Memoirs of a stolen childhood and innocence lost
|Notes/Warnings: The topic of child molestation/pornography is a very touchy subject that many do not wish to even think about, but unfortunately, it is a reality and something that happens more often than not. So before you toss away that slip for 'missing children' that always comes in the mail, be sure to take a moment to pray for them and their families.
We were leading by ten points, the other team made up of kids from the next block that didn't stand a chance against our killer shooters. Beneath the hot July sun, we ran happily around the makeshift basketball court, the deafening sounds of passing cars on the street beside us, hardly a factor as we made the best of our summer vacation. I was the tallest of the bunch, and at fourteen, I was already considered the leader of Georgie's Alley.
The Alley was made up of narrow apartment buildings, cheap by today's standards. The grimy walls of soot and graffiti told of stories from residents gone by. Every evening, the neighborhood would come to life, fathers and mothers coming home from a long hard day at work, yelling at their kids to get into their homes as the smells of pasta or Chinese food filled the air. There were evenings when I'd sit on my window sill in my stuffy bedroom, staring at the lines of laundry that floated between the buildings. Shirts, dresses, socks and ties danced gently in the breeze, the sharp smell of detergent an aphrodisiac to my senses.
For all my athletic abilities, I was often considered a dreamer because of my ideologies. While other kids spent their time worrying about girls, or how they could score a babe, I would lie on the rooftop with thoughts of becoming a famous writer, churning out tales of incredulous events in my mind. My mother, who worked at the local hospital for evening shifts, would do her best to encourage me, but my father – who owned the only butcher store on the block – would scoff and consider it a waste of time. It didn't stop him from buying me a typewriter for my thirteenth birthday though. Needless to say, it was the best gift ever.
My only sibling was two years my junior and a rightful pain in the ass, as all little brothers tend to be. He always wanted to play with me, or would delight in bothering me while I tried to write a story. I never did get any story finished, now that I look back on it. I guess my mind wasn't really as focused as I would have liked at so young an age. Robert idolized me in his own way, I think, and I remember enjoying the moments I spent regaling him with stories from my imagination. Watching those blue eyes light up with delight was the only time he was worthy of being called 'brother' in my humble opinion.
However, this story is not about the happy times, as much as I wish I could recount them for you, dear reader. This is a story of the loss of my childhood, the day I no longer became a boy and life, as I knew it, was taken away from me.
On that hot July afternoon, we were leading by ten points, and as usual I was enjoying my moment in the limelight. I had taken off my shirt because of the heat, my skin glistening with sweat from my exertions. I remembered seeing Amy Brinkman from the next block leaning against the fence, dressed in a pretty red dress with white socks and black shoes. Her blond hair was in curls and she smiled sweetly at me, sending nervous butterflies to the pit of my stomach. I was head over heels in love with her, and I planned to ask her to the winter dance when the new school term came around.
"Time out!" I cried out, unable to think straight due to the intense heat. "I gotta go get some water."
I ignored the jeers from my opponents, laughing as I made my way across the street and toward my apartment building. I only gave the gray ugly looking van, parked at the curb, a cursory glance. It was of no importance, and besides, I only assumed it was Mr. Perkins's – the carpet guy who lived downstairs - mode of transportation. I look back now and wonder how it was possible, how uncanny it had been to have the street devoid of traffic at that very moment. It seemed as if time had stood still, everyone in the block was either in their apartment, or the kids across the street suddenly had blinders on. But it had happened so fast – so fast that I didn't even have the time to think or to scream, all I could feel was the cold steel of the knife pressed against my neck and the warm, meaty smell of his breath against my ear.
"Get into the van."
Hot tears filled my eyes immediately. I had heard of such kidnappings, it was on air every time you turned on the news. I remembered Robert asking me about the 'preevert' and I'd always tell him that no such person could come to our neighborhood. Why, we had good ol' Officer Sherborn who lived down the block, he'd come by to rescue us for sure. So where was Officer Sherborn now? Why wasn't anyone looking in this direction? I looked towards the playground with near desperation, the knife pressing itself deeper into my flesh as my captor shuffled backwards to open the back of his van. I wanted to scream for my friends to look this way, for Amy to turn around and to see me one last time, but as the warmth of my blood dribbled down to my torso, my fear was complete. I didn't want to die. No matter what happened, I just didn't want to die.
