Authors: K.L. Humphreys
First Edition published in 2016
Text Copyright © K L Humphreys
All rights reserved.
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
Edited by Claire Ingram
Cover Design by Kennedy Kelly
Cover Crush Designs
Interior Formatting & Design by BellaTrix Books
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published without the prior written permission of the author. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Also available in paperback
ISBN 13: 978-1534870468
ISBN 10: 1534870466
K L HUMPHREYS
They are taunting me. My body freezes at that sound, they’re coming back. I can’t help my body’s reaction; I flinch at the sound. My heart starts racing as I anticipate them approaching. I hear the door open as the men enter. They drag me up from my position on the floor. I’m now standing.
My body bows from the pain of the whip hitting my back.
I don’t make a sound; I don’t cry out. I don’t dare give them a reaction.
They all take turns at whipping me, it hurts so bad, my back has been whipped for two days straight; it burns with each crack of the whip.
It’s a relentless pace they’re using, I need them to hurry up and finish. I can’t take much more.
I feel the blood seeping down my back as the whip slices my skin open again. I fight back the scream lodged in my throat. The crack of the whip hitting my back has me closing my eyes to block out the pain. I focus on my surroundings hoping that will distract me from the onslaught of pain they are inflicting.
The room is small, no bigger than my bedroom, 10ft by 10ft. It smells putrid; it’s a mixture of piss, shit and sweat. I honestly don’t know how I’m not gagging with the smell.
They step back and I’m finally able to breathe, they are finished for now. But they will be back. I fall to the floor, my knees buckling; I’m unable to hold myself up.
I have been tortured every day for the past two weeks, I don’t know where we are, we were hooded and kidnapped. The only person who has spoken is a Taliban army member, he says that he is their best torturer; he wants to know who sent us.
Seven of us were kidnapped, we are Army Team 4. That fucking prick wants to know who sent us. I’ll never tell. I’ll never betray my country. All of us are in this room, every single one of us will never get over what has happened in this hell hole.
I’m closest to the door, there are no windows in here, and it’s very warm. The rest of the team are against the other wall, they are all tied to chairs, sitting and facing me. I may be getting physically tortured, but my teammates; they’re watching everything these bastards are doing to me.
My best friend is dead, he’s lying on the floor and his eyes are wide open. They look so empty, so lifeless. They don’t look like the man I knew and loved. I want to close them but I can’t move.
I hate that he’s treated like shit. I know he’s dead but he deserves more than being treated like garbage. They threw him into a corner of the room, he’s just lying there. I can’t take my eyes off him.
Smithy died the day we arrived here. That was the only time I cried, watching the man I consider my brother die. They laughed when I cried; they then lifted me away from Smithy and proceeded to torture me.
What they don’t know is, the torture isn’t them hurting me, it’s seeing him lying there, and that is going to stay with me forever.
What the fuck is that noise?
I try to open my eyes, but I can’t. I try to move my fingers, but again, I can’t.
What the fuck happened to me? Where the hell am I?
I smell antiseptic, it’s a smell I know and hate. I must be in the hospital. That’s when I hear something.
Lying still, I shut everything out and focus on the sound. I can hear people talking and I struggle to make out their voices. They seem to be coming closer. When they sound like they’ve finally reached me I realize I know that voice, my dad’s here.
“Why isn’t she waking up? It’s been five days, Dr. Carmen. You told us it would only be a few days, and five is not a few.” He sounds so anxious, I’ve only ever heard him like that once, the day we found out my mom was dying.
“Mr. Dallas, your daughter has suffered extensive trauma, she was shot and tortured. Since she’s been here we’ve lost her twice. We had to put her in an induced coma to help her recover from those injuries. Now she is trying to come back around. When I said a few days, I was giving you the quickest timeframe; it’s up to Sophia when she wants to wake up.” There’s a soft shuffle of footsteps before the door clicks shut. For a moment I think I’m alone again, but then I hear a deep sigh coming from my right.
I try to move my hand again, when suddenly I feel a hard calloused hand touch mine.
“Baby girl, please wake up, you’re killing me. I need you.”
He sounds so sad and my heart breaks a little. I try to move my hand again, I’m not sure if it’s working. I want dad to know I’m here. I try squeezing his hand. I don’t think it’s working, until I hear a sharp inhale of breath and feel dad squeezing my hand back.
“That’s it baby girl, I felt it, your hand moved, please do it again.” He sounds so lost; I try again. “Oh God Sophia, I thought I lost you. Rest now, I’ll be here when you wake up.”
Knowing it’s going to be alright, I drift back to sleep; only my dream consists of the day Lydia Dallas found me.
“Get out! Pack your shit and get the fuck out of my house, you useless fucking bitch!”
I wipe my face and try to stop the tears from falling; I don’t want to be hurt anymore. I start running up the stairs, I have to get to my bedroom. My arm hurts. I try to be as silent as I can, I can hear her downstairs moving around.
