Speaking in Bones
“I’m unbound now. My wrists and ankles burn from the straps. My ribs are bruised and there’s a lump behind my ear. I don’t remember hitting my head. I’m lying very still because my whole body aches. Like I’ve been in a wreck. Like the time I crashed my bike. Why doesn’t my family save me? Is no one missing me? I have only my family. No friends. It was just too hard. I’m all alone. So alone. How long have I been here? Where is here? The whole world is slipping away. Everything. Everyone. Am I awake or asleep? Am I dreaming or is this real? Is it day or night?
“When they return they will hurt me again. Why? Why is this happening to me? I can’t hear a sound. No. That’s not true. I can hear my heart beating. Blood working inside my ears. I taste something bitter. Probably vomit stuck in my teeth. I smell cement. My own sweat. My dirty hair. I hate when my hair isn’t washed. I’m gonna open my eyes now. Got one. The other’s crusted shut. Can’t see much. It’s all blurry, like I’m looking up from way down underwater.
“I hate the waiting. That’s when the pictures take over my brain. Not sure if they’re memories or hallucinations. I see him. Always in black, his face crazy red and beaded with sweat. I avoid his eyes. Keep
looking at his shoes. Shiny shoes. The candle flame’s a little yellow worm dancing on the leather. He stands over me, all big and nasty. Thrusts his horrid, smelly face close to mine. I feel his icky breath on my skin. He gets mad and yanks me by the hair. His veins go all bulgy. He screams and his words sound like they’re coming from another planet. Or like I’ve left my body and I’m listening from far away. I see his hand coming at me, clutching the thing so tight it quivers. I know I’m shaking but I’m numb. Or am I dead?
“No! Not now! Don’t let it happen now!
“My hands are going all cold and tingly. I shouldn’t be talking about him. I shouldn’t have said he was horrid.
“Yes. They’re coming.
“Why is this happening to me? What did I do? I’ve always tried to be good. Tried to do what Mama said. Don’t let them kill me! Mama, please don’t let them kill me!
“My mind is going all fuzzy. I have to stop talking.”
Silence, then the click-creak of a door opening. Closing.
Footsteps, unhurried, firm on the floor.
“Take your place.”
“Don’t resist me.”
“Leave me alone!”
The cadence of frantic breathing.
The thunk of a blow.
“Please don’t kill me.”
“Do as I say.”
Sound as if dragging.
“Are you in my hands?”
“Filthy bitch!” Louder, deeper.
A soft rasp.
The tic of metal snapping into place.
“You will die, slut!”
“Will you answer me now?”
The drumming of agitated fingers. Scratching.
“Give me what I need!”
Pfff! The violent hurling of spit.
“You will not answer?”
“This has only begun.”
Click-creak. The furious slam of a door.
Absolute stillness. Soft sobbing.
“Please don’t kill me.
“Please don’t kill me.