Burgundy Carpet

I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was following me.

I was wishing I’d brought a thicker jacket with me as I hurried back to my dorm from the library, hugging my books to my chest.  I could hear the faint bass of dance music and drunken laughter coming from the other buildings on campus.  It was a Friday night and I spent all of it studying.  But if I didn’t ace my calculus exam the following Monday I would probably end up having to re-take the class next semester.  And the last thing I wanted was another semester of math.

A leaf crunched somewhere behind me and I had to suppress the urge to run.  A quick perusal of the walkway behind me confirmed that my jitters were unnecessary – the path was empty.  I scolded myself for being so jumpy.  The wind could have easily scraped the leaf across the walkway.  I chalked it up to my nerves over my test and the late hour.  I needed to sleep.  I had literally spent the entire day holed up in the library.  I picked up my pace and before I knew it my dorm building loomed up ahead of me.

I pushed open the door to the lobby and sighed a breath of relief.  I had made it back to my dorm in one piece; my paranoia had been for nothing.  But as I moved to take a step towards the stairs an arm wrapped around my waist and suddenly there was a white cloth pressed to my face.

Chloroform.  I struggled to keep my eyes open and then my world went black.

_

My shoulders ached.  That was the first thing that registered when I woke up.  The events of the night came back to me and I shivered with fear.  My heart pounded mercilessly against my ribs and my cheeks were wet with tears.  My mind was still fuzzy, and my body and head felt heavy.  I couldn’t even tell if I was laying down or sitting.

I took a few shaky breaths to gain composure.  I needed to calm down.  I opened my eyes, squinting against the bright light of the lamp above me.  I was laying on a carpeted floor in a room somewhere, hands bound behind my back.  My cheek itched from where it’d been rubbed against the rug.  I pushed myself up on to my knees with difficulty before looking around.  The room had two windows, both with shades closed tight, a couch and a TV, and a kitchen area, lights dimmed.  There were three shut doors, two behind me and one directly across from me that I was sure led to a bedroom.  Have I been here before?  I tried to shake my still foggy brain into focus.  I looked down.  There was something about the carpet.  It was burgundy.  And scratchy.  Old and burgundy and scratchy and ugly, just like the one I used to sit on at … at Johns.  Oh God.  My head shot back up, my gaze finding the fridge in the kitchen and the pictures scotch taped to its front.  A picture of a girl sitting Indian style on a rug, this rug.  A picture of me.  No.  My chest was tight, I couldn’t breathe.  Please no.  I squeezed my eyes shut tight.  I couldn’t look at that familiar burgundy anymore.

The door to the bedroom creaked open and heavy footfalls came toward me.  I kept my eyes shut.  I didn’t need to see who it is, didn’t want to see.  Strong hands gripped my arms and pulled me up on to my feet.

“You’ll never leave me again, Baby Girl.”

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