I make it to my bedroom, but my arm is sore. I peek out and hear her, she is still downstairs. I run across the hall to the bathroom. I stand on the stool in there so I can see the mirror; my eyes are red from crying. My hair is tangled; I hate brushing it; it hurts. I look into the mirror and see my arm is red from being hit with the rolling pin. She’s baking for the school’s bake sale. I was watching as she never bakes for us. She didn’t like me looking so she started hitting me with the rolling pin.
Once I’m cleaned up I go back to my room, I can still hear her downstairs, I go to bed and lie down. She has her friend coming over tonight; I need to stay awake when he’s here, they both hurt me if they need something and I’m asleep.
I wake up. I can feel someone stroking my hair and calling my name. I look up at my Mama’s friend.
“You’re awake, good. Your mom is drunk, go sort her out. I’m leaving.” I get out of bed and run for the door hoping he doesn’t hurt me, I hear him laughing behind me.
“You shouldn’t run from me Sophia. Once you’re old enough, you’re coming to work for me.” I don’t understand why he keeps saying that to me.
I make it downstairs; the man is following behind me; he is laughing at me. I run into the living room and find Mama on the floor asleep.
“Fix her up, I’ll be back tomorrow.” I nod, he stares at me. I don’t like him, he’s scary. He leans forward and grabs my hair; he pulls it and leans into me.
“If she isn’t back to normal tomorrow, there will be hell to pay, do you understand?” I’m nodding, I cry out as he pulls my hair tighter.
“You may be only five Sophia, but some people
that. One way or another I’ll get my money. Clean this shit up, this place is fucking disgusting.” He lets go of my hair and leaves.
I walk over to Mama and try and shake her, “Mama, please wake up.” It works; she wakes up and tries to sit up. She is staring at me. I run into the kitchen and start cleaning up. I need to clean before the scary man comes back tomorrow.
“What the fuck are you doing? I thought I told you to leave?” I turn around and see Mama standing in the kitchen. She still looks mad. I turn and keep cleaning. I see her moving and I don’t get out of the way in time.
She pulls my hair, making me cry out. “I told you Sophia, I want you out of my house, why are you still here?” I start to shake; she throws me to the floor. I start crawling and I hear footsteps going upstairs. I get up and run into the living room just as I hear the sound of the belt. I’m frozen in place, I can’t move, I’m scared.
Mama comes downstairs and sees me standing in the living room. I’m so scared I need to pee. I run past her and up the stairs. I make it to the top when I’m pushed and I fall forward hitting my face of the floor. I can’t hold it in any longer and I pee.
“You dirty fucking bitch, how dare you soil my house.” I hear the sound of the belt buckle; I hate when she uses it. I still have cuts from the last time. I cry out when the belt buckle hits my legs.
“Mama, please Mama stop I’ll be good, please.” I shouldn’t have said anything; she hits me harder, she is so mad now.
“Don’t tell me what to do you ungrateful bitch, you’re useless. If you weren’t born I wouldn’t be like this, I would be happy. I wish you were never born.” She keeps hitting me, I want her to stop but she doesn’t, she never does.
“I’ve had enough of you. Get cleaned up, we're going out.” She walks back downstairs, I can’t move, I’m going to be in so much more trouble if she comes back and finds me here. I try to get up, I can’t, I’m so sore. I hear her coming back up the stairs.
“You couldn’t even get up, you’re disgusting. No one is ever going to want you, if your own mom doesn’t then who will?” she laughs; she always says I’m not wanted and no one will love me. My head gets pulled backwards; she has my hair in her hands, it hurts. She drags me to my feet.
“Come on, we’re going out.” She leads me downstairs and out the front door. She grabs my hand as we make it outside, my leg is really sore, I can’t keep up with her, and she starts dragging me down the street.
“You had better walk faster; I don’t have all day to walk you.” She has that voice she uses when she wants to hurt me. I start walking faster; I have tears falling down my face. We walk for ages and then we come to the place where the trains go above us. She pushes me towards a dumpster and I fall over, she starts laughing at me.
“You really are useless, now you’re staying here. I don’t want you following me home, I’ll just bring you back Sophia.” I don’t understand. She’s leaving me?
“Mama, I’ll be really good, please don’t leave me, I love you.” She laughs again.
“I hate you, you stupid little bitch, you’re the worst thing to happen to me. Now stay the fuck away from me.” She starts to walk away, I run after her; I don’t want to be left alone. I catch up to her, she turns around to face me, she slaps my face, the sound is really loud and my face starts to hurt.
“I told you not to follow me, are you fucking deaf as well as stupid?” Then she pushes me to the ground and walks off. I start crying and calling for her.
“Mama, Mama, please don’t leave me.” She carries on walking never looking back. I go back to the dumpster hoping she comes back for me. It’s scary out here.
“Hello, are you okay? You don’t look right, you’re bleeding.” I turn towards the voice. She looks really pretty, like an angel; she has white hair and has a nice smile. I don’t answer her; she just stares at me.
