My flat was tiny but it’s all I could afford at the time.
Six years of charity work nourished my soul but impacted my bank account
drastically.

The town was trying to re-establish its identity and so was
I. Buildings were being destroyed and rebuilt, schools were creeping up the
league tables and the local library successfully fought closure. I didn’t care
much for the provincial town but it grew on me. It helped me forget the big
city. I used to listen out for his screams and the sound of sirens but the air
was filled with silence since he was taken from me. I needed to feel loved
again.  I tried my best to look and sound
like everybody else so they didn’t know I was an outsider and hoped my
loneliness went unnoticed by the residents of the town.

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I made my way downstairs to begin searching around for
employment, but I doubted I would find anything that would fit my
qualifications and age, after all it was a small area. So I asked around for
any vacancies, anything at all, I was desperate. After all, I needed to make my
new home bearable because I couldn’t run, not back to my past life, I was
trapped in the shell of my old self trying to break through to be happy.

I could see he already had an occupation, I bet it took him
months to get and I could imagine his relief because coming across a job seemed
near impossible. He and his job added a splash of colour to the greyness
surrounding the area, I’d do anything to be him. On hot afternoons, I’d imagine
lime trees and the lemons and the pomegranates I could have grown, all whilst
getting on with sweeping the gravel off the path and cutting the grass and
clearing the weeds and litter.

He noticed me watching, so I rushed past him and he turned
to look at me, giving me a clear picture of the markings on his cheek. I
imagined what he’d been through but the difference between us was my scars went
unseen. He smiled at me and then looked away and I got an overwhelming feeling
of excitement but I wasn’t sure why, so I scurried back up to my flat and
forgot about it. That was the last time I saw outside for a very long time.

The next thing I remembered was waking back up. I was tucked
in my bed but everything seemed out of place, almost as if someone else had
been in my room. I tried to get up to see what was going on but I was too weak
to lift any of my body. My usually comforting bed was now the last place I
wanted to be as fear washed over me because I didn’t know how or why I ended up
back in my room. My whole body was sweating as I tried to recall what had
happened, but my throbbing head ceased me from thinking about anything other
than the pain. Every time I moved I was crippled with agony, either from the
callous ropes digging into my frail wrists or the blackened bruises that seemed
to cover my whole body. I didn’t know what had happened but I was sure that it
was bad and as soon as these thoughts ran through my head there was an
unfamiliar clicking sound coming from outside my door.

The adrenaline sunk in then as I acknowledged the shiny new
additions that had been added to my door. Bolts and locks covered the frame and
I could hear them being frantically tampered with on the other side of my cage.
It was him, the man I had been watching from afar. Relief washed over me
because he could help me escape this situation and I would be safe. But he
didn’t seem concerned by the state of me, he walked in and sat on my bed, then
slowly slipped a piece of my hair back behind my ear.

I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t helping me but then I
also couldn’t understand why he was in my apartment, or how he got in for that
matter. He stayed in my room for what seemed like forever as he declared that
he had been watching me and was falling more in love with me every day we spent
together. But that’s not how you treat someone you love, you don’t keep them
prisoner or force them to spend time with you. I didn’t know what he was
talking about but from what he was saying I knew I had been there a lot longer
than I first thought.

I found comfort in the fact that he had feelings for me
because I could play on it and gain his trust, which is what I did, I just
couldn’t accept being a prisoner in my own home.

x

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