Farewell Apathy

By: Jenn Hype

Chapter One

Without opening my eyes, I already know I’m somewhere unfamiliar. Something wide that feels a lot like leather is currently wrapped tightly around my ankles and wrists. Why does every inch of my body ache? Even my hair hurts. My fingers twitch from the instinct every human is born with; the one that makes you want to rub your injuries in an attempt to soothe the pain. Only my hands remain strapped down, which makes that instinct turn into agony.

One eye blinks open at a time, my lashes crusted together and my corneas drier than the Sahara. If the room weren’t pitch black, I know my retinas would be running for their lives, because it takes zero time for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. I’ve been in the dark a while, it seems.

Just how long have I been strapped down like this? It feels like someone took a razor blade to my tongue and then stuffed my mouth full of cotton. I can’t even pool enough saliva to swallow, so it’s no surprise that when I try to call out, the only sound I make is a hoarse whisper.

Anger, fear and confusion team up with each other and throw a tantrum. I knew it was futile when I started kicking and yanking at my restraints, but just laying here helpless seems just as foolish. Of course it doesn’t take long for me to wear myself out, and in a matter of minutes my body goes back to being limp.

Dammit. All I’ve accomplished is to make myself feel even more weak and dehydrated. I can think of a hundred deaths that would be less painful than this.

The light scent of cologne wafts through my nostrils, and out of the corner of my eye I make out the shape of a shadow within the depths of the darkness swallowing the room. Whoever it is could be here to save me or finish me off. Whichever one it is, I hope they do it quickly. I’m about two seconds from freaking the hell out.

Without saying a word or giving me some kind of heads up, the lights flicker on. Jesus, did someone just turn on the freaking sun? My poor corneas are fighting to not turn to ash, begging my tear ducts for help. Even with my eyes clenched shut, I can’t get away from the blinding spots, yet again being reminded that my hands are strapped down.

Why are they strapped down, again? Oh yeah, that’s right, I still have no freaking clue.

The saying ‘splitting headache’ takes on a whole new meaning thanks to the axe that’s wedged into the back of my skull. At least, I think there’s an axe back there. It’s the only way to explain why my head feels like it’s being cracked into two halves like a coconut. Slowly, so very, very slowly, I finally start peeling one eye open at a time. He’s blurry, but I can tell he’s a man, and he’s standing right next to me. The only detail of his face I can make out is his mouth, which is formed into a placid smile.

Is he trying to be calm and reassuring, or is the jerk enjoying seeing me suffer? Either way, he looks creepy as hell.

He stands stock still while my eyes continue adjusting, and remains unmoving while I take in every detail I can about him. If I make it out of here alive, he’s either getting a gift basket for saving me, or a personal sketch of his face when I book my ass to the police station and report him for cruel and unusual craziness.

He is actually pretty good looking, with blonde-ish hair that’s a little too long on top, like he’s missed his most recent trim. A smattering of facial hair puts a dusting of blonde scruff along his jaw and chin, giving his otherwise youthful face a much manlier feel. His dark grey eyes are strangely piercing, and though his smile is close-lipped, I don’t doubt that behind those lips are perfectly white teeth.

He’s not said a word this whole time, and I’m still studying his face when he speaks, scaring the crap out of me. “How are you feeling, Brailey?” He tenderly brushes a lock of my hair out of my face and pushes it behind my ear. The gesture in itself is affectionate, his expression unreadable. If he knows me or has some sort of connection to me, I don’t remember him. And why the hell isn’t he getting me out of here? Don’t fix my hair, un-restrain me, asshat.

“Where am I?” I whisper, my voice barely audible. He lifts a cup to my face, tilting a straw towards my mouth. Could be the crazy Kool-Aid, but I’m too thirsty to give a damn. I’m pretty sure it’s water, but I suck it down so fast I wouldn’t have been able to taste it anyway.