Captured – Chapter 19: Epilogue (final chapter)

Epilogue


Unlike a lot of things from my memories, the new ones I’ve built are amazing. They erase the level of sadness and depression I’ve been through. Lauren is the source of all my happiness. She’s the reason I wake up in the morning and jump in bed at night. She draws little circles on my tummy when we watch TV and kisses me softly when everyone is looking our way.

My book got published and sold a couple million copies worldwide. It got translated in seven languages. So one might say it was successful.

There are a lot of times when I still think about John and his demonic eyes. There are times when I wake up and smell the scent of the basement in our room. Sometimes I even lock myself up for a while, just like he used to do, to reconnect with myself. It’ll be a closet or a darkened room. And though it’s ironic, it helps me to forget. Because being all alone puts things in perspective. It makes me realize that after all the bad, the good triumphed. Actually, it took the bad, it kicked the living shit out of it, pushed it – face down – into the dirt and tossed it into the ocean so it could drown.

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Captured – Chapter 18: The Book

The book


When I open my eyes, it’s obviously way too early. Everything inside of me screams that I wasn’t supposed to be up already. My body’s still tired, but it’s not listening to itself. So I wake up and yawn long and hard. Tonight was way too short. Lauren kept me up for hours. First, we fooled around properly, then we talked until the sun came up again. She needed to tell me things, she said. Things that happened while we were apart. It were simple stories about going to the mall, getting a driver’s license or riding a horse, but they were special to her. I understood why. She let me in on her very admirable first-evers. The first time she ever dared to do things on her own, without anyone holding her hand. As sad as I felt about not being there with her, tonight I felt even more proud about the young woman that saved herself in this big world.

After smacking my lips to moisten them, I turn around to find an adorable Lauren glaring at me in wonder, like I’m the most adorable thing in the world. She looks beautiful in the morning, but finding someone staring at you while you’re sleeping is a bit disturbing.

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Captured – Chapter 17: Injuries

Injuries


Ellen and I decided to enjoy life a bit after our emotional evening. My mom and dad were at a point where they accepted that I wasn’t a baby anymore. They let go of me more and more. They realized that locking me up and keeping me under some strange kind of surveillance wouldn’t do any good. And, even though I didn’t exactly need their permission, they gave me their blessing when Ellen and I expressed our desire to go on a holiday.

We went to Mexico, where we stayed at a beautiful hotel surrounded by palm trees and beaches. We drank mojitos and fresh coconut juice at the pool. We went for massages and even spend a day swimming with dolphins. It was incredible. That country stunned me on so many occasions. It simply took my breath away.

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Captured – Chapter 16: Ding, dong, the witch is back

Ding, dong, the witch is back


A worked up woman is pacing up and down in front of me, while I’m sitting on a couch, smartly remaining quiet. The person in front of me is not happy. My publicist rarely ever is. She’s holding the last few rough drafts of my work in her right hand. She doesn’t like it. Hell, I don’t even like it. Something about it just isn’t right.

“This isn’t working, Mariana. I mean, look at your last three chapters. They lack finesse. They lack an emotional input. You’ve been rambling and rambling about the interior of the house for ten pages.”

I crunch my nose and shake my head doubtfully. It was a very unique house, though. Of all the things I hated there, the structure and bold posture of that Fortress was the least of it.

Ellen is standing in the room as well and objects in a supportive way: “It can’t be that bad.”

But Edna, my publisher holds the papers towards her: “Front and back!”

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Captured – Chapter 15: Drunk In Love

Drunk in love


We are checked into a fancy hotel by the time evening falls. She doesn’t feel like going to the one where her mother’s staying, even though it’s just a few minutes away. She needs to be near me tonight, she said. She needs to feel me close to her, just in case she’ll wake up in the middle of the night, thinking it was all a dream.

I should know better, but I let her. The entire ride back, on the Vespa, we didn’t say a word. She just held on tightly to my upper body, with her head on my shoulder. We didn’t even wear our helmets. By the time it got a little chilly and we got bored of staring into the distance, we ended up here.

“Here’s the key, Miss. Your room is at the second floor, on the right. Number 203. Elevator is down the hall.”

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Captured – Chapter 12: Moving On

Moving on


Lauren left and weeks passed. It was like she had never been there. My life started to unfold rather pleasingly – contrary to all expectations. Sure, I missed her with every minute that went by, but I kept myself busy by studying for my G.E.D. tests … I passed. Also, I started writing some pages about my experiences in the house – in order to keep my publicist happy. I had a book deal, as you remember, and my therapist said it might be therapeutic to pen my emotions and memories down. It wasn’t. It kept me up at night, reliving all what had happened in my mind. About what John did to me.

I like the writing part, though. If I had discovered anything during my captivity – apart from my experienced level of lesbianism – it was my love for books.

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Captured – Chapter 11: Panic

Panic


It’s seven P.M. when the doorbell rings some sound into the house. It can’t be my parents. They left for a dinner date an hour ago, and I saw my mother sticking the keys in the left side pocket of my dad’s coat. I’m very attentive like that. Something I’ve learned during my stay at the fortress. Nothing escapes my eye, an old survival trick I can’t shake off.

I told them I’d be okay for a few hours on my own. It wouldn’t be the first time, yet they act like it is, every time they leave me behind. The truth is I enjoy the silence once in a while. It drove me insane in the basement of the house I was being kept in by John, but here … I can smell my mother’s baking, my fresh clothes, my father’s liquor on the cabinet. It’s peaceful.

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Captured – Chapter 10 – Being Brave Again

Being brave again


A deep, extremely annoyed sigh leaves my worked up body and I feel like punching someone in the face. My skin barely carries clothes. Some panties and a bra. It’s chilly, it’s uncomfortable, it’s degrading.

If I saw myself like this, I’d shake my head in disapproval and start laughing out loud afterward. Mariana Diaz herself is hiding in a closet, in the dark. Oh, the irony! Lauren’s mom, Callie, came home from work early and my girlfriend made me hide in a freaking closet. There are voices coming from the other side of the door. It’s theirs.

I can catch up on the nervous trembling in Lauren’s voice. Luckily, her newly-found mother can’t. I guess all there’s left now, is to wait until the woman disappears again. Lauren was already decent again when the noise downstairs began. My clothes were still spread across the floor. They’re somewhere around here, in this dark place. She kicked them next to me after her hands pushed me in to hide. I feel so special right now.

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Captured – Chapter 9: Confrontations

Confrontations


“I like going to the supermarket.” Lauren joyfully announces.

Even though big crowds still seem to disturb her slightly, she enjoys the sight of the diversity of people. The more versatile they appear, the more she likes them. I take her out every now and then, since I’m the only person she fully trusts to show her these new things. It’s a safety thing – when occasional anxiety takes over, I’m the one to hold on to. Literally. Her family isn’t too happy about it, since they prefer to keep her close and safe inside the house, but every now and then, I convince them with my sincere intentions. It’s better for Lauren to discover the world right now. She must learn, before she gets asocial and estranged from a world she has no part in.

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Captured – Chapter 8: Bonding with strangers

Bonding with strangers


“What’s that?” my mom asks as she calmly leans against the doorway of the porch.

I’m sitting in the backyard, motionlessly staring at the trees in front of me. Strangely, it doesn’t remind me of John’s fortress. These trees feel warm and nice. John’s trees felt harsh and like a rope around my neck. They represented the cage I was locked up in. A large barrier I couldn’t break through.

I sneak a peek and throw her a cautious smile. I notice she’s staring at the hoodie I’m wearing.

“I got it from Lauren the other day.”

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