”Lucy, wake up,” a familiar voice whispered as the broken girl struggled to sit up.
Lucy was still trapped in the dank room, all alone, waiting for someone to save her from Omisha. She was bruised and sore from passing out on a concrete floor. The area Omisha injected Lucy with multiple injections was black and blue; the pain was immense, but she was too scared to feel anything. As she searched the room for the voice that woke her, she screamed. In the corner of the room was a ghost from her past. Liam approached her and she was terrified. She pushed herself up against the wall and started to cry. He knelt down on the floor in front of his old flame and touched her face. His hands felt real and the smell of his expensive cologne clung to her, like smoke. Lucy’s messy curls framed her face and fell in front of her determined eyes.
“Are you real?” Lucy cried out.
”I am here, aren’t I? Oh Lucy, seeing you like this is destroying me. What happened to your lip?” Liam asked.
Lucy touched her mouth. There was dried blood covering her bottom lip, which resembled her favorite shade of lipstick. The blood was covering a cut. She vaguely remembered Omisha slapping her across the face when she attempted to fight back.
”Is that tattoo new?” Liam questioned as he moved her hair away from her neck.
Omisha had tattooed a small, bleeding heart onto her neck, below her ear. She felt as though she was going to vomit. Liam touched her face as tears streamed down and collected on her bust. She was no longer wearing her evening gown; she was left with a black bra and high waisted, black, lace boy shorts. She was freezing. The fire within her was dying and she was unable to build up the flames.
”You’re just a ghost Liam. It’s all my fault and now I’m alone,” Lucy cried.
“You’re not alone, I’m right here. You’re the strongest person I know. Please, don’t give up,” Liam said with a sweet smile.
“Liam…who is Omisha?”
“You know who Omisha is, Lucy. The paralyzing realization just hasn’t surfaced yet. This person whose torturing you isn’t a stranger,” Liam explained.
Lucy stared into Liam’s eyes and thought. He looked at her cold, beautiful figure which was bruised and battered. As she closed her eyes to let a tear fall, Liam vanished. She was alone again.
Lucy’s friends received a letter from her kidnapper, but the details were blurry and cryptic. Luke received the same letter and was panicked. The words revealed just enough to find her, if the person was a master at winning games. Luke sat up every night trying to piece together the disturbing letter. He had fallen so hard for a girl who was now missing; Lucy had warned him that she was a mess, but he hadn’t understood what that meant until she became a face on a flyer. The dance studio she belonged to was somber over the disappearance of their admired dancer. Her dance partner prayed for Lucy’s safe return, as did many. It seemed as though the world stopped while Lucy was missing, but for her the days were slow and painful. The nights were scary and blank. She missed the warmth of the sun, and the soft fur of her pets brushing up against her skin. She missed walking across the hardwood floor barefoot, and listening to the lyrics of her favorite music.
Four weeks had passed since Omisha took Lucy, hiding her away from the rest of the world. She was frail and shattered with only her mind to keep her company. Omisha gave her a pillow, blanket, and a silk robe to cover her half naked body. The tattoo on her neck stung and her bones ached, just as much as her soul. She was constantly waking up dazed, after Omisha injected her with more poison. Whatever the poison was, it knocked her out cold within moments. She pulled herself up and tried to dance, attempting to remain alert and healthy. As she spun, the room went dark and she collapsed. She sat on the floor crying, but refused to give up. She stood up once more and spun again. She was dizzy but remained in control. Omisha wasn’t robbing her of dance, too.
Dreams were hard to decipher, because Lucy didn’t know what was real or what she pulled from the deep trenches of her mind. Liam visiting her felt more real than raindrops on her skin, but she knew Liam was dead. A hand touched her face as she opened her eyes. Her silk robe was falling off, revealing her bare skin. Her bra was gone and she didn’t want to know why. Kenny sat next to her looking as though he was going to faint. He stroked her face and played with her hair, pulling her onto his lap. He whispered in her ear, “I found you. You’re safe now”. She held him closely, but her strength was gone. Her hands were shaking and she couldn’t stop crying. He looked at the scars and bruises on her delicate skin and ran his fingers over her battle wounds. The black and blue patch on her neck and shoulder, from the unknown injections made him feel sick. He looked into her eyes and she put her hand on his face. She looked so far away in that moment. She tried to speak but she choked on her words. He lifted her up, trying to cover her body. Her breasts were pressed up against his chest, and for a minute it felt as though they were wrapped up in sheets again, with no worries.
