Some people are born into this world kicking and screaming. They calm down and manage to find a way to fit into society. They have a mother and a father or perhaps only one of those two. Alexandria Abrelle was the name that had appeared on her birth certificate. Lexy had never known this girl. Lexy had come quietly and subserviently into the world, born to a mother, in a coma during her gestation. She was taken from her mother’s womb as she slipped away into her next life.
Lexy had been living in group homes and foster care as long as she could remember. There had only been a few that felt right, but either she’d outgrown them or perhaps …they just hadn't wanted her anymore. She’d never been given a reason. When it came time to leave the last home she’d been at for a few years, she decided to run away with a few of the older ones. They were all tired of allowing someone else to control their lives. They'd planned to hitchhike across the country. It had seemed like a brilliant idea at the time. Lexy was only eleven years old, and she had yet to learn that there was innate value in rules and authority.
She had been reborn in a place far worse than any version of hell, one could imagine. After many years lost in places void of humanity, Grey found her. He introduced her to a partially immortal family. She’d been saved in so many ways by the Ankh. They were the family that she had always been destined to find. They would teach her to embrace the dragon that resided within. She would learn that both the dark side of her spirit and light were equally important. Lexy would learn of necessary evil.
All that remained in her memory from that time were some short movie reels of neglect, abuse and indifference. Her memory retained little from her life before she got in the back of that truck. Having fought with her travel mates, she'd been foolish enough to take off on her own. It had been a mistake of soul altering proportions.
The year 1967.
She’d been astonished by the size of the moon that night. At only eleven years of age, Lexy was, of course, easily impressed. She was an adorable mass of freckles with wild crimson hair. She’d spent years wearing braids every single day to avoid lice and her first order of business once she’d been on her own for five seconds was to swear she’d never wear braids again. The fear of having bugs in her hair stayed with her for a few days. So, she’d still put her hair up in a ponytail. Lexy had been living in group homes and foster care as long as she could remember. There had only been a few that felt right, but either she’d outgrown them or perhaps …they just hadn't wanted her anymore. She’d never been given a reason. When it came time to leave the last home. She decided to run away with a few of the older ones. They were all tired of allowing someone else to control their lives. They'd planned to hitchhike across the country. It had seemed like a brilliant idea at the time. The group had changed once hunger became an issue. They’d all had those basic needs attended too and hadn’t known what it felt like to be truly hungry. Soon, they started stealing from people and beating up hitchhikers as a mob. She’d tried to talk sense into the self-proclaimed leader of the unwanted children. It hadn’t gone well. His name was Martin. He’d gone from being a makeshift big brother to a horribly abusive one. He’d been unhappy that she’d dared to question his rule and given her a black eye, without a second thought, knocking her out cold. When she’d come to, she was alone. The group had left her there, by the side of the highway. She sat in the dirt, watching the group walk away, knowing she should run to catch up with them. It wasn’t safe to be alone, but it also wasn’t safe now to be with them. She let them go. It was then that she decided to cut across a field and travel on the back roads. The plan was to find a nice small town. The dream was that she would find a family there. A family that wanted a little girl just like her. It had been a freeing moment to yank her hair loose of its restraints as she strolled through that field, through the orchard full of apple trees. She decided to eat her fill as she walked. She hadn't eaten anything solid in days. She was starving. Lexy managed to eat five or six apples before she caught sight of the quiet country road of her fantasies. Half a dozen apples hadn't done much to stop the grumbling complaints coming from her stomach. She contemplated staying put. It was a warm night. She could eat a few more, close her eyes and drift off to sleep in the field. It was tempting. She looked down at the grass strewn with rotting apples, knowing that wasn’t safe either. Creatures would be showing up to eat the branches cast-offs. This was a bear smorgasbord. She’d likely end up the main course to the apple appetizer if she fell asleep out here in the open. She spit on the barbwire fence to check to see if it had a current. Her spit hadn’t sizzled so she touched it with a finger. It was fine. She crawled through it, carefully. She felt the sting of the wire slicing her hand, where she’d parted the fence to shimmy through. Lexy glanced at the trail of blood and licked it off. It kept bleeding. She pressed two fingers against it and held them there until it stopped bleeding. Then she blew on it as she strolled down the side of the road. It started to seep a bit and she wiped it on the corner of her shirt. Her thoughts on a solution to her bleeding hand predicament halted, as she heard the sound of a vehicle spitting up gravel in the distance. She’d better keep walking. There had to be a town close by. The car was driving somewhere. It drove right past her and disappeared into the backdrop of the night sky. She’d caught a glimpse of the woman driving, and felt a little sad. She hadn’t bothered to pull over and ask her if she needed help. Her eyes began to tear up and she blinked them away. She did need help, but she didn’t cry. She’d stopped crying a long time ago. Once she’d realized, her tears were pointless. After the third or fourth home didn’t want her anymore, she stopped crying. Her feelings had never mattered to anyone. She wandered down that unpaved back road for a while longer before making the decision to seriously start looking for somewhere to sleep. Utterly exhausted, she searched for some form of reasonably secure, temporary shelter. There appeared to be nothing, but apple orchard in every direction. If there was a town up ahead, there would be sparse traffic at this late an hour. She was blindingly exhausted, when an old pastel blue truck pulled over for her. The man had a couple of large dogs in the cab with him. She decided that only a nice man would allow his dogs up front instead of making them sit in the back. He politely explained the reason why there was nowhere for her to sit up front. That should have been a hint. She’d been too tired to make an attempt at rational thought. She had already convinced herself of his love for his dogs. He offered her a ride in the back of the truck and told her he could only take her as far as the nearest town. That was exactly where she wanted to go. She felt the temperature drop, rather suddenly. She embraced herself; crossing her arms, she briskly rubbed the goose bumps on her exposed skin. She felt uneasy. Her stomach knotted, as the stranger jumped out of the truck. He opened the tailgate, sat down, and asked her if she would like some hot chocolate? He passed her a thermos. Once again, she felt a sense of foreboding, and chose to ignore it. He looked harmless. He appeared to be nothing but a meek, frail looking elderly man. She convinced herself to ignore the impulse to run. Lexy took a sip of the hot chocolate. The heated liquid slid down her throat with the pleasurable sensation of much needed warmth after the sudden chill. She glanced at him, and he didn’t appear to want any. She took another big gulp before attempting to pass the thermos back.
He said, “That’s okay dear. You can have it all.”
She gulped down the entire thermos, without giving it much thought. It calmed the complaints from her steadily grumbling stomach. She felt relaxed and ready for a nap. The man offered her a blanket from the front seat, giving the explanation that it would probably be chilly riding in the back of the truck. The blanket smelled of mold, but she accepted the simple act of kindness from the stranger. Her eyes began to feel heavy. It became impossible to keep them open. She lay down, wrapping her body in the gamey scented blanket. She drifted off to the slamming sound of the driver’s side door.
Lexy began to stir… she couldn’t move? Her wrists and ankles were bound. She couldn’t see anything. She was inside some kind of strange scented sack. She could see the outline of dark shapes through the material. It was a familiar scent, but she couldn’t place it. She shouldn’t have left the group. What had she gotten herself into?
She heard a voice say, “It’s not awake.”
Another voice responded, “Put it in the barn.”
Lexy squeezed her eyes shut. It, they were referring to her as, it. This was not a good sign; even the homes where she’d been neglected had called her by name. She’d never been referred to as, it. She felt groggy, unusually so. Had she been drugged? She was so stupid. Why had she thought a stranger would be kind to her? She played dead as a clanking noise was followed by the sensation of someone yanking her from wherever she was and dropping her with a thud onto the ground. It painfully knocked the wind out of her. Her chest burned. She knew she had to stay silent, her lips had begun to tremble and she blinked away her tears. She had the sensation of being dragged. Lexy heard the musical sound of wind chimes, combined with muffled voices. Lexy tried to make out what they were saying, but felt the sensation of being abruptly yanked from the position she’d been in. She was dragged again, with complete lack of care across uneven ground. She willed herself to remain silent each time her head and neck jolted violently. The dust from the ground filled the bag and it took everything within her to keep her breathing shallow. A voice whispered, Be quiet. Be still. Say nothing. Do nothing.
A man’s voice hollered, “Put it in stall 11.”
