72 Summer Hours… Christine McDonald

Caution: Very Adult Content

Isaiah 29:20 For the ruthless shall come to nothing and the scoffer cease, and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off…

I read somewhere that an individual’s mental and emotional psyche can be altered and changed forever in as little as 72 hours under the right conditions, such as sleep deprivation, food deprivation, and violence (or the perceived threats of violence) intertwined with random acts of kindness. A lot can happen in 72 hours that can affect an entire lifetime.

It was a scorching hot summer day. I had been standing on the corner through most of the heat of the day. I’d taken my shoes off blocks before as I was walking up and down the Avenue in the hope that someone would pick me up. My hair had been uncombed for days, if not weeks. I’d also been without a bath for a long time. Flies swarmed around me. It was too hot even to think about my hunger. By now I was hoping I might even make it to jail for a shower and some sleep.

Finally, a guy in a fancy new truck pulled up next to me. He was in his mid–to–late thirties, and he had a warm smile. He made eye contact, his teeth were straight and white, and his face was clean–shaven. His clothes were nice, and his hands were clean.

He rolled his window down. “You hot?” he asked. His voice was mild and soft. He held out a bottle of water. The air–conditioning from the truck felt cool. So I got in. I drank the water. He asked what kind of music I liked, and if I was hungry. At the time I was just hot and thirsty. I poured water on some napkins and wiped my face and hands clean as we drove.

He gave me 20 bucks. “That’s for food,” he said, “No strings attached.” Then he handed me a $50 bill and said, “This is for our date.” He said he would find a shady place to park, and noted that he was in a hurry. He said he was between meetings for work, so we drove to the cemetery down the street and parked under a tree.

…The zip ties grew tighter. He grabbed my hair and put strips of tape across my eyes and across my mouth. He threw a blanket or something over me as he used his hand to force me farther down on the floorboard. He spoke calmly, “The more you move, the tighter those zip ties will be. We have a long drive, and I’d hate for you to cut off your circulation before we arrive at our destination.”

My ankles still had multiple zip ties on each. Whenever I moved, I felt them grow tighter. As for my hands, he readjusted the ties so that they were zip tied in front instead of behind my back. “Thanks,” I said. I was crying. I was scared.

“You know,” he said, “you could live through this.” Then there was deafening silence.

…I could hardly get my legs to hold me up. I was shaking uncontrollably from pain and fear. When he returned, I smelled fire, and figured he planned to leave me there to die. Then there was the burn, the searing pain. I smelled my burning flesh. At last it stopped and he left. I had been branded like a piece of cattle.

I was unable to hold my body weight; my legs had given way. I was still taped and strapped to the table. He returned and threw what must have been large buckets of water on me. Then he moved me and locked me up again. Somehow, I found sleep. When I woke my eyes were still taped shut, and my clothes were dry.

He proceeded to zip tie my legs and carry me out. I had no idea what he would do next. He put me in the truck on the floorboard of the passenger side, covering me with a blanket. We drove. “Are you scared?” he asked. I nodded my head yes. Then he asked me if I wanted to die. By now I was sure that days had passed since the beginning of this whole ordeal. I hurt so much, and I was scared.

“It’s your lucky day,” he said. “I’m going to let you live. But I know how to find you.” He told me he had been watching me for weeks, and he knew no one would come looking for me. He even told me about some of the cars I had been in and some of the corners I had stood on. He even knew the last day I had changed clothes. I was terrified.

We drove on and on. When we stopped, he said he was going to untape me and let me out, but he would find me and kill me if I said anything to anyone.

By the time he removed all the tape, it was dark. We were in that old, empty, closed cemetery where the nightmare had started, blocks from anyone. He shoved me out of the truck. My legs were shaking from pain, and my face was raw from the rip of the tape. I felt air on my skin once again after days with the tape across my eyes and mouth. I began wiping the oozy, caked–on crust from my eyelashes, squinting at the brightness of the lights. Then I saw he had no license plate on the back of the truck.

I began walking back to the Avenue, my hands in the pockets of the sweat pants he had put on me. I realized then that he had put the money he had given me at the beginning of this ordeal in the pockets: the $50 and $20 bills.

I walked past an open gas station and grabbed some food, a soda, and some ibuprofen. I called my dope dealer to pick me up and give me a ride the rest of the way. Getting high would ease the pain, remove the fear, and once again be the coping mechanism that my life seemed to dangle by.

I had survived another nightmare. I had endured another buyer of sex who sought a victim to act out his fetishes with. I had been reduced to an object without emotions or feelings once again. I had been dehumanized, objectified, and tortured for another person’s pleasures.

But remember: He had looked like one of the good guys.

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

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