It doesn’t hurt like it used to. Just a numb, throbbing pain in my chest. Everytime I think about it I’m forced to squeeze my eyes shut, shake my head and think of something safer. Pretend it was all a dream and accept my new reality.
I should be planning, getting ready for my big day. Go shopping, buy skimpy and glittery clothes that look more expensive than they actually are and get drunk with my closest friends, maybe even find someone to spend the night with and all the other exciting things people usually do when they celebrate their twenty-first birthday. It’s what I should be doing, but I can’t remember the last time I celebrated anything with anyone I loved, or even the last time someone said Happy Birthday to me.
Five months, eighteen days exactly, I could even count straight to the second if I wanted to but that was only if people asked. I’d be fifteen on April seventh, and I’d been looking forward to it all my life. The short life that it was of course, but it was a thrilling thought. I’d be finishing eighth grade and soon enough start the summer before my first year of high school. My parents would no longer see me as the little girl who had to be dragged along with my sister to every social outing, and maybe I could find a cute older boyfriend. I snickered and giggled to myself as I pictured my high school life as a popular cheerleader with a jock boyfriend while walking along the alley behind my house, it was where I usually walked my dog every morning before school. My feet slightly sunk into the muddy, rocky path. The smell of the morning after a rain was my favorite and I savored every rainy morning. I held tightly onto black leash circling my wrist, the tall black Great Dane named Kade trotted ahead of me, happily wagging his tail. The cold morning breeze hit my face, and I shivered, tugging my coat snugly over my shoulders, slipping one hand into my pocket to warm up.
“Come on,” I told Kade as I tugged on his leash to get him moving back in the direction we had come from. I was going to be late for school if I didn’t hurry up and the sun was starting to rise. I always walked Kade early to make sure I had time to get ready, my parents always warned me to not go too far, especially when it was still darker in the mornings. Safe neighborhood or not, my parents worried and since my sister wouldn’t walk the dog I had to take the task on myself. I didn’t mind, I felt active and productive getting up earlier and I got to spend time with Kade. Out of nowhere, a sound so impeccably sharp, rung through my ears and ran through my body, startling me and making me loosen my grip on the tight leash, I felt my heart face and pump like crazy in my chest.
Had I been any smarter I would’ve known not to turn around and follow the sound. But being the stupid girl that I was, I was curious.
Everything was crimson red. I no longer felt the misty cold breeze, but the wild thumping of my heart.
I had never seen a dead body before. Nor had I ever met it’s killer. But in one day, I had witnessed both those things.
The sight before me left my legs frozen, my hands went limp and Kade slipped from my grasp. He ran as fast as his legs would take him, straight back home. What a smart dog he was.
A young man, teenager really, stood in front of me, only a few feet away from the body on the ground. Who had a bullet would right between his eyes, eyes that were wide open and forever stricken in fear. Another bullet wound on his chest stained his clothes and began to puddle beneath him. Lips slightly parted, with trickling trails of blood creeping out like the monsters under our beds. The boy before me appeared so normal, so normally attractive, so normally tall, so normally older than me, so normally the most handsome person I’d seen in my life. With striking emerald green eyes that distracted me even more than the dead body did, and shaggy golden locks that seemed as if he had taken all of his stress out on it. Wearing a band t-shirt I’d seen some of my sister’s conquests sporting around. So normally looking like a killer working his next move after being caught.
He was holding a gun in shaking hands, I could see his chest rising and falling heavily. We both stood frozen, eyes locked on one another, just waiting to make a move,I stared at him, gaping. Thoughts racing through my mind like bullets. Was this going to be my end? Would I die like the bloodied man on the ground?
Suddenly, the killer reached out and offered me his empty hand. A welcoming gesture to anyone else, yet when he did it, my blood ran cold and my legs trembled. He stepped over the body of the dead man, careful not to step in the ever growing puddle of blood and not worried about actually stepping on the corpse. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t move.
Thinking back on it now, he seemed afraid too. He was clumsy and rushed, but I was too afraid to notice, too blinded by the thought of dying, being scared by seeing a dead body. His palm tightly pressed against the back of my neck, holding me in place. His touch was hot and burning, I felt like vomiting but I could rip my eyes from his, I couldn’t see anything but him, or hear anything but my own beating heart and heaving breaths. He was whispering soothing things to me, looking straight into my eyes. To anyone around us we may have looked like a love struck couple, yet that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Even what other people saw at that moment, if anyone witnessed at all, it didn’t matter. No, not to me, to me all that mattered was that a killer had his hands on me.
By the time my brain reacted, thawed and was ready to take action, it was too late, I had already been thrown over his shoulder. We were moving to a car at the end of the alley, he was running with his shoulder jabbing into my soft flesh and making me ache and closer to throwing up. Each step was taking me closer to a future I had no interest in being a part of. I could feel every vein in my body pulsing, my body burning with rage and panic, I couldn’t let him get me in that car, but I had no way to escape and just that thought sent further dread pushing through my body. This wasn’t how I was going to die, I couldn’t let it happen, and with a shot of adrenaline, I jabbed my knee into his stomach, with the little strength I had left. He inhaled sharply and slowed his jog for a second, only to readjust my weight over his shoulder. My jaw had dropped open and a blood curdling scream left my lips. No one heard, and if they did they obviously didn’t feel bothered.
The car door swung opened, screams were spilling out of my mouth at the second, I hoped I would catch the attention of some nosy neighbor, that someone would call the police, write the license plates, anything. I punched and squirmed, but his grip was too tight, he threw me into the back seat, my body crashing against the door on the other side. He slammed the door shut, ran to the other side, climbed into the driver’s seat and locked the doors before I even had a chance to blink.
I had let him get me into the car, that was solely my fault.
My eyes stung from tears threatening to overflow. How could I be so completely useless? My fists hit the window, over and over and over again, pathetically even, with no strength. I heard the engine start and for a second I considered taking the steering wheel in my grasp and crashing us somewhere, and escaping. I knew that would never work, he was too strong, and I had no fight left in me for that car ride. Only enough to cry, beg for my life and scream for help as if someone could actually hear me.
The car set forward, wheels turning down the empty road. My body sagged against the seat and those tears I had tried so hard to hold in, stained my cheeks, some catching in my lips. And I could almost, just barely hear my heart break. I held my tear soaked face in my hands rocking back and forth. My feet had instinctively started tapping rapidly as they did every time I was scared. The fear was too great and heavy in my heart, that simply screaming wasn’t enough and feet crashed against the driver’s seat, kicking and stomping angrily. At some point I swear I heard him tell me to stop, but it only fueled my anger further and I kicked harder and higher, landing a blow to his head and not stopping simply at one. The car jolted to a stop, pulling over the a curb, I crashed into my knees and gave myself a stupid black eye. I was too lost in my own pain and rage that I didn’t see him reach into the glove compartment and pull out a large syringe with a yellowish liquid sloshing back and forth. A syringe that tore through my jeans and sank into my skin, feeling the fluid flow through my veins and spread through my limbs. One last scream left my angry mouth as I grabbed his hand and tore it away from me, I caught a glimpse of his spine-chilling smile before my entire body went limp and my eyelids grew heavy. It was as if someone had pressed the off button on my brain, I simply fell to my side, limp and drugged.
When I woke up next I was tied up on a couch in a well decorated and too nice studio apartment to belong to a killer. With no open windows and no way to leave.
I never once thought of my parents, or my sister Ryan. All I could do was think of myself. I had forgotten all about them, even now I try not to think about them. I wish I hadn’t left anything behind, if only to save myself the pain. Now that almost doesn’t seem so selfish.