Why were they calling her it? Her heart palpitated with fear as she made an attempt to keep herself calm. The voice in her mind whispered again, don’t let them know you’re awake. It sounded like someone was unlocking a door. This was followed by a creaking sound. She heard the muffled sounds of animals. The neighing of horses blended seamlessly with the clucking of hens. They started towing her again. Lexy was doing her best to remain limp. Suddenly, the ground changed beneath her. She was relieved. It felt softer, and somehow a little prickly. They stopped dragging her, and the sensation of stillness was followed by the distinct sound of a door being slammed. They’d left her somewhere. What were they going to do to her? Why hadn’t she stayed with the others? The voice in her head continued to be her guide, assuring her that if she managed to remain calm, she would survive. She wasn’t sure who or what this voice was, but she was grateful for the sound of it. On a few occasions when she was certain she was alone, she attempted to struggle free of the ties that bound her, realizing quickly that there was no point. There was no escape. Each time she lost it a little, a voice in her head began to whisper calming words of assurance. They left her tied up and sensory deprived for days, with no food or water. She could barely manage to work up the saliva to swallow. She knew she was dying of thirst, but her inner voice told her to remain silent. It whispered, if they wanted you to eat, they would have fed you. If they’d wanted you to drink, they would have brought you water. They’re testing you. Lexy spent her time listening instead of seeing. She should have been listening before she drank from that thermos. Now that she had nothing but the time to listen. She also had nothing but the time to recall the events that led up to the predicament she had found herself in. Why had she taken hot chocolate from a stranger? She knew better. She’d felt it. There had been a chill in the air, and an ache in the pit of her stomach. She hadn’t listened, but she’d seen it coming. She had the time to dwell on it while sensory deprived. She was willing to do anything to survive. If only someone would acknowledge her existence. She’d do anything for a glass of water or one of those apples that she’d been eating right before she made what she suspected would end up being the biggest mistake of her life. She would do anything for fresh air. She was aware that she was going to die without water. Why kidnap a girl and leave her in a burlap sack to die? It didn’t make sense. Perhaps this was a test of obedience. Some form of instinct was instructing her from within. She had no choice but to repeatedly soil herself. The scent of her filth was not only overpowering, but humiliating. She wished she had something to hold onto. The memory of a mother’s embrace or words of adoration. All she had was this instinct to keep quiet, remain still, and wait. Her stomach had ceased to complain. It stopped speaking aloud and started cramping. Her head felt like it was about to explode. She was in excruciating pain. She knew she was close to dying. Nobody would mourn her passing because nobody had ever cared about her. Eventually even her soul altering headaches ceased to be a problem. Everything became quiet within her. She listened to the chorus of animal sounds, until she slipped into a dreamless slumber. Somebody kicked the bag. She lay limp inside of it, opening her eyes.
A voice said, “Girl… you dead?” They roughly booted her again. She groaned in response to the agony in the small of her back.
The material in front of her face was clutched and a knife was plunged into the bag, narrowly missing her eye and grazing her cheekbone. This was it. They were going to stab her right through the bag. She held her breath. The light filtered in through the hole that was being sliced. She took her first breath of fresh air in days. The euphoric sensation of fresh air in her lungs, was short lived. A man with the darkest eyes she’d ever seen and a long jagged scar, running the length of his cheek scowled at her through the slice in the bag. He began to gag from her scent.
He glared at her with contempt and hissed, “You’re disgusting.” He tore the rest of the bag away and then used the knife to cut the ties that bound her.
He hissed, “If you attempt to run. I’ll gut you like a deer and enjoy it.” He spit on the ground beside her and then walked out leaving the door wide open. Lexy didn’t move. He looked like someone that could gut her like a deer, without giving it a second thought. The man reappeared and placed a metal bucket on the ground. Then he left, locking the wooden door behind him. Lexy took in her surroundings for the first time.
A snide voice spoke from the other side of the door, “You have half an hour to eat the contents of that bucket. That’s when I take it away.” Lexy crawled towards the bucket. She was too dizzy to attempt to stand. She probably couldn’t have made a run for it even if she hadn’t been terrified. She looked inside of the tarnished metal bucket. It was the most disgusting concoction she’d ever laid eyes on. She needed a drink first. Her throat was on fire. There was a long wooden troth full of water with flies and other miscellaneous bugs floating on the surface. She was too thirsty to think about that. Lexy cupped her hands and made an attempt to strain the insects and get a clean looking handful of water. She drank the first handful and started to choke, spitting it all over the stall. A sense of desperation took over. She had to get the water down. She had to eat. She placed her whole face into the troth and gulped as quickly as she could. She threw it up, and without missing a beat tried again. This time it stayed down. Then she made her way back to the bucket and attempted to lift it. It was too heavy for her to move in her weakened state. Lexy put her hands into the bucket, a small eye ball of an animal popped through her fingertips. She started to cry and removed her hands. She was starving. She had to do this. Slowly, she sank them back in, searching for something edible. She found some sopping wet chunks of bread and closed her eyes, gagging as she ate them. She found an apple core and ate it in its entirety. The door opened, startling her and the man with the scar took the bucket away without speaking to her. Her stomach grumbled as she looked around the stall for something else to eat. She ended up drinking more putrid water from the troth. She tried to keep it down, but it spurted from between her lips. Lexy buried her vomit under the hay. A few hours passed by with no more visitors to the small stall she was being held in. Lexy was startled as someone chucked an apple into the stall and slammed the door. She scurried over and grabbed it. Then she moved back into the far corner against the wall. It felt safer there. She could see the door. She ate the entire thing and began to feel a little bit better.
The door opened again, and the same silent man placed a steaming hot bowl of water in front of her. An elderly woman shoved past him and ordered her to take off her clothes. Why wasn’t the man leaving? He leered at her, standing in the doorway.
The woman said, “Either I clean you, or he does. If your soiled clothes aren’t off in one second, I’m leaving the job to him.”
Lexy’s eyes blurred with tears as she took her shirt off and attempted to remove her soiled pants. They were stuck to her for she’d been relieving herself in them for days. She had only underwear on, because she was still flat chested. The humiliation she felt was all encompassing as she lowered her stained underwear to the stall floor. Lexy stood there, covering her body with her hands.
The elderly lady told the man to leave and closed the stall door behind him. She slipped on some gloves and plunged a rag into the steaming water. She hissed, “Get over here. I don’t have all day.”
Lexy obediently took a step closer and the lady cleaned her thoroughly. The water was painfully hot, but Lexy said nothing. She was grateful to be granted this small dignity. Another sour looking lady appeared with another bucket of water and began to wash her hair, without speaking a word to her. This lady threw a towel in front of her. Lexy grabbed it and dried herself off. Once she was dry, the lady tossed a dress at her. It was quite obviously a dress for a child. It was meant to be worn by someone much younger than she was. She obediently slipped it over her head, noticing a stain that appeared to be blood around the lacy white collar. She shivered as her mind absorbed the gravity of the messed up situation she’d found herself in. This was probably a child’s blood, judging by the size of the garment. She kept her mouth closed and allowed the depravity of it all to sink in.
Before the elderly lady left she said, “Do what you’re told. I’ll bring you a delicious meal and fresh water at dinner. If you disobey, they will kill you. There are no second chances in this place.”
Lexy wiped the tears from her eyes with one of her small hands and shuddered. They would kill her; she didn’t doubt that for a second. Whatever she was told to do, she would do. She wanted to survive. They left her alone for a little while. Lexy touched the stain on the white lacy dress. She wasn’t the first girl they’d done this too. How long had she lasted? Had she died inside that burlap sack? Had she never taken the first breath of air? What was her name? Where had they found her? Had she been picked up by the side of the road, just as she had? Had she been drugged with hot chocolate? Had they grabbed her from her parent’s front yard? Why was this happening to her? Hadn’t she suffered enough in her 11 years of life? She had the promise of food; of proper nourishment but only if she did what she was told. What would that be? Who were these people and why had they taken her? She leaned her head back against the wooden wall, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She took a moment to realize that she been given the gift of fresh air. This was something that she’d never known was a gift. She’d always taken it for granted. She decided then and there that life was a gift. She decided that she would do whatever she had to do to keep her life. She ran the lacy material between her fingers. She would do whatever she had to do to keep her blood from staining this dress. Lexy noticed something carved into the wall. She crawled over and sat in front of the peeling wood. It was a picture, obviously drawn by small child, perhaps the little girl that had worn this dress before her. Lexy ran her finger over top of the child’s drawing. She breathed a sigh of relief, knowing the child had at least made it out of the burlap sack. Why was this happening to her? She decided to crawl around the room and search for more pictures. What she found was more disturbing. Lexy found initials and names of well over a dozen children. They must have all been held captive in this stall. She felt the urge to go to the bathroom and decided to ask.
Lexy knocked on the back of the stall door and said, “Excuse me, I need to go pee.” The stall door opened and it was the same man with the scar on his face. He was carrying a white ice cream bucket. He placed it on the floor in front of her and said, “Is it number one or number two?”
Lexy politely replied, “Number one.”
He handed her a few squares of toilet paper and said, “Holler when you’re finished.” He closed the door behind himself and she heard it lock with a click. Lexy squatted above the bucket and made a valiant attempt to go. She felt like she was being watched still and it was difficult to concentrate. It was difficult to squat when she’d been tied up for so long. Her legs didn’t appear to be working properly. Eventually she managed to go. She used the couple squares of toilet paper and placed them in the bucket. Then she stood up on wobbly legs and made her way to the door.
