The latest " woman held for x amount of years by wacko couple" story reminded me of a fanfic I wrote a few years back, which I'm going to post below. This is not the best written story, but honestly, I just can't work on it any more - it's just too damned difficult to imagine, let alone actually live. It might be triggering. If you like it, you can find most of my other work at Gossamer. Personally, I think my best work is the Country of the Crepescule series, Scenes From A Murder Investigation, 2790 Vine St, Incident at Quonochontaug, All True Wealth (wherein Oro tackles IVF), Bored, Hot Rain, Manitou, and everything at the Lyric Wheel.
Disclaimer: Alas, alack, they are not mine. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Title: Quiet, He'll Hear You
Summary: Fear can be either paralyzing or motivational
Feedback: Be brutal. You know you want to.
Note: written for the X Files Lyric Wheel
Dedicated to my ex-roommate, Amy C. Survival is the best revenge.
Tamar huddled against the back wall, eyes streaming from the bright light as she peeked through her fingers.
She didn't think he'd want her, she was dirty and could smell herself.
Sometimes he liked that, though.
She wiped her eyes with her free hand, watched him drag a new woman into the room.
He let go, let the woman slump to the ground in a heap before approaching Tamar. He unlocked the cuff around her wrist. Sniffing, he frowned and went into the other room, returned a moment later with an empty bucket, a bar of soap, and a rough cloth, which he threw on the ground. "Get clean, slop out."
Tamar took the bucket to the far corner where the other buckets were. They were full, and stank far worse than she did. She brought cloth and soap to the open pipe and began scrubbing off the grime and the sweat. Washing her hair was always awkward, but it could be done if she did it with cupped hands.
The water drained away into a grill set into the ground. Sometimes the water wouldn't go away, flooding the room until she was forced to perch on the rock and hope he would arrive sooner than later. Once he didn't come for a long time, and the cold water had risen over the rock. She'd cried and screamed until her throat was sore, scared of the things in the water that she couldn't see.
Later on she'd gotten sick, and he’d fed her yummy soup. That was good.
When she was done washing, eyes finally adjusted to the light, she snuck a glance at the unmoving woman, then crept to the door to see what the man was doing. He was at the stove, stirring something in a pot. Smelled like beans. She hoped she would get some, because he hadn't left her any food the last time, and she was very hungry.
Slop out, he'd said. Carefully grabbing the full buckets, she took them to the toilet and dumped the contents, then washed them with sweet smelling liquid soap. Pinching herself for luck, she stood on tip-toe and looked at the reflection in the mirror, before brought the buckets back into her hole. She had been tempted not to wash her hands, but she didn't want to risk the painful consequences. He usually liked her clean when he came to her. Afterwards she crept to the door again.
He added something to the pot, stirred once more, then poured the contents into two bowls, one of which he put on the rough wooden floor. Tamar scooted back into the room and took the bowl underneath the table as he sat down. The beans were too hot to eat, so she blew on them instead. She had just fished out a single bean when she heard a low moan. The chair scraped against the floor when he got up, and vibrated as he stomped across the room with heavy, booted feet. Heart pounding, Tamar concentrated on getting another bean, smooshing it between two fingers, feeling the burn on her skin.
Another moan was cut off.
Tamar shoveled in the hot white paste, scorching her mouth, barely bothering to chew. In her haste to fill her belly she forgot to remember where he was, and nearly choked when two hands grabbed her around her hips. Splinters dug into her knees as he pulled her back and kicked her legs together. Breathing in nose-tickling dust and the smell of dry wood, she lay still, listening to the rasp of
a zipper being drawn down.
The floor was cool and the air was warm. Tamar remembered grass between her toes, and laughter, and trying to suck the flesh from a ripe peach through its skin. The wood pricked her cheek, and two floorboards from her outflung hand a daddy longlegs slowly made its way up the table leg. The spider jarred in her vision, once, twice. Then a heavy weight draped itself across her back. There was a steady, burning rhythm between her thighs. She could only take short, shallow breaths. Thankfully, her body began to liquify, slickness easing the pain and even beginning to turn it into small sparks of pleasure, not that she would ever let him know such a thing was possible. She scarcely believed it herself. It was the only thing she had, her secret.
Soon enough he grunted and got off of her, slapped her lightly on the butt to get her to move out of his way. She finished her food, licking the bowl clean before rinsing and putting it in the sink. Ignoring her wet inner thighs, she retreated to her room and waited for him to make the next move.
The best view of his location was in the up corner beyond the pipe. Tamar sat on her heels, idly peeling skin from between her toes. The woman hadn't made a sound for some time. Her hair was pretty, almost the red of the soup cans in the kitchen.
The man finished eating and shoved away from the table. "Girl, clean."
