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ESCAPE

“GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!! HELLOOOO!!!!!”

I have been trapped in the basement for what seems like an eternity. I don’t even remember what got me stuck in this place. I once had to stay the night in a hospital and the cold air there did not compare to the cold that I was experiencing down here. There’s barely any light coming through the one solo window. It’s boarded up with small cracks for me to see at least the shoes of the kidnapper. There is no food except the scraps thrown down a narrow crack every so often. I refuse to eat it because I have no idea what it is. The smell is putrid and I can never recognize what it is or what it used to be. Sometimes they throw it down and it’s steaming hot which only makes the smell worse. Why would you heat garbage and try and feed it to me? Each day I wake up disoriented trying to figure out where I am. Once I remember, I scream the same thing repeatedly. No one ever comes when I scream, but I can hear the footsteps above me.

There is no mirror down here so I have no idea what I look like now. I rubbed my hand against my face. I can feel that I have grown a full beard. That usually takes about a month to grow on me. Have I been here for a month? Was anybody even looking for me? What could I have possibly done wrong? I start to search for a way out and there is nothing. The window I believe was once there was now sealed shut. No sunlight in or out. Don’t tell me I’m hallucinating. Did I see a crack earlier or was my mind creating a small ray of hope for my sanity? I began to scream out again, but then I heard the door open. Someone was coming downstairs.

There were several locks undone before a bright light came streaming down into the basement. In walked a little boy that was clutching to a teddy bear. His clothes were neatly pressed and he had what seemed like a fresh haircut. I can't for the life of me remember if he was here when I got here. Hell, I still don't know how long I've been here. He looked to be about five or six years old and still in good health. I can't tell if he was kidnapped or if he lived here. The look in his eyes seemed to be sad, but not like he was fearful of anything.

"Hey wassup, man? Can you tell me where we are? How long have we been here?"

"We're at grandma's house."

"Grandma's house? Who's your grandma?"

"Grandma is my grandma silly. You were down here a long time."

"Do you know how I got here?"

"My babysitter brought you. She said you were drunk and to leave you alone. My mommy used to drink but now she's better. She doesn't get spinny anymore."

"Well, where's your babysitter? Did she tell you how she knew me? How long was I here?"

"You ask a lot of questions, mister."

"I'm sorry....ummm what can you tell me about the day I got here?"

"Well, she said that you were drunk and that to keep you safe you had to stay downstairs. She said that you’d scream ‘cause the alcohol burned your pee-pee when you had to go. That was like....two years ago."

"TWO YEARS?!! I've been down there for two years?!"

"Hahahaha I was kidding but you have been here a long time."

"Are you safe with this babysitter? Is she nice to you?"

"Sometimes...as long as I pretend to be you."

"Pretend to be me? What does that mean?"

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small picture. When he turns it around I see that it is a younger picture of me. For the first time, I noticed that the young boy does seem to favor me when I was about his age. His babysitter is somebody I know. I know my kidnapper? Just when I was about to ask him something the sound of a car door slamming shut startled us. Like a bolt of lightning, the little boy ran back upstairs and I could hear him re-locking the locks again. Locking me back into the dark room only to imagine the warm bright light hitting my skin once more. I slowly walked up the steps to the door to see if I could hear the voice of this woman. What had I done to her to make her hold me hostage? Why would she want this little boy to act like me? On the other side of the door, I heard the woman yelling at the young boy. Even though the boy had been quick with locking me up, somehow she could still tell he messed with the door. I could hear the boy scream followed by the sound of dishes shattering to the floor. I wonder how often she’s hit him since I’ve been here. I have to get out of here. I have to save this innocent child before he is damaged because of me.

I went back down to find anything I could use to pry the door open. Feeling around in a dark room was scary in itself. Not being able to see in an unknown place heightened all of my senses. From every corner, I heard something different and my fingers grazed something either slimy or furry. Dear God don’t let it be anything dead. I continued feeling around and found what felt like a fireplace stick and went back up to pry the door open. On my first attempt at swinging at the door, I lost my balance. The lack of nourishment had left me feeling faint and dizzy. On the second attempt, I tried to wedge it between the door frame and missed. The stick caught me in the knee, but luckily it didn’t reach any bone. I couldn’t let my anger get the best of me when I knew I needed to conserve my energy for whatever was on the other side. After putting forth a lot of tremendous force I was able to open the door.