She knocked on the back of it, and said, “I’m done.” The door opened and he took the bucket away, returning in a moment with the emptied bucket.
He said, “This is for next time.” He passed her half a roll of toilet paper and said, “Make this last.”
Lexi replied, “Thank you,” but he was already gone. She sat back down in the corner of the stall and felt a moment of peace knowing she was going to be granted a few small dignities. She surveyed the room for small holes in the wall. It still felt like she was being watched, observed. It was a strange feeling. She knew somebody was there even though it made no logical sense. She couldn’t hear anything outside the stall, but the rustling and chattering of the barns inhabitants. Lexy was remarkably calm. She dozed off and was awakened by the latch on the other side of the stall as it began to rattle, announcing someone’s entrance. The man with the scarred face strolled in. He abruptly grabbed her by the arm and hauled her to her feet.
He announced, “It’s time to see what you’re worth.” As he towed her by one arm out of the stall, through the barn and out into the daylight. She’d been in the dark while in the burlap sack and then the dim light of the barn stall. The sensory deprivation she’d been submitted to made her feel overwhelmed by the sunlight. She squinted as he dragged her towards an old rickety looking farm house. She felt that strange feeling in the pit of her stomach. The sense that something horrific was about to happen. Her heart began to race as he harshly towed her up the stairs of the inconspicuous looking rustic farmhouse. Her skin began to crawl as they entered a crowded kitchen area. The men all had dark eyes just like the man with the scar that had been tending to her basic needs. He abruptly released her arm and she had to fight the urge to run. He shoved her into the crowded room. She wanted to disappear inside of herself as they touched her hair and made her open her mouth so they could see her teeth. She felt like livestock. A disgusting smelling, sweaty, hairy man yanked her scarlet hair and she started to tear up. She searched the crowd until her eyes met with the elderly ladies. The lady who attended to her earlier was visibly upset. This wasn’t a good sign. The elderly lady made eye contact, nodded then turned, and walked away. As she brushed inconspicuously past her she placed a crushed up flower in the palm of Lexy’s hand and whispered, “Eat this.” She walked away left her standing there, clutching the crushed up flower. That was when Lexy noticed the man who had been driving the truck.
He rose to stand and began to speak, “Write your bids down and place them face down on the table.”
They kept touching her, yanking on her hair and shoving her. While they laughed and ridiculed her until it crossed her mind once again to make a run for the door. She heard a voice in her mind whisper, don’t run, eat the flower. She was wise enough to know that escape would be impossible at this moment. There were too many of them and the odds were not in her favor. Lexy placed her hand in front of her mouth as though she were about to cough and swallowed the flower.
The men began to cheer. One of them marched towards her and said, “You’re mine.”
Her vision began to waver. She felt unsteady on her feet as she hesitantly followed the man to a room in the back. She kept looking behind her expecting somebody to intervene. This wasn’t really happening. When she should’ve been most terrified, she felt a sense of complete and total relaxation take over. She wasn’t afraid anymore. Her vision began to waver again. He shoved her and she fell, landing somewhere soft and everything went black.
She awoke in a bed of hay in her stall. She had the sense that something horrible had happened. She couldn’t recall what it had been, but it hurt everywhere. Looking at her arms she saw the bruises on her wrists. Had she been tied up again? She noted she had the similar wounds on her ankles. She couldn’t remember what happened to her but everything hurt. She felt uncomfortable. She glanced down and blood was trickling down her legs. Was she having her period? One of the older girls she’d been travelling with had told her all about it. She crawled towards the half a roll of toilet paper that she’d hidden in the corner and she used it to clean herself up. She sensed it was more than that but couldn’t allow it to cross her mind. If she didn’t think about it, then it didn’t happen. She needed water to complete the job. She turned around and noticed that a bucket of fresh water had been placed by the door of her stall and beside was a mug with a handle. She was quite relieved to drink from a cup, such a silly thing to matter. She dipped the mug into the water and drank from it, noticing once again how bruised her wrists were. It looked like rope burns. She wondered if she’d had them since she’d been hogtied and just been too out of it to notice it earlier. Her eye was sore and her vision was a bit blurry on one side. She tried to get a look at her reflection in the silver bucket. One of her eyes was almost swollen shut. What had happened to her? A voice inside her mind whispered, you don’t want to know. She heard the latch on the door jingle, announcing the arrival of someone else. Lexy scurried to the far side of the stall and in walked the elderly lady that had given her the crushed up flower. She was carrying a plate of mashed potatoes, vegetables, and roast beef, slathered in gravy. Lexy began to salivate at the sight of it. She knew this lady had helped her. She’d taken pity on her and given her something to make her forget.
The lady bent down and whispered, “I keep my promises.” She passed her the plate and said, “Always keep one of those flowers on you. Hide it somewhere. I’ve left some under the hay in the left hand corner of the room. Once they’re gone, you’re on your own. That’s all there is and I won’t be around much longer.”
Lexy whispered, “Where are you going?”
The elderly lady whispered, “Don’t you worry about that, just enjoy the meal.” She abruptly turned around and left the stall, swinging the door shut behind her. Lexi stared at the plate. Was it drugged? It seemed too good to be true and in her past experience she needed to be cautious of anything that felt too good to be true. She dipped her finger in the mashed potatoes and gravy, licking it off of her finger. It was incredibly delicious. It didn’t taste drugged, but then neither had the hot chocolate. They hadn’t given her any cutlery, and she suspected they weren’t going to. She used her finger to scoop it up and sampled a little more. She had little to be afraid of now, instinct told her the worst had already happened. She took two fingers like a spoon and started to eat the meal, picking up the vegetables with her fingers. Her body had needed the vegetables most of all. Her stomach practically began to sing. The stall door creaked and the lady reappeared with a clean dress and a wash basin. Why did she need to wash? She glanced down at the bloodstained dress and decided that she wasn’t going to look. She didn’t want to know, not for sure.
The lady said, “If you’re in a lot of pain, you can take a tiny piece of one of those flowers and eat it. It might help. You will need to pick and choose what you’d most like to forget. If I were you, I’d save the flowers for something worse. I promise you, there will be something worse. This time when you wash up, don’t dump out the water. From now on make sure you always, save everything they give you until you know they are bringing you more.” Lexy nodded as she ravenously scooped the entire meal into her mouth with two fingers.
It was half gone when the lady looked at her and said, “If you eat that meal too fast, you’ll lose it. You’ll throw the whole thing up. Your stomach is probably still too sensitive to eat quickly. I’d save a little for later if I were you.” The elderly lady almost smiled at her before she left the stall knowing Lexy was going to completely ignore her. She’d been right; Lexy had completely ignored her of course. She’d scarfed the entire plate down in record time. She leaned back against the rough slivered, wooden wall and placed both hands over her bulging stomach. She knew she had to clean herself up just in case somebody came and took away the bucket of hot water. She needed to sit here in peace for one second. She didn’t want to move. She didn’t want to try to remember what happened or feel anything except the sensation of having a full stomach. A small silly victory that didn’t matter at all. She noted that the lady had almost been nice to her. She had the sense that she would never see this lady again. Lexy glanced down the blood pooling on the straw in front of her. She was bleeding a lot. She took the washcloth and cleaned the blood off her legs. Her heart tightened in her chest and she felt an overwhelming sense of shame. When she took off her dress to change into the clean one, she saw what had been done to her. Her stomach was black and blue. There were what looked like bite marks on the top of her arms and on her thighs. In that moment she felt her heart begin to solidify. She felt it turn to stone, knowing if she ceased to care about her physical self. Nothing could hurt her. She was going to survive and she was going to do whatever she had to do. She recalled what the elderly lady said about where she’d hidden the remaining flowers. They would be her salvation for a little while. Lexy found the flowers underneath the hay, just where the lady had said they’d be. There was also a loaf of bread hidden there along with a jar of what looked like peaches. Her instincts had been correct. The elderly lady never returned to her stall. Lexy continued to eat a flower each time they brought her to the farmhouse. By the time she began to recall the details of the abuse. She’d become used to it. It had become a part of her daily routine. She glanced at the doors as they led her to the farm house each day. Sometimes she heard crying coming from behind one of them. Lexy didn’t cry. She knew better. She showed them no emotion at all. It was usually only a matter of days from the sobbing to the late night shrieking, followed by gunshots and raucous laughter. The unnamed man had given her an explanation. He told her, they didn’t know how to behave. Lexy knew her place. She did what she was told. She was always quiet, and always obedient. When her meal arrived she was grateful. It was always a bucket of putrid sludge. Sometimes a moldy loaf of bread was tossed into her stall. She tried to hold on to the memory of that roast beef. She thought about it as she ate the grotesque compost like sustenance. She tried to pretend that was what she was consuming. The abuse she endured took many forms. She would go to a place within her. A place where she was safe and nobody could hurt her. She was beginning to lose track of time. She’d counted screams and gunshots for a little while, scraping a line into the wood as a memorial for each unnamed girl that hadn’t been strong enough to withstand the