The Thorn in my Flesh *shortlisted for Movellist of the Year 2013*

Escaping captivity was just the beginning. “My breathing speeds up as I slowly come to realise what is going on, why I’m here, why I’m bound up, why he’s attempting to be nice to me: I’ve been kidnapped.” My name is Farrah Fisher, and I was kidnapped for nine years. Even though I escaped, am back home, the nightmares of the long, torturous days I spent in captivity still haunt me. The secrets I buried won’t stay hidden for long, no matter how hard I dig. Even I know that. Jordan Frost is hailed ‘the best defence lawyer in the City’. But when he takes on the most complicated and mysterious case he’s ever had, will his reputation be destroyed? For Farrah, escaping captivity was just the beginning.


7. Chapter Six







    All I can hear is the same boring…





    I can’t see anything through the darkness; it’s like I’m blind.

    My back aches. Having slept on a hard mattress for four whole years, that’s what that is. Lying perfectly still like a statue, tears leaking out my eyes like a waterfall, and I start to softly sing:


    ‘For when your troubles start multiplying, and they just might, it’s easy to forget them without trying.

    ‘Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day. Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, never let it fade away.’


    I remember my mum always sang that to me as a lullaby. Every night here, before I sleep, I hum the tune, imagining Mum in my head, singing it as I drift off to sleep in this cold, damp box.

    Not that I am complaining here; I mean, apart from the fact I’m a captive, I have no contact with anyone but my captor and I have to be stuck in here all the time, however, I do get treated well.

    I get fed, watered, I get books, and sometimes I even get the radio or TV in here. It’s not like I’m dying in here.

    I mean, yeah, it’s not every sixteen year olds dream to be stuck in here, but, you know what? For four years, I’ve been in here; I don’t know any different.

    And Brian? Well, if I ever leave this place – which I must say is not on my agenda anymore – then yeah, people will think he’s the worst guy in the world, but in reality? He isn’t. He’s not like any of the other kidnappers you hear about on the news, nothing like it. In fact, he is one of the nicest people ever. And how did I come to think that of a guy who took me away from everything I know and love? Well, he treats me nicely. He’s nice to me. He lets me live, he cares for me, and he loves me. This sounds weird, I know, but if you have ever experienced first hand what I am going through right now, you would understand what I am talking about. Which I doubt you have, but that is beside the point.


    I am no longer scared though. Of course, when something creepy happens, like a thunderstorm or when the drips get faster at the back of the room, sure, then it gets scary again. But, I know I have to live with it.

    I’m in a bad situation, I realise that, but Brian had to do it. And I understand that he had to take me, and that he’s making the best out of a bad situation.

    So, I will make the best of a bad situation too, make the same sacrifice, and put up with this damp, dingy, dark room and be happy that I am not dead or in a worse condition than this. When the time comes for me to go back – if there ever is such a time – then people will come to understand that fact, and come around to the fact that Brian has never been a bad person, it isn’t his fault that this happened. It’s not his fault he had to take me, not his fault that I have to be kept in here.


    Wiping my eyes, I stand up; making my knees crack. I know full well that my hair is all knotted and tangled up; I know there are bruises and cuts on my face and the make-up is still stained down my face like tear trail. Yeah, that make up is from about six months ago when Brian gave me a bag of make-up. Someone had used half of it, but it was still make up, and to have that, was a privilege. By who? I don’t know, I mean, he has never told me whether he has a family; I just assumed he hasn’t because I am here. And if he has, well, they must be a terrible one for me to be here. I’m sure there isn’t anyone else though, I’m sure there isn’t.

    The door creaks open slowly and the daylight makes my eyes hurt and narrow. I can see Brian walk in with a smile on his face. That smile could mean only one thing; I am going to be allowed out for a walk around the garden today. I will also be getting food, drink and a change of clothes.

    During my walks around the garden, I always look around, trying to see inside the house; see if anything in there will give something away, then I always try to look to the outside world past the garden, but there’s a wall high enough that even a six-foot-two person couldn’t see over, and there is no hope of me ever jumping over it.

    But then a part of me always stirs everything up and tells me that if I ever do make it over that wall, past this place to the ‘outside world’, then what is there for me out there? There will not be anyone, no love for me, no one to hold me when I cry, no one to care. Not even my mum, who must be absolutely devastated, must think I am dead. She’ll never see me again.  I have nothing out there. I only have a life here. A life of dampness, of darkness, of claustrophobia, of nothing much to do except wait. But even that is a life, and I should be thankful for it.

    And that’s what always makes me look away from the house, from the wall, and make my thoughts stop trying to escape because I couldn’t.

    “It’s nice that I can now trust you to be able to come out every once in a while for a walk. It must be nice for you to be able to have some fresh air,” Brian smiles.

    I nod in silence, enjoying the fresh breeze on my face. As soon as I become relaxed, the freedom ends and I am locked in the room again. I sit on the bed and revel the fact I’d seen outside for the first time in a year.

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