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No Answer, Only Silence
Getting ready for school, my dad yells at me from the bottom of the staircase, “Sweetie! I can’t take you to school today; you’re going to have to get a ride from a friend!”
I flip out my cell phone and call my best friend, who just happens have gotten their full driver’s license last week, Eli. I dial his number, after three rings Eli finally picks up, “mhmmm,” he answers groggily.
“Hey Eli can you come out and pick me up? My dad can’t take me. I’ll pay for gas if you want,” I ask.
“Umhmm,” he replies still half asleep.
“Sorry that I woke you up,” I apologized, and then hung up.
I hear his car pull up in the driveway. Wow that was quick. He’s early? I thought to myself.
In a rush, so he wouldn’t have to wait, I accidently grab my sister’s jacket. She passed away about six months ago now. Laci committed suicide. It’s entirely my fault that she did that to herself. At the time I was being a major b**** to her. I was going through a deep depression for some unknown reason and all Laci did was try and try to cheer me up. She was trying to keep me from hurting myself or anyone for that matter, again. Every attempt she had I pushed her away further and further away. Then one day I was the worst, I was busy playing the blood violin and Laci barged in my room and started taking all of my sharp objects out of my reach. She tried to calm me down and to bandage my cuts being my nurse, my caretaker as she was. Her attempts at making me think straight and to be happy once again were worthless and only angered me, so I screamed, “I HATE YOU!!! LEAVE ME ALONE!” and I threw a lamp at her. That day Laci slit her own throat. I was such a b**** then and I regret my actions greatly. I am so responsible for her death. Because of her, of her caring, because of her doing that because of me, I straightened up for her and dad. I caused everyone hell. I needed to get them out of it
A honking outside interrupted my thoughts of my beloved sister. I look out my window and held up the “just a minute” hand signal. I run down the stairs hurriedly and rush out the door. Its pitch black outside with thick fog surrounding everything, I can’t see two feet in front of me. I hear the car’s door open, I feel my way around and I climb in the car. I feel around for a seatbelt but, there is none. That’s peculiar?
Awhile down the long highway in complete silence and darkness, I try to start a conversation, or at least an attempt. I say, “Sooo… how was your weekend?”
I understand why there was no answer. I shouldn’t have asked the question in the first place. Eli has a lot on his plate at the moment. His mom was diagnosed with cancer last year and his jerk of a dad is leaving the family in their time of most need. I know it’s hard on him. I know what it’s like to have someone to walk out on you and to lose someone you keep close to the heart. I wish I knew how to help him. Help him figure things out and not go into a depression like I did.
Eli suddenly turned off the head-lights. It made me start to worry that we might end up in the ditch or ocean. I had to speak up, “Damnitt, Eli! Turn-on the damn headlights we’re gonna crash!”
Eli doesn’t respond and he doesn’t turn-on the headlights. This guy is going to be the death of us both if he doesn’t turn on the headlights.
We halt to a sharp stop, giving me whiplash. I was very puzzled; we couldn’t have been there already? We can’t be there this early, it’s still dark out, plus it takes about two hours to get from my place to our school. I hear Eli open his door and him step out. I try to open my door but, it’s locked. A dark figure sneaks up at my window, making me jump out of my skin; I place a hand over my heart in relief to find it was only Eli there. He slips a key into the door and turns, unlocking the door for me. He places his gloved hand onto the handle and pulls the door open. He can be such a gentleman…not. He grabs me roughly by the arm, bruising me, and then he drags me to a ledge and throwing me over. As I fall, I hear a soft chuckle follow. The bastard is enjoying this? How in the hell?
SPLASH! I smack into the concrete water. Gasping, splashing, screaming, and even crying; if possible when your face is already soaked, I fight to keep my head above the waves. Bobbing up and down, up and down, up and down, I gasp for breath every chance I get. As I bob up I can see the sun managing a ray of sunshine over the horizon. Despite the beautiful sun rise I scream for dear life, “Eli help!... I can’t… swim!... please!”
The only response I get is a slight snicker.