He kicked me in the shin, sending me tumbling into the back of the smelly confines of his vehicle. I had only a moment to admire the grease-stained interior and the rough abrasion of the throw rug against my skin, when the door was shut behind him with a bang. I jumped and let out a breathless squeak.
"Make a sound boy and I'll cut you up real good," he said, "and you don't want me to do that, now, do you?"
I shook my head rapidly, blinking hard in the faint gloom as the tears continued to slide down my cheeks silently. It took me only a moment to realize that he had spoken in a rather friendly tone, as if we were just friends and this was a routine between us. What was even more puzzling was that his features weren't that of a guy you'd pin as a kidnapper. He looked like my English teacher in school, the same ruffled black hair and matching eyes in a face that one could consider handsome. He was even dressed in a simple blue shirt and a pair of jeans. He could walk down the street and you wouldn't even give him a second glance.
"Hope you don't mind," he was saying as he held up a black cloth, "But I've gotta make this quick."
My vision was taken from me as the cloth was bound tightly over my eyes. I remembered hitching in sharp gusts of breath, the panic settling in as reality came at a resounding crash.
"Ple...please...please don't hurt me. Plea...se...I'll...I'll do whatever you want...sir..." Was that my voice? Did I really sound that small and terrified? I could hardly get the words past my lips as my wrists were bound behind me with a rope that dug painfully into my flesh.
"Hurt you?" he said, laughing softly, while making quick work of my legs as well. "No, you're much too pretty for that."
To my horror, he placed a soft kiss on my head and pulled away from me, the door opening for a brief moment to let in a gust of afternoon air. The sound of my friends screaming over a point scored, shot through me like a knife and I wept as I was denied the pleasure of hearing that again, as the door was slammed shut. In mere seconds, the engine roared to life.
I had no idea where I was being taken to, but I was certain that I would never get to see my friends, my parents or Robert ever again.
How long had we been driving? I really had no idea. The tears had long stopped, and I was sure I must have fallen asleep sometime during the ride. I opened my eyes to pitch darkness, at first sure that I would wake up in my bedroom. However, a sudden bump on the road, and my head hitting something like wrought iron, had me crying out softly. It wasn't a dream after all. I had been kidnapped and was being taken to a place I didn't know. My legs and arms felt numb from the restraints, my throat parched with thirst and yet a low pain in the pit of my stomach reminded me of a more urgent need.
I had to use the bathroom.
I shivered and twisted around, hoping I could hold it in for much longer, but for how long? What if he drove for hours and hours and never stopped? I didn't want to pee on myself. It was too embarrassing. I had to make him stop or else—
I blinked behind my blindfold as the van came to a sudden stop. My urgency to urinate was replaced with the low coil of fear building up within me again. Was this it? Would I finally be killed out here in the middle of nowhere? I listened to the doors opening, my heart pounding loudly in my chest.
"Break time," he said cheerfully as if announcing I had just won a killer prize at a fair. "Looks like you're about to go, boy."
He dragged me out none too gently, causing me to almost stumble to the ground. I tried to listen to my surroundings, wondering where we were, but all I could hear were the sounds of distant traffic and the rustle of long grass, I was sure. Even the air smelled different here. I knew we were no longer in the city. Fighting back another bout of tears, I waited for him to untie my hands and legs.
"Remember no funny business kid and make it quick."
I didn't need to be told twice. Still blindfolded, I shucked my shorts as quickly as I could with hands that felt heavy and clumsy. I had no time to feel embarrassed at revealing myself before my abductor, and gave a small sigh of relief as I finally let it go. As I relieved myself, I wondered what time it was at night. It had to be night since it was cool and still dark behind my blindfold. I wondered if my mother and father were looking for me now, or if Robert was enjoying having the bedroom all to himself. I hitched in another sharp breath at the pang of loneliness that shot through me. I missed my Mom and Dad. I would even suffer Robert's annoying tendencies, if only I got out of this alive.
"Turn around, boy."
"Huh?" I looked around stupidly, trying my best to ignore the breathless excitement I had heard in that voice. I couldn't see him and this made my situation even more hopeless.
"I said," he repeated, now sounding impatient. "Turn the fuck around!"
I was shoved back towards the van, forced to place my hands upon the floor as my legs were quickly spread-eagled. When I felt his hand upon my penis, I knew what was about to happen.
"Please sir!" I screamed in horror and fear, my eyes now leaking with tears so hot, they threatened to scorch my skin. "Please sir, don't...mmphff!!"
