Hide & Seek

She crouched down behind the boxes in the dark, doing everything she could to slow her breathing. To calm her erratic heartbeat. She put her hands over her ears, whispering to herself in her mind. ‘Squash it! Crush that fear. You can’t let him win!’ she said it over and over and over.

Only in her mind, though.

She couldn’t make a sound. He would find her.

She could feel the sweat beading on her forehead, soaking the armpits of her dirty T-shirt. Her legs shook as she tried to hold still. She had been here for too long. She was too weak after a day or more without food and who knows how long since she’d had a real meal. The nasty slime he’d been feeding her barely counted as nutrition.

She heard his footsteps. Sure and slow. He wasn’t worried at all.

She swallowed and her mouth went dry.

He was going to find her. ‘You’re going to get caught! RUN!’ her mind screamed at her. She stayed still. Still as death, unmoving, barely breathing.

He started to whistle and the sound was like a death knell to her freedom. Tears pricked her eyes and she pressed her eyes shut, as if that very act would make her invisible to him. She felt like a child, so unsure, so terrified. Paralyzed into complete inaction. She had to DO SOMETHING.

His feet scuffed on the floor as he kept walking in that horrible, slow way he did. Scuffing his shoes loudly on the floor. Letting her know that he was in no rush. He had all the time in the world, because she couldn’t get away. Not from him.

Not ever.

This wasn’t the first time she’d grabbed at her freedom. She would never stop until she got away.

She felt his hand on her neck, dragging her to him like she was a rag doll, his foul smelling, cigarette smoked stained breath on her neck. No, this wasn’t the first time she’d tried to escape him.

And it wouldn’t be the last.

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