Suddenly a motor kicks my heart skips, my eyes grow wider than ever. Could this be the end? I hope not. To make my hopes true I try to doggy paddle my way to the surface. The land, the place where I belong, the place where I’m safe; I really don’t want to be caught in the boats deadly strong currents.
As I reach for the ledge, to pull myself up, Eli snatches me by the wrists forcefully, leaving dark marks in the shape of his hands. As he yanks me up, my shirt rises exposing my stomach, allowing the pavement to break my skin raw and letting even more tears of fright and pain leave my stormy grey eyes. Eli drags me across the parking lot, not even allowing me to get on my feet, making my scrape even worse. He then throws me into the back of the car like I was nothing but a sack of potatoes.
As I lie there in the car in too much pain to even think of moving to a comfortable position, I am useless and I begin to feel a slight pinch in the back of my knee. Things start to go fuzzy and thoughts become a blur, after a few moments as I realize what was happening I’m out like a light.
Blinking, fluttering my eyes multiple times, trying to clear my foggy head, I attempt to stand on my two feet, only to fall back on my rump. Once my eyes adjust to the dim light, I take a look around, only in hope that the almost drowning was just a horrid nightmare. Except I awoke to be in that nightmare again, but, this time I’m in an empty tin building with no windows or doors to be seen;this place smells of smoke, ash, dirt, and rotting flesh.
My adrenaline starts to pump rapidly as I start to freak out. I pick myself up, this time keeping my balance. I walk around analyzing my surroundings more clearly. I only see four tin walls and a dusty floor with bits of bone here and there, scattered amongst the room. Breathing becomes difficult; my heart starts to pump outrageously. My eyes grow wide, fear that I might end up like those helpless bones on the ground. Those poor souls. A panic attack dwells on me heavily. I sprint to a random part of the wall and begin to bang and bang, then scream and scream and scream. I hope that someone will hear me, someone that will bring me no harm.
My voice grows raw and hoarse, as I come to a needed end of my efforts of finding help. Scuttle. Scuttle. Floosh. Swipe. My pounding heart screeches to a halt, there’s someone or perhaps something on the next wall over to my right. Light is so scarce that I can’t make out the crouching figure over there. I dare to move towards it but, I have a change of heart as I near it. I drop down to the bone and dust ground, bring my knees in close to my chest and bend my head to my knees; I begin to rocking to and fro, hoping that this nightmare would end and quick. More tears betray my eyes and my heart rate begins rise even higher than before.
There are just too many questions that need to be answered but are left unknown. There are just too many possibilities of the outcome of this tragic experience. I wish that it would all end; I wish that it’s all in my head; I wish that I was just going crazy. I just wish for the best.
Suddenly, just so suddenly, something takes a forcfull grip on my bare shoulders. I can feel the sharp nails dig into my sensitive skin. Digging deeper and deeper, breaking skin, and allowing driblets of blood trickle down my arm and back. As he squeezes tighter and tighter, he shakes me forward and back violently. The violent shake causes an unwanted scream escape me, on the top of my lungs, making my throat burn as fire.
Screaming and screaming annoying the stranger behind me, turns to face me but, the extreme dimness makes it difficult to see their face, almost impossible. My head jerks back by my hair. I scream even louder if that’s even possible. To get me to shut the hell up he swings his hand way back and sent it streaming to hit me in the face, leaving a fiery red mark in the process. I could feel my racing heart beat in my cheek. Thud. Thud. Thud.
As I sink my head downward as if giving up, I plea in tears, “Why? Why are you doing this to me? Please tell me why,” I sullen my eyes to try to look into his, but nothing but the slight bump of a nose can be seen.
He grabs me by the collar of my band-tee and drags me out to a door I have not found. He throws me out onto the gravel and ushers me to the car. He pushes me into the already open back-side passenger door. He slams the door close, click, it’s locked. Yet again I search for a seatbelt, none to be found.
