She awoke in a darkened room, lying on her back atop a low mattress. She couldn’t move, and realized that there was someone on top of her, a man, holding her down. As she attempted to get up, the man sat up to face her. He was about her age, maybe a bit older, with light brown or dark blonde hair. There was a door to the right of her, but she was stuck. She noticed that there were windows on the left of the room, and they were covered with dark curtains. There was a bit of light coming through… was it the daytime?
She was confused and disoriented, yet the man seemed gentle and calm.
“How are you Elizabeth?” he asked.
“What? Where am I” she replied, trying to get the blankets away from her.
“You’re in bed with me, Matt, your boyfriend” he said, as his voice got deeper.
“No… no… I don’t have a boyfriend…” she stammered “How did I get here… where am I? I need to leave”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea. I need to take care of you” he said, as he grabbed her shoulders, confining her.
“No! Let me go!” she screamed “I don’t know you”
“Keep your voice down… there’s a party going on here, and we wouldn’t want to disturb them” he forcibly whispered, and pushed her back against the headboard.
Elizabeth could now hear a low rumbling of music, but why was she still so disoriented? Did she really know Matt? Did she go to this party voluntarily, was she drugged? Matt tightened his grip on her shoulders, and brought her in closer, trying to kiss her. She tried to resist as much as she could, but she didn’t have much strength. He was trying to get her to lie down again, and Elizabeth knew that she had to get out of there.
“Help… someone help me!” she screamed.
“I told you to be quiet!” Matt hissed “You don’t want to hurt yourself!”
Suddenly Matt took his left hand off, but removed a handgun from the nightstand and shoved it to Elizabeth’s chest. “I love you and don’t want to hurt you” he warned, “so please stop resisting”. He loosened his grip on her arm, but still clutched onto the gun.
Elizabeth was trapped. Even if she was regaining strength, there was no way that she could fight back now. She didn’t even realize that she was crying until Matt spoke again.
“No no, don’t be so upset. You will love me eventually” he tried to reassure her.
“I’m scared” she eventually whimpered. He was now being more gently, trying to comfort her, and Elizabeth was no longer resisting. All she could do was allow him to kiss her, and she realized that the more she complied, the looser his grip became. She was now trying to kiss him back fully, so that she could eventually push him up off of her.
They were on a mattress that was not on a bed frame, and Matt had let go of the gun completely, leaving it next to him on the floor. Elizabeth was pushing towards him and as he reached down for his belt she quickly grabbed the gun, pointing it at him.
“Back away, and let me go!” She said
“Elizabeth, you wouldn’t do this to me, you love me” said Matt.
“Let me leave” bargained Elizabeth and she walked towards the door
“You can’t leave me Elizabeth. I need to protect you.” said Matt. She let her guard down for one second, and he lunged towards her.
She pulled the trigger.
A small click sound came out. But no loud bang… no bullets.
“I can’t believe you would try to kill me” said Matt, sitting back on the mattress, stunned.
Elizabeth threw the gun at him, hitting his cheek. She ran towards the door and pushed her way into the hallway while Matt stammered to get back up. To the right of her was a closet, and to the left: a long hallway, full of closed doors, where the music got louder. There were several people scattered throughout the halls of the house, and even more in the living room at the end of the hallway. Some tried to stop her from running, but most were either sleeping or paralyzed in some sort of drunken state. She could see a bit more light ahead of her, coming from windows near an exit door. As she opened it, light flooded in to the house, and some guests grumbled, as if they were vampires afraid of the day. She ran as fast and as far away as she could, barely making out a faint “I will find you” from a heart-broken Matt inside the house.
Elizabeth didn’t know if anyone was after her, and she was too afraid to look back. She was in an older subdivision with semi-neglected single floor houses. There was an overpass ahead of her to the left, and she ran underneath it, stopping to catch her breath. She looked back, but did not see anyone or anything behind her. In the distance, she could hear cheering and yelling, that sounded like children playing. She took a deep breath in, and ran towards the sound. A few hundred feet away, behind a row of cedar trees there were a few kids’ soccer games being played.
“Help me, I was trapped, help!” Elizabeth screamed, as she collapsed on the field.
Elizabeth had spent a few days in the hospital, and was treated for exhaustion and dehydration. Doctors were unable to determine if she had been forcibly drugged, and based on the description of her symptoms, they assumed that rohypnol could have been the culprit. Elizabeth had admitted that she had taken various drugs heavily over the years, but was trying to quit. She didn’t remember if she had voluntarily taken anything leading up to the event. The police were also unable to locate anyone that fit Matt’s description living within the neighbourhood that she was found. Because there was no physical harm to her, they also presumed that the story was fabricated, or the result of some sort of drug induced hallucination. After all, it wasn’t the first time that she had gotten in trouble with the law. Elizabeth no longer knew what to believe.
