Peter was tired. He was stuck in the void between being slightly frazzled and extremely exhausted. I knew this because I knew Peter. I had not known him long but in the short time since we met, I had studied him so hard that I felt we were one person. Joined somehow by more than the ropes that connected my wrists to his belt. I was tired too, but I was normal tired. His was the kind of that sleep could not cure.
He stopped suddenly in front of me, checking the mapping application on his phone, he looked around us before turning sharply to the right, going deeper into the woods that I thought we were trying to get out of. I was so tired. We had been walking for days, stopping only so Peter could make sure he was on the right path or for bathroom breaks. We hadn’t eaten in 48 hours and we hadn’t slept in more hours than I could count.
Captive. Prisoner. Hostage. That’s what I was.
When Peter and Marcia had arrived at my house 5 days ago and thrown me in the back of their van, I wasn’t expecting to be kidnapped. I thought it was a prank by my friends. I mean, I’m no rich kid. My parents are regular people with regular lives. I hadn’t imagined that I would soon be walking deep in some unknown forest with the man who had asked me to call him Peter.
On the first day, I begged and pleaded with them to let me go. I told them I was nobody they wanted. That my parents were not rich. That I was the first born. That my little brother needed me. I begged them not to kill me. On the second day, Marcia left us to ‘prepare’ the place. I was glad. The girl freaked me out, and not only because she had kidnapped me. On the third day, we lost our torchlight. It fell out of his backpack as we run to escape the bees that had been upset by Peter’s cutlass and we weren’t able to go back for it. By the end of the fourth day, we had finished our water. All we had after that were the energy bars Marcia had packed. By the fifth day, I had stopped begging.
Today, Peter had started asking me questions. About my friends, my family, the people I went to class with, what I was interested in, and I answered them truthfully. He seemed to be enjoying himself and I was too. It was nice to have someone to talk to. In a different place, a different time, with a couple of scented candles and some music to set the mood, we would have been on a date. That’s what I told myself as my wrists chaffed from the ropes and my feet hurt from walking all day. I asked him questions too and by the end of the day, I felt more comfortable with Peter than I had ever felt with anyone. He had loosened my ropes and we laughed as we walked side by side through the trees.
As we neared the camp, he pulled me back and held my hands loosely in his.
“I have to tie you up again”
“It’s Marcia. She won’t understand. She’ll get mad and when Marcia gets mad….” He was shaking his head slowly with what looked like fear on his face. “I’m sorry, but I have to tie you up. I won’t make it too tight. Just promise you won’t try anything silly.”
He kissed me quickly, furtively on the lips. It was so fast I could have imagined it, but I couldn’t have imagined the jolt that went through me with the touch of his lips and the way he held my hand afterward almost as if to steady himself as much as he steadied me.
He tied my wrists back together, and with a set look on his face, he pulled me through the trees into the clearing where the cabin we would use was set.