, I collapsed to the ground. "Good news, your friend can take a beating. I would love to know why. Bad news, she seems to have no preservation for her own life. Which is good news for us, because we're going to find her breaking point." Ronnie kicked my right hip, and then my thigh twice. I closed my eyes tightly and tried to take a deep breath. "Stop for a minute please, Ronnie. You'll make her blackout soon and I think she should hear this too," Ark commanded. I opened my eyes in shock as he turned to face Ryan. What else was there to know? Were they going to hurt them? I panted on the ground while I watched them. Adam and Lauren were both crying while they looked at me. Ryan seemed torn between looking at me and Ark who lingered over him. Ark made the decision for him, forcing Ryan's head to look at him.
"Leave 'em alone," I thought, unable to speak at the moment, still gasping for air. 
"Good news, you're free to go. Everyone voted that you would be most missed. Bad news, I am going to have take your memory from the past 24 hours. Good news, I'm highly skilled with chemistry components and have just the thing for you. Bad news, you won't be able to help your friends. Good news, you get a final word. Bad news, you only get two words. You should make them count," Ark instructed. As he pulled out his knife, I sat up and looked at my peers. All three classmates let the tears fall silently as they looked at me in pity. I gave them a curt nod and smiled; I was okay.
"How will we know you're going to follow through and not kill him?" I asked, trying to remaining sitting up, but I was dizzy. Ronnie punched me in the mouth causing me to bite through my lip. I looked up at him, spit some blood on the ground, and smiled. He raised his lip angrily. I looked back at Ark and gave him a fierce gaze, bracing myself with my left arm and curling my legs behind me. "I asked you a question," I spat. "How do we know you just won't kill him?" Lauren and Adam looked at Ark expectantly. Ryan kept his eye on me; I swear he was trying to shake his head. I didn't care; I needed to know. "How do we know your word is good?"
"You don't," Ark replied eyeing me icily as he sliced through Ryan's bonds on his left hand. Ryan started to rub his still bound right wrist and subtly made a phone with fingers. "But if it will make you feel better, I'll take a picture of him when we drop him off safely, and alive," Ark snarled. 
"We want proof immediately. You can't erase the past 24 hours for him," I replied, speaking rapidly. Only to get another fist to the face.
"Hold up, Ronnie. Explain," Ark commanded. 
"This morning was football tryouts. 60 guys tried out, only 33 made it. He needs to know if he made the team. If you erase that, best case scenario, he forgets when tryouts were and doesn't play at all. I overheard them when I served them lunch; they were getting the results this afternoon. How about half a pill? He would still forget this afternoon. Ah," I finished as Ronnie connected his foot with my rib cage and I heard a snap. Through tears threatening to spill over, I caught Ryan's eye. He looked up then down telling me he understood. I looked over at Adam. He looked confused but nodded in agreement, even though neither goon was looking at him; just at me. "I know that Ryan worked hard. Adam too. But if you're releasing Ryan, he's going to go home and continue life like this never happened; especially since you're going to make him forget. He needs not to stress about a sport's tryout again; it can't be healthy. I also know that at the end of the season last year, he was told if he worked hard over the summer, kept up with gym regime, and made the team this year that he'll be captain. He's earned that right. He needs to know," I continued, panting heavily. Ryan's eyes offered a small smile in gratitude, and I could see Adam's dimple above the gag that was tied around his face; I had said exactly the right thing.
"If he's as dedicated of a player as you say he is, then it won't matter if he's one of the 33; it should pretty much be guaranteed," Ark snapped as he stared me down. He looked back at Ryan in a furied defeat. "D****t. You're taking a full pill. You can contact the coach. You should be able to figure out these damn numbers. 60 players, 33 spots. I'll be damned. The b***h actually cares about your worthless ads. She really is as selfless as they come. Give me your f*****g hand," Ark hissed at Ryan. Ryan complied and Ark began to carve in his wrist 60/33. Ryan let out a strangled cry as the knife dug into his wrist, then whimpered softly as he met my eye. I could tell he was trying to be strong for my sake, but I had years of practice of hiding the noise; he didn't.
