“Surprise, Catherine?” Elizabeth asked as she slapped her in the face, making Catherine turn her head sideways and groan in pain. “B***h! Take that.” Another slap,”… you, of all people, took my Shawn away. I am going to enjoy killing you slowly, you know.” Elizabeth sneered and pushed Catherine’s head.
The pain, the concern for her baby – it was all Catherine could think of. The distress takes over a portion of her brain, as if dealing with it was energy-consuming enough without the effort of new thoughts. It stole the part of her and she knew her lips were bleeding, her ears were still ringing from the never-ending slap, and she realized Elizabeth wouldn’t let her live. She wanted her dead, but all she could ever think of was the baby on her tummy… Oh God, no! Please let her leave. A silent prayer was the only thing she could do now. She was at her mercy. But knowing Shawn had abandoned her, the pain was palpable: disappointment and sadness mingled, the kind of pain that burns as if some invisible coating had been placed over her heart.
“P-please… enough, I’m pregnant! Please! Don’t!”
Another slap then a kick, followed by a series of punches, another slap, and more pain after pain. She knew she had blacked out the moment the ringing in her head stopped, and the last thing she remembered was Elizabeth’s never-ending hatred towards her.
A day later, Catherine was awakened by the distant noise of a television. Slowly, she breathed in through the dark sack covering her head, though it came as a gasp and unbearable breathing. Pain. It was all resentment. Her ribcage hurts, everything hurts. And she shivered… She felt a warm liquid running through her, and she hoped it wasn’t blood but urine. Her baby, her baby! She knew she should not panic, yet she did, and she fell unconscious again… Then she awakened again, and she didn’t have any idea how much time had passed. Yet’now, in her misery, the knowledge of losing her baby, the pain, it was her enemy. What did she do to deserve this kind of pain, this kind of torture? Where was she? What day was it today? Thirsty? She was so thirsty that her throat felt like it was swollen with a bucket of sand. Yet nothing. It was just darkness and pain. She wished to end this all. She was dehydrated, starving, bleeding, and in pain. She wished to end this all. Yet, the agony made her realize that she needed to survive. Her baby needs her. She breathed in again. But there was only pain and stillness. It was dark, too dark…
Oh God, she lost her baby… Then came another sob.
Just like before, she was the one who chose whether to stay in the darkness when she and
Dave were still kids, playing hide and seek. And Dave trapped her in their mother’s cabinet. It was like this: the darkness was eating her… engulfing her, suffocating her. Now she was a captive, locked away again in a small, cold cell, probably with a key just out of reach.
Solace should have been hers. Maybe her death was near. Eventually, what she had was always darkness. The restraint prevented her body from touching what would eventually be a better sleeping position. It was unbearable. Losing her baby was more than heartbreaking. She lost the will to even breathe. Her head hangs low, covered in a black sack, her two hands behind her back. Being seated on the stone-cold floor made her wish she died from the wounds. But Elizabeth’s men healed her, then tortured her again for a reason she didn’t even know.
Hunger and thirst began to overrun her world of anguish. Time passed, meaning nothing to her now. Only the terrible, relentless longing that evolved until it became her entire world. She wanted to save the baby, but she failed.
Heartache, hunger. Nothing else existed for her anymore. Then a voice came, a man… He took the sack to uncover her mouth, but not entirely. “Here is some water. Take this!” A cold glass nudged against her lips as she hungrily savored the water. “Good, that’s all you’ll ever have.” Then he pushed the cover over her head again, and he stepped towards the cell. He locked it and was gone.
And now, Catherine was able to breathe properly. The dark sack wasn’t tightly covering her head anymore. Instead, it was a little lost. Maybe the man took pity on her.
However, she was in real pain. But she survived. She dwelled in distress and pain. She stayed in the darkness. The hours turned into days, then into weeks with only a slice of bread, an apple, and a bottle of water a day. Now she was no longer shackled. She was still in the six-foot-sized cell with a small bathroom. If one considers a basin a bathroom and has only one set of clothing, she couldn’t be grateful. At least now, they have given her a wooden bed, a single pillow, and a blanket. Yet Catherine could no longer recognize any other way of life, any other presence. There was no faith, no stability, no way out. There was no edge. Only the shadow, the suffering, the awful longing to kill. The hunger. And the pain of losing her baby. Now, she felt nothing. She felt empty. The grief was too tremendous; it consumed her, inside out. Shawn had been forgotten, as he had forgotten her. She doesn’t care anymore.