Weeks went by and Elizabeth was still feeling a bit of anxiety over what had happened. She was able to return to work, but always felt as if she was being watched or judged by those around her. She had vowed to quit doing any type of drug, and was able to stop completely this time, slowly beginning to feel better. Exactly one month later, Elizabeth returned to her apartment after one of her shifts to find that it had been broken into. Although it could have been a coincidence, she no longer felt safe alone, and decided to move in with her mother. A few days later, a co-worker told her that her friend Matt had called, and that he wanted to speak with her. Elizabeth quit her job on the spot.
Not one week later, a bouquet of flowers arrived at her mother’s house with the inscription “Love you Elizabeth, please contact me, Matt”. Her mother had had enough. If either of them had any doubt about what had happened, they pushed those thoughts aside. “That’s it!” exclaimed her mother “we’re moving away”.
Elizabeth and her mother packed up the things they needed and headed up north, renting their house to support their income. They had been living in an old cabin that was owned by Elizabeth’s deceased grandfather’s cousin in a small town a few hours away. Months went by, and Elizabeth and her mother both got part-time jobs at the local post office, making sure that they were always together. They made friends with some locals, and didn’t use their real names, just in case. The nearest neighbor lived a few fields away, and was aware of their situation. He would often call or stop by and bring them fresh produce from his farm, and in turn, Elizabeth and her mother would trade him for baked goods.
One cold November evening, Elizabeth’s mother went outside to chop some firewood for the stove after they had run out. The phone rang, and Elizabeth picked it up, assuming it would was the neighbor.
“Elizabeth, I’m happy you’re having a good time and are finally healthy. I’ve come to bring you back home, so get off that orange sofa and pack your bags” Matt said, as Elizabeth shrieked and hung up the phone. He was somewhere near the house and she didn’t know what to do. She turned off the table lamp so that he could not see in the house and ran to hide. How could she warn her mother? She wanted to go upstairs, but thought that she would be stuck if he entered the house. She heard the front door open, and quickly ran to the back of the cabin. She could see her mother outside, and tried to quietly tap on the window to get her attention. By the time her mother noticed her, Elizabeth could hear Matt looking for her upstairs. Her mother ran around the house to try and get back in while Elizabeth decided to hide in her mother’s bedroom. The door creaked as she closed it, and Elizabeth panicked.
She hid behind a couch, to the right of the bed, and hoped her mother would make it the house on time, and call the neighbor. After a few moments of silence, Elizabeth could hear banging on the front door… her mother couldn’t get in! Matt must have locked the door! She hunched in silence, and took a deep breath in as the bedroom door opened. He immediately noticed the moved couch, and found her hiding behind.
“Elizabeth, you’re coming with me” said Matt.
“No, I don’t want to” shouted Elizabeth, as she crawled back.
Matt approached her and moved the couch away. “Come with me calmly. I’m not going to hurt you”
“What about my mother?” inquired Elizabeth “what about my life?”
“Your life is safe with me, and I promise that I will never hurt you, your mother, or anyone you care about. Just promise to come with me, and never leave me again” replied Matt.
“Why did you have to choose me, why couldn’t you just leave me alone?” asked Elizabeth
“You asked me to be with you! You told me that all you needed was someone to love you that you could love back. No man in your life had ever treated you properly; and that I need to treat you with respect for the rest of your life. You needed me to force you to try and quit drugs, and that no matter what, I be there for you. Don’t you remember!?” Matt whispered.
“No…” cried Elizabeth “and this isn’t respect, this isn’t treating someone properly”. She whispered as she realized that everything he was saying was true. That her father was never around for her, that her past boyfriends disrespected her and one of them even hit her. The problem was that she knew she had used those lines before, often when she was picking up guys or wanting to do drugs for free.
Matt had dropped his arms down, and was now pleading with her. “Please, just come with me. We need to start over, clean. I don’t understand how you don’t remember anything, were you always high when we were together? You must remember when we first met, last June at the addictions meeting?”
Slowly things came back to her. Matt had been her sponsor and he had been sober for over 3 years from an alcohol addiction. Elizabeth had been forced to attend meetings after her last boyfriend was arrested because she had obstructed the police, and the judge knew that it was stemmed from the drug dependence.
“Come on, let’s go home” Matt said, as he grabbed her arm, helping her off the ground. Her mother was still trying to get into the house, and she finally got the door open as they emerged into the entrance way. “Let go of her” huffed her mother as Matt’s grip tightened around her arm.
“It’s alright mom,” reassured Elizabeth “I’m going to be ok”. Her mother stood, stunned and unable to help, as the door closed behind them.
A little bit good at everything