abuse. Sometimes she wondered if they were really stronger than she was. Perhaps she had this all wrong. Maybe staying silent was a weakness not strength. Once she’d experienced the truly horrific Lexy was certain, that it was only a matter of time before they would come into her stall late at night and put her down like the wounded animal that she’d become. She was a voiceless damaged being that allowed her body to be defiled on a daily basis because she was afraid. The gunshots and shrieking had become more frequent and she understood. It wouldn’t matter how well she behaved. It wouldn’t matter what she allowed them to do to her. Eventually she would die. This was the reason she made her first attempt to escape. Lexy was being walked towards the farm house. She struggled free from her captors' grasp. She could remember the feeling of her bare feet as she sprinted across the overgrown pasture. She ran against the wind, with her dress whipping at her thighs and her hair rippling behind her. Cut, bleeding and bruised, she'd fled with all of the fight that remained within her battered body. She darted and wove through the trees, trying to avoid the shots that whizzed past her. They hunted her down as though she were wild game. Lexy dodged between trees, attempting to use them as a shield. Then she found a tree large enough to conceal her for long enough to take a deep breath. She started to run again. She had no idea where she was running to, or how she would find someone to help her, when it seemed like everyone for miles around was in on the dark acts that were happening on this farm. She panted as she ran on aching legs. Eventually, the pellets began to hit their mark. They riddled her with pellets until her skin burned as though someone had lit a match and set her ablaze. A few welts became a dozen and then hundreds. She kept running with everything she had, as fast as she could. Lexy bolted blindly, wildly through the brush as they riddled her flesh with pellets. They’d been chasing her for hours. They were toying with her. There was too many of them. She’d never had a chance. Exhausted, she could no longer find the strength to carry on. She dropped and curled into a fetal position on the ground in an effort to show them that she’d surrendered. Someone started kicking her over and over again, insulting her. One of them continued to shoot her at close range until her mind would not allow her to undergo one more second of senseless torture. Shock set in, her breathing slowed. She stopped wincing with each shot. Lexy drifted off inside of herself to the place she often went, during her daily visit to the farmhouse. It was on this occasion that Lexy received the ultimate punishment for her attempted escape. She could remember the sensation of being dragged for a time with her head flopping around, scraping on the ground. She was then lifted and tossed into the well. Her ankle snapped during her descent into darkness. The moment she surfaced in the water, the light that flickered from above revealed the sick version of hell she'd been tossed into. She had been abandoned there, among floating rotten corpses, decomposing in rancid well water. There was a moment of panic, followed by horror. She now understood what happened to the bodies. It filled her with a morbid sense of resolve. This was her fate. She would decompose in this rancid gelatin with the others. The strong, the weak, it had never mattered who they were. In the end they were all here rotting in the bile. She was left in that place of putrid violation until she was nearly dead from exposure and infection. She was starving, mindless from her solitude with the dead. She wasn't sure how long it had taken her survival instincts to kick in. It forced her to drink from the slimy bloated corpse water, during her grotesque fight for survival. The last breathe of what made her an individual shut off. They eventually realized she was still alive and came to remove her from the well after almost a week submerged in her own rancid personal hell. She’d said nothing of her ankle as they yarded her out of the well with a rope. She’d braced herself for the excruciating pain of that first step, but she felt no pain. She’d been afraid to look at it. She’d held her breath on her walk back to the barn. Her bone had been exposed, only a week ago. She casually glanced down and noticed that her ankle was healed. There was no sign of the protruding bone. They walked her back to her old stall in the barn, without touching her. Her skin was pruned, and waterlogged. Her features were disturbingly distorted. One of the men commented on how disgusting she was before he left. She didn’t care. She was something, and grateful to be out of the well even though she’d taken the smell of the decomposing corpses along with her. The man with the scars on his face brought her a bucket of hot water and told her to strip. She took off every stitch of clothing without question, right in front of him. Nothing mattered now. He was so disgusted by her bloated state that he turned away from her. If she stayed like this, it would only be a matter of time before they put her down and tossed her back into the well with all of the other repulsive things. The scarred man brought her three buckets and told her it would save time. Within a few days, she was almost back to normal. She felt emotionally vacant and somehow… peaceful. They came for her on the third day and brought her back to the farm house. She was able to withstand each depravity by forcing each stomach churning act out of her mind. It felt like she was slipping further and further into a dark abyss from which there would be no return.
When they led her to the house each day, she stared at each door. She pretended she didn’t hear the muffled cries of the other inhabitants of the dark farm. She felt removed from the guilt. Lexy felt removed from everything now. Only a few nights later. She lay on her bed of straw, trying to tune out the commotion. Lexy opened her eyes, to the pitch of a female voice shrieking. This was followed by a shower of gunshots. She curled up into the fetal position and went back to sleep without a problem. She was one with the straw floor. Nothing was happening. It didn’t matter anymore. Weeks went by and they’d stopped coming for her every day. She was unceremoniously tossed dried bread and given a bucket of water daily. Other than that she’d been left alone for a while. She played with wood bugs and spiders to pass the time. One large spider in the corner of the room offered her quite a bit of entertainment. She would help it, by tossing other insects into its web. She’d dispassionately watch them be wrapped in silk and eaten, until the nameless man noticed her watching it and took off his shoe and squished it. One day her stall was just left open. She stood up and wandered out into the barn. The man with the scar casually wandered over and handed her a shovel. The first thing that came to her mind was that they were going to make her dig her own grave. She hesitantly took it from his hand.
The man smiled and said, “You might as well make yourself useful. The others have gone hunting. Clean the stalls and feed the animals. Do not attempt to leave this barn. Do not go outside.” She spent the majority of her day inside the stall, being allowed out to work whenever her door was left open. Nobody had to tell her what to do, she knew. As soon as her chores were done she went back into her stall obediently and closed the door behind her. One day she ventured to the doorway, it felt like nobody was around. This door was also unlocked. She didn’t touch the door. She didn’t want to tempt fate. Where would she run? She had nowhere to go. She strolled back to her stall and noticed an axe. Knowing it would be ridiculous to bring an axe to a gun fight she ran her finger across the blade. It was so sharp that a line of blood began to seep from her fingertip. She placed it in her mouth and then looked at it, and it appeared to be healed. Her mind was playing tricks on her. She rubbed her fingertips together. She would die here eventually, she knew this. She’d accepted this as her fate. She wouldn’t be worth much to anyone. She had nothing left inside of herself to give. She’d disappeared a long time ago. She knelt before the blade of the axe and it crossed her mind to take her demise into her own hands. A voice whispered, Go back to your stall. This is not the end of your story. Lexy rose to her feet, moderately concerned that her grasp on reality was slipping. She looked around the barn, and there was nobody there. She was losing her marbles. She went back to her stall, and closed the door behind her.
After another week had passed by, the group came back from their hunting trip. She understood what they’d meant by hunting. They had gone hunting for people. Lexy had been sitting in her stall when she heard the commotion of their arrival.
She heard a girls voice say, “No, no. Please don’t. I’m Okay.” and it was followed by a few deafening gun shots. Lexy didn’t even flinch anymore.
Her door opened and they tossed a burlap sack into her stall with her, and said, “You get some company.” The bag was whimpering. Lexy poked the bag with her finger.
The bag spoke in a crackly baby like voice, “I’ll be good. I’ll be good… I promise.”
What did they want her to do? Did they want her to open the bag? Lexy opened the bag and inside of it was a child, much younger than she’d been when she had arrived. They hadn’t bothered to tie the little girl up. She was afraid; she had every right to be.
The little girl whispered, “I want my Mommy.” The child flung herself into Lexy’s arms. Lexy wasn’t sure what to do. The child was sobbing, and clinging to her for dear life. She was uncomfortable. What was she supposed to do?
Lexy gave the child’s head a few firm pats and said, “Do you have a name?”
The little girl gave her a strange look and whispered, “Charlotte.” Lexy began to relax. She held Charlotte in her arms. While she stroked her hair as she sobbed for her mommy and daddy. Lexy’s heart had been a functioning organ used to pump blood up until this point. She wasn’t sure what to say or do to console a child. Once you were here, there wasn’t anything to do. You did as you were told or you died. The girl that was executed ten minutes ago was evidence of that. She wanted to tell the child that everything was going to be okay, but it wasn’t going to be. Her heart tightened. They were going to do horrible things to this little girl, and there was nothing she could to stop that from happening. The embrace had gone on too long and Lexy was feeling increasingly uncomfortable.
She gave her a few awkward pats on the head and said, “You have to be quiet. You heard them shoot the girl that was with you.”
The child began to cry harder. She whimpered, “They killed her?”
Lexy had no idea what she was supposed to be doing or saying. She said, “She’s dead. They shot her. Did you know her?”
Charlotte whispered, “She was my babysitter.”
Lexy had never had one of those. She questioned, “What’s a Babysitter?”
