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Friday, June 1, 2018

The Basement

         “Oh my God,” I croak out of my overly dry mouth. I blink my eyes and it takes a few tries for my vision to clear, my eyes are about as dry as my mouth and my eyelids are practically glued together. I try to roll over and I’m hit by a wall of nausea and blinding agony so intense that I actually gag, but my stomach is so empty that only a little bit of stomach acid comes up and burns my throat. I cough and that causes pain to roll through my body too, but nothing compared to what I felt trying to roll over. Clearly moving around is out of the question so I look around the best I can. 
            I’m in a basement… well I think I am. It has that basement smell to it. Like when you don’t use a room as often as the others and it’s got more dust and less life? That smell. It’s also kind of cold down here. The pain I caused myself from trying to roll over has me covered in sweat and now it’s really cooling me down. 
I look to the right and see stairs leading up. I don’t see any stairs leading down to another level, another indicator of me being in a basement. 

            “Where the fuck am I?” I finally wonder aloud in my hoarse voice. The panic is setting in. I’m in someone’s fucking musty ass basement and it feels like I’ve been hit by a semi-truck. What happened to… Then the memory comes rushing back at full speed.
            “Cheryll what are we going to do about this account, we’re fucked,” my sister Sarah said to me as we walked into our office building that morning. I can tell she’s worried because she’s chewed her fingernails down to practically nothing. 
            “Stop chewing on your nails they look terrible,” I tell her and she looks back at me like she couldn’t give a shit what they look like. “Well when someone sees your nails in a meeting and all of a sudden no longer wants to work with us, that’s on you. It looks like a dog got ahold of your hands.” I ignore the chewed up finger that is now pointing in my direction. “And the account will work itself out. Mitch will probably be pissed for about three days and then he will be back to normal. As in trying to get into your panties.” I say the last part quietly, wouldn’t want the wrong person to overhear. 
            “Shut up!” Sarah slaps me in the shoulder playfully and we’re both laughing. We head over to the little coffee place on the first floor of our building before heading up to our shared office. 
            “Mitch is such a skeeze,” she says after I grab my black coffee and she grabs her mochafrappabullshit and walk away from anyone’s prying ears. “He came up to me a few days ago and let me know he’s more than willing to do some afterhours work with me if I come over to his house. Like is he serious with that shit?” 
            I press the button for the elevator and we’re both having another laugh at Mitch’s expense when it dings and the doors open. He really is the world’s biggest douche bag, but he knows how to get shit done with his clients so what’s a girl to do.
 We both got into the elevator along with three other people whose faces I can now hardly even remember. I know it was a two men and one other woman, but I can’t remember any other details about them.
            “So should we call-” Sarah starts but is cut off.
            “What the fuck was that?!” I say looking up to where the loud bang had come from. Everyone in the elevator had either shrieked or cursed at the noise and now we were all looking up at the ceiling of the unmoving elevator wondering what the hell is going to happen next. 
            The next thing I hear sounds like how I imagine a metal cord sounds when it snaps, and then everything is moving very fast.
            My sister is crying.
            The woman in front of me is screaming.
            One of the men is yelling any and all profanities that come to mind. 
            The other man is bracing himself against the wall whispering some last minute prayers.
            And I’m just standing there, covered in spilled coffee, holding my sisters hand. We’re sixteen floors up… we all know it’s over. 
            I can feel the car racing down the almost sixteen stories that we had risen so far. I don’t have much time so I pull my sister in for a tight hug hoping that when—
            Then the elevator smashed into the ground. 
            “I was in an elevator crash. I was in a fucking elevator crash. And so was my sister.” I’m talking out loud to make what I’m saying sink in, to make it all real. “Where is Sarah… HEY!” I yell as loud as I can, which isn’t very loud. It hurts. “HELLO? Is there anyone in this fucking crusty ass place?!”
            “Do you remember?” a voice asks from behind me.
            “What the fuck!” I jump and the wave of pain washes over me again. “Jesus you scared me,” I say to the mystery voice behind me. It’s hard to be scared and pissed off at whoever this is when it feels like every muscle, tendon, and bone in your body is shattered. 
            “Do not use profanity please,” the creepy voice says from behind me again. 
            “Who are you? Where the fuck am I? Where is Sarah!” I’m raising my voice the best I can but I’m worked up and sweating again from the exertion. I don’t want to pass out with this weirdo standing behind me. 
            “Do you remember?” he rattles again. He doesn’t sound very old, maybe middle aged. But that’s also a guess based on a voice. I won’t be surprised to find he has a creeper moustache if he ever makes his way around the bed. 
            “For fucks sake do I remember what? And where the FUCK am I?” I can feel the sweat dripping down toward my eyebrows then rolling down my temples. My shirt is damp and stuck to my clammy skin. I’m breathing too fast so I try to calm down and even my breathing. Clearly the man behind me is a psychopath, and I’m now critically injured in his creepy basement. Yay me. 