Tamar did as she was told, surreptitiously swiping the bowl with her hand and sucking her fingers before washing it. She was still hungry, even though her stomach roiled at the same time.
So far he hadn't done to her what he'd done to the others, and the one time he'd tried to make her do things, he'd gotten angry and beaten her because she'd thrown up over him.
Someday, she knew, he'd hurt her too.
She put the bowl in the rack, turned to see where he was, and found him staring at her. Was he ready again? It wouldn't be the first time he'd taken her twice in a day. At least it didn't happen often, only when he brought others to the room.
"Come here," he said.
She approached him slowly, not meeting his eyes. His feet were big, bigger than hers, bigger than any feet she had ever seen in her entire life.
"You're a good girl, aren't you? You're my good girl. Sit on your Dada's lap."
One time, a long time ago, when she had first come here, before she got sick and he fed her soup, she had refused to do what he wanted. He hadn't touched her, and she learned her lesson. So now she did whatever he wanted.
His pants were soft against her thighs and butt, and when he pulled her close she rested her head on his shoulder, because he liked that. His shirt was soft too, and fuzzy on the collar. Usually he smelled the same every time he brought a woman in, like sweat and smoke. He was different now, though. She took a few cautious sniffs, wary of disturbing him. There was a sharp odor to him, a rank sourness that made her uneasy.
His arms tightened around her once, twice, and then he shoved her to the floor. "Get in your hole."
He slid the door shut after she scurried in, but didn't bother to cuff her to the rock. The room plunged into familiar darkness. After awhile Tamar stepped over the pipe to pee in the bucket. She splashed water between her legs to get as much of him off of her as possible, wiped her skin free of the excess.
Then she crept to the woman, feeling blindly until her fingers touched clothing, a shoe, a leg. The woman didn't move, but her breathing was steady. Tamar squatted and peeled sticky hair away from the woman's face, rubbed her back like her own momma used to do.
Tamar leaned forward, made a little questioning noise in the back of her throat, patted the woman's forehead with as much reassurance as she could muster.
"Where, where am I?"
There was a dry cough, and then more questions.
"What is this place?"
Always the same words, over and over, no matter who spoke them, then the fear, and the crying. Tamar helped the woman sit up, left her side to go the pipe and bring her a swallow or two in her cupped hands.
"Thank you. Do you have a name? My name's - " a half-sob, then. "my name's Dana."
"My head...god, I feel sick."
"Tamar," she croaked, throat scratchy from long disuse.
"Tamar," she repeated.
"Oh my god – Tamar Davies? Jesus Christ."
Tamar swallowed and quelled a sudden flood of tears as a warm foreign hand found her knee. "Where Momma?"
This time she helped the woman crawl to the pipe, listened to her moaning and retching all the while, showed her where the opening was, listened to her slurp the cold liquid down. How did the woman know her name?
The woman slumped against Tamar, who laid her flat on the ground. She didn't know what was wrong, and there was no way to find out until the light came back on, so she lay down and snuggled up to the warmth and sweet smell. Oddly enough, the woman smelled rank and sour too, although not like the man, or at least, not in the same way. Not bitter. None of the women ever smelled bitter.
"Tell me," the woman gasped, a swift hitch of breath as she spoke. "tell me about the man in the other room."
What was to tell?
"Talk to me, please – "
"Shh," Tamar whispered, touching the woman' arm. "Bat man, bat, man bat. Momma."
"We have...have to – "
"Shh," Tamar repeated, curling up as close as possible to her heat.
"Tamar, do you know... do you know how long you've been here?"
Tamar shrugged, then realized the woman couldn't see and said, "No."
"God. Mm, tell me what you remember."
Tamar frowned. There was the peach, and laughter in the garden. The softness of her torn blue blankie. Momma's curly dark hair, her large brown eyes. The cream colored bug. "Momma, Momma."
"Have you ever been outside this room?"
"Yeah. I go room."
"And that's all?"
"Shit. I, mm, I don't know what happened to your mother. Do you remember the rest of your family?"
Tamar shook her head again. "No."
The woman sighed again, spoke softly. "You and your mother, mm, disappeared ten years ago while driving from Ohio to Maine to visit your grandparents. You have a father, uh, a father, and two older sisters who love you very much and can't wait to see you again. We have to get out of here as soon as possible, okay?"
No one leaves, Tamar wanted to say. Her heart raced at the influx of new information. She didn't know what a year was, but a father and sisters sounded intriguing. Maybe they looked like Momma?
No one left, though.
She'd cleaned up the bathroom and the kitchen after he was done with the other women. She'd heard the groans, felt the sharp white bits under her feet, had seen the red sticky on the walls, washed the grey lumps off the bathtub.