"Shut the hell up," he breathed, as he slapped a hand over my mouth. "You belong to me now, boy. So just shut up and enjoy it!"
Pain. Excruciating pain tore through my body like molten lead. My vision swam behind my blindfold as he penetrated me in one swift thrust. I could feel my knees give way, even as the warm trickle of my blood danced down my legs. He fell upon me and used me at will, his heavy breathing of excitement mingling with my choked sobs of disbelief and resignation. I was going to die. I knew it now. I prayed for it to come quickly, for there was no way I could live through this humiliation another minute.
Unfortunately, I survived.
For three weeks or was it three months – time lost all meaning to me – I was locked in a basement. Everyday he came down with a tray of food, smiling and talking like it was just another fine day in the neighborhood. Sex with him became a norm, my body no longer reacting much to his daily punishment. I simply lay on the single bed, already stained with my cum and his, watching him display himself to me, masturbate in front of me, or force me to do the same before him.
I was becoming sick and twisted inside. I was sure of it, for there are times when I was sure I enjoyed being used like this. He would cuddle up to me in bed, hugging me tightly to his slender frame, whispering words of how much he loved me and how beautiful I really was. Perhaps subconsciously I craved the attention denied to me from my mother. He was the only one I could turn to now. My only link to the outside world – to something akin to normalcy.
"David, my dear David," he'd whisper like a man denied food for months, licking the wounds he had inflicted on me from the 'games' he liked to play. He called it harmless role-playing, whipping me at will with the leather switch, enjoying my screams of pain until I passed out. When I'd come to, he'd be weeping in a corner, kicking himself for being such a bastard. He hadn't meant to hurt me. He would never hurt a hair on my head. He swore to it. Could I ever forgive him?
He'd look so contrite and apologetic that I'd have no strength to say 'no', and whenever I said 'I forgive you', he'd laugh like a little child and kiss me on the lips, before leaving me alone for a few days to recuperate.
He never allowed me to wear clothes.
Days and nights blended into one and from my first days of pacing about my prison, which had no windows by the way, my once active mind became dull from inactivity. There were days when I'd sit frozen in a corner of my 'home' – staring blindly at nothing, trying hard to recollect the faces of my parents, of Robert or my friends. I wondered if they had forgotten about me. It wouldn't be so hard anyway. Sure, they would have moved on with their lives by now. I was probably dead to them, and Robert was their main focus.
And then the anger would come. Like a dull roaring lick of fire, it would start from the pit of my stomach and work its way to my mind, my head throbbing with the intensity of it. I would howl into the silence, my fingers clawing the walls with a ferocity that would have frightened me if I had been in my right mind. I ignored the self-inflicted injuries, throwing myself against the brick surface, wanting to kill myself – destroy this useless body that was soiled and dirty from all the sinful acts I had committed. Sometimes he would watch me with amusement as I struggled fruitlessly, and at the end of my tirade, he'd punish me to the point of unconsciousness.
I begged for death.
"Merry Christmas!" he yelled in delight.
I swayed in the brightness, and almost fell to the floor. The instinct to crawl back into the darkness was too much. I wasn't used to the light and it hurt my eyes. However, he steadied me with one arm and grinned happily, holding up a box wrapped in a bright yellow foil. I stared at the pathetic excuse for a Christmas tree – a small white thing with random decorations thrown across it.
It was my first time coming out of the basement since my arrival, and my first time to actually see the place he called a home – which wasn't much. The living room reeked of whiskey and beer. There were two stained cream-colored couches and a small TV sitting upon a coffee table littered with magazines and newspapers. It wasn't until my gaze fell upon one such newspaper, did I feel the world swim before my eyes. It couldn't be right. It just couldn't be. The paper said 'December 25th, 2005', which would make me sixteen. I had been kept a prisoner in his home for almost two years.
The shock was so great that I couldn't even find the tears to shed. I had long given up on those.
"Here," he was saying, forcing me to open the box. "I got you some clothes."
That sounded foreign to me as well. Clothes. Presents. Christmas. It was all one big joke. I began to laugh, a loud hysterical sound that must have frightened him, for he looked at me with a wariness that I found even more amusing. In the daylight, he looked older – no longer as powerful as he had seemed in the depths of darkness. But I willingly dressed in the oversized shirt and slightly loose jeans, no thanks to keeping a slender (not quite skinny) physique after all this time. At least he was smart enough to buy clothes that would hide all the scars he must have left behind.
