Giant bells, like the kind in the school hallways, pounded inside Sarah’s head as she began to come around. Slowly she became aware of pain in her wrists and ankles. Not fully awake she tried to determine where she was. This definitely wasn’t her bed. She wasn’t lying down, but crouched on a hard floor. She felt cold concrete on her bare feet. When did she remove her shoes? It was too dark to see anything. The last thing she could remember was the party.
Sammy, a rebel rich kid, drove a new corvette. He wore his hair longer on one side covering one eye and had at least one tattoo. Why other girls were attracted to him Sarah never understood.
His parents were away on another trip so Sammy threw his own eighteenth birthday party. No adults. Sarah agreed to attend at the insistence of her best friend. She recalled mingling with the other kids when Sammy offered her a drink- she declined. He returned with a ginger ale and a grin as big as his narrow face allowed. The next thing she knew was waking up here.
She tried to stand, but her ankles were bound- as were her hands. She tried to scream. Her mouth was taped. Sarah began to panic. She thrashed around the floor making as much noise as possible. A door opened and a light came on. She froze. Through the painful glare she recognized Sammy standing over her.
“Are you hungry? Thirsty?” he asked.
She tried to speak.
Sammy squatted beside her- a finger on his lips. “Shhh. I’m going to take off the tape, but no screaming. Ok? Not that anyone would hear you down here in my basement. There…” he tore off the duct tape.
“Ahh…that hurt. What are you doing? Let me go!”
Ignoring her demand he touched the plastic zip ties around her wrists. “Do these hurt?”
“Yes. Please- take them off and let me go.”
“Can’t do that. Let you go, I mean. You’re my special birthday present. I can get those ties off, though.” He stood. “I’ll be right back. Promise.” He winked.
“Where’s Julie? Where is everybody?”
“Julie left with Tom. I said I’d take you home. No one here but you… and me.” He left and locked the door. She heard footfalls ascending.
Sarah wanted to cry. Conceding to tears would be easy, but self pity wouldn’t help her now.
She began to pray. “Dear God, Please help me. I’m so sorry. I knew better. Mom told me not to come here, but I didn’t listen. Please God, Get me out of here and I promise I’ll obey from now on. Please...”
He returned with wire cutters- and handcuffs.
He snapped the handcuffs around her wrist and around a water pipe then clipped the ties from her hands and feet. “Don’t try to kick or hit. It will just make me mad and the key to the cuffs is hidden upstairs. I heard you talking. God won’t help you, you know? Besides, if God was real He wouldn’t have allowed this to happen to you in the first place. Right? It’s almost morning. We’ve got to get out of here before people come looking for you. Your mom’s called twice already. My parents have a cabin. We’ll go there. ”
“Mom? What did you tell her?”
“Don’t worry about that. How about some ginger ale? On the rocks?”
He left again and Sarah stood on shaky legs.
“God, please show me what to do. Help me escape from this creep. Ok, think Sarah, think.”
She examined the handcuffs. Sarah’s dad was a plumber. She had seen this kind of pipe before. It was the water heater overflow tube. The other end normally passed through a hole in the wall to the outside allowing the hot water to spray harmlessly to the ground in case too much pressure built up in the tank.
Sarah pulled the tubing where it disappeared into a concrete block. A few hard tugs and it came through. She slipped the handcuff off. The copper pipe was thin and bent easily.
When Sammy returned Sarah flipped the overflow release valve aiming the scalding stream at his face. He fell to his knees in pain as she dashed out and locked the door.
Shaking uncontrollably as a neighbor dialed 911 Sarah thanked God again for the hundredth time.
When her parents arrived she flew into their arms.
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