"Stop!" I started to protest as another strangled cry came out of Ryan's mouth. Ronnie's foot kicked my calf and skidded across my shin to the other calf.
"Almost done, sweetheart. Shut up," Ark ordered. I glared at him. 
"Fine. Will you please pat it dry and bandage it for him? You can't let him bleed out," I insisted as I rolled to my side. I received another kick, this time closer to my bottom. 
"Of course, your majesty. Anything else?" Ark replied sarcastically. I shook my head, Ronnie put me in a chokehold, and Ryan's right wrist and feet were unbound before Ark put the knife to Ryan's neck. Ryan immediately covered his left wrist with his right hand, applied pressure, and sat there frozen. I gasped and tried to loosen the arm around my neck as Ronnie stood up, taking my feet off the ground too. Before I could kick my legs, he had them both trapped between his and it felt like iron clasps; there would be no escaping. Ark smirked. "There's a sight I like to see. Just keep her breathing a while longer. Don't you dare let her pass out." Turning his attention back towards Ryan and pressed against his neck slightly. I could see the skin where the blade pressed turn lighter, but no cut had been made. "Go ahead and try something heroic again, I dare you. It was a very dumb thing you tried to pull in the car. Just remember, she'll pay," Ark sneered. I watched the fight leave Ryan's eyes as he blinked back several tears and looked at me. I pulled on the arm around my neck only for it to tighten and his left arm pin my arms to my stomach. I leaned into him and gasped. "Better make this quick, or she won't be breathing much longer. Two words, then you take this pill. Or we'll use this knife on her only I won't be as gentle. Understood?" Ark asked. Ryan nodded and looked at me woefully. I noticed a single tear trickle down his cheek. Ark removed the gag that was attached to his head and helped him stand up. 
"Live. Fight," Ryan ordered. I looked up and down as I gasped for air again. He put his hand into a fist, pounded his chest twice then made the peace sign. Then he took the pill from Ark and swallowed it. Almost immediately, he fell to the ground. Ronnie released his grasp on me and let me crumble to the ground. I took several deep breaths and tried to stand up again. Before I could, Ronnie grabbed me by my shoulder, pulled me to my feet, and shoved me with great force that I felt like I was thrown against the metal wall. I swear there must have been concrete behind this wall too, because it didn't feel like most of the metal I've come into contact with. My shoulder took the most of impact but my right temple bounced hard against the wall, and I crumpled to the ground yet again. Once again, I tried to fill my lungs, but could only manage small gasps. Blackness started to cloud my vision.
"Fight," I ordered myself mentally, already losing to the black fog. "Stay awake."  
"We will take Ryan here away, back to his car. Your rooms can be found through that wall. You will go in there without a problem or we will have problem. One person per door. No assistance may be offered to anyone else. We'll be watching you!" He instructed pointing towards the mirror. "Good night and welcome to your new home. Everything you need can be found in there," Ark said as he and Ronnie picked up Ryan after loosening Lauren and Adam's binds around their hands. They then walked out of the room through the mirror as three doors on the opposite wall opened up; one door was inches from my head. After making sure Lauren and Adam had freed one leg each, I braced myself against the wall and stood up. Using the wall for support, I entered the room and collapsed on the ground as the door closed behind me. Knowing I probably had a concussion, I fought to stay awake. My body was weak, sore, and tired; I couldn't fight it. My head rested on the floor and I closed my eyes. My body shut down before I could begin to count.

© 2017 Lynaelee

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Added on November 3, 2016
Last Updated on September 3, 2017

If only



Sometimes I feel like I need an outlet to express myself. I have never been good with verbal communication, but I have always found an out in writing. I hurt. I bleed. I make mistakes. I cry. Yes,.. more..

If only If only

A Book by Lynaelee

1. *Prologue* 1. *Prologue*

A Chapter by Lynaelee