            Something touches my forehead and I instantly flinch away, and regret it. My vision goes black from the pain in my head. I have no idea how long it takes me to come to but when I do there is a warm cloth laying across my forehead. It honestly feels nice, but knowing that creeper put it on my head makes me sick.
            “You shouldn’t be cursing or moving around like that,” he says and I can finally see him. He’s sitting on an old rocking chair reading a book. I can’t see what it is from where I’m laying but I’m imagining it’s one of Stephen King’s creepier books. 
He does have a moustache, along with lots of facial hair that’s neatly trimmed. Not at all how I would have expected. He has dark eyes, I can’t see an actual color but I can tell that they are dark and they are hidden under thick brows. He’s wearing an old beat up flannel unbuttoned over a tshirt, and dark jeans. Honestly he’s not bad looking. Still though, I’m pretty sure this fucktard abducted me. 
“Where am I?” I try again.
“None of that matters right now,” he says and folds the corner of his page to save his spot. He stands from the rocking chair and walks my way. The chair creaks and rocks back and forth a few times with the absence of his weight. “You had a nasty accident,” he says and cups my cheek. He’s rubbing his thumb back and forth in a gesture that would be sweet if it was literally anyone else in the entire world doing it. When he does it I can feel the bile rising up my throat again. 
“Yes I was in an elevator when it crashed,” I say hoping that will keep him from asking me ‘do you remember’ anymore. “What happened to everyone else inside?” I don’t ask specifically about my sister because so far that has gotten me nowhere. 
“Oh, most of them died,” he states blatantly and walks back over to his rocking chair and picks up his book.
“What?!” I ask. No. No, Sarah can’t be dead. She lived. I hugged her so I would take the impact and she would live. That’s what I was trying to do. 
“Yup.” He opens his book to the page he was reading before.
“What the fuck happened to the girl named Sarah?!”I’m sick of this guy avoiding my questions. I’m sweating again, my heart feels like it’s going to pound through my chest, and tears are starting to prick at the edge of my vision. I think I might be having a panic attack. I need to know if my sister made it out of there alive.
“Watch your language!” he screams and jumps up out of the rocker. The book is dropped on the floor, no time to save his page this time, and the rocker is swinging and creaking violently from his sudden departure. His chest is rising and falling almost as fast as mine now, and two thick blue veins have appeared on his forehead. He’s staring at me waiting for me to acknowledge his outburst.
“What. The. FUCK. Happened to Sarah?” I spit at him defiantly. I don’t care if he’s pissed. It looks like this loon abducted me and locked me up in his basement, so he can go fuck himself. 
He’s on me before I can blink. His hand is wrapped around my neck and he’s putting just enough pressure on my windpipe that I can’t steady my breathing. Tunnel vision is setting in when he leans in close and whispers, “You will not use that kind of language in this house. Do you understand?” He turns his head and he’s so close that our noses are almost brushing. He’s looking me directly in the eyes. 
“Yes,” I answer almost inaudibly. I’m trying to hold back tears and not lose consciousness. He lets go of my neck and I suck in the air hungrily. What’s this guy’s deal with cuss words? 
“Okay great,” he says and picks up his book. “And Sarah is in intensive care.” He says this so nonchalantly I almost ignore him. Then it sinks in what he just said and the tears I’ve been holding back spill down my face. I cry silently, not wanting him to take any more notice of me and because if I let the sadness and fear sink in then the sobs would come and the pain would cause me to pass out. Although I might still pass out from mere exhaustion any minute now. 
I let the tears dry up, not able to wipe them away, and I look over at my captor. “How did I get here?” I try this instead of asking where I am, because he’s not even acknowledged that question when I’ve asked before. 
“Well you were seriously injured when the elevator fell,” he says gravely, “so I decided I would help you get better.”
“Why not take me to a hospital, or wait for the EMT’s to get to me? I’m sure they were already on their way to the building.”
“Because the ambulance was taking forever,” he states like it’s the most obvious answer in the world. 
Yeah this guy is fucking nuts, awesome. I’m trying so hard to stay awake because I don’t want to pass out with him sitting over there. I don’t really want to ever sleep again if this is the hell hole I wake up to. “How long was I out?” I ask him, just trying to make some kind of conversation to stay awake and get more information. 
“You were out completely for three days. Then on the fourth day you were somewhat conscious and you had a little bit of water with crushed up vitamins in it. That was about three days ago, so you were out for like a week.” He says all of this without even looking up from his stupid book.
I’ve been in this basement for a week. If Sarah is in the hospital and she’s awake will she tell them that I was there and that I’m missing? Do people somehow think I’m dead? Is anyone looking for me? How did this man get me out of the elevator and out of the building without anyone noticing? I have so many questions milling around in my head and no answers for any of them. “What’s your name?” I wonder if he’ll at least give me that. 
“John.”
Okaaay, well that’s the most generic name in history so if I ever do escape this hell hole all I have to go on is his name is John and he has good facial hair. And who knows if that’s even his real name, why would he give me any information about himself… except that I’m like 99% positive that he’s genuinely insane so maybe it is his real name and maybe he really does think that he’s helping me. “Okay then John, is there any way I can get a blanket?” The sweat really is making it cold down here. 