As he drives, I sit as close to the door as possible, keeping as much distance between me and him. I peer out the window, observing the landscapes. After a few thoughts to myself, wondering what’s going to become of me and what-not, I slowly turn to catch a glimpse of my kidnapper, trying to sneak a peek of his unseen face, only to find that it’s covered by a black ski mask along with a pair of dark shades. I think “darn” to myself and turn back to my solitary, fear filled thoughts, gazing out the window without purpose.
While I stare aimlessly out the window, I weep silently to myself. Eli drives through town recklessly, never staying on the right lane all the time, going past the speed limit, slamming on the brakes unexpectedly, giving me whiplash. We go pass my school, they’re letting out, luck. I see my friend Lavender, carrying her books and her neon yellow purse slung across her left shoulder. Her straw blond hair pulled up into a messy bun. She’s wearing a pink floral dress that flows in the light breeze, it fits her perfectly. I bought her that dress just two weeks ago. I’m going to miss her, so.
I think quickly, I begin to beat and bang and scream out the window, I need to get her attention. She glances over and sees my face, a friendly grin stretches then it melts just as fast. Worry and confusion crawl all over her round face. She begins to pull out her cell phone just as Eli looks over and sees what Lavender is about to do, then he looks in the back. He lets go of the steering wheel, pulls my head close to his chest covering my mouth, preventing me from calling for help, silencing me. I try to pry his sweaty beefy hand off of my face. He’s squeezing way too hard, almost choking me, he now has only one hand on the wheel yet he’s not even looking at the road. He’s concentrating on me, on keeping me quiet, keeping me unnoticed.
As we exit out the east end of town while I live all the way on the opposite end, far out in the country, thoughts are rushing thousands of miles per second. I think to ask one thing then change my mind to another, wording it better. I ask, “Can you please just let me go? I swear I won’t tell a soul, not even a diary or a puppy dog. This would just stay between us…”
The response I received was him turning over to look at me, I had the feeling that he was glaring at me vengefully and there was perhaps a slight smirk behind that mask. But there were no vocal or understandable response. I never heard him speak. Never.
We arrive at his destination; he suddenly swings my door wide, swiftly, causing me to fall out to the ground. Eli bends over and takes a hand full of my long, super curly, dark chocolate hair, and he yanks with all his might. It’s a good thing that I’m not tender-headed, or else it would have hurt a lot worse than what it did. I could have gotten up on my own and obey, saving him the trouble and me the pain. Eli pulls me across the lawn of a yellow tattered two story house with boarded up windows, broken window panes, dead grass and weeds, there are even bear traps set up in front of every window. There are more masked men standing at every entrance of the place. They act as if I’m a dangerous convict.
As we near the front entrance, all of the masked men turn to stare at us. Eli nods towards them and they all nod in response. How can they communicate with no words and understand each other perfectly clear? I don’t understand why all of these people need to be here. Are they all here just to make sure that I don’t escape? Or are there others here too? I have no idea.
We enter the abandoned home, first step in and my entire sense of smell is overwhelmed by must, mold, and rotting foods. As I’m dragged I gaze at my surroundings that consist of torn wallpaper and old knick-knacks here and there, broken furniture, and rust colored stains that I rather not think of what caused them.
I follow behind Eli as he drags me by my locks. He guides me down a hall, then up the stairs, then two doors down on the left, he kicked a door open, pulled me in front of his body, he gives me an awkward, confusing hug from behind; then thrusts me into the dainty room. He slams the door closed, click, the damn door is locked. I sit in place on the ragged carpet, comprehending what’s going on, what’s going to happen, and everything in-between. Anger commences to fill me as some fear slips out, I get off the soiled floor and throw myself at the door, beating and banging on it. Screaming loudly, on the top of my burning lungs, wanting, needing to get out of this place, to be set free; I start to wonder what I should do to make everything that I dream of to come true.
Soon enough the rage fades and extra fear seeps in. it seeps into the very core of my being. The fear consumes me as a whole. I try to break open the window on the opposite side of the door. I throw fist after fist, I even bash my head into that glass. Bits and pieces chip off little by little, leaving small cuts all over. Eventually after many attempts I break through almost falling out. On the tips of my toes, trying to regain balance, I wobble back and forth. Leaving small cuts on my scraped stomach, I scream of fear of death and the afterlife, the unknown. I fall back onto my butt, in simi-safty. I give up on trying to find a way out. I sit in the far corner from the door, curled up in a tight ball.