Charlotte said, “She watches me when my Mom and Dad go out at night.”
Lexy replied, “She’s not a very good one if you ended up here.”
Charlotte nodded in agreement. She said, “What is this place?”
Lexy didn’t bother sugar coating a thing and she said, “You’re in Hell.” She dug under the straw and found it. They’d thrown a comb into her cubicle a while back. She began to comb the child's hair. She seemed to be soothed by this act. The door handle jingled its ominous warning. She had to warn her. This child was too young to survive the beating and week long submersion in the well. So, she did what an elderly woman had done for her. She told her what she would have to do to survive.
Lexy whispered, “Don't ever fight back. Don't try to run. Do what you are told, and they will bring you back.” She had no will of her own left at this point. Lexy was an empty shell void of the part of her soul that gifted her compassion and empathy. Or so she’d thought. She heard the cries of pain coming from a six-year-old child. She covered her ears with her hands and curled up in the fetal position. There was nothing she could do. Eventually, they brought the haunted version of Charlotte back to the stables. Lexy scurried away and sat on the opposite end of the small enclosure with her knees against her chest. She kept her eyes squeezed shut. She couldn't look at Charlotte. Words felt useless. When she finally ventured to open her eyes, the little girl was sitting on the opposite side of the stall with her knees against her chest, staring at her. She didn’t appear to be bleeding. Lexy had never felt more grateful. They stared each other down for a few minutes without speaking. Something horrible had obviously happened to her. They’d spared her from the worst on this first day of confinement.
Lexy whispered, “I’m sorry that happened to you.” She opened her eyes and met Charlotte’s penetrating stare. “If you try to get away, it’s worse.”
The door creaked open and the man with the scar summoned Lexy. She stood up obediently and went with him. She heard Charlotte start to sob as they took her away. Lexy followed the nameless dark eyed demon of a man up the rickety stairs on the front porch of the house that had become her own personal hell. She stepped through the threshold and into the kitchen where dozens of depraved eyes waited for her.
Her original captor said, “You are sixteen years old. Normally, I’d sell you off at this age or dispose of you, but the men like you. This is the only reason you live past today. I suggest you keep that in mind while you’re tending to their needs. ”
Lexy nodded in silence. Her mind still trying to process the amount of years she’d been held there. She’d been barely eleven when she’d arrived in that burlap sack. She’d been in hell for five years.
As the months went by, Charlotte began to tear down her walls, and touch what was left of Lexy's heart. The child had an unbeatable spirit. Her inner light was so strong that it could not be extinguished by the likes of this place. She continued to smile in the face of the unthinkable. She carried on each day, always finding reasons to laugh. Lexy would brush Charlotte's hair, each night. She’d listen attentively to the stories of her family and the house with a bright yellow door. It felt like she’d known Charlotte’s brothers. After Charlotte was finished telling her stories, Lexy could almost feel the sensation of riding Charlotte's bike downhill with the wind blowing through her hair. Charlotte had been snatched out of heaven and delivered into the bowels of hell. Yet she continued to smile. It was awe inspiring. She was a miracle with her tales of purple bikes with baskets and streamers. She had parents who loved her because she was an angel. Lexy began to emulate her life, imagining that it had been her own. She told her stories of an old boat shell her father had made into a sandbox for her and her brothers to play in. When the family went camping, she had an orange sleeping bag and a green tent. The stories all contained little things, absolutely beautiful moments of an ideal existence. There had been laughter and love in the household Charlotte had grown up in. She had a golden retriever named Freckles, some goldfish and she always fought with one of her brothers. The brother named Max. He told her she was a pain in the butt and her real father was the mailman. Lexy hit the point where she spent all day waiting for a child to return from the house to tell her stories of what childhood was supposed to be like. She’d grown far too attached to the child. She had told her little blessing to accept what could not be changed. There wasn't anything they could do about it. This was the absolute truth in Lexy’s mind. She wasn’t sure how long it had been until Charlotte had tried to fight back for the first time. She had warned her repeatedly against fighting back, but it was human nature. Charlotte was returned to the stall one evening, severely battered and bruised. The child’s small face, so swollen that it was unrecognizable. Blood trickled from the corner of her mouth. Lexy had been told that she had a week to fix her. In one week Charlotte would be put down and Lexy would be joining her at the bottom of the well. He left her there to tend to the mortally wounded child. She stroked her hair and touched her disfigured face. Lexy’s heart was attached to only one thing; it had begun to beat for reasons other than blood flow. Lexy had always had a fantasy of one day finding a way to free them both from captivity. In the fantasy, her parents were so grateful that they decided to love her too. They took her into their home. The house with the yellow door and puppy named Freckles. This version of freedom, had only been a dream. She bathed the child and cared for her for a few days, feeling something close to what she imagined love felt like. Charlotte’s fever began on the third day. It was a severe burning heat that she could feel without even touching her skin. Beads of sweat formed on her forehead as her body made a final attempt to fight a losing battle. She overheard someone mention calling a doctor in a conversation outside of the stall. She knew that they were not talking about a doctor for Charlotte. Lexy had never seen a doctor. A foreign word to her for she had never been cared for cherished or loved even enough to warrant hearing the word spoken aloud in her company. They obviously could never call a doctor for an abducted child, held captive as a slave, and whipping post, locked in their barn. She spent the rest of the day stroking Charlotte’s hair, trying to sooth her. She was so weak. Lexy was afraid to even think the words. She knew what was happening to her friend. Charlotte was dying. She splashed the water that had been given to her for drinking water on the child's forehead and tried to pour some into her mouth. Charlotte was too weak to swallow. Her throat ached for her own thirst to be quenched, but they had only given her enough water to sustain one person. She could suffer. She didn't want Charlotte to suffer any more than she had to. Her owner had stuck his head into the stall that evening and saw the state that Charlotte was in. He stated aloud that she would need to be put down. Lexy knew what that meant for she had seen them put a horse down. A horse with a broken leg; which was why she had never uttered a single word about the pain coming from her leg, after they had freed her from the well.
She hadn’t cried in the last few years of her captivity on that dark farm. That night, she cried for Charlotte. She cried for the yellow door the child would never open. She cried knowing the last thing Charlotte would see was the view from the bottom of that well. The last thing she’d feel is her body floating amidst the putrid scent of decomposing corpses. She knew they were going to kill her too, but she didn’t care. Perhaps, it was time. Time for them both to be set free. Lexy stroked Charlotte’s hair and laid her head on Charlotte’s chest. She listened to her labored breathing which had steadily begun to slow down to randomly timed shudders.
Lexy began to pray for the first time in her life, “Die before he comes back. Please, die before he comes back. Be at peace. No one will ever be able to hurt you ever again. I’ll be with you soon.” She monitored Charlottes breathing as it labored and continued to slow. “Please Charlotte… Please. You have to go. I’ll be right behind you.” The tears streaming down her face, obscured her vision. She blinked them away as she stroked the child’s perspiration dampened hair. Her heart began pleading with everything she had left inside of her. Please...Let Charlotte slip away peacefully while in the midst of a beautiful dream. Don’t let this happen to her. They can kill me. Take her, please save her.
Lexy stroked her hair and whispered, “You have to let go, Charlotte. Please, just sleep. I’m going to be right behind you.” It would be better for her to die now. It would be better to be shot quickly like that wounded horse. Better than to take one more second of the abuse that her tiny body had been forced to endure. Charlotte's chest shuddered, one last breath. The child exhaled one long deep breath into the sound of footsteps approaching. Lexy glanced up at the doorway as it opened and three men stood there. Two of the men had shotguns in hand. Lexy knew what was happening. These men had probably paid for the opportunity to kill Charlotte. This was wickedness viler than any that she'd ever known. It didn't matter. Her Charlotte was gone. She was safe in the arms of the angels, and nobody could ever hurt her again.
Her keeper noticed that Charlotte was dead and said, “Sorry men, but it looks like we are going to change the game. It can’t run away. It’s already dead.” He picked up his rifle and shot Charlotte point blank in the face. Just to be certain. He had defiled Lexy’s vision of salvation. Lexy wasn’t sure what happened. It came from a hidden restrained place deep inside of her, as Charlotte’s brains splattered, covering her face and clothing with matter. She stepped outside of herself and began to scream. The men looked thrilled as Lexy came to life. She shrieked again, and again, with everything she had left inside of her. Her adrenaline raced. She could feel her blood coursing through her veins. She screamed again with her hands covering her eyes as if she could shriek until it could be unseen. She screamed long and hard, allowing all of the rage, every single second of despair, to rise up, and fuel her being.
“I have a new deal for you boys. You paid for an experience, and I’m going to give you one. You have a ten count to run before we kill you girl, and these are not pellets. One, two…” he began to count aloud.
