Estimated read time: 15 minutes (based upon true events)
“Come on! Those guys want to talk to us,” Julie exclaims as she skips over to a black sedan that’s pulled up alongside the curb. I approach cautiously with a dubious expression on my face, stopping just behind the vehicle. Julie leans into the window, and after a few chuckles, heads my way again. “It’s OK, I know these guys. They’re some friends of mine,” she assures me. “They said they’ll give us a ride, so we don’t have to take that nasty city bus.” She grabs my hand and pulls me along to the car. “Get in,” she beams as she climbs onto the lap of a man in the front seat.
“Well, aren’t you going to at least introduce me first?” I ask curiously, then rub my nose as I notice the unmistakable stench of drugs seeping out through the window.
“Oh, yeah. Umm… What’s your names again?” she giggles as the man laughs and slaps her thigh in response. Just then the back door opens and I see two more men who nod at me from the shadows within.
“Uh, ahh… No thanks guys. Hey, Julie, I’m just going to take the bus, alright?” But as I turn to leave, I am suddenly grabbed from behind and a hand clamps down over my mouth so hard my lip is cut. I am thrust onto the floor of the vehicle, the soles of boots pushing down upon me with the weight of their owner from above. Then a sneaker is pressed into the back of my neck, forcing my face deep into the rough carpet. Its owner leans down, grabbing a handful of my hair and whispers hoarsely, “If you make a f**king sound, it’ll be the last one you ever make. You got me?” I can taste the blood from my lip as I struggle to breathe and try to nod in response. Suddenly, my kidneys feel the sharp pain of reinforcement from the other man, “Yeah! Don’t even think about it girl.”
I close my eyes tight, trying to make sense of what’s happening. To my surprise, I can hear Julie up front giggling once more and talking to these guys. What the hell? Is this some kind of sick joke? She is my seventeen year old foster-sister and I’m barely fourteen. This is the first time I’ve ever been allowed to come to the city, because she promised to watch after me. Surely she cares enough about me not to let me get hurt?
KIDNAPPED! I hear the tires screech and, as the engine accelerates, I can feel the vibrations through the floor board. I begin to panic, realizing I can’t let them take me like this, but no sooner did I begin to put up a fight than I felt the swift kick to my head. Everything went black. Everything was quiet.
Soft moans and mumbles trail from my lips as I feel myself trying to wake up from a horrible dream. My body hurts and my head is pounding. I hear music and voices. There’s that wretched smell and giggling again. Then it all comes back to me, and I realize this is no dream, but a very real nightmare.
“Well, hello sleeping beauty. Hey, you guys she’s awake!” an excited voice yells from close by. My eyes are still adjusting to the candle light as I try to focus on the figure behind the seemingly young voice. I can tell he is very tall and muscular. But he can’t be any older than me, a mere child himself, I think. I try to roll off my side, but discover my hands and feet are tied. Taking in my surroundings, I realize there isn’t much to see. I am in an empty room laying on the filthy, barely there, carpet which smells like urine. I can make out a broken window to the side of me and shiver as the chilled air breezes in. The walls seem to be crumbling all around us.
Three very muscular African-American men, enter the room, carrying all the terror of my nightmare with them. I am frozen in fear, eyes wide, and in shock.
Perhaps they have mistaken my complete silence as willing cooperation, because two of them begin to untie me. I can’t comprehend what they are carrying on about with their drinks, cigarettes and who knows what kind of drugs. My mind begins to race and all I can think is, I have to get out. I have to fight this, whatever “this” is, and I have to survive these men somehow.
The youngest one approaches first, trying to kiss me. I bite his lip, not realizing the fury of hell that would soon rain down upon me. “You b*tch!” he yells, and his hand connects sharply with my face. I hear the other men laughing as the boy actually turns to his father and pleads for help. “Be a man, son, and take that b*tch now! Teach her a lesson, boy!” With such encouragement and a newfound confidence, the boy lunges at me. But I am determined to fight, and so it begins.