A sudden urge hits me. I need to go pee. I look around for another door that leads to a restroom, nada. They didn’t even have the decency to have at least a bucket? This sucks even more. It sucked a whole lot, but when you need to go, really bad, it just makes things worse, than before. I think to leave the bastard a little stinky present in another corner of the room. Sorry, I know this is gross and all but, when you gotta go, you gotta go.
I sit there and sit, in the same place, with my leavings piling up in the forbidden corner. I have to pull my shirt over my nose to breathe right. The broken window helps none with the smell. Day in, day out, nothing but stank and boredom, and tortcher and yet somehow I manage to live them out.
All of these days have passed so slowly, giving me time to reflect on my past, my present, and my questionable future. I wonder if I was a good daughter. Did my depression bring down my status to my father? I wonder why Eli is doing this to me. What did I do to provoke him? What is going to become on me? Where will I go, heaven or hell? Will I even die here? Or will he just torcher me until I go crazy then send me back out to the real world and they’ll send me to the insane insileumn? I wonder when I’ll get out. If I’ll ever get out.
I have received neither food nor water for these past days. My tongue is like sandpaper and my stomach is like a raisin. I pant for water, my stomach growls for food, begging me to feed it. Sorry tummy I don’t have what you need.
One day – don’t ask me which, I lost track after the first antic – just a random day, Eli comes into the room and immediately holds his nose. He tosses me a white trash bag containing a plain light blue tee-shirt, a pair of white briefs, white socks, and black sweat pants. Attached to the bag was a note containing the words, “Put these on. School. Silence,” I didn’t understand. Was he playing some cruel joke, wanting me to have false hope? Were they playing mind games on me, trying to make me go crazy? Or could these garments be contaminated? What is his motive? Where is he going with this? I am so very confused.
I follow commands to be on the safe side of things. The shirt was the right size for me but the sweats were two sizes too big for me so I had to hold them up. I even put on the under garments. I really don’t want to see his wrath if I don’t follow directions from a criminal even if they used to be a best friend of theirs.
A few short moments later Eli comes back dressed in a dark purple hoody, with the hood over his head, the same black ski mask, the dark shades covering his eyes, and wearing a pair of baggy jeans.
I want, no, I need to see his face, to see his expressions. To see how he reacts to the pain that he inflicts on me. I need to know why he is doing this to me and yet he won’t speak or even show his face. I need to hear his voice, is tone. Is he being forced to do this to me? Or he is he doing this at his own free will? If it’s by force I could, maybe, just maybe forgive him for his horrible antics.
He grabs me, interrupting my thoughts about the chance of forgiving the one person I used to trust, the one guy that I could maybe even…love, but that’s all gone. All of it is now erased from my heart.
Eli steers me through the house and leads me out to his new silver Toyota with blacked out windows. He practically throws me in makes me sit up straight, and then he leans over my lap and fastens my seatbelt. If he wants to hurt me, then why in the world would he care about my safety now?
As Eli pulls away from me, his purple hood falls off, but he has his ski mask on and his dark sunglasses covering his face. He yanks himself off of me and slams the door close quickly, and then he marches to the driver’s seat. Of course, Eli has the damn door locked, again.
Eli starts the engine, turns to the back passenger seat and then hands me a Post-It® note that says, “Quiet.” I nod with a sincere look in my eyes.
Since the windows were blacked out, there was no chance of me trying to gain the attention of people with silent but loud gestures.