"Come on, kid," he finally said as he looked at me with an intensity that would have worried me, if I gave a shit anymore. I'd been through so much already, that nothing would have frightened me unless he actually placed a gun to my temple and pulled the trigger. "We're going for a ride."
"A ride?" I asked in slight confusion as I followed him out of the house. "Where are we going to?"
"Ask no questions, boy before I change my goddamn mind."
I did as I was told; making myself comfortable in the Dodge Ram he must have gotten for himself during my captivity. I stared out the window like a tourist in a foreign land, inhaling the fresh air with a giddiness that would have driven me mad with happiness. For the first time, I had a good look at the new me in the side-view mirror, and almost shrank back in fear at the face staring back at me. I was no longer a fourteen year old with bright blue eyes filled with dreams, I was looking at a man trapped in a face that was still somewhat effeminate, my blond hair tied in a ponytail to keep from falling into my eyes. My mouth was in a perpetual downward curl as if seeing something in distaste. I tried to smile at my reflection, but grimaced at the end result. I had forgotten how to do that as well. My eyes held a bleakness that would never go away. There was a hardness within them, the stare of one who had been to the lairs of hell.
We drove for days and nights, sleeping in the car, stopping at gas stations to use the bathroom or to wash up and get some food. I stared in slight awe at the changes around me, the new songs that filled the airwaves, what new cars were on the road or the sudden rise in prices for items I had once considered cheap. As we got closer to the city, I began to feel a cold sensation crawl all over me. I gripped the handle of the door, wondering if this was a sick, twisted joke of his, but as we made our way down the familiar narrow but crowded street and toward Georgie's Alley, I knew that my hate for him was complete.
He stopped before the apartment building, and together we sat in silence for a while. I stared in horror at my home – what was once my home anyway, but nothing had changed much. Besides it being eight in the evening, it felt as if I had stepped back in time. Loud cheers from the basketball court jerked me alert, and I turned towards it quickly, perhaps hoping I'd see my teammates all waiting for me. Amy Brinkman would wave and smile at me in her red dress, wondering what had taken me so long. I would go back to the game and kick some ass – score a few more points and take the game home. Hell, I'd even buy Robert some ice cream because I was in such a good mood.
"You son-of-a-bitch," I cursed softly.
He chuckled nervously. "Least I could do, David. You forgive me, don't you?"
I stared into his face, the urge to sink my hands into those eyes and to rip them out, overwhelming me so much that I gagged.
"I'm sorry, baby," he whispered, leaning close to kiss me on the lips. I couldn't even pull away, too shocked at his audacity to move much. "But like I said, you had better go before I change my mind."
With a shake of my head, I got out of the vehicle, shoving my trembling hands into my pockets to keep myself from doing something dangerous with them. I watched his pale features through the glass, and turned away, walking briskly towards the building as if I had just left for an evening stroll. I didn't know why he suddenly felt the urge to bring me back home; neither did I want to know. With my captivity, he had successfully branded me for life, leaving me with horrific images that would haunt me until my dying day.
However, I was terrified – afraid of what I had become and what I was to become. How could I face my family again? What could I tell them? Where would I even begin? My friends...what would they say? How would I be treated? Could I look them in the eye without squirming in shame? Would I be able to fit in with them? How could I pretend as if everything would be normal again when they'd be burning with questions I didn't want to answer. What kind of a life would I live now? Would I be in constant fear of being taken again, or worse of having Robert suffer the same fate? Walking up the familiar flight of stairs, my feet felt heavy as lead, my steps slowing down while the sounds of televisions from behind closed doors, babies crying, and siblings squabbling filled my ears. There was the hot smell of dinners as well as the pungent scent of freshly washed laundry that assailed my senses. It brought a burning sting to my eyes - that of unshed tears.
"Dear God," I whispered as I finally came to a stop before No. 1125. The hallway was mercifully silent, as if waiting anxiously for my return. I closed my eyes and swayed a little, withdrawing my cold, cold hand from my pocket to knock on the door, as the enormity of the situation finally sunk in. "Please give me strength."
I lifted my lashes to watch the door swing open slowly, tentatively as if afraid of what stood behind it, and as I looked into my mother's tired, pale and yet incredulous visage, I said the words I never thought I'd hear again,
"Hi, Mom. I'm home."