It took Lexy to the count of four to realize that they were seriously going to shoot her. She bolted out of the stall. Her brain didn’t want to operate. It didn’t want to even function in her grief. She could smell Charlotte’s blood. She could taste it on her lips. Her gag reflex began to kick in, but she fought it. She burst out the main doors of the barn. Outside stood half a dozen men, waiting with rifles aimed at her. They were pumped up for the hunt. There would be no sport as the first one jumped the gun, and shot her. Lexy stood there stunned. She looked down at the red pattern on her sparse worn clothing as it expanded on her stomach. She reeled backwards, and the chorus of men began to laugh. They started to shoot her over and over again, but she didn’t feel anything after that second bullet. She stood firmly in place, and lifted her arms towards the heavens as though she were an angel attempting to take flight. Lexy closed her eyes amidst the multitude of voices. Her passing had come as salvation, and at last she was free.
She awoke to find herself in the grass outside a simple house with a yellow door. In the yard Freckles frolicked. The door opened. Charlotte, a healthy vibrant six-year-old leapt into her open arms. It was a beautiful reunion as they held each other and laughed. Lexy felt joy, unlike anything she'd ever felt in the brutality of her short painful existence. Charlotte asked her to come inside and stay for a while. They embraced again and Lexy followed her friend into the house that she had only heard stories of. Her heart almost exploded with joy as they both walked through the yellow door. At the kitchen table sat a woman dressed in white. The woman was so beautiful; purity flowed from her pores. Lexy was sure she was an angel.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” She said.
Lexy sat down at the table beside her. The breathtaking lady reached over and touched Lexy’s arm. Warmth that Lexy had never encountered travelled throughout her body until happiness and calm filled her entire being. Lexy Abrelle was finally at peace.
The Retribution of the Dragon
Lexy opened her eyes, gasping. She inhaled a mouthful of the water from the well and began to choke. What in the hell? It took Lexy a moment to realize what this meant. She was alive...
She stifled a scream as Charlotte’s body bobbed up to the surface beside her. Half of Charlotte’s face, concealed by the putrid bile, and decomposing flesh water. Her one visible eye, wide open and glazed over. She was gone. It hurt. There was too much pain. Her heart hurt. She wanted to claw through her own chest cavity and remove her own heart to stop the anguish. She felt her heart grow heavier, and heavier until the agony of the child’s loss ceased to matter, and she felt nothing at all.
She felt her body for injuries. Her memory, full of scattered, violent visions of graphic violence. They told her to run…She’d been shot…so many times. They must have thrown her body in the well. Her recollection of the events that led up to their submersion triggered a seething rage within her soul. They had to die. They all had to die… There was something inside of her, she could feel it taking control. Her body vibrated with the sensation of all-encompassing power. It gave her the strength to climb the rock sides of the well, using only her fingertips. She was climbing out of hell towards the promise of the flickering light. She clutched the top of the well, staring at her rigid fingertips, recognizing that this was a pivotal moment. The vision of her ridged hands as they curved around the cold stone mouth of damnation. She pulled her body over the ledge, effortlessly. She’d crawled out of the womb of the devil and barely broken a sweat. This her rebirth into the land of the living. She stood there surveying the quiet, isolated surroundings. The sounds of the livestock in the distance seemed to be egging her on. They are in the farmhouse. This will never stop. You have to put an end to this evil place. Lexy grabbed an axe from beside the woodpile. She had no fear. She was what people should be afraid of. She walked towards the barn. She opened the locked door to the stall where she’d been held captive for five long years. A new girl sat huddled in the corner, sucking her thumb. This one was even younger than her Charlotte had been. Lexy stood there with axe in hand. The child scurried away from her. She was terrified.
Lexy’s face softened a touch. “They will never hurt you again, I promise," Lexy stated.
The child with brown pigtails stood up and made and attempt to come a little bit closer and she froze. She lisped, “You smell bad.”
“I can only imagine. Go hide. I’ll be back for you.” Lexy whispered sternly.
The tiny girl smiled. She was missing both of her front teeth. Lexy motioned with her hand for her to hide. She left the child cowering in the far corner of the stall.
The farmhouse was a horrific place. The residence of her nightmares. She stood outside on the grass before the rickety stairs. Retribution would be hers. She scaled each step, axe in hand. Without losing the sensation of control. She turned the knob on the front door. She could hear muffled voices coming from the kitchen and her fury began to climax. The axe began to swing on its own, limbs flew through the air around her. She was both judge and executioner to the damned. Their essence and innards painted the walls a sick shade of burgundy. Her mind went blank, blacking out the details, after her blind rage of vengeance. She took the keys to the truck from a hook in the kitchen and maneuvered around the pieces of her captors. Covered in their blood, with jingling keys in her hand, she strolled back towards the barn. She’d made a promise to a stranger. A child that now symbolized the one she’d been unable to save. She knew what she must have looked like when she entered the stall, but the little girl took her hand without question. She imagined for a second that it was Charlotte that she led out of the barn, towards the truck parked in front of the house. She’d just rid the world of evil by doing evil. She felt no guilt, no shame for how dark she’d become while wielding that axe. Lexy opened the door and motioned for the child to get into the vehicle. She didn’t speak to her, in her mind she was still pretending the child was Charlotte. Lexy walked around and slipped into the driver’s seat. She knew where the key went, that part was obvious. It took her a moment, staring at the steering wheel and stepping on the pedals a few times. Once it began to roll forward, she figured out how to drive rather quickly. She drove for hours with the child in silence. Lexy glanced at her and for a split second, it was Charlotte. Then the mirage of what should have been clicked back to reality. She’d fallen asleep, she looked peaceful. Lexy hadn’t looked in the mirror, until now… She glanced at her reflection, knowing that she couldn’t be seen in public like this. She pulled over on the side of the road, and began searching for something to wipe the blood off of her face. She would need water. She hopped out of the truck, rag in hand, and shimmied down the small hill into the ditch by the side of the highway. There was a small amount of water in the bottom of the ditch. She dunked the cloth and wiped the blood from her face and arms. She cupped her hand and took a drink, parched from her murder spree. Then she climbed back up to the truck and sat down in the driver’s seat. Lexy glanced into the mirror. She’d done alright with only a cloth. Her clothes were still covered in blood though. She stared at the sleeping child for a second, before turning the key in the ignition. The engine began to hum and chug. That doesn’t sound good. Lexy chose to ignore it and kept driving, in search of a larger town. They passed a sign that had the symbol for a police station. She turned off the highway towards the town. It didn’t take her long to find it, but she obviously couldn’t go inside. She’d delivered the child to safety.
She woke the child with missing front teeth and said, “You’ll be safe now. She pointed to the lighted building. “Go inside. Just tell them what your name is, and where you’re from. They’ll find your Mom and Dad.”
The little girl gave her a giant toothless grin and said, “Don’t you want to go home too?”
Lexy felt her stone heart twitch. She replied, “Someday, maybe I will.” She nodded at the child and the little girl grinned once more before running towards the lighted building. She had to leave. Lexy turned the key… nothing. The truck was dead. Shit, she had to get out of here. Lexy grabbed the bloodied cloth and brought it with her. She sprinted away from the truck down a long dimly lit alleyway, darting between buildings and into the wooded area on the edge of town. She continued to run through the forest, until she was sure she wasn’t being followed. She would have to stay out of sight until she found some clean clothes. Something to wear that didn’t make her look like she’d been on a murder spree. The first order of business was finding a place to rest her eyes for a while. She made sure she was well off the beaten path before taking cover between the branches, in the center of a thick prickle bush. Knowing, even though they would be able to smell the scent of her blood, almost anything wild would have second thoughts at slicing themselves up to get to her. Her eyes had grown so heavy she could barely keep them open. She curled up into the fetal position, watching the cuts on her hands heal as she drifted off to sleep.