Eventually, we come to a close stop, he hands me yet another note, this time it’s not for me, and it’s for r the school’s office. So I’m assuming that he really meant it when he said that I was going to school, suspicious. He steps out the Toyota casually, he unlocks my door with a key, and he opens my door carefully, and undoes my seatbelt when I’m perfectly capable of doing that on my own. He yanks me out by my arm roughly. He pulls me a little distance from the car and holds me in place. Placing his hands firmly on my shoulders and has me stand there for a short moment. He looks down, making me feel uncomfortable, then he grabs my hand swiftly, and he whips out a Sharpie® and begins to write on my hand. Once he is done writing, he shoves my hand to my face so that ill read it, it read, “DON’T SAY A WORD!!” in all caps. I look from my hand to his hooded head then back again, I bite my lower lip and nod cautiously.
My once trusted friend pushes me towards the school.
Confused, I look back at him as he climbs into the Toyota and leaves. I turn back to face the place where I have more freedom than with Eli and I walk vigilantly into the school.
I push the glass doors open and stride my way in, and enter the room with an “Attendance Office” sign dangling above the gold door. I hand the note to Ms Williams, and she hands me a note back, for my teacher. According to the time it's second period right now.
As I walk through the halls I try to shake the past days off of my shoulders and the paranoia, and live my day as normal as possible. With a few exceptions though, such as, being a loner, and being extremely quiet, always looking behind me checking to see if Eli is there to hurt me even more. Okay, I didn’t live my day normally, I lived it through the complete opposite of who I really am. I went through my day in complete fear. I was hunch over my entire day, all by myself.
I enter my favorite class, English, all closed up with an upside down smile. My friends all look to see who’s late to find out it was me. Their faces turn to shock; none of them have seen me down even when I was depressed because at school I put on a mask. My face was filthy, tear stained, and blank. I take a seat by the window and just stare into space while the teacher gives his usual lectures on the novels we’re reading and how to apply it to everyday life and so on and so forth.
When the bell rings, I gather my things and my pack of friends all try to talk to me but I ignore them. I don’t give them a word. Not a single one. As I walk to my next class, Geometry, a lot of people annoy me with their concerned questions like, “What’s wrong?” or “Are you okay, you don’t seem yourself?”They also annoy me with the hugs they think that will cheer me up; I just push away and step into my Geometry class. I take a seat in the middle of the room and bare my worst subject. The teacher gives us all of these number problems half of which I don’t understand but I just take my best guesses on them.
Ring! Ring! Dong! The lunch bell rings. I scoop my things up and start to the cafeteria. I walk alone to lunch, hoping to stay alone, hoping that no one will bother me.
Suddenly my friend Christine rushes up to me cradling her things in her arms and asks the one question I was hoping that no one will think to ask me, “Where have you been? You’ve been gone for a while. Lavender asked me if I knew anything and she’s not here, she’s been gone for about as long as you have. That’s weird. She called me and said she saw you then the line was cut. Very weird. But oh well.”
Christine has always been chatty, but I can’t answer her question, I don’t want to find out what happens if I disobey Eli. But I really need to tell someone, i need help. I need to know how to resolve my issue at hand. I can’t though. I have to ignore her and walk on.
I keep my head down low, and stay enclosed in my fear filled thoughts, I bump into someone. I raise my head up ready to mumble an apology, but it was Eli! My heart stops in place, my eyes grow wide in absolute fear. I am frozen in place; my feet are stuck to the floor. I cannot run out of his grasps’ way. I am paralyzed. Confusion crawls in, as to why is he here without the hood or mask and why is he smiling? Then my stormy eyes turn to a hurricane and narrow with rage, growing the guts to stand up to him.
I quickly grab the collar of his The Who tee-shirt, tearing it just a smidge. I thrust him into a nearby vacant classroom and pin him up against the white brick wall. I scream at him, “What the f***!? Why are you doing this to me?! You pushed me into the water when you know damn well that I can’t swim1 why? You even held me hostage… and why the damn mind games, hunh?”
As I stare into his bright blue eyes that are full of confusion, terror, and worry, I loosen up my grip on him. I think. I was actually thinking about hurting him; I was that full of rage. Did he really fill me up with that much, enough to hurt someone before they can defend themselves? I am such a monster.
He looks me in the eyes with caution and gently peels my hand off of him and slid out of being cornered between me and the wall. It was a good thing that he did because when he was out of view I punched the wall with all of my might. I take a deep breath, trying to calm myself down and to fight the tears that are at the burdge of spilling.
