I awoke to the sight of the slumped figures of three of my classmates and the looming, silent silhouettes of seven of my other classmates. I felt the zip cuffs digging into my wrists and ankles, but could not verbalize this discomfort for the tape over my mouth. I whimpered and writhed in this blue-tinted classroom, the atmosphere around me the cause for much more alarm than the physical discomfort I was experiencing. Part of my left sleeve and stocking dripped from the blood of the quiet girl whom I never spoke to before, and sat next to me now, head bowed, eternally silenced, and not by the tape.
I looked up at the captors I had sat among for the last three years, my gaze drawn by one of the girls, stooping to rip a letter opener from the nostril of their most recent kill, spouting a bit more blood as the figure fell over sideways onto the thigh of another. Once this was over and done and the previous victim of no more concern, all of their focus fell to me.
The girl holding the knife turned on her heel and deliberately crept toward me- sidestepping a polished wooden desk sitting in a pool of blood- never blinking, absorbing my fear.
They were predators and I their prey- though our situation much lacked the possibility of my escape by any means necessary, and instead possessed the inevitability of my demise, for which instead of survival I could only hope for the extension of my life by the pace of the hand holding that shimmering blade.
I pressed myself up against the plaster of the wall, turning away from her as she kneeled down, only to be forced forward by one of the boys that sat on the opposite side of the class from me. She used her empty hand to grab a handful of my hair and force my head up while the boy behind me held my shoulders in place, and the hand with the dagger moved torturously slowly towards my face. I was consumed by pure, utter fear. Every other thought, emotion or memory driven from my mind- my life instead of flashing before my eyes fled for itself, out of my mind and from the dagger drawing ever so close.
Once the tip was practically inside my right nostril, she stayed her hand. The other five of my classmates gathered up around us, all illuminated by the eerie, hospital-blue glow of our empty classroom, holding their breath. The girl gripped my hair harder and forced me to look into her merciless eyes- which were dark and full of unrelenting purpose. My fear peaked as she tensed and forced her arm up- the blade piercing my fragile inside and breaking that which should never be touched. My eyes rolled in agony and I could not comprehend my surroundings- only this strange suffering. My blood began to leak out in an irregular drip, drip drip, drip...drip drip drip drip, and then quickly became a steady flow- relentless and fast. I tried to breathe, but blood instead filled my lungs. Choking on that which keeps me alive, I struggled for another breath of air through the single passage for oxygen not already bound by silver tape or bleeding out. Only in the split second before it occurred I saw her tensing for another blow- which I received immediately after comprehension and sent pulses of pain sparking into my brain. I writhed and gargled, blood leaking out behind the tape where there was a little space but ineffectively emptying my mouth of any of it. Someone passed a bowl beneath my face- bowed, my blood flowed steadily into their beaker, emptying me of my life and filling it with blood. The fact that I didn’t understand this didn’t matter. I was dying. I was in pain. They were watching me.
I impulsively took another breath, filling and then bursting my lungs with blood. The pain persists even after my eyes have gone dark. And dark it was.