The third chapter of Slave, a novel I am currently writing.
I didn’t sleep at all that night. My mind was racing. How could I get out of the small, cramped closet, and then the treehouse? Was there any way I could play the girl’s softness to my advantage? But most importantly . . .
Why had Enrique sacrificed me like that? He was a very distant person, but I’d looked up to him, not as a friend, but . . . almost as a father. But he’d gotten rid of me the first chance he could. Why?
As much as these thoughts troubled me, I knew I needed my sleep. Especially if I had to take on the freaking sumo wrestler who I could only assume was back at the large house now. I tried to get comfortable, but it was nearly impossible. My back still had small pieces of glass stuck in it, my foot seemed to still be oozing out blood, and every time I leaned against a nearby wall, my arms started screaming for release.
Eventually, I went into some sort of daze. It wasn’t quite sleep, probably more like passing out from the massive blood loss I was suffering.
Because it was pitch-black in the closet, I wasn’t sure what time it was when I heard someone marching up the stairs. My heart began to pound. Was it a few of the party-goers that apparently visited this place often? Or was it Slime?
I took my chances. When the door opened, I leaned back as far as I could and pounded on the closet door. The footsteps stopped for a moment, then resumed, heading in the direction of the closet. I was sure it was someone coming to save me, and I did a mental jig. It should have alerted me when someone quickly unlocked the door that it wasn’t my savior, but it didn’t matter right then.
The door opened, and I blinked in the bright sunlight. When my eyes adjusted, I saw . . . Anime. I sighed to myself, feeling so exhausted and overwhelmed I thought I was going to cry. She stared down at me. “Uh . . . Good morning?”
I glared at her, trying to flatten myself against the wall. She continued. “I’m, uh, sorry about yesterday, I guess. I mean, mostly, Slime, he . . . I don’t know, he’s just really protective, I guess. And, I’m sorry for hitting you. It’s just . . .”
She’d trailed off slowly. She opened the closet door a bit more, and spoke again. “I brought some stuff for you. Clothes, some . . . uh, food. And you can take a shower, wash some of the blood--or . . . whatever--off. Oh. Here, I’ll take these off.” She reached down, looked at me, then straightened back up. “Um, if you could stand?”
Still glaring, I stood up and turned my back on her, though I was still wary of doing even that. While she was unlocking the handcuffs, I looked at the front door, judging how long it would take me to get to it. Was Anime armed today, like she had been yesterday? And what was behind the other door.
I suddenly felt an immense release of pressure as the cuffs began unlocked. I reached up and pulled the duct tape off my mouth and rolled it into a ball.
From behind me, Anime said, “You can’t get out. I have your gun in my pocket, and the front door is locked on the outside. Now, do you want some food, or do you want to take a shower first?”
I shrugged, disappointed.
“If you want to take a shower first, the bathroom is over there.” She pointed to the door that was on the right when I first came--well, was pushed--in. “And here are some clean clothes.” She pushed a stack of clothes into my arms.
I walked toward the bathroom door and opened it. When I looked back I saw Anime bending over the broken glass. I stepped into the bathroom and shut and locked the door behind me. Looking around, I was upset to find no windows, vents, or, really, anything useful. I stepped over to the shower and turned it on, full -blast.
As horrifying as the situation was, I would still be glad to get a full-out shower for the first time in about five weeks. I pulled my shirt over my head, and looked in the mirror above the sink.
Blood was covering me, from my face, to my chest, and even in my shaggy blond hair. My bright green eyes seemed to be the only thing that still looked normal, although there were deep shadows underneath them. I picked out the small shards of glass that had been stuck on the side of my face all night.
I turned around to look at my back in the mirror. If possible, the back of me was even bloodier than the front. It took me a few minutes to get most of the pieces of glass out of my back, and even then, not all the small pieces would come out.
I took off the rest of my clothes and stepped into the shower, immediately feeling horrific pain as the warm water ran into all my cuts, especially the knife wound in my foot. I stood under the water’s blast for nearly fifteen minutes, letting the water wash away all the blood.
Eventually, I reached out and grabbed a towel that was sitting on the rack. I gingerly dried myself off, wincing as I cleaned my foot. I put my boxers on, followed by the jeans and t-shirt sitting on the toilet seat. After lightly washing them off, I replaced my fingerless gloves back on my hands. I took everything I’d had in my old pants, including my knife, out, and put them in the new ones I had on. After quickly going to the bathroom, I picked my old clothes and shoes up and limped back out into the main room.
Anime was sitting at the table, a large plate of food in front of her. When she saw me, she jumped up. “That looks much better.” She reached over to touch the large, burn-looking mark on my cheek. “Ouch. Again, sorry ‘bout that.”