She awoke with a start. Unsure of where she was for a minute or two. She’d escaped from the farm. She had saved a child. She was free. It was a new day…night? It was still dark outside, even though it felt like she’d been asleep for a long time. Was it the next night? Her stomach began to complain. That was the first order of business. She needed to eat. She began to pick blackberries from the bush that she’d been sleeping in. They were still pretty green but she didn’t care. It was better than nothing. She walked back towards town through the woods, with only instinct to guide her. Seeing the lights through the trees in no time. She entered the town under the cover of darkness, staying in the shadows. Lexy had the overwhelming urge to check on the child. She walked past a display of newspapers in a case, and looked at the date. She’d been held in captivity like an animal, for five years. It had been five years since she’d seen a newspaper, or walked down a street. She had nobody, and nothing except for the knowledge that she had brought that little girl back to her parents unharmed. What if she hadn’t? These thoughts had been flickering in her mind ever since she had dropped her off at the Police station. She had to know for sure that she was safe before she could bring herself to leave town. Lexy found a dress in a donation bin outside of the local church and cat food on a few porches. It was protein and it eased her rumbling stomach. Lexy dug through trash, and searched through the headlines of the local paper each night for a week. No story had been written. There was no headline that read, Missing girl found. So, every single night, she made her way through the shadows. Lexy peeked through windows, and searched every house in that small rural town, under cover of darkness. That uneasy feeling continued to haunt her every waking thought. At the end of every night, Lexy found herself standing outside the Police station. She’d stand across the street, and stare at the door. The rose brick building seemed less ominous as the sun began to peak over the mountains. Once she had been absolutely sure that she’d searched each and every home in the area, she had an idea to go to the local cemetery and check for freshly dug graves. Sane people did not endeavor to visit graveyards at night. She knew nobody was about to accuse her of being sane. Lexy walked past headstone after monument. She read each and every stone. Marcella was five years old. Laurel was seven years old. There appeared to be a theme. She counted thirty graves for children that had died in the last ten years. That was impossible in a place this size, wasn’t it? Maybe there had been a school bus accident of some kind? You couldn’t kill this many children without somebody from the government noticing? She wandered down the row of children until she came across a freshly covered unmarked grave. What was her plan now? She hadn’t thought that far ahead. She would have to dig it up in order to know. She wondered if she had enough time before daylight. She stood there before the mound of dirt. Maybe, it was better that she didn’t know? Maybe, she should just walk away. She could leave right now, and never know for sure. She could pretend that the child was at home. Imagine that she was safely tucked under the covers in her bed. She needed a shovel. Lexy scanned the cemetery in the visually impairing darkness and saw a small shed in the far corner of the grounds. She ran towards the shed. It was locked. What was left of the hollow shell that had once been her heart needed to know that the child she’d saved was not buried in that unmarked grave. Her adrenaline rushed. She tore the door right off the hinges. She grabbed a shovel and darted back across the graveyard and began to dig. Lexy tossed the dirt off to the side and kept going in frenzy. By the time, she hit a hard surface with the shovel, the sun was beginning to rise. The light began to trickle its way across the gravestones towards her as she leapt into the hole, landing with catlike agility on the top of the box. She hesitated before opening the lid. This was probably going to be some old dead body. The child she had saved was not going to be in here. The sky began to light up with morning. She took a deep breath in the moist morning air. Her breath was visible as she opened the top part of the coffin. Inside on a bed of silk was the child she had saved. Her hands clawed above her face and nails were missing. Her tiny fingertips were crusted with blood. Her mouth contorted with slightly open lips that revealed her missing front teeth. The white material on the interior of the coffin had been shredded. It was streaked with dried blood. She’d been buried alive. She noticed something in the casket. It was a walkie talkie. She grabbed it, and pressed the button. The batteries were dead. Somebody had obviously been communicating with the terrified child as she suffocated.
She placed it in her pocket and whispered, “I’m sorry. I thought they’d take you home to your family. I should have stayed with you.” Lexy decided at that moment that she would never again make a promise that she could not keep. She had delivered this child from one version of hell straight into another. She had needed to protect her. She had not succeeded in that endeavor, but she would get her vengeance for her. Lexy tried to lower the child’s arms and close her eyes, but she was stiff. She was a statue symbolizing the terror she’d endured during her final moments. Lexy closed the casket lid, and began to rebury the grave as quickly as possible. She was sweating and covered in dirt, but she did not cry. She wasn’t sure she was capable of it. She had cried the last of her tears for Charlotte. This was the first time she’d permitted herself to be out in daylight. She sat down in the grass in front of the nameless child’s unmarked grave. She needed a name on the stone. Lexy wished she’d known her name. The sun was shining on her grave. Lexy would not leave this place until she’d named the child, marked her grave, and given her soul vengeance. She grabbed the walkie talkie, rose to her feet and said, “I’m sorry, I won’t let them get away with this. I know a promise from me isn’t worth much. So, I swear on my soul. That is all I have left.” Lexy walked away from the unmarked grave. She needed sleep, and a few batteries. Then she would find a change of clothes. There was no rush. She had nothing else in her agenda, but vengeance. Tomorrow night she would use the radio to call the twisted son of a bitch that buried alive, her one chance at redemption. She walked back to the barn she’d been staying in. A dog stalked her back through the woods, obviously a stray. It was missing patches of fur. The Sheppard mix was as hungry as she was. There was an unspoken look of understanding that passed between them. She came across a blackberry bush and began to pick the fruit. She popped them into her mouth and tossed some into the Sheppard’s mouth. Dogs eat berries? She ate a few mushrooms, and then tossed a few into her companion’s mouth. They walked together until they came across an apple tree. She grabbed a few and ate them. What she needed was protein. She saw a back yard through the bushes with an almost empty clothes line. There was a towel on it. No cars parked in the driveway. She had an idea. She raced across the yard, and peered in the basement window. She checked a few more windows. The house appeared to be completely empty. Lexy having had a looser childhood knew how to pop the window out. She popped the downstairs window out and gently deposited it on the grass. She crawled through the basement, and lowered herself down, as noiselessly as she could. The unfinished basement had a washer and dryer, and numerous crates of random crap. She opened up the dryer, pulling out a pair of jeans. She tried to put them on, but they were far too snug. There was nothing else in the dryer. She would have to sneak upstairs and check out the closets and drawers. It was early in the morning. What if they were still asleep? She slowly scaled the stairs, gently twisting the door knob at the top of the stairs. It creaked, and she winced. She had a feeling every step she took was going to create a sound in this old house. She entered the cramped hallway at the top of the stairs. The hallway groaned in protest to her presence. She gingerly pushed open the door to one of the bedrooms. The bedding was tossed around and there was blood spatters on the sheets. A stain from a pool of blood was on the other side of the bed. She had a hunch that whoever had lived in this house was not going to be returning anytime soon. She left the room, there was one more place to check before she could be certain she was alone. She carefully opened the next door and it was only a small bathroom. Staring at the closed shower curtains she knew what she had to do. She moved them aside seeing no shadows. The bottom of the tub was caked with blood. The blood was old and dried. It had been there for a while. She relaxed and went back to the bedroom and opened the closet. The closet was full of clothes. She chose a pair of jeans that looked just a little bit larger than the ones that she had tried on downstairs. She took the blouse and jacket. She threw the clothes in a pile on the floor. Lexy turned on the water in the shower. She rinsed out the tub and took off her soiled clothing and stepped under the active spray. It had been many, many, years since she’d had a shower. She’d bathed using only a small tub of water for years on the dark farm. Lexy squirted shampoo into the palm of her hand. She raised her cupped palms to her nose, inhaling the scent, before she began to scrub her ratty uncombed mass of hair. Lexy closed her eyes, feeling the steady rhythm of the spray against her skin. Lexy soaped herself down and rinsed, until the water circling the drain was crystal clear. She stepped out of the bathtub and searched under the sink for toiletries. There was a pack of unwrapped toothbrushes and toothpaste. It was a heavenly feeling to do the simple acts of routine. She tried to run a comb through her hair, it was too far gone to attempt to salvage. She took scissors out of the vanity, and cut her hair to just a touch below her shoulders. She was able to brush her hair. She put on some lotion and powdered her feet. She put on the clothes and a jacket. She put the toothbrush and paste, and a small bar of soap in her zippered pocket. She found a small toiletry bag full of makeup. She’d never used makeup before. She took only the lipstick and put in in her pocket. She grabbed a small brush and brought it into the bedroom. She found a backpack and put the brush, and a change of clothes in it. These would be coming with her. She looked in the mirror on the armoire and smiled. She looked like a different person. She put some red lipstick on and stared at her reflection. The last time she’d gazed into a mirror she had the body of a child. She now had the body of a woman. It was as though time had leapt forward and she had been none the wiser. Last but not least she grabbed the Walkie talkie and shoved it into her bag. She wandered downstairs feeling calm. She was emotionally tuned out, but clean.
She couldn’t recall the last time she’d felt clean. She had to resist the urge to sprawl out and relax on the couch. Maybe there was something to eat? She opened the fridge and stiffened. Various human body parts had been encased in cellophane and stored in the fridge. She took a step back and closed the door. There was something staying in this house. Something was slowly ingesting the houses inhabitants,’ limb by severed limb. She curiously enough was not disturbed. She was detached from everything. Most people that looked inside of the fridge and found body parts would freak out. She was irritated. This meant she couldn’t stay here. She took some canned goods, can opener, and spoon. Inside the other kitchen drawer, there was a small flashlight and various kinds of batteries. She shoved them into a backpack. It was time to go. She proceeded back down the stairs the way she had arrived and climbed out of the window. She replaced the glass and bolted back out into the forest on the outskirts of the property. Her stray companion awaited her return. They traveled together through the forest until they came to the farm she had been sleeping at during the day. There was activity outside. Men coming and going from the barn. She’d thought was abandoned. Damn it... Where was she going to sleep? She wasn’t going to be able to function much longer without it. Her wayward friend bumped into her, and leapt around to get her attention.
