Chapter 3

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"So, what's your name?"

I looked up from the dirty sponge that was pressed against the bloody floor and at the dark skinned girl who had talked. Her dark eyes were still slightly wider than usual from the events that had unfolded, but she seemed to be trying her best to hide her fear.

"Zoe," I replied after a moment's thought. I then looked down at the blood that was crusting to the creases of the inside of my hands. How had I gotten here? What happened? I couldn't remember anything before waking up in the room. I shook my head to clear the thoughts and looked back at the girl. "Your name?"

"Willow," she replied with a forced looking smile.

"Please spare us the introductions and get back to scrubbing the floor."

Willow and I both looked over at the dark-haired boy who was crouched down in front of us and scrubbing the drying blood from the floor. They had already put the boy into the bag and then thrown him to the corner of the room where he remained in the darker side of the kitchen.

Willow scowled at the dark-haired boy. "What do you mean by 'introductions'?"

He looked up from what he was doing and stared at us like we had lost our minds. "This isn't some summer camp where you do arts and crafts and make friends. We are in a house with a psycho who kidnapped all of us to be his personal slaves." He dropped his sponge on the ground and rested his arm just above his knee and looked straight at Willow. "Besides, this was your plan, so get to work." He picked the sponge back up and scrubbed the ground some more.

Willow huffed a breath and rolled her eyes before getting back to work. I continued to stare at the dark-haired boy, my hands playing with the cold sponge that was in my hands, unsure if it was a good time to ask him a question.

"What's your name?" I blurted out.

He looked up at me slowly, his eyes locking on my own and with one of his dark eyebrows raised. "Are you serious?"

"Well.." I looked away from him and down at Willow for help, but she just looked up at me and gave me a look that told me I was on my own. I looked at the boy again, his eyebrow was still raised. "I-I just thought we could talk or something. It would distract us from what happened." I looked at the black bag in the corner before looking down at the blood underneath my fingernails. "I'm just scared."

The dark-haired boy seemed to sink a bit, his mood completely changing. He took a deep breath before answering me. "It's Matteo."

We all went back to work on scrubbing the floor in silence. I could no longer smell the metallic blood that was once all that could be smelled, but now the sharp burn of the bleach. It was an almost calming smell that made everything disappear and helped clear my mind.

My body then suddenly became rigid as the tension in my shoulders became more prominent and everything went still. A thought came to my mind that froze me into place.

I looked up from what I was doing and stared between Matteo and Willow. "Do you guys remember how you got here? Like before waking up?"

Matteo stared at the ground with his eyebrows furrowed as he thought. "Merda." He looked up at me. "I don't remember anything."

Willow stared at me, her face slightly draining of colour. "What's the last thing you remember?"

I focused on the ground as I racked my brain for an answer, but nothing was coming to me. Absolutely nothing. I trained my eyes back on Willow, my face also draining of colour. "I don't remember anything." I looked at Matteo. "Do you?"

After a moment's thought, he looked at each of the teens in the room before looking back at me and Willow. "What had he done to us?"

* * *

We scrubbed and bleached the floor in silence until everything was completely clean and the memory of the murder was the only thing that told us it even took place. Once that was all done, we got the teens to sit on the floor and wait for the man to return, not knowing what else to even do.

Willow sat next to me and Matteo sat with his long legs folded underneath him in front of us, mumbling to himself in Italian. My hands fidgeted with themselves in my lap as I looked everywhere except toward the corner of the room. Perhaps I thought if I were to avoid anything to do with the horrors I witnessed, I could forget. There was a part of me that desperately wanted to forget everything once again, but another part of me wanted to remember.

Willow finally broke the silence and asked the question that I was dreading. "Do you guys remember your parents? Your family? Your friends?"

"I can't remember anything." My hands shook slightly in my lap and I quickly pressed them against my thighs to hide it. "I know my name. I know how to do things. But I just can't remember anything else." I took a deep breath. "Everything just seems blurry. My memories."

Matteo's blue eyes seemed to harden as his hands balled up into two tight fists. "Che cazzo ha fatto."

Willow's eyebrows melded together in a scowl as she turned her eyes onto him. "I hope you know we can't understand a word you said," she hissed.

"Does it look like I care?"

She let out an angry breath. "Well we're trying to have a serious conversation, aren't we? Zoe and I both don't understand Italian. For all we know you could be calling us different slurs."

I looked back and forth, slowly growing angry at the two of them. This wasn't the time for us to be fighting, not again.

Matteo seemed to almost lean forward slightly toward Willow, Willow doing the same.

He smiled a mocking grin, but his eyes still looked daggers at Willow. "If I was saying slurs to the two of you, you definitely would know. And who said I was talking to the two of you?"

"How are we supposed to know who you're talking to?!"


I finally snapped. "Can the two of you please stop! Since we've gotten here, all you've been doing is fight! We are on the same side."

Willow seemed to shrink a bit as she leaned back and looked down at her hands. "Sorry, Zoe."

"Can the two of you please try and get along? Just until we get out?" I took a breath. "If not for me," I gestured to the rest of the teens around me, "do it for them."

Matteo rolled his eyes and huffed a breath. "I make no promises, but I'll try." He made eye contact with Willow. "So long as you behave as well."

"That won't be that hard," she said. "We'll be getting out of here soon."

"Not if we keep following through with your plan," Matteo muttered just loud enough that the two of us could hear.

Willow was about to open her mouth to say something, but I beat her to it. "Matteo!"

He rolled his eyes again and turned away to talk with someone else. I could see Willow was still fuming, her anger-filled eyes not leaving the back of Matteo's head. I didn't know what to say, so I remained silent, listening to the quiet buzz from the whispers that floated around the room. My eyes travelled from one side of the room to the other as I wondered how much longer the man was going to be, but I didn't end up having to wait too much longer. His voice sent a twinge of fear and surprise into me.

"Wow, I'm impressed. The room is clean."

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