“I’ll get you one in a bit when I finish my book.” Once again he doesn’t even look my way. 
Knowing that I don’t want him to choke me out again I keep my mouth closed for a while. I peek over at his book and see he’s not even halfway done, so I guess we’ll be sitting here for a few hours until he gets me a blanket. Then I start to think about what day it is and whether or not John should be at work. If the elevator crashed on a Monday and it’s been seven days then shouldn’t he be at a job of some kind? Great I’ve probably been abducted by someone that still lives with their mom. 
While he reads and rocks in the creakiest chair of all time I decide to try and take stock of my injuries. I wiggle my toes and suck in a sharp breath, something down there isn’t right. I stay away from the lower legs for now, thankfully I can feel them, and keep the exploration moving up my body. I flex my quads and it’s not as bad. They feel like I did about 300 weighted squats, but the leg doesn’t feel broken and the muscles don’t feel torn. I flex my ass and it shoots pain up both sides of my back. That one takes me a minute to recover from and I’m praying that it’s muscular and nothing to do with my spine. I have to sit and let the feeling subside before I can continue the exploration. I move my fingers one by one and I think they are fine for the most part, but my left wrist is a goner. Just flexing the fingers on that side felt like fire in the wrist. I don’t even try to move that arm for fear of jostling around the broken bones. My right wrist and forearm are really sore but they don’t feel broken. I’ll work on moving that around once John leaves me alone. 
There’s a lot of stuff I can’t move around while lying on a cot, but I know I have to have fucked up some ribs or something because trying to sit up earlier was the worst thing I’ve ever had to do. Then there’s my neck, which I don’t think is broken, but was screaming in protest when I tried to turn my head. I’ve got a lot of work to do if I ever want to get out of here. 
A creaking sound shifts my attention away from what I’m doing. When I look over I see John getting up and heading toward the stairs. “Where are you going?” 
“I’m getting you a blanket.” He doesn’t look back down at me and when he goes through the door there are no windows on the other side to indicate what time of day it is. 
When he comes back down he is holding a big fuzzy blanket and two more pillows. I’m already laying on one so I’m not sure what he’s going to do with the others. If he thinks he’s getting on here with me then I will spout out a string of profanity so dirty that he runs over and chokes me again but that time I’d let him kill me. 
“Here’s your blanket,” he says raising it a little. He sets it on the rocking chair instead of laying it over me on the cot. “But first we need to do something that might be a little uncomfortable.”
“What?!” I screech, “What do you mean something uncomfortable?” I’m trying really hard not to drop some hard f bombs at this guy but he’s making it very difficult. 
“Would you just trust me?” he asks. He looks at me and I realize he’s serious, he expects me to trust him. Is he fucking kidding me? I’m a body full of broken bones locked up in his creepy ass basement in middle of who-knows-where. 
“Are you serious?” 
“Yes, why wouldn’t I be,” he deadpans. This guy is nuts, it’s not even worth wasting my voice on this line of conversation. “Okay we’re going to put this in your mouth,” he says coming over with a rolled up rag.
“Uh, no, we’re not,” I say getting panicked, “Why would I need to put a rolled up towel in my mouth?”
“Because it’s time to set your ankles.” He unfolds the blanket and there are two splints and some medical tape in there. Then he reaches under the cot and pulls out two hospital grade boots. 
“No!” I yell. “You can’t set my ankles, you’re not a doctor, and I’m awake, I will feel everything, I don’t even have any pain meds!” The fear is setting in. I’m sweaty and shaking, and I’d rather run out of here on my broken ankles than let him get his paws on them. “John, please think about this for a second,” I plead with him, “you could still take me to a doctor, they would give me anesthesia. I wouldn’t tell them anything!” 
“It will only hurt for a second, I promise,” he says with real sympathy in his eyes, “I’m sure you’ll pass back out quickly. Then I can get you all wrapped and booted up.” He pulls a tv tray over. A fucking tv tray that probably houses his frozen dinners. He sets out everything he’s brought down to ‘fix’ my ankles. 
“Why did you wait a whole week to set them? You could have done this while I was still out at the beginning? You are going to hurt me John,” I say this calmly hoping to get any ounce of compassion, sympathy, or empathy his psychotic brain might possess. 
“Well I had to make sure you were going to wake up for real,” he says without looking up from his tv tray of torture. “I didn’t want to waste supplies on someone that was going to die.” He finally looks up at me with this eerie calm and makes his way toward me. 
Oh my God, oh my God, this man in a lunatic. He’s going to fuck with my ankles-the ones that are shattered. “No pleas—” I’m cut off as he shoves the towel (gag) into my mouth and I start crying. No, I start sobbing. 
“I’m really sorry,” he says and lifts up the blanket. I feel his hands sliding around my foot and then a jerk and I’m screaming until the blackness takes over. 

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