A Short Story: The Basement

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***

The sound of water dripping from an old pipe could subtly be heard as Alena gained consciousness; where was she, how did she get there, and why was her head pounding like a jackhammer? She tried to remember, every thought felt like static in her brain. She was at a party with her friends, she was dancing…she couldn’t remember how she got in that room and why she was there.

She blinked her eyes, everything was blurry. She squinted as she tried to regain focus. One of her eyes was covered, her blindfold had partially fallen off. She could see a lamp hanging from the ceiling on a tattered chain; the bulb flickering every now and then. The ground she sat on was dirty, cold cement and it smelled horrible; there was a door to her right.

Was that the way out? She looked down and realized her feet were bound by rope, her hands behind her back and gag in her mouth. She could feel herself begin to panic inside; she tried to compose herself and figure a way to get out.

Taking a deep breath, she began to move her fingers in unnatural positions, twisting and turning her hands as the rough rope around her wrists burned her skin. She shuffled her feet against each other in an attempt to loosen the knots. Whoever tied her up knew what they were doing. Why was she there? She couldn’t remember anything before waking up in that cold, dark, dungeon.

She could hear footsteps above her; was that her kidnapper? The assailant that did this to her? She continued struggling with the ropes; she was becoming desperate; saliva dripped from her mouth as she tried to breathe through the gag. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest as beads of sweat dripped from her hair. The more she struggled, the hotter she felt; there was no window, no fresh air. 

Alena shook her head back, the blindfold falling off behind her. She opened her eyes and saw a dim light from a crack in the bottom of the door. The footsteps sounded as if someone was coming down a set of stairs. The closer they got to that door, the louder the footsteps sounded. What if the assailant noticed she was trying to escape? She didn’t even know why she was there in the first place.

She began to breathe heavily as the knob turned and the door creaked open. A large figure stood in the light of the door; the shadow made it difficult for Alena to make out any facial details.

“Oh! You’ve been a naughty girl…” whispered a raspy, deep male voice.

Alena was terrified, she did not recognize that voice. The man approached her, reached behind her and placed the dirty cloth blindfold back over her eyes. Alena tried to fight him off but she had no strength. The man placed a cloth over her nose and mouth, Alena went unconscious again.

***

“She’s in here; let’s move out!”

Alena began to once again regain consciousness; she could hear yelling as the door in front of her broke open with someone’s swift kick. Still blindfolded and gagged, she tried to yell but her voice was so coarse, volume muffled. She began to cry as she felt gentle hands touch her face. The blindfold was removed, the gag was taken down. A man in police uniform knelt down in front of her.

“We’ve been looking for you Alena, we’re taking you home!” He said as he stood her up. Another officer began untying her hands and feet. Alena felt relieved as she walked up the basement stairs of an unground hideaway, covering her brow with her hand to block the bright sunlight.

As she was escorted to the police car she glanced up; a man was sitting the back of another cruiser, hands bound behind his back. If her friends hadn’t called that night; Alena would not have been alive. Weak and weary, she sat in the back of the car staring at the face of her kidnapper as he stared down at his feet in shame.

She didn’t have to be afraid anymore. She was finally going home.

***

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