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I felt the vibration of the car before I realized what it was.I saw the pitch black interior of the trunk before I realized where I was.And I felt her body, still warm but completely frozen, crumpled next to me before I remembered who she was.The smell of the ocean combined with the rank odor of death lying next to me, filling my nostrils and catalyzing the bile in my throat.A thick, dried and crusted layer of what I can only assume to be blood was smeared across my cheek and forehead.It crumbled away in flakes as I scratched my finger nails over it.
The car spun around a curve causing the body next to me to crash into the carpeted wall.I braced myself against the sides, holding a hand over my mouth to keep from vomiting.The sound of her lifeless corps being thrown from side to side was almost as sickening as the idea of being left for dead in the trunk of a car.
Suddenly, the transmission sputtered and I felt the car gain speed, my once vivid companion rolling uncontrollably towards me.Instinctively, I pushed and kicked her away from me, not remembering how kind she had been, just visualizing her decomposing limbs draped over mine.My feet and fists made contact with her and the car, her malleable form much more forgiving than the metal cage I was being held in.
Then, before I could brace myself, we were both thrown toward the front of the car, her body shaking next to mine as the doors were slammed shut.A dim, creeping light filled the trunk as it was opened.I watched as the light illuminated her blood soaked hair which was plastered to her pale face.The gaping wound in her skull made her almost unrecognizable.Her eyes and mouth were open in horrific panic, displaying the last emotion of her life.Her broken neck bone was grotesquely jutting against the skin like a needle attempting to push through fabric.Scrambling, I pushed away from her and closed my eyes as I hung my torso out of the car, vomiting onto the ground below me.I inhaled deeply, appreciating the crisp ocean air as it filled my nose and lungs.
With my head dizzy from confusion and nausea, I slowly raised my eyes and my vision came to rest on a solemn face.This man, tall with abrupt and harsh features, was standing over me much like a predator would threaten its prey.The car shook again as another door slammed and two more faces appeared behind the one who had been holding my gaze.
“What the fuck is this?You said they were both dead.”The face on the right was speaking, his expression as scared at it was confused.
“I thought they were,” the tall man’s lips moved slowly as if he didn’t believe what he was saying.
“What are we supposed to do now, Ray?”The man on the right had turned his attention away from me, making it difficult for me to determine what he was saying.His small frame was blocked almost completely by the man in the middle.
“Kill her.”His lips were still moving slowly but he was no longer uncertain about what he was saying.
I started to shake my head, as if I could convince them to spare my life.I looked back to the man on the right, perhaps he would disagree with Ray, but his eyes had returned to me without a trace of remorse for what he was about to do.The third man, the one on the left who had until this point nearly escaped my attention, moved quickly, grabbing me by the shoulders and throwing me from the car.My body ached as it was dragged across the bumper then over the rough ground.My clothes were ripping as I kicked my legs furiously, trying to find my footing so I could stand.As soon as I was on my feet, I felt a hard body press against my back, holding me up and pinning my arms in front of my chest with one strong hand around my wrists.His other hand was fingering the material of my shirt, flipping the ends of my hair, and pointing to my shoes.I couldn’t see the man who was holding me but his grip was firm yet not painful.His rough fingers would gently leave my skin or hair when he touched me.Ray and the other man were staring at us, their faces brightening as if I were being presented as a prize.
“The basement?It could work.”Ray nodded at the man behind me then his eyes forced mine into another stare.
“What’s your name?”
I didn’t open my mouth as a scene flashed through my mind.There we were, standing by the side of the road, our thumbs raised in an eager gesture, hoping to find our way back to a city of reasonable size.The beach had been pleasant during the day, but now the wind was picking up and the area between the road and cliff’s edge offered no protection.It was becoming dark outside so she stepped in front of me, turning to explain that her white shirt would be more visible than my dark blue one.The car came around the bend, completely out of control and the last thing I remember was her head cracking the windshield as I was thrown over the hood of the car.
Julie.Her name was Julie.
Ray was waving his hands in front of me as he approached.His step was confident and his eyes never moved from my face.
“What is your name?”He repeated his question.They hadn’t realized.
The wind was biting at my nose and chin and I couldn’t keep my hair from flying between us.But Ray didn’t seem to mind and moved within inches of my face as the arms that were binding me hugged me tighter.
“What. Is. Your. Name.”The words flew from Ray’s lips as his anger rose, his face reddening at my silence.
I jumped as I felt warm breath on my ear and turned my eyes away from Ray.The man holding me had his lips close to my face and he was saying something I couldn’t understand from this angle.He was staring away from me but even in the dreary glow of the night, his eyes shone like emeralds from behind his black lashes.
Harsh fingers grabbed my chin and turned my face away.“Answer me!”
I could feel the force of Ray’s demand on my face, the vibrations from his forceful yell resonating through my skin. His breath smelled of rum. I struggled to free one of my hands, stretching my fingers when one was finally released.
R-A-L-E-I-G-H.I spelled my name, knowing they wouldn’t understand.
“What the hell was that?”Ray was laughing now as he turned back to the smaller man who was still standing by the car.
“Sign language?”Ray’s attention suddenly returned to me.I took a deep breath and brought my free hand to the side of my face.My fingers went to my ear, tapping lightly, as I shook my head.
Ray stood up straight as he realized what I was communicating.
“Shit.She’s deaf,” he said to the man behind me.
I was spun around and came face to face with the green eyes of man who had been holding me so tightly.He stared at me, a curious expression on his face.His dark eyebrows furrowed beneath his black hair which hung to his eyes and swept across his forehead.His cheekbones were high and chiseled, his jaw square and strong as his muscles clenched.
“Can you read lips?”
I nodded slowly.
His eyes flickered to Ray behind me and his lips twitched into a sly and sordid smile.
“Can you speak?”
I didn’t answer at first, not sure if I wanted them to know the truth.Maybe it would be easier if they didn’t know everything I was capable of.So I shook my head, swallowed my answer in my throat, and lied.Silence hadn’t scared me this way since I was six years old.
My shoulders were still held tightly in his strong hands.I felt them close around the bones and muscles even more and if I had been blind instead of deaf, I would have thought it was an encouraging gesture.However, the look on this man’s face was telling me otherwise.This gesture was one of domination and it terrified me.
Suddenly and without warning, I was thrown over his shoulder, my body hanging carelessly down his back.I nearly vomited again from the pain in my chest but I managed to look under his arm as the smaller man pulled Julie from the car, her head and arms bouncing as she fell from the trunk.He pulled her by the feet to the cliff’s edge with Ray’s help and I could only imagine the fate of her body as she was rolled out of sight into violent waves below.
As I was thrown back into the trunk, I clung to the shirt of the man with the green eyes.The car shook as doors closed and the engine burst to life.He allowed me to struggle in vain, pulling myself from the dark emptiness of the back of the car by the thin fabric of his plaid flannel.The smile faded from his face and was replaced by a concerned glare as his hands pinned my shoulders to the carpeted floor I was now lying on.
“Stop.You’ll hurt yourself.”
My silent world went black as the door closed on top of me.My senseless screaming did nothing but cause my throat to burn.If a tree falls in the forest when no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?If I scream in the silence, will anyone be around to hear it?