“Lucy, can you wrap your hands around my neck?” He asked.
She tried, but she was too weak.
“Kenny, I love you,” Lucy whispered.
“I love you too. I’ll never leave you,” Kenny told her.
They made their way out of the dirty basement, and police greeted them at the top of the stairs with flashlights and questions. The building was an old pharmacy which had been abandoned for years. Omisha was nowhere to be found, but Detective Jones felt foolish and angry. He felt responsible for the pain Lucy continued to endure, from losing someone she loved to almost losing herself. Kenny placed the beauty on a stretcher, and remained by her side as the paramedics took her to the hospital. Lucy was the topic of conversation everywhere, and police swarmed her like eager paparazzi with cameras. She was in such a fragile state but remained so strong. Lucy looked up at Kenny as they sped to the hospital in the back of the ambulance, and she smiled. He smiled back at her and she fell into a deep sleep.
She woke up in a warm hospital bed and she took a deep breath. She was finally safe. Kenny was asleep in the chair next to her when Luke walked in. Kenny opened his eyes and smiled at Lucy. He shook Luke’s hand and walked out of the room, giving them time to talk. Luke kissed her and she held his hand. She wasn’t sure of what to say to the man she just met.
“I was so worried about you. I couldn’t sleep, Lucy.”
“Luke, I don’t know what to say. I’m still scared and I feel broken. If Kenny hadn’t found me, I don’t think I would’ve made it much longer. The bruising on my shoulder and upper arm was the doctor’s biggest concern when they brought me in. They told me Omisha injected me with a high dosage of Propofol, which is an anesthetic. My body and mind are weak and I have a lot of recovering to do. I can’t even hold my phone or keep food down. I feel like a dead girl walking,” Lucy explained with teary eyes.
“You’re so strong Lucy, and no one is going to let anything like this happen to you again. I want to kill the person who did this to you. I will stay with you until you feel safe on your own,” Luke said.
“My mom and brother are coming to stay with me, but that’s very sweet. I’m happy you’re here, Luke, but I warned you…I’m not someone you want to get involved with. I was kidnapped and almost died and the monster who did this to me is still out there, probably writing me another sick letter as we speak,” Lucy cried.
Kenny entered the room and Luke kissed her on the lips, saying goodnight. He figured she’d want some time alone with the friend who saved her life. Luke patted Kenny on the shoulder and looked back at the girl he couldn’t stop thinking about. She smiled at him and waved goodbye, coyly.
“Hey, pretty,” Kenny said sweetly.
“Kenny, how did you find me?” She asked.
“Omisha sent anyone who means anything to you a letter, with lots of clues. It took me a week, but I figured it out. Omisha mentioned you were hidden somewhere close, where one used to go to get their fix and become numb. I googled every abandoned building in the area until I found the old pharmacy on Raven’s Street. It made sense, because a pharmacy is where one goes to become numb. Omisha even numbed you, in more ways than one.” Kenny looked down at the floor. He didn’t realize Lucy had started to cry again.
“What’s wrong? Do you want me to get the doctor?” He questioned.
“No, I’m not in physical pain. My life is no longer in my control. Omisha controls me and everyone around me. How am I going to win this war, Kenny?”
“You’re not going to give up,” he told her.
Lucy was home, but she felt as though she was still trapped in that dark basement. She fought with her mother and brother about moving away from her town and Omisha, so they headed home. Lucy was stubborn and fiercely independent. Serena was staying with her, but nothing made her feel truly safe. She’d wake up in the middle of the night panting, and every time she closed her eyes she saw Omisha’s mask.
She stepped out of the shower and cuddled into a warm towel. As she approached the mirror she noticed a note taped to the glass. She looked at herself in the steamy reflection and swallowed hard.
“Welcome home! You are my little survivor and I’m so proud of you. I had so much fun spending time with you and I miss you. You’re welcome for the new tattoo, by the way. It looks good. I’ll see you soon, gorgeous.”