Crashing to the floor, I was met by the woman standing only a few inches away. She was about 5’7”, 145 pounds, her brown hair in a neat bun and she wore a cropped white shirt, overalls, and a pair of brown boots. Her face was subtly painted with natural tone makeup and her teeth were as white as clouds. This isn’t what I imagined my taker to look like at all. I was praying that they would be remotely grotesque. I was praying for someone that had a face full of pimples, crooked teeth, and a unibrow. Someone much easier to fight without being concerned with if they had a normal upbringing like myself. The woman that stood before me was beautiful. After being in hiding for so long, her beauty was breathtaking. It was like the breath of fresh air I had been dying for, but how was someone of her stature able to drag me into a basement undetected? Although I was looking at her, I still couldn’t recall how she and I may have crossed paths.

“WHAT ARE YA DOIN’ OUTTA THE BASEMENT?!!” She barked.

“I had to come rescue him. What are you doing to him?”

“You mean our son?”

“OUR SON?! I don’t have any kids and I don’t even know who you are!”

“Oh come on Clyde. You don’t remember our first time twenty years ago?”

“Twenty years ago? Lady first off I was twelve back then. Secondly, there’s no way you’re older than me.”

“Ok, maybe it wasn’t exactly twenty years ago, and thank you for the compliment. I had some work done a while back and it’s good to know my money didn’t go to waste. Now twenty years ago there was someone that always did everything for you. She came to your soccer games, she made sure you ate after school. She made sure to record all of your favorite shows and watch them with you nonstop?”

As this woman talked nobody came to mind but my babysitter Lauren. She had to be at least four to five years older than me at the time. This couldn’t be possible. This woman in front of me just couldn’t be the same girl. “Lauren?! Lauren Saharie?!”

“Yes, Clyde it’s me! Your first best friend and the only person that truly cared about you. I never watched you for the money. I watched you because you were so cute. Then you got older and became such a caring sweetheart. Then high school came and things...well things changed. Why are you looking at me like that?”

“You’re scaring me.”

“Is it because of how young I look after all these years? Honey, I’m telling you it was all worth it in the end. Do I have anything that looks out of place?” She spun around so that I could see all of her.

“No, what's scaring me is you kidnapping me. What’s scaring me is the thought of you having a crush on me as a child.”

“A child?! Boy, you asked me to go to your prom when you were seventeen. You liked me and asked me to be your first. Then and all of a sudden I was no longer enough for you. I remember the way you used to follow me around.”

“Lauren, you were my babysitter! I had to follow you around! And when I asked you to prom it was because I knew I would look cool to my friends. You were a college girl and they were all coming with girls our age. It was wrong, but that’s the truth.”

“Yeah well that night you and I connected differently and you never returned the feelings. You fought them off and then forgot all about me. You treated me like I was a stranger!!”

“Hell, you are a stranger! It’s been YEARS and you look NOTHING like how I remember you. Besides what’s with this kid? Why do you have him acting like me?"

“This little guy here?” She pulled the little boy close to her hip. “This boy looks exactly like you when you were little. If we had a son this is what he would look like. I wanted to relive those old days and what better way to do it than with a mini-you? I was about to give up babysitting until I met him. I saw the uncanny resemblance, which led me back to thinking of you.”

“Relive the old days? Do you know how sick and delusional you sound? What did you plan to do with him? You have got to be the most deranged woman I have ever met! You will never be connected to me through him. In fact…”

Before I could finish my sentence she launched at me. I stumbled back and reached behind her to the back end of her knee with the stick. I hit her a couple of times hoping it would keep her down. I hated that I had to do this, but I couldn’t let this woman hurt me or this child. If I couldn’t make it out, I had to get him out. I grabbed him by the hand and started heading for the only door I knew could be unlocked. Getting outside I pushed the young boy in front of me encouraging him to run ahead of me. By the time I turned around...BOOM! Lauren was hitting me with a board to my gut. I was so weak from the lack of food, that I just curled over. Then I felt a glass vase hit me over my head. Darkness came over me. I woke up in the basement again. This time I was tied to a chair and blood dripped from my head. GOD!! I’m never going to get out of here.

“LAUREN LET ME OUTTA HERE!!! God, please get me out.” Here I am again begging and pleading to be freed. Only this time I don’t want to just escape. I want to save that child. I don’t know if he got away or not, but if he didn’t there can’t be anything good happening to him. Only God knows what that woman could have planned for him. All I can do is cry and pray, cry and pray. I prayed to God that the little boy would find me again and help untie me. I prayed that even if I didn’t get out he would.



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