Lexy murmured, “I guess you wouldn’t know of a safe place to sleep?” She was speaking to a dog. She smiled at herself. The dog ran ahead of her on the path. She followed him further into the dense brush. Her canine companion really did look like he was trying to lead her somewhere. She’d been following her overly excited friend, wandering into the middle of nowhere for a good half an hour when they came across a cave. It had an extremely narrow entrance. They both just barely made it through the opening. There was no way a full grown man could make it into the hole. This would be safe enough. She took the flashlight out and gazed around the cave. This was some creatures burrow. At least she knew that something was not going to be very big. She peered into the bag and took out a can of chicken. She opened it and laid it in front of her scruffy new friend. She got another one for herself and they ate together. He’d definitely earned his meal. She grabbed the towel that she’d stuffed in the bag earlier and she laid it out. The second she laid down and closed her eyes she drifted away into a deep slumber.
She awoke with a start. Where was she again? She was in a cave with a stray dog. The scurrying noises in the absence of light would have scared most people. Lexy was emotionally detached from the idea of fear. She suspected she wasn’t afraid of anything anymore. She ran the comb through her hair. It felt good to do the normal daily rituals. She was going to put the last remaining piece of the dark farm to rest tonight, and then she would start a life somewhere new. She yanked the Walkie talkie out of the bag, and routed around for fresh batteries. She stared at it for a moment, contemplating several different versions of what she wanted to say.
Any Last Words?
She pushed down the button and spoke, “I know what you did to the child. I’m coming to kill you.” All she heard in response was a crackling sound on the other end.
After an extended silence, a female voice replied, “Who is this?”
Lexy had not expected that plot twist. It was a woman’s voice that answered. She had honestly been expecting to hear her captor from the dark farms voice. The male voice seared into her memory. It had been male hands that left a ridged scar on her soul.
Lexy responded, “My name is Lexy Abrelle. I found the child in the graveyard. I’m coming to kill you.”
She heard laughter on the other end and then the voice cackled, “Don’t you need to know where I am first?”
She calmly replied, “I already know where you are.”
The voice responded, “I’ll be expecting you then.”
She leaned back against the wall of the cave and stared at the Walkie talkie in her hand. She could have taken them by surprise. Why did she have to go and announce the fact that she was coming? The woman that answered the radio sounded human. Maybe they were a town of cannibals or something? She would need to travel light. She left everything in the cave. She shimmied through the narrow exit into the light and sprinted through the woods towards the small local police station. Her canine companion kept pace. In her hand she held only a kitchen knife.
She arrived at the station; all she could think about was the feeling of crawling out of that well on the dark farm. The memory kept playing on a twisted repeat. Until she felt herself begin to succumb to the fury. She didn’t hesitate tonight. She walked straight through the front doors and up to the counter. The station appeared to be empty. This was strange. One lady sat alone at the front desk. Something was off. She could smell it in the air. It was a smell that her mind was fighting to place, a metallic scent. Memories shifted through her mind. They began to sort themselves until she clicked. It was the scent of blood. Her pulse began to race even though her expression remained calm and emotionless.
The lady behind the counter said, “Is there something I can do for you?”
Lexy replied, “You can tell me what you are. I’d like to know what I’m dealing with.”
The lady grinned and her eyes became an odd hue. She leaned casually across the front desk. Her fingernails began to grow. Lexy felt her pulse being to race again. Her heart began to wildly thump within the confines of her chest cavity. It was not palpitating in fear. It was pounding with excitement. She had played a victim to monsters in their human form, but this was something more. Monsters were not just tales that children told to scare each other around a campfire. They were not just stories passed from one child to the next about noises in their closets. Monsters were real and one was standing at a desk changing into its true form right before her eyes. It was amazing. She was not afraid. She was intrigued.
The creature cocked its head and responded, “Why would I bother to explain what you cannot even begin to comprehend?”
Lexy swung her knife, stabbing the blade directly through the center of the being’s clawed hand. Securing her palm to the desk, her gnarly fingers twitched and clawed in protest. The lady flailed around as she made an attempt to scratch her with the nails from her one free arm. Lexy punched her in the face with random precision, knocking her out cold. It had been a whole lot easier than she had imagined. This battling monsters thing was a piece of cake. Lexy wheeled the whole chair along with the unconscious secretary into one of the cells. She sent her rolling into the area of confinement and slammed the door behind her. She wandered around the precinct, to see if there were any more of these hideous being’s hiding somewhere in wait. She opened the door to a room with a few large tables, a microwave and a fridge. Inside the fridge, she found more pieces of what she guessed had been the actual police officers. She strolled around for a little while longer before she picked up the phone to dial out. There was no tone. The phone lines had been cut. What was this? She heard the front door ding and decided to just go with it. A normal looking man walked up towards the front desk.
She met him on the other side and said, “Can I help you?”
He grinned at her and replied,” Yes, you can help me. I’m absolutely starving.”
She watched his teeth grow into rows of jagged razor sharp fangs. His body bulged out and morphed to create what might have been a terrifying moment for somebody else. Her mind ran through the list of known things that go bump in the night. This was nothing she had heard of in any tale. She took him out before he even had a chance to think of retaliation. By the following morning, Lexy had a jail cell full of the creatures, and not a scratch on her. It had been a simple feat. She wandered in to the holding area with a lighter in her pocket, lugging two full red containers of gasoline.
She sighed, “Any last words?”
The secretary hissed, “The Legion of Abaddon will be roasting marshmallows over your corpse within the week.”
Lexy replied, “I find that hard to believe. I just took out twenty of you without a single scratch. You were remarkably easy to subdue. Just in case you think of something you need to say after I leave. I’ll extend you all the same courtesy that you extended to the little girl you buried alive.” Lexy chucked the Walkie talkie into the cell. Then she commenced to pour the gasoline onto the floor. The gasoline traveled down the grooves in the tile, and pooled right underneath the frantic creatures.
She sighed and said, “This floor is really uneven, would you look at that, it all pooled right under you guys.”
One of the creatures screeched, “You’re going to burn in the bowels of hell for all eternity.”
Lexy grinned and replied, “You first.” She lit a match and dropped it on the floor. It travelled a rapid path through her liquid vengeance. They were all shrieking, lost in their excruciating fiery demise. Lexy strolled coolly out of the station, gripping the other walkie talkie tightly in her hand. She had a feeling that everyone in this township had been replaced by some sort of sinister entity. She left the Walkie talkie on the ledge of the fountain in the center of town with a note placed strategically underneath it. The letter read... Dear Legion of Abaddon. I left a Walkie talkie in the cell when I burned them all alive. Just in case your friends had any last words, but I didn’t stay. I wasn’t interested in hearing them. I hope you have a clear picture of what I will do to you when I find you. She signed Lexy Abrelle on the bottom of the note.
Lexy watched from the outskirts of the wooded area as a gathering of men arrived at the tail end of the blazing inferno that had once been the local authorities. She witnessed a man pick up her letter. He read it aloud to the group of bystanders. Then he began to laugh. He folded the note and placed it in his pocket. There were strange unknown factors at play. Things she could not even begin to fathom. Why had she written her name on that note? That was utter insanity. This man did not appear to be collecting evidence for a crime scene. They were probably monsters too.
A whole clan had been sent to do something that Lexy had done without messing her hair. This note, along with the flaming jail cell full of Abaddon that she’d left in her wake. This is where the stories of Lexy’s superhuman ability in battle had begun.
Lexy raced back to the cave. In her nostrils, the scent of smoke still lingered. She understood that she must put as many miles as her feet could handle between her and the town as quickly as she could. She felt more security travelling under cover of darkness. She began to frantically gather up the contents of her bag. Her canine companion had tossed them all over the hidden cave. He was still poking at her backpack as she hurried to shove everything back inside. Her new friend began assertively pushing at the backpack with his nose and a can of chicken rolled out.
She remarked, “You’ll need a name if you’re coming with me. You like chicken so much. I’ll just call you Chicken. You and I don’t have time to eat. We need to leave.”
The leader of the pack
It was only a matter of weeks before the first clan was sent to claim her. She hadn’t exactly been flying under the radar by exterminating a farm house full of evil people and then the entire corrupt population of a town. Lexy Abrelle had been kept in captivity for far too long. She would not allow herself to be claimed. She was a separate free entity. Lexy did not require help from anyone. The first clan that arrived had been Triad. They would not be successful in marking her Triad, as a matter of fact. Triad and the Legion of Abaddon would come for her over a dozen times in the months to come. She took them on, all by herself. No one was going to take her freedom, not now. She kept moving around, opting to live off the land for obvious reasons. Along the way, she picked up a couple more stray dogs. The three of them travelled as equals. Three dogs soon turned to half a dozen and then twenty. They would hunt at night together and provide meat for her. She would often awaken to a pile of rabbits. Lexy would take one, skin it and cook it over the fire. She’d eat only what she needed to survive, and then give the rest back to her partners. She would find them extra treats in cabins and homes along the way. In return, they would guard her while she slept. Lexy would feel safe each and every time she closed her eyes. She knew her only chance at peace was to settle down with her pack, far away from civilization...