I jerked out of her grasp. She looked down and saw my foot; the wound seemed to be opening up again. “Holy shit,” she said, “where’d that come from?”
I ignored her.
“Wait, I can wrap it up, just wait a second.” She hurried off into the bathroom, and, a moment later, came back out holding a first aid kit. “Sit down.”
I hesitantly walked toward the office chair and sat. I’d decided that for now, I would mostly humor the girl, until I had some chance to use her weakness for my escape. She walked up and knelt next to me, taking a few bottles and several rolls of bandaging out of the kit.
“By the way,” she said, dabbing something onto a cotton ball and pressing it onto my foot, causing me to grasp onto the chair’s arms, “I wouldn’t do that pounding on the door thing if I were you. During parties, you don’t want to. Believe me.”
She’d begun pouring some cream onto my foot and I screwed my eyes up against the pain.
“You don’t seem to speak much. Do you talk at all?”
I shook my head as she began wrapping one of the bandages around my foot and ankle. She sighed. “Well, I think that’s bad news for you. Slime was hoping he could get you into talking about where those other guys were. Just our luck we’d catch the mute one,” she added in a mutter.
I stared at her. She stood back up. “There. Done. Why don’t you eat?”
I looked at the plate in front of me. It was overflowing with sausages, bacon, and eggs. It made my mouth water just looking at it. I turned and saw her looking at me.
“What?” she asked. “Come on, I didn’t, like, drug them or anything.” She shifted awkwardly from one foot to another. “I promise.”
I rolled my eyes. This person seriously thought I was about to believe her.
“Fine, don’t eat. I don’t care.” She turned to wrap the plate of food up again, and I looked at the front treehouse door. The key was sitting on the table. I grabbed it quietly; she didn’t seem to notice. As she spun to look at me again, I slid the key into my pocket.
“Are you sure you don’t want it?” I ignored her. “Suit yourself.” She reached for the key, but didn’t see it, of course. To my great surprise, she didn’t look upset. She revealed another key from her pocket and I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. “Um, I have to go, but . . . I’ll be right back.”
She stepped into the bathroom and began rummaging through the drawers just as the other door opened. I jumped when I saw Slime standing in the doorway, staring at me with cold eyes. Without missing a beat, he ran in the room and pushed me down onto the floor, and called out, “Anime! A!”
She ran out of the bathroom, now without the first aid kit. “What is it, Slime?” She looked down and her eyes met mine. “What did you do to him?”
“I . . . I thought--” He paused. “Never mind.”
I smirked at him as I pulled myself up. Anime glanced at me. “You’re bleeding again, Slave. You’re still hurt.”
Slime rolled his eyes. “Why should we care, Anime? He deserves it, the little bastard.”
Anime was still staring at me. “Pull your shirt up and let me see your back.”
I shook my head, and Slime grabbed my arm. “Do what she says.”
I shook my head again, harder. Slime grabbed the borrowed t-shirt and pulled it over my head. “Holy shit,” he said. “Had a hard life, kid? You’re all sentimental and fragile, I’m sure. Too bad.” He smacked me on the back and the glass pieces burrowed deeper. I fell on my knees, screwing my eyes shut against the pain.
“Hey!” Anime shouted. “Slime, stop it. Put him in that chair.” She pointed to the desk’s chair and leapt back into the bathroom. Slime rolled his eyes and roughly lead me over to the chair. I snarled at him and pulled my arm away from his. He glared back and shoved me into the seat. I was thinking how good it would be when I got out of there using the key. Maybe I’d find my gun and make a pit stop on the way out. Bye-bye, Slime.
Anime appeared once more, holding the first aid kit again. She pulled out some gauze and a pair of tweezers, and set to work. Slime held me where I was while she pulled the glass pieces out of my back. Then she covered the wounds with alcohol. Her hands were soft against my scarred body, even though they were heavily callused.
Finally, she finished putting Band-Aids and gauze on me and I pulled away from Slime. The wounds were burning almost as much as they had during the night. I reached around to scratch my back, and Anime’s hand caught mine.
“Don’t do that,” she warned. “It’ll make them worse.”
Slime helped her put the handcuffs and tape back on me, then turned and left.
Anime ushered me back into the closet, where I stood and looked at her defiantly. For the first time, I noticed I was several inches taller than she was. I grinned under the weight of the tape.
“Oh,” she said, “by the way, I wouldn’t slam on the door every time someone comes up here. There are a lot of parties around here, and drunks or stoners really don’t mix with young boys locked up in the closet, if you know what I’m saying. Good luck.” She shut the door in my face.
I fumed in the dark, twisting myself to make sure I still had the key. I did. It was then I realized that Anime had taken my shoes. I’d watched TV shows where kidnappers would take people’s shoes off so it would be hard for them to run away.