There was something about him that made me want to embrace him enticingly in my arms– my bound arms.
I slept in a dark room, with a window sealed shut. I could sometimes hear the chirping of birds, or a car briefly passing by through the barred pane. There was only a faint light entering the room all day, and at night, in the absolute darkness, I could hear him break bottle after bottle– still trying to find the answer at the bottom of it. I did not even know his name, yet I knew he was someone I loved.
I did not know how long I had been here, but I cannot remember hating it for a while now. He could come into my room only once or twice a day to feed me and sometimes now and then to touch my skin with his leather belt. I would cry in pain, and then look up to him– his face barely visible in the darkness. I would sometimes creep across the room when he’d get tired and sit down. And it was the only time I felt my hands feel across the curves of his face, picturing in my mind what he looked like. Both of us let it seep in for a moment, before he threw me sliding across the floor.
I was listening to the rain with my eyes shut. It hardly made a difference; keeping them open or shut. It was all the same. The pitter of the rain monotonously barraged on the window, and I followed it till it fell into a dissipated silence. Then suddenly, light cut into my dilated eye. For a split second, there was a bright light. It was a warm sensation, and I began to think I was finally dead. But heaven was still far away; I could hear sobbing.
I reached across the room to find a girl. She was shivering and crying and absolutely inconsolable. I groped on the floor till I found her. She screamed and flinched in fear when I touched her.
“Please! Please don’t hurt me!” she cried, barely managing to say them.
“It’s alright, it’s alright,” I said and she felt my face– realizing I was only human– and started to cry in my arms. “Everything is going to be fine. What is your name?”
“An… An… Anna,” she said through her sobs.
“Okay Anna, now you are going to stop crying,” said I as I cradled her feverish head on my chest.
She soon fell asleep and I saw her still cry in her sleep. She was terrified and I just could not understand why. I’d been here longer than her, and I found nothing to be afraid of. I was happy and content with his care and even in his angry outbursts, I found his love for me. I knew. And I didn’t need three meaningless words to tell me that.
My sleep was broken by rigorous nudging. It was Anna, shaking me as if trying to wake me from the dead.
“What? What?” I asked her.
“Are you still here? Are you still here?” she cried.
“Yes, you are shoving me with your hands, aren’t you?” I was genuinely annoyed of her irrational fear.
“What time is it?”
“Day, night, does it matter?”
“What is wrong with you? Has he had you drugged? Oh God, he’s had you drugged!”
If I could reach her face in the darkness, I would really slap her hard. I was tired of her crying and her constant fear that I was dead.
“What is wrong with ‘you’? Why won’t you just shut up? You’ll disturb him. He has trouble sleeping and your irritating voice really isn’t helping,” I broke out.
“Are you mental? It is the depression, isn’t it? Don’t let him break you, don’t let him break you,” she said, taking my shoulders and shrugging me.
I pushed her away and ignored her for the rest of the while till she fell asleep of tiredness.
I was again awoken by Anna. This time she was pounding on the walls.
“Help! Help! Somebody!!”
She was beating on the walls, crying. And then the door opened.
I heard him come in and take Anna away. That ought to teach her to shut up, I thought to myself. I wondered what he would do to her, and I felt jealous. I wanted to be his only one and I wanted him to be mine. Only mine. I felt the edges of the scars he’d given me and I couldn’t help but feel a smile emerge at the corners of my mouth with every memory.
A while later, Anna was thrown back in. She wasn’t crying or making any noise. She was stunned and speechless. She was broken.
“Learn to shut up, eh?” I said.
Even though it was dark, I knew that she was looking at me.
“I am going to get us out,” she said to me. She crept close to me and handed me something. It was surface smooth across and pointed at the end. It was a knife. “Let him come back in, and I’ll stab him.”
I was consumed with fury.
“How dare you speak like that?” I knew she was sitting close and so I slapped her.
“What? What is wrong with you?” She started to cry abuse.
“I am amazed at you trying to even talk of that. If you even try to touch him, you won’t see the daylight.”
“If I don’t, I’m pretty sure I never will.”
“That’s it!” I said and tried to take the knife from her.
I was struggling against the weight of her against me. I pulled at her and she pushed me back with her hand against my face.
“You stupid little girl!” I said as I pulled the knife from her hand.
“Kill him! Try to understand! Remember yourself! Kill him! We will be free!” she said and I yelled, “The only one getting hurt here is you!”
I stabbed through the air and felt the knife lodge into something. Followed by Anna’s horrifying scream.
“You bitch!” she said. The knife stabbed the wood floor beside her. In the darkness, I missed her by an inch.
The door suddenly opened and he came in angrily. He looked at the mess we’d created and examined the knife stuck on the floor.
“She was talking of hurting you. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of her,” I said.
He slapped Anna and pushed me across the room to hit the wall behind me. He took the knife and cut across Anna’s arm. He shut the door and left.
Anna cried the rest of the night, and I was thinking of him. What if she really had killed him? What would have become of me? I would’ve died too. What if I hadn’t taken the knife first? My blood boiled on the thought of Anna being here at all.
I fell into deep slumber, as I always did. When I woke up, Anna wasn’t crying anymore, in fact, there was a deathly silence in the room. I started to look for Anna, wondering if she was dead. But even as I searched every inch of the room, I couldn’t find her. She escaped. I started to scream and shout for him, trying to tell him. But he didn’t come. I was pounding the doors but he didn’t come. And suddenly, my knees gave way. I felt an invisible weight on me. I fell to the ground and heard cars pulling in. I heard the throbbing of shoes and doors breaking down.
And then there was a light. I protected my face against it.
A man came up to me and asked, “Can you tell me your name?”
He grabbed me and took me outside. I saw that there were men everywhere. Policemen. I did not understand why I was being taken away.
I kept saying that they had no right to take me away like this. But they did not listen.
The next thing I know I am in a hospital, surrounded by people I didn’t know. There was a man and a woman outside my room. They’d been staring inside my room for a long while and always crying when I looked at them.
“How are you my baby? How are you my sweet Angie?” said the woman when she came in. She was crying and I thought I’d had enough of crying.
“Where is he? Is he okay?” I asked.
The woman looked confused. The man, possibly her husband came in.
“Are you okay Angie?” he asked and tried to console his wife.
“She doesn’t remember, honey. She doesn’t remember,” she whispered to her husband, but I could hear.
I was confused and angry because I wanted to go back to my room– there was too much light in this one. And then I suddenly saw him. He was on TV.
“Today we bring to you a story just breaking in…”
I didn’t understand any of it, or why there was a picture of the man I loved on TV. Following that, there was a picture of a little girl next to his.
“Damon Davies known…”
“She doesn’t need to see this,” said the woman in my room and she was going to switch off the TV when I yelled, “No, wait.”
They were stunned and then gave way.
“… has been sentenced to life in prison for abducting Angelina Ribbins, fourteen years ago.”
The woman started to cry and said to me, “It’s all over now, honey. My sweet Angelina. It’s all over now.”
The woman hugged me and so did the man, I was struggling to breathe, but more than that I wanted to tell them.
My name is Hazel.
Stockholm syndrome, or capture–bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.