It must have been a turn-on for these men, as my hate and fury had become the life of the party, and they were enjoying the entertainment. Until it seemed the boy’s energy was wearing thinner than mine. I would fight for my life and my innocence until I had no fight left in me. The fear of what might happen had given way to a certainty that hardened into rage and set my blood to boiling. It fueled a fiery furnace of my own that they’d have to quench before they could make me submit to their violence and lust.
And so they did – all of them – for the next 72 hours.
Finally, dear ole daddy decided to help his son. He and his friends held me down spread-eagle so the youngest could rape me first. One of the men produced a switch blade, and they taunted and teased as they cut and tore my clothing away. They were none too careful and sliced through to my skin in various places leaving a wet, sticky sensation where my blood trailed. My screams of anguish and pleads for mercy fell upon deaf ears and were of no comfort to anyone, including myself.
Someone tried to hold my head steady to kiss me again and I spit in his face. An extreme surge of pain shot through my body as his wounded ego goaded him to crudely grab a breast in each hand, squeezing and twisting without mercy. I stopped fighting at that. The tears gushed down my face while another man shoved something into my mouth to shut me up.
Why God? Where in the hell are you? I cursed him in my thoughts, eyes clamped shut, trying to block out all the horror surrounding me.
Another man was taking his turn with me as lust and anger filled his eyes and greed took all it wanted. Pure evil relentlessly pounded into my very being, ravaging my soul. I realized none of them were using a condom, and that’s when I began to pray for death instead of Gods rescue.
It has been hours and my body is once again my own as I lay limp and broken. I pull the gag out and realize with complete disgust it is my own panties. I suppose I should be grateful they are not anyone else’s. Someone drags me to my feet, and with head down, defeated, I shuffle out of the room. I realize we are in an abandoned house and all the windows and doors have been shattered. Some had boards randomly nailed across them in a weak attempt at security. I cringe at the roaches and other creepy crawlys that scuttle across my path, even as I envy their freedom.
I come to a hallway, where I find Julie, my wonderful foster-sister, naked and straddling the eldest man as he lies on the floor. She stops riding him long enough to look up at me, the corners of her mouth slowly rising into a smile. She was here the whole time? She must have heard everything! I thought, as I felt the sick weight in my stomach growing larger. Suddenly I want to vomit.
My escort pushes me further ahead to a bathroom with a broken toilet, no water and rusty pipes stemming up from the floor where the sink used to be. The man stands guard, instructing me to use it. “And clean yourself up some with that, would ya?” He nods to a half-empty water bottle and a pile of napkins tucked into a corner. “Jeez, you look like sh*t.” It was a ridiculous accusation, as if it was somehow my fault and I’d chosen this look to make a fashion statement. He keeps watch over me, standing tall and menacing in his nakedness, while stealing the occasional jealous glance at his friend with the obviously willing partner. A rat scurries across my path as I sit huddled on the toilet, broken and silent, sobs stream down my face. I can’t help but wonder how many of these men Julie was willingly having sex with while they all took turns raping me throughout the night. It seems to be one big love fest for everyone else.
My hands and feet are bound once again and I am left alone at last, back in my room. Where are you God? I question as I feel the anger building from deep inside. How could you let this happen to me? I accuse. Why aren’t you protecting me?
My thoughts slowly began to shift, as I recognize an opportunity to escape. Well, there’s obviously no need to wait around for Julie, I muse with contempt. Some foster-sister she turned out to be! I feel the multitude of bruises that threaten to completely engulf me as I inch my way toward the hole in the wall passing for a window. Dawn is on the horizon, and I hope to be found or heard with the coming of daylight. As I rise to my knees and peer out the opening, I realize I am on the second story. I can still jump, I think confidently.
I turn around, backing up to the window with hope that one of the sharp pieces of glass might allow me to free my hands. I rub them along a jagged piece protruding from the remainder of the frame.
