Short Story: Still here

Still 2 2MBBook cover Still here

Some kind of rustling sound wakes me up. The sound seems somewhat recognizable, I’ve heard it before. There it is again, it sounds like, what are they called again? Leaves, that’s the word I was looking for. Leaves are rustling around me, would I be in a forest of some kind? I move my body a little, as far as I’m capable. It feels like I’m laying on top of something soft, could be the leaves. I try to get up, without success. My arms refuse when I try to even move them. Then I manage to open my eyes, a clear blue sky, framed by tall trees, stares back at me. Now I am sure that I am in a forest. I wonder why I am here. And an even more important question; Who am I? And where am I? How did I get here? My mind starts boggling with questions, without any answers. My muscles feel incredibly tense as I try to move my arms once more. The strength comes back to my limbs. Slowly but surely I make my way on my feet. As I look around my assumption is confirmed, I’m in a forest. But I can’t see any hint towards a way out of this forest. Perhaps the print my body left in the leaves has a clue for me. Nothing happens. I look down at myself and notice I am dressed in a short black dress with red plateau heels. I must have been at some sort of special event, these aren’t the kind of clothes someone would wear to work, or would I be that kind of person?. As I stretch out my tensed muscles, I feel as if some object is stuck in my bra. I reach between my breasts and find a card. I pull it out and see  it is an ID card, probably mine. The card tells me that my name is Ella Langdon and I was born in 1995, which means I am twenty one years old, at least I do remember what year it is. As I see my own name a few memories cross my mind. I’m a college student, at Kingston University to be precise. I am studying film art. But I still can’t seem to remember how I got here. The last event I remember is me and my three best friends going to London on spring break, which is no explanation for my current residence. And then worry starts to sink in, what do I do now? I know who I am and what I was doing last, but how do I get out of this place. Maybe I should just get walking. Staying over here isn’t going to help me one anyway. I take a couple of steps but notice that my vision becomes blurry again. The trees suddenly seems to be dancing and the forest seems to be spinning. It is hard to stay balanced in a spinning forest so I sway from one leg onto another. Between the dancing trees I see one thing bright and clear, all of a sudden a small white rabbit appears. He or she is even moving my way. Although rabbits don’t speak this one is certainly trying to communicate with me. It lift its foot and urges me to follow him, or at least that’s what I think the rabbit is trying to tell me. I can’t help but run after it when the rabbit hops on. Maybe this bunny will help me find my way home. It hops and hops as I run and run, there seems to be no end to it. Even though we’ve been moving for a while, the scenery remains exactly the same. 

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But then I see something move in the corner of my eye, I turn my head and I see a silhouette, leaning against a tree. His unwrinkled face make me think he is a young man. I walk towards the silhouette, maybe he can tell me where I am or help me find a way out. I look back, only to find the rabbit has gone up in smoke. I look around to see where it went but there’s no sign of the rabbit. When the man looks up, showing me his deep green eyes, he notices my presence and walks towards me.

‘Hello Ella.’ The man greets me, as if I’m an old friend of his. He does look sort of familiar, I swear I’ve seen him before but I don’t understand why. Maybe I saw him when I was in London. Would I still be near London? I certainly do hope so. The man has dark blonde hair. He isn’t an awful lot taller than me. He’s slightly muscular but not too much and he has a calm yet stern expression on his face.

‘How do you know my name, have we met before?’ I ask the guy. He seems so calm, as if he was expecting me.

‘I just do, don’t you break your little head about it. But I presume  you want to go home?’

‘Well yes I do, could you help me possibly?’

‘Of course I can, come on take my hand. I’ll take you home.’ He seems so sincere, but you shouldn’t trust strange men, that’s a universal fact. How strange is he actually? He seems to know me, and I seem to remember him.  I guess it’s alright. I take his hand, it feels cold. He starts to walk and I follow. After what feels like hours of walking I see a small wooden cottage deem up between the trees. He stops in front of the cottage and takes a key out of his pocket.

‘This is your home my dear.’ He announces me, but this isn’t my home. I live in Kingston, in an apartment building.

‘I believe you are mistaken sir, I live in an apartment, not in the woods.’

‘I’m entirely certain it’s is your home, at least take a look inside, you’ll probably recognise it.’ He opens the door with the key and he’s right. It does seem familiar. Yet, it’s more than familiar, this is my home. The cottage is filled with my furniture, has my wallpaper on the walls, and my carpet on the floor.

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‘I do recognise it, I think you’re right.’

‘You see now, it is a lovely home and a lovely place to live. Before I forget it, I brought you something. You must be so hungry.’

