A musky odor is suspended in a barely sunlit room. It would feel pleasantly cool if it were not for the intense humidity seeping through the walls. Perhaps a storage room in a garage isn’t suitable for living; nonetheless, I have no power to complain. As each day crawls by, my daydreams seem more like desperate attempts to escape reality. Five times today I have dreamt of being adopted. Futile. At least I have this wonderful fungi growing in the corner to accompany me. I have come to understand that my parents are sadists. They feed me just enough garbage to survive. They provide me a vast amount of knowledge but in the forms of physical books. There is no possible way for me to contact the outside world. I pray that they bring guests over someday, so I can scream and bash my head on the wall. All so I can cry and bleed as usual because no one will hear me through these sound dampened walls.

The door creaks as it opens to reveal Father. He ties my wrists to a chair and places a blindfold over my eyes. Metal. I taste cold steel then warm rust. It hurts. A slightly dull knife tugs and rips apart my tongue. A shriek is stuck inside my throat. The blindfold is getting soaked from my tears, and the blood starts to trickle out of my mouth. I can’t take it much longer. I keep feeling the tug tug tug tug tug of my tongue. I feel the tissue giving away. Any longer, and I’ll be mute. Hot. Black. I can feel my body shaking and twitch as a hot tool sears my wound shut. Black. Black. I can’t. I’m shaking. I can’t feel.

I force my eyes open. I am alone once again. I stumble over to my sink and forcefully open my mouth. Nothing. I curl up next to a corner; tears make their way to the floor. They feed the fungi and mold that gently brush against my curling hair. I wish I was Rapunzel; however, I’m more like the ugly cousin stuck in a basement with coarse, black hair. I run my fingers through the extreme length and grasp it tightly near the end. My grip tightens as I lace it around my neck and around a solid pipe. The hair tangles within the pipes and claws itself into my neck. I let my knees buckle, and my weight pulls hard. My air is restrained, and I smile. A dirty, pathetic smile. Tears roll down my face once again as I let out one last weary grin.

The door bursts open. I feel my mother’s firm hand against my cheek. She began scolding me for breaking one of the pipes. Typical, I am a blessed, lucky duck. She throws me against the opposite wall and prepares to fasten me to the ground. A soft exhale and the close of my eyes, I drift off into my thoughts again. I’m lost. Each day drags on without a purpose. I’m given knowledge but no choices nor freedom. I feel so numb regardless of how much pain my parents physically inflict on me. I can not even choose to give up and die. I can not feel the relief of not existing. God, I wish I could feel something. Oh God, I am lost. God, I have never heard your voice. God. Haha. I don’t know what I’m doing or thinking. A pointless life of being nonsensically abused. I don’t understand my parents’ motives, nor do I understand anything outside of my textbooks. I have never connected with another person, and I am unable to comprehend my own feelings besides the longing to run away – to escape into an unknown nothingness. I struggle against my restraints Mother has placed on me. I try to gnaw at my wrists. Another failed and futile attempt.

“Zuri.” I lift my head. Far more beautiful than I am. I almost feel ashamed to share her gender. No, I am ashamed to be the same species even. I’ve studied plenty of beautiful art in my text, yet another human is truly a stunning sculpture. God’s art. She opens her mouth once again, “Come. You are. My new property. Come with me to Asia tomorrow. I prepare for you soon. Clean, I will make you pretty doll.” I don’t completely understand her thick accent. She seems to pause quite a bit to form English words. Nonetheless, I believe I will be leaving my parents soon. It seems like a logical choice for them. Send me off on a black market trafficking route to ensure their heinous crimes are never uncovered. My existence is unknown to the States, and it seems like it won’t matter tomorrow morning. If there truly is a god, it surely works in strange ways when granting wishes. Becoming a slave in Asia isn’t quite death, but perhaps I’ll become a prostitute and die during a tragic choking fetish session.

The women bathed me. For the first time in my life, I smell better than a year old sponge soaked in athlete sweat. I was given a strangely elegant robe to wear. What a waste considering I’ll probably be shipped off in a filthy cargo freight full of rotting bodies. I was escorted towards her vehicle. I person steps out. I feel a sharp pain in my neck. A needle? It feels hard to breathe. I stop resisting and let my eyes shut.

I hear yelling in a foreign language. My head is pounding, and I appear to be in a room. A real room. Furnished, and a soft cushion supports my frail body. She hands me a pouch filled with clothes and points to a room behind me. It is a struggle to move. My joints are stiff, and my muscles aren’t quite use to exercise. I limp over to the door. The lady softly chuckles as a door swings open. A feel a gash on the side of my head. No perhaps this is the wrong order. Yeah. Someone had smacked me in the head. I must have blacked out for a few seconds. I turn over to the side. My blood is painting the white dresser a happy shade of red, the color of luck. Oh the irony. I’m extremely afraid now. All these years of longing for death, I now feel pain in a foreign country. I’m scared. I wanted to die quickly. But now, my confusion and emptiness is replaced with panic and terror. I crawl on all fours in desperation. I stumble. Another chuckle. The lady’s laughter is approaching. The volume is rising alarmingly fast. She’s patting my head now. I feel metal force its way into my face. The hard impact feels like it shook my brain once again. Blood trickles from my nose. I think I’m crying. Perhaps my eye burst? I’m not sure. My vision seems strange, and blood is covering my face. This time a hand curls around my throat. I can’t breathe. This feels like something. I can feel. I don’t want to die. Please. I can not even whimper or beg for my life aloud. My voice taken from me. I try shrieking, but the hold only tightens, stopping any air from moving in or out of my body. My face is met with another hard impact. I can feel my teeth cracking. My jaw must have snapped. Blood is rushing out of my mouth, and my teeth feels like they have collapsed inside. Shards everywhere. My flesh and bone is being beaten all over the room. Painting the white a beautiful red. Today, I feel and perhaps I may become a part of something beautiful. A piece of art. I face death, yet for the first time I feel truly alive. I feel mortal. I feel like I am in the present. No longer am I lost. I am guided by fear. My parents tortured me, but these people have the intent to kill. True sadists. The grip tightens. It is hard to think. I can not gasp for air. I can not scream. I’m scared. I’m bleeding everywhere. I can’t even tell if I have soiled myself. Broken bones and ripped flesh. Again. I’m scared. I’m frightened. I’m terrified. I’m. I’m dying. An unfamiliar black is stretching across my vision. Surely, I won’t be able to force my eyes open after this. Oh God, you have truly forsaken me.


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