As my tension lessens, Eli places a reassuring hand on my shoulder and turned me to face him, revealing the tears that betrayed.
“Shhh…,” he tries to calm me, “What are you talking about? I never did that to you, and I never would, never ever.”
I turn away in shame and sink to the scuffed white tile floor. Quietly, I say, “What? Then…who? What…I don’t understand? No…he never spoke,” I look up and point, “You never spoke.”
“No, Salani, that wasn’t me…,” he countered.
“But, I called you, to pick me up…,” I somewhat question.
“Salani? You never called me.”
“Damn it Eli! Tell me the truth! I need it now!” I screamed.
Eli sits down next to me and wraps me in his warm arms for comfort. I bury my face in his shoulder, bawling out in confusion.
I lift my head so I’m heard, “don’t tell anyone.” I bit my lip as I said it.
Eli nods in response, confused, himself.
He gets up and offers a hand to help me up. “I am so sorry about everything. Let’s uhh…get some lunch,” I offer as he pulls me up.
I walk into the cafeteria with the guy that I trust once again. His face said it all; he was telling me the truth. One question remains though, who is the guy who did this to me? The who drove me to insanity.
Eli and I sat together, alone, in silence. Both of us had no idea of what to say or how to say anything, especially after my episode of craziness. Our lunch period was very boring.
The bell to let us out of lunch to our next class rang aloud. Luckily we both had free period after lunch. We head to the school’s organic garden; we try to put two and two together, turning corner after corner. Then suddenly behind a corner in my blind spot, someone, something snatches me, and slings me across their shoulder and hustles out the nearest door, along with Eli trying to catch up. I know for sure that this is the same person from before, the one who drove me insane. He throws me into a thorny yellow rose bush and starts to punch me repeatedly. I try to block his aim from my vital organs and my face. I was too scared to even think of screaming. Then Eli trying to be a stupid hero, my hero, pried this stranger off of me. As the stranger was lifted off of me I curl into the fetal position.
The stranger got up on his two feet, jumped up and popped out his silver knife with an engraving along the edge, a vine of thorny roses and some sort of name that I can’t make out. He stabbed Eli into the gut, forcing him to the ground. I saw that the stranger even had the nerve to twist the pocket knife as Eli went down. I heard the slashing in the flesh, I jolt right up and rush to Eli’s side. Eli uses the little strength he has left and weakly brings a bloody hand to my face and brushes my cheek, he even manages a smile, “Salani, I’ve always loved y…,” and he drifted off to who knows where.
I allow my head to drop to his chest and wail. Eventually reality hits me; that man needs to pay.
I let out a loud scream, causing teachers and pupils to press their smug faces to the windows, to see all of the commotion. I notice a teacher trying to pry a door open but it’s locked.
The stranger pulls me off of Eli and pins me to the ground. The stranger raises a boney fist up high and drills it into my damaged face. One punch followed by another, the stranger pummels me to a near death.
I cry, “Why? Why! Why are you doing this? What did I do? What did he do?” I point to now perished Eli.
The stranger slid off his ski mask, to reveal his identity. It was too much, too much to bear. I thought i could trust him, but I was wrong. I have no idea why he’s doing this, but he is. He held out his wrist in front of me and took the knife and slit his own wrist. He then looked me dead in the eyes, full of rage, “See. See what you did to me. See.” He pointed to the scars and the fresh cut on his wrist with the knife.
The knife went high and came down, down, down into my chest countless times. He stabbed me into the heart the one place where I hold friendship, love … trust. Now that’s all gone. He took the knife up and hit me again and again and again, he stabbed me repeatedly to clarify that I was gone along with all the things that made me human, alive, the things that made me, me, all of that is now gone for good.
After he was positive that I was gone, forever, he brought the knife up to himself and sliced his own throat without hesitation. He is now gone too.
Three people, all dead, all at the hands of the same person. A man full of revenge and hate; a person with nothing but a heart full of black who had nothing but rage. A man who would kill his own daughter.