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 14: Road Trip

Road trip 


Surprisingly, Lauren’s back in town for some police business. The cops are ready to close the case and so they need final interviews to make sure every detail’s there. But they didn’t tell me that. They especially left out the part where they’d bring back my ex-girlfriend to finish their investigation.

First thing she did when she landed, was drive over to my place. It was two in the morning, but that didn’t seem inappropriate to her. Honestly, her waking me up in the middle of the night was the best thing that had happened in weeks. Her mom went directly to the hotel. I bet she put up a fight about her daughter coming to visit me, but, as the facts turn out, that didn’t stop Lauren from trying. And ending up here.

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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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Captured – Chapter 7: Hasty Blurs and Blue Uniforms

Hasty blurs and blue uniforms 


Everything after then seems like a memory that isn’t mine. We were taken out of the fortress within minutes. The police was worried that someone might come home to walk in on them, even though we told them that there was no chance. Only John knew where we lived. Only he came by the house. Lauren kept hiding in my arms and my warm embrace as the black, impressive SUVs with darkened windows took us further and further away from where we’ve been kept captured for months – Lauren even for years.

“So …”  the detective who introduced himself as Webb before, sighed relieved and proud.

I noticed he had tears in his eyes as he looked over to me and in order to kept it hidden, he held both hands in front of his mouth. I didn’t understand. The car was shaking, since we were driving so fast, sirens blasting through the air that all the rapidity and unfamiliarity shook me up completely. All I knew was that I held a scared, shaking Lauren in my tight embrace. Her fingers were clenched deep in my skin, but it didn’t hurt. All around us were cops, dressed as if they were ready to head to war.

“I finally found you.” the man emphasized while catching a relieved breath.

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Captured – Chapter 6: Winter’s Cold

Winter’s cold


We’ve been actively trying to avoid each other’s curious stares and almost attempts to speak with each other. We fail terribly. I like her. A little bit too much.

John’s been home a lot lately. Seems like it isn’t working out well at his job. Could it be his personality? More frustrated and annoyed than ever, he’s determined to treat us even more as house slaves. After the massive beating, he doesn’t even bother talking to me anymore. He just smiles victoriously every time I pass him, checking out the bruises and poking the parts where I hurt most. Shoes are no longer allowed for me. I need to walk around on bare feet. Yesterday, he dropped a beer bottle on purpose, right after he finished it. I had to clean it up, but the dust bin lay in the closet across the room and by the time I got there, my feet were bleeding and stinging like crazy. Lauren picked the splinters out of my flesh later that night. It didn’t hurt as much as I expected. Especially when she looked at me with her precious eyes and kissed me softly on the lips a second later.

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Captured – Chapter 5: Memories Are Poison

Memories are poison


A typical night used to be my mom yelling at my Abuela; their odd, hispanic way of discussing if one Mexican soap opera was better than the other one. My dad would come home late and sit down in his relax chair to watch the late night news. He’d ignore the Spanish babbling. I’d be bored out of my mind, texting on my phone or playing games on my laptop to keep myself busy.

I wish I was there, now. I wish my life was boring again.

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