Mina glanced at the ocean waves that raced to shore. The darkness of the night surrounded the crescent moon and the reflection on the water. The memories of the past few months overwhelmed her as she adjusted the satin pillows that lined the window sill. She related to the sliver of light and a smile formed across her heart-shaped face as she lowered her head.
“There is always hope.”
The whisper fell from Mina’s swollen lips as she listened to the midnight bells from the church tower down the street. Clinging to that notion, she considered the last time that she had a reason to smile then quietly shifted off of the window’s ledge. A flash of her mother and father sitting on the couch echoed through her memory. The tug on her heart beckoned her to continue as she walked to the door of her holding cell.
She wrapped a hair tie around her jet-black hair and tried to remain calm. Taking caution as she kneeled on her bruised legs beside the lock on the door, she listened for the thunderous snores from her captor’s bedroom. Her thoughts clung to the idea that he remained ignorant.
After freeing the door from the lock, she removed the bobby pin and paper clip. Standing, her fingers gingerly turned the handle. The cherry colored wood opened with a creak and Mina slipped out into the hall. The adrenaline kicked in as she closed the door behind her securely re-locking it, before listening for the patterned snoring to continue. When she was sure that master hadn’t wakened she trained her focus on the escape.
As the muskiness of the damp basement filled her nostrils, Mina searched for the silver ring of keys and pushed nausea aside. Leading her hand against the wall, she quickly found them. The ribs on her right side ached, but she mustered the strength to climb one step, then the next.
She knew that her freedom was close but understood that she was running out of time. The man that had taken her would be checking her room by one o’clock. If she didn’t go by then, he would punish her far worse than before and make sure that she never escaped again. With renewed fervor, she completed the final steps. Mina took the silver ring and searched for the one with the skull that unlocked the basement. When she found the golden key, she opened the door and walked through.
Taking one last look at the basement where she had lived over the previous year, she smirked and shut the door. Mina turned down the hall where the master would make her dress for their dates, then began to search for appropriate clothing. She removed the torn sack that had been her garment and rummaged for a pair of underwear.
When she found them, she smiled then quickly put them on and continued to piece together an outfit. The clothes that the man gave her in the beginning no longer fit the same as she slid a t-shirt over her thin frame. Her frown replaced the smile as she acknowledged how lousy she looked. Finishing her outfit with a pair of jeans, she checked her surroundings once more. Mina listened for the rhythm of sleep that guided her.
The house remained quiet.
Mina froze. Her plan hadn’t included him waking up. Releasing an almost-defeated sigh, she considered her options.
“It’s now or never…”
Running to the window, she tried to pry it open, but it wouldn’t budge. She made her way back to the door and closed it then ran down the hall to the kitchen. She opened a drawer and pulled out the kitchen knife that he had cut her with many times before, then ran toward the front of the house.
As she maneuvered through the living room, footsteps filtered through the hall and she shuddered. Finally making it to the front door, she opened it. The fresh air abruptly confronted her, but she didn’t hesitate as she began to run.
The voice of her captor rang out through the night. She could hear his anger as he chased after her. Tears streamed down Mina’s face as she ran up the road. Silently reprimanding herself for not planning a second route, she evaluated her options. To avoid getting caught, she would have to change her path. Her thoughts began to overwhelm her as she continued toward the woods.
Panic set in as she cut through the trees running as fast as she could. The underbrush scratched at her feet, but she urged her body to keep going. Racing past branches and leaves, she fought her way through. When she reached a clearing, another jolt of panic set in. Mina ran toward the second set of trees across the opening.
“You can’t outrun me, whore.”
She turned and saw him standing between two bushes. Mina continued to run, but he was getting closer. Out of breath, she weaved in and out of the trees then leaned against a taller one and considered climbing it.
“I know you’re here. I can smell you.”
His voice hung in the air threatening to destroy her. Placing her left hand over her mouth, she closed her eyes. As a couple of branches behind her snapped she knew it wouldn’t take long. Pressing her body against the tree, she flattened her torso against the trunk. The urge to run had increased, but she knew that physically, it couldn’t be done.
“My… Have we gotten brave.”
His words attacked with venom as he placed a hand on her shoulder. She cut his arm with the knife and tried to run. His laughter rang out.
“Stupid bitch,” he yelled after her.
When he caught Mina the second time, he pinned her to the ground.
She watched him take the knife. “You’re fucking dead.”
As he plunged the knife into her heart, a crooked smile appeared then sadly, she whispered, “I’m ready.”