He takes a tiny package out of his pocket. It is wrapped in aluminum foil. When he opens it up it turns out to be a brownie. I gladly take the brownie out of his hands and take a bite of it. The first flavour to tingle my tastebuds is the sweet taste of chocolate. I savour it, but then a weird aftertaste sets in. I can’t put my finger on what the flavour is. Despite the slight odd taste I finish the brownie and wave the man goodbye as he walks away. I attempt to sit down on my couch, which is a beautiful white leather couch, but the couch doesn’t seem to have any substance. I fall right through it onto a wooden floor. That’s rather odd. Instead I then lay down on my bed, which is white and covered in brightly coloured pillows. But when I lay on top of it, it feels more like a wooden plank than a soft bed. I lay there for a bit but get bored soon and I sit up straight. I feel dizzy again. Slowly the room starts spinning again, but this time my mind takes me even further away. The room turns into a carnival, with bright colours in every corner.. Nausea arises from my stomach and in attempt to enter my bathroom I find that there’s no door, but there isn’t even a bathroom at all. I had a bathroom in my house, where would it have gone? I try to hold the vomit which I now feel prickling my throat, but there seems to be no bathroom, so when another wave of nausea hits me I vomit all over the carpet. My head feels extremely heavy, which is the last thing I remember.

Music, deafening, beating music fills the room. The kind of music they play in a club. I don’t see much, just light flashes. I hear voices too, the voices of my friends. They sound happy, as if they are partying. The music grows louder and the light grows brighter, it hurts my ears and eyes. But then it all stops, and I find myself to be in the dark again.

Upon waking I realise that my last memory just came to. Slowly my memory seems to grow. I was in a club in London, with my best friends. We were partying hard and getting buzzed. My last memory before passing out and waking up in a forest is that I got a drink from a strange-looking man. I open my eyes to realise that I am not in my own house, and none of my furniture is here, it was all an illusion. The bed I lay on is not even a bad. It simply is a block of wood, meant to be used as a bed. When I look down at myself I notice something else, my clothes have disappeared and I am naked. That’s never a good sign, I bet the man has something to do with this. As a matter of fact, thinking a little harder helps me realise something, he is the same guy who offered me the drink in the club. He is reason I’m here, and God may know what he is up to. I feel fright creep over me and curl up into a ball. But being scared and waiting over here isn’t going to get me anywhere, I need to take action. My first idea is to see if I can find anything in the house that can help me get myself out of here. I check the entire house and find the strong wooden door to be the only way out. The door is locked, as expected. I might be able to kick it open, although I’m not incredibly strong. Unfortunately the door doesn’t even give in a little bit when I start kicking against it. The harder I kick the more the door resists and the more I realise it is useless. I’m never getting out of here again, I’ll die here, never seeing my family or friends again. Frustration and panic gets the best of me as I start punching the door in a hopeless attempt of opening it. The wooden door is rough and before I know it my knuckles are entirely open and  they are bleeding like crazy.. Falling on the floor I cry.

‘ No way out, I’m stuck, I’ll die’ I repeat to myself as a way of convincing myself since I am still not completely willing to believe it.

After calming down a little I decide to lay back on the improvised bed and try to sleep, I can’t do much more anyway. All I can do is awaiting my destiny and hope that I don’t panic too much.

The sound of an opening door wakes me up. I feel a little disoriented at first but quickly realise where I am. The door opener must be the man who was here before. I don’t know what to do, should I pretend to sleep? Or is it better to talk to him? I am incapable of escaping anyway so let’s at least try to get some information out of this guy.

‘Ella, are you there?’ He says making his voice sound sweet and kind, which obviously doesn’t match the real picture. I get up into a sitting position and look at his face, it’s only now that I notice how handsome he actually is, and young. I don’t think he is a lot older than me. I look down and notice  I am still naked. I quickly grab a blanket to cover myself up.

‘Who are you?’ I ask him.

‘I’m the one who takes care of you.’ He answers smirking,  knowing this was not the answer I desired.

‘I see you’ve finally sobered up. And you must have sort of realised what is going on.’

‘Where am I? And why am I here? It doesn’t make any sense.’

‘I know sweetheart.’ He tells he me as he sits down on the bed next to me. ‘All  you need to know is you’re mine.’

‘Is there any chance of me ever leaving?’ I ask him. He’s probably going to say no but deep down I hope it will be a yes.

‘I’m afraid not sweetie. But we can have fun, just the two of us.’ He tells me as he puts one of his hands on my breast, I am sensing where this is going, and I am not happy with it.

‘I want to be alone.’ I tell him hoping  he’ll leave me, but chances are slim.’

‘Oh no sweetie. You only think that is what you want.’ He tells me as he undoes his jeans and climbs on top of me, no going back from here. It’s better when I don’t fight, that would only elongate the suffering. After the act he leaves rather soon, leaving me feeling filthy. Would he return? What is going to happen now? For how long will I remain alive? Thousands of questions bombard my mind but it isn’t long before it all comes to an end. Outside of the house I hear the sound of a striking match and then the sound of burning flames. So this is it then, I’ll die here in this burning house. What a joke it all was, this suffering which humanity calls life. Maybe death is a better place for me. My family will be so worried and heart-broken once they find out. I hope they find out, then this creep can be put into jail. But what now? Wait till I’m on fire, sounds rather painful. I should just go to sleep, and never wake-up.  So that’s what I did, I closed my eyes.

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 Illustrations by:
 Brand = SloppyJoeIllustrations
 Instagram = @sloppyjoeillustrations

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