I could only assume a few hours had passed while I was under the drug of unconsciousness. A dull ache radiated from my ankle, but the pain had decreased since earlier. Darkness greeted my vision as I opened my eyes.
Only the faintest light from the moon trickling in gave me any help in seeing my surroundings. The light from before was gone.
I was sitting in the corner of an empty cellar. Across from me, the stairway led up, disappearing behind the floor above me. The steps looked old, unsafe, with the wood bent in strange, irregular ways. Thick, muggy hair filled my nostrils as I inhaled steadily. Tingles ran up and down my leg as the blood circulation slowed.
With a painful grimace, I managed to readjust myself to extirpate the pain. I took a deep breath and tilted my head back. The fear that had succumbed over me earlier seemed to have dissipated, replaced by a phlegmatic cloud that filled my mind. I couldn’t fabricate coherent thoughts; my mind was focused on nothing more than the current situation.
My stomach growled loudly as I struggled to clear my thoughts. Pain radiated from my core. There was nothing to ease the pain of hunger. A memory of the African commercials to feed the hungry flooded into my mind. I couldn’t stop the small smile that crossed my lips at my present condition. I now knew what those children would feel like on a daily bases.
Regardless, I knew I needed food soon.
A door opened, followed by footsteps traveling down the squeaking stairs. The bright blue light returned, illuminating the boys that had carried me to this unknown location. The boy—Clayton—lead the way down followed seemingly reluctantly by John. In his hands, Clayton held a small dark box, silhouetted against the shining light.
The two boys walked over to where I was slouched against the wall. Clayton crouched down before me and set the light onto the ground. I had to squint my eyes from the brightness.
“How’s the ankle feeling?” He asked softly as his hands moved to the black fabric wrapped tightly around my ankle. The question seemed rhetorical, and neither boy seemed shocked when I didn’t respond.
“I don’t understand,” John said irritably “why you’re helping her to heal. She could easily run away once she’s regained her strength. You’re wasting our supplies on her.”
Clayton was silent for a moment before shrugging casually. He slowly pulled the bandage away from my skin, careful of my sensitive area. He reached behind him to the small box, fiddling with it for a few seconds. Meeting my eyes, he produced a similar black strip, holding it up to show me.
“I’m going to put this back on.” He spoke slowly, motioning with the strip to my ankle. I nodded hesitantly and watched as he delicately replaced my bandage.
John rolled his eyes.
“There.” He braced his hands on his knees and stood up, “All better now.”
“What are you going to do with her?” John asked, crossing his arms over his chest. Both of the men towered over me with their eyes watching my every move—not that I was making many. I bit my lip softly, my eyes darting between the two.
“I’m not sure yet.”
“You better figure out soon.” John muttered. His eyes moved down my body slowly as he took me in with a look of disgust. “I’m giving you two weeks max to do something with her. Then I’m shooting her or turning her over to the government.”
My eyes widened, throat tightening up.
Clayton regarded me with a suspicious look, “Fine. Two weeks. Don’t do anything until then, John. She’s my responsibility.”
They stood in silence, watching over me for a few more minutes. My heart beat thudded my chest rapidly. I could feel myself starting to hyperventilate from the threat imposed on me by John. Whatever passive attitude I had been experience earlier had been replaced by a fearful one. My fingers shook slightly as I struggled to breathe in.
Neither of the boys acknowledged my change in emotion. They continued to stare at me in a mixture of curiosity and disgust silently. I struggled to calm myself and keep a calm façade on, but it proved to be a difficult task with the threat of death hanging over my head.
A few minutes passed by, and no one said a word.
“I still don’t see your fascination with her.” John mumbled quietly.