“Ouch! SON OF A…!”” the pain is intense and I feel the immediate trail of warmth I had become accustomed to during the night, as blood trickled down my palm. I quickly look around and silence myself, not daring to even breathe. I have no idea where the others are, but I can still hear their voices, although faint and off in the distance now.
I keep working at it and finally my hands are free! I find yet another shard of glass that I use to free my ankles. I am still naked and try to piece together enough of my shredded garments to make a decent cover, but it is no use. At least I manage to tie a piece of cloth around my hand and wrist to stop the bleeding. I suppose modesty is no longer an issue anyway, I think with bitter amusement.
Without hesitation, I grab the window ledge, placing my weight on it in order to gauge my landing down below, but with a sudden crack I feel it give way and the rotting wall crumbles underneath me.
“Whoa, little lady. Where do you think you’re going?” he teases, chuckling.
Strong arms encircle my waist, pulling me further from freedom once again. With all the anger and hate that has been festering inside of me, I bawl up my fists above my head, and bring them down with all the strength I have. I break his grip and turn on him with pure venom.
“What the hell?” he yells in surprise.
I elbow his temple, and as he raises his hands in protection, I kick him in the kidney. Then I run for my life.
The first beams of sunlight begin to penetrate the slats covering the windows of the house. My thoughts are racing. Light. I have to head for the light and get out of here!
A THUMP from behind me, andI swing around, indistinctively raising my knee to connect with his groin. He doubles over and I flee through the kitchen. A door that leads to the deck is boarded up, so I round a corner into the hallway. A flight of stairs!
I begin my descent when I feel a strong blow in the center of my back. I pitch forward, head over heels, bouncing down stairs like a rubber ball, until I finally land motionless at the bottom. As I struggle to open my eyes, men are invading my sight one at a time. I hear nothing. They don’t speak.
Fueled by the fire and fear once more, I am not giving up! I hear a woman’s voice now, shrieking and echoing off the walls. It is mine.
I am silenced once again, restrained by all four men, and carried back to my room. They are shouting at each other, but I am not listening. They’re going to kill me, I think. I am going to die. Emptiness washes over me now as I curse God himself. Suddenly, I feel a stab in my arm and I slip into darkness.
This second day and night will prove to be a test I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. I awake, head throbbing, and feel separated from my body, the pain somehow distant. Something in the air is stinging my eyes, making them water, and my mouth feels like cotton. I can’t wet my lips, because I have been gagged once again. I lift my head and realize I’m standing, but not on my own. I try to move my limbs, to connect with something, anything. My neck seems too frail to hold up the weight of my head as I struggle against the thick fog swirling between my ears…
“Here you go angel.” I feel something poke my arm again. Everything quickly begins to slip away. No, wait! I plead. Wait! And my reality is lost once again as I fall back into the darkness.
It is so cold and I hear… music? No. Voices? Do I hear… chanting? No, just let me go back to sleep.
SPLASH! I am drenched with cold water and my eyes fly wide open as my sputtering cries fill the room. Clarity is trying to filter through the muddiness in my head. The tears stream down my face as I discover I am hanging from a beam, my arms above my head. Now I KNOW there is no God… Someone is licking the salt water, spreading it further into my cuts and I cringe. He’s insane, I think, all of them are absolutely insane. My entire body feels like one big wound. Drugs… they’ve been drugging me and I wish they’d give me more, anything to drown out this pain. My legs are weak and I waver between trying to hold myself up and collapsing to hang freely from the rafter above. Where is Julie and where did all this stuff come from? As if reading my mind, the oldest man approaches slowly, carrying a candle.
“You know, you weren’t very nice to one of my guys this morning,” he slithers closer. “Little girls who misbehave have to be punished, don’t they boys?” All of them are standing around me now and, as if on cue, they began chanting again. Panic rises inside me. I choke on my sobs, and it is nearly impossible to breathe. I am suffocated by despair.
