28 Days – A Short Story
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Below is a short story published for your enjoyment! Please settle in and give it a read. We’d be more than happy if the mood strikes you to leave a comment.
She crawled, beaten, bloodied, and bruised, from the secret room in the basement prison where she’d spent the last 28 days of her life. She paused to look at the surroundings. This room was much different than the room she had been locked in. While her cage was dug into the earth and featured walls made of scrap plywood and floors of cold, damp soil, this room was bright and clean. In the corner was a pinball machine. It’s flashing lights and hypnotic sound effects normally made her happy and excited, now they represented an evil of the worst kind. The rest of the room was well stocked with toys and games and even a cotton candy machine that spun webs of pink sugary goodness. All of it now was a pure form evil in her eyes.
To her left was a toy box adorned with clowns and colorful images of circus performers caught in the act of entertaining a joyful crowd. The kids laughed and pointed while the parents hugged the children and soaked up their happiness; bathed in their youthful excitement. She crawled to the box and lifted herself up onto it.
She sat with her elbows on her knees and rested her chin in her hands. It had been a rough 28 days held captive in the makeshift cage. She was weak and hurting, but hell bent on walking out of this hellish nightmare on her own.
She shook her head and thought of the last time she had seen this room. A small tear formed in the corner of her eye and ran down her soiled face leaving a trail of sorrow in its wake.
She remembers the day he brought her down here. Her Mom never showed up after gymnastics practice to pick her up. Coach Roberts had offered to give her a ride home. It all seemed innocent enough. He was a good guy. What could go wrong?
On the way he said he had to swing by his house to get some equipment for another team of girls that he was coaching. He invited her in and had asked if she’d help him load the car. While in the house he said he had to use the bathroom and suggested that she wait in the basement. “Go play some pinball while you wait.” He offered.
He disappeared down the hall while she slowly descended into the basement playground.
The last thing she remembered was flicking the buttons and knocking the shiny metal ball upwards towards a bank of flashing bumpers. She never saw him come up behind her and doesn’t remember breathing in the chloroform soaked rag. All that she remembers is waking up sometime later locked in the cage.
The days ticked by as she remained his captive. Each day seemed progressively worse than the last until her mind simply said, “No More” and it stopped any further processing of information. Her days in captivity are a blank blur of pain and hopelessness without detail.
In the end, it was the same gymnastic skills that he had taught her that would save her life.
He’d opened the door to the cage to hose her down. Something he’d done once a week since imprisoning her. He’d underestimated her seemingly weak condition. When the blasts of cold water began shooting from the hose she sprang at him like a wild beast; a beast who had been caged and tormented and beaten and had nothing left to lose and everything to gain. She leaped to the ground at his feet, rolled, twisted, and kicked upwards with all of her might. He stumbled back as his feet got tangled in the hose. He fell head first onto the floor, knocking himself unconscious on contact.
With her last ounce of energy she’d dragged his limp body into the cage and locked it behind her before slumping to the ground.
Later, it was the sound of him furiously rattling the cage door that woke her. She looked at him and crawled away.
Eventually she would gather her strength and walk outside into the fresh air and sunlight. She would walk, unnoticed by the neighbors, to a payphone several blocks away and call her worried parents to tell them she was alive; badly beaten, bloodied, and bruised, but alive. Eventually she would speak of the horrors that she’d endured, but first she would wait about 28 days to tell anyone exactly where she had been…