She knew Elizabeth ordered her dead, and probably the b***h thought she was really dead. She didn’t know what transpired in their minds, but she was grateful that they didn’t kill her.
Time continued to fly, meaning nothing in her finite cell. Only grief and anger.
Her left wrists were manacled to the wall, allowing her only enough movement between the sides of the cell, so that she had little space to maneuver. Her grief was her everything
now. The resentment, the distress, it was all she could ever think of. Her grief comes in waves. On the first day of losing her baby, it was all the waim, liquid blood she could think of, feeling it running through her from deep within. It was all she could ever remember. Then came Elizabeth’s laughter, her echoing laughter. Her anger came the next day when her eyes felt dry from crying. She was quiet, never complaining, never screaming, just silently crying in the corner. It was better that way. Her sorrow? They were so strong, she felt so swept away. They come at such random moments, replacing a feeling of normality with those familiar tears. Yet in time, those waves of sadness lessened, and were followed by dark thoughts, anger, revenge, planning, and other things that led to waves of outrage and cold, raw uproar. Those sad or dark things that were said by Elizabeth became her anchor. So, she wanted to ride that wave, ride it in that boat called Revenge. But for now, she has to play smart.
There was no way to salvage her strength and vigor without restoring the massive amount of blood she had lost. The loop was infinite, dreadful, a ghastly process that would last for all eternity. She found, after some time, that she could put herself to sleep. But the return of this gift meant nothing anymore. Catherine knew nothing anymore. So she started doing exercises, slowly gaining her muscles back. Unhurriedly, she was doing an invisible punch, kicking, and more exercising. She remembered her long-lost boxing and judo knowledge from high school. If she wanted retaliation, she needed to be stronger, she thought to herself. Weeks turn into months.
Then one day.
“Mrs. Richmond!” A voice came from the door, unfamiliar. The man speaking to her was tall, probably a few inches over six feet. His frame was huge, covered in tattoos, and extremely imposing, possibly due to the thousand-dollar suit covering his body. His hairline had receded to just beyond the tip of his forehead and appeared to have stopped, leaving a distinct look and shape to his head. His nose was sharp and pointy, matching the snide grin on his lips, and he had a huge scar on his face. “What!?” She muttered with a blank look.
“Oh, Mrs. Richmond, um-know how to talk?” The man grumbled and smirked while banging on the iron cell door, which made her wince.
“Stop that… and know this… the moment you let me go will be the next-to-last second of your life, ugly face.”
The man’s grin widened narrowly. “I knew you were the right woman for the job, Catherine, “he muttered as he pulled up a metal chair from a few feet away from the door and eased into the seat.
A few weeks later, he ordered his man to give her a boxing glove, punching bags, give her more healthy food, decent clothing, and even reasonable shoes, and even a treadmill and a
stationary bike. “I have to say, I’ve heard so many good things about you.”
“I don’t care,” Catherine grumbled.
“Of course you did. You were once, um- what you called it these days? Oh, never mind but I know that you were once a champion at kickboxing and judo back in high school, right? You were a decent athlete too. So maybe it’s not yet too late to train you to where you truly belong.”
“What are you talking about? Who are you?” She strained against the cell once more, vainly hoping it would be the time their strength gave way. It wasn’t.
The man just sneered. He crossed one leg over the other and folded his hands on his thigh.
“What do you want from me? Is my child’s life,not enough?”
“The name is Javier… and come on, I am not the one who tortures you… Save your anger to Elizabeth. But I’ve heard you’re typically direct and to the point, Catherine… I’m sorry, did you say it was all right for me to call you Catherine?”
She scoffed but didn’t offer a response.
“I’ll take that as a yes. No need for formality. After all, if you decide to play by my rules, you’ll have your freedom, a new identity, and a new you. So choose wisely Catherine.”