The leader raises the candle above his head and yells something in a different language. Then yanking a handful of my hair, he forces my head back, and lets the molten wax drip down my naked center. It sears my tender flesh. Then the wax from another candle… and another… and another.
At last, it is quiet and my tears finally stop. I can not cry any more. Pain transcends itself after a while and, you just go numb. For the first time I notice a red circle that has been drawn around me. Inside it is a star and I am in the center of it. Candles are everywhere and it seems I am in a basement with musty, wet walls and a cement floor. I must be shivering, because I can hear my handcuffs rattling above me. This is some type of ritualistic séance or satanic cult.
Boy, I thought, I really pissed them off. I wish they’d just kill me and be done with it. I can’t take anymore of this! The hardened wax pulls and tugs against my skin when I move. It cracks, sending fresh blood to ooze from my gaping wounds. They slit the throat of a black cat, drinking the blood and it runs down their chins. They’re worse than wild beasts, I think. They smear blood all over me, like a mad artist painting his canvas. Dead crows lay on the points of the star which still encircles me.
I lose track of time. Nightfall comes once again and rolls into another day while I am whipped, tortured, sodomized and raped repeatedly by all four men. The threats to end my life never stop and I slip in and out of consciousness. And then a random thought. Is this what it was like for you, Jesus? Then, I think nothing else and I feel nothing more. Somehow, I just turn it all off and my world becomes silent and empty.
I feel the familiar vibrations under me and every little bump feels like I am crashing down onto a sharp boulder. Something is covering my eyes and I am laying on the floor of the sedan again. After some time the vehicle stops, and a hot whisper burns in my ear, “Remember my little slut, if you ever tell anyone about any of this, we will hunt you down and some poor, sweet little girl. We will make you watch as we feast off her sweet innocence and make you get drunk off her blood. Then I will kill you. Do you believe me?”
I manage a small nod, trembling at the thought. I did believe it to my very core. “Good. You just remember that, angel,” and he licks my ear. A door opens. “Don’t fight me,” he says flatly, as he gathers me in his arms and steps outside. He carries me a short distance and sets me on the ground. “Now, sit here and count to 100 before you take this blind fold off, understand? ” Again, I manage a small nod. Then he pecks me on the cheek like a parent kissing their child as they send them off to school, and I hear him walk away. I can hardly believe it as I hear a door close and the car drives away. Just like that.
Is this really over? I realize I have been holding my breath as I half expect to hear a BANG that will end this part of my nightmare, and my life forever. I do not count, but I stay there too paralyzed to move or feel anything yet, too scared to think or hope for a very, very long time. Then, slowly, I slide my blindfold down and simply sob.
A man’s voice, “Hey, are you alright miss?”
Startled, I throw myself backwards into the wall, shuddering from the touch of his hand on my shoulder.
“It’s ok! I’m sorry. I’m not going to hurt you,” he says nervously. He takes another step towards me and I scurry back once more. His stops and his eyes scan me, trying to absorb what he sees huddled, bloody and bruised before him. “Oh, my God. You’re not ok, are you, miss?” his voice sounds kind and concerned. “I’m calling for help,” he assures me, removing a cell phone from his back pocket. “You’re going to be ok, I promise.”
Through my swollen eyelids he appears to be talking on the phone, still watching me. Overwhelmed and beyond exhaustion, I sense him reaching for me again, as the world slowly goes black once more and his voice fades off into the distance. I am not afraid this time. Somehow, I know that I am finally safe.
I would later find out that Julie had returned to our foster home, claiming that I took off to go to some party with a car full of guys and she tried to stop me, but I wouldn’t listen. My foster parents never even looked for me or reported me missing. Understand that I had been a straight A student and never into any real trouble up to this point in my life. I had only recently been placed in foster-care, because the state revoked my mom and dads parental rights for many reasons.