“My name is Lydia, what is your name? I saw that woman leave you after slapping you, was she your mom?” I nod but don’t make a sound. She comes and sits next to me, she looks sad.
“Hon, I really should bring you to the hospital.” I start shaking, I’m not allowed, Mama says the doctors ask too many questions. Lydia touches my hand, I jump back, I’m scared she is going to hurt me.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to scare you. Now you don’t want to go to the hospital but you have to get checked up. How about you come with me, I’ll call my doctor who won’t say anything and make sure you are okay?”
“Okay, but when do I get to see Mama again?” Lydia looks sad again.
“You can see her when we check to make sure you’re okay. So are you ready to go?” I nod, she holds out a hand for me and I take it, she walks me to her car. I look back hoping Mama changed her mind and came back for me, but she hasn’t.
“It won’t be long until we get to my house, don’t worry, you will be safe. What is your name?” she puts me in the car, she has a child seat. She sits me in the seat and buckles me in.
“Sophia.” I answer her; she gets in the car and drives off.
I awaken and realize I still can’t move and it’s pissing me off. I hear the sound of the machine beeping. There are voices floating around the room and I know my brothers Luke and Scott are here.
“Damn she looks like shit, fuck, if I ever find out who it was that kidnapped her while she was in Afghanistan, I’m going to kill them.” Scott says so menacingly. He’s always the action guy; fists first, questions later, but the way he says I look like shit, it’s heart-breaking, he sounds so lost.
“Yeah, damn, she’s had a shit life, but to see her like this, it reminds me of the day we first saw her, vulnerable. I hate that she is hurting.” Luke says and I hear a deep sarcastic chuckle from Scott.
I start to feel myself drifting and I fight to stay awake, I need them to know I’m okay. I hate that they have pain in their voices but I have really missed them. I fall asleep listening to their voices.
Sometime later I gradually wake and test my fingers. I can move them and so I try the same with my toes. I’m desperate to open my eyes, but I don’t want to be disappointed. I try though, and for the first time, I succeed. I’m finally able to see and to move my body, except it hurts like a bitch. I search my mind looking for the reason I’m here. I close my eyes and think back.
Oh my god, I was shot and tortured, I remember now. Oh god, Smithy, oh Jesus. I remember him being shot, he died in my arms. He was my best friend, we met on the way to basic training, we were inseparable, and he was like my brother. We were held in the terrorist cell for a while, I’m not sure how long, the days blurred together. I made it out, I need to know if the others did too. I can’t remember anything after making it out of the cell.
My dad is still here, looks like he’s been here as long as I have. “Dad, where is everyone, did they make it out? Are they okay? Please dad, I need to know!”
He looks so worried, it’s etched on his face “Okay, but Sophia, you need to calm down, they are resting, and so should you!”
Ugh I hate that voice, you know the voice, it’s the ‘I’m-the-parent-you’re-the-child-do-as-I-say’ voice. “That smirk of yours was never a good thing. What are you thinking? You know what? I don’t want to know! Yes, they all made it out alive except Smithy, which you knew about. I’m really sorry baby girl, I know how much you cared about him. Yes, the rest are okay, Sam, he was the only other one to get hurt, he took a bullet in his thigh. He’s doing okay though, worried about you. They will all be back in a while, so sleep, get your strength back.” He says with such a sad voice; it makes my heart ache.
I hate thinking of Smithy not being here, I miss him like crazy. It’s going to be weird that I’m not going to see him every day, just thinking about that makes me want to cry. I hurt, the pain of losing Smithy is worse than any pain a bullet can inflict.
“Ok dad, thank you.”
I’m just about to close my eyes, when I hear the nurse come into the room. As I peer up at her. While she’s fiddling with my machine and IVs she looks at me and smiles. “You’re doing a lot better, your BP is down and your temp is okay. Once the doctor has been to see you, we will have a better idea of when you can move around, maybe have a bath.”
“Thanks.” I close my eyes and drift back to sleep.
I awake when I hear a voice, it’s outside my door and I don’t tense because I know who it is. Sam’s here and so is the rest of the team, Caleb Russo who is the doctor; Samuel Mitchell, bomb expert; Skye Taylor, communication expert; Oscar Lyle the computer expert and our Sergeant Ryder Marshall. They all bound into my room eager to see if all is well with me. I’m the weapons expert. Growing up with a cop in the house, dad taught us how to handle a weapon, I’ve always been fascinated with them so it was a natural gravitation to be a weapons expert.
Skye comes straight over to my bed, “How are you feeling Soph?”
” Everyone speaks in unison and we all laugh. “I’m doing better; hopefully I can get up and move soon. How are you Sam?”
“Fine Soph, nothing can stop me you know that, not even a bullet to my thigh.” Everyone laughs but things seem strained, it’s like they have something to tell me and are dreading saying it. I look over at Caleb and see something flash through his eyes I think it’s guilt. It’s understandable, I would feel guilt too, having watched what was happening to me.