Momma had told her to shhh
~ quiet, he'll hear you ~
Tamar was glad the other women were gone. None of them had liked her. They screamed when she touched them in the dark of the room, and some of them had hit her even though she had done nothing to them. And all of them had fought the man, kicking and biting, clutching at nothing as he dragged them out of the room.
Usually he shouted at her to get back in her hole, but one time he hadn't, and she hovered in the doorway, listening to the heavy silence that followed the fight. Heart pounding in her throat, she had tip-toed towards the bathroom, wanting to see but not wanting him to notice her. Rounding the corner, she saw that the woman was naked, bent over the sink. The man stood between her legs, pants around his ankles, his hands around her neck. The red sticky flowed from the woman's nose and mouth, splattering everywhere as she clawed at his arms, flailing wildly for something to grab onto.
He looked directly at Tamar and she froze, breath catching in her throat. His eyes crossed as his hips smacked the woman's butt over and over again. As he did so, the woman choked and went limp.
Tamar began to back away as the man grinned and smashed the woman's head against the sink. Gathering her hair in one hand he tried to lift her head back up, but Tamar could see that the faucet handle had gone into her eye, and her head was caught.
She had gone back to the room, closed the door, and crammed herself into the corner on the high ground on the other side of the pipe. Shivering, she had stuck her thumb in her mouth and tried to remember how the peach tasted.
Maybe if Dana was good, the man wouldn't hurt her.
"When you are held captive, people
somehow expect you to spit in your
captor's face and get killed."
Quiet, He'll Hear You by Dryad
2/3 disclaimed in part one
There was a little bit between her fingers, a rough edge that hurt when she pulled on it. She left it alone, pressing her fingertips along her scalp, searching for more scabs that were ready to be picked off. Dana was quiet, but not cold quiet.
Maybe Dana thought leaving was bad.
Now there were sore spots on her head, so Tamar felt behind her ears, then her armpits and below her knees, between her legs. There was nothing there, no stray hairs to pull out or dry skin to rub away.
After awhile, she drew her legs up, put her cheek on her knees and slept.
Tamar fully woke when something touched her shoulder.
"Shh," Dana repeated. "It's time to go."
When Dana tugged on her shoulder Tamar stood up, and when Dana grabbed her wrist and pulled, Tamar followed her to the door, but when Dana cracked open the door and said, "Come on," Tamar refused.
"Can go," she fiercely whispered back, planting her feet and trying to jerk her arm out of Dana's grasp. "Can go!"
"We have to," Dana answered. She sounded like the man did before he hit or kicked, soft and low. "Tamar, we can't stay here, we have to go now."
No matter how hard she plucked at Dana's fingers on her wrist, the woman still managed to bring her into the big room. Even so, Tamar wasn't stupid - she made no sound as she fought. Dana was stronger, though, and Tamar stopped only when Dana stopped in front of another door.
"Please, please," Dana whispered, fumbling at the latch.
A sudden squeal pierced the air. Tamar froze, then clapped her free hand over her ear.
"Shit!" Dana looked over Tamar's shoulder and then scrabbled for something in her pants pocket. "God, please - "
Tinny babble came from down the hallway next to the big room. Voices, none of which Tamar could understand were cut by static and the man, who occasionally screamed "No!" and "Dammit!"
Whatever Dana was looking for in her pocket she must have found, for she stuck something into the latch, jiggled it, and pulled the door open all the way.
Transfixed, Tamar stood open-mouthed and dumb.
The air was heavy with sweetness and the chalky-juicy odor of broken grass, the floor of her hole when it was wet, and other things she couldn't put a name to. There was wind on her face, warm and cool at the same time, grass and leaves and bushes and clouds and crickets and birds.
She - no. It made her feel funny, like she was going to throw up.
Dana didn't care. She pried Tamar's hand from the doorframe and pushed her onto the flat stone serving as a step. It was cold and ever so slightly damp under her feet.
Beyond the step was an area with a couple of bare patches of dirt, tall weeds, and four mounds of the brightest green grass she had ever seen. Some ways away were bushes and trees.
She hung back as Dana pulled her towards the treeline.
It was too much.
She wanted to go back inside.
Dana jerked on her wrist to make her go faster after a cry of sheer rage ripped through the air. She stepped on a pebble and cried out and then she was on the ground and her mouth was full of dirt.
"Shh, be quiet," Dana breathed.
Tamar struggled to get up, but Dana crawled on top of her and she could barely breathe. Her ribs hurt.
"I know you're out there!" the man yelled. "I'm going to find you and fucking kill you!"
She gulped in air and Dana promptly clapped a hand over her mouth, and when Tamar moaned, pinched her nose shut with the other.
"I know who you are!" shouted the man.
"Shh," Dana tightened her grip.
Everything went black.
When she woke up, Dana was stroking her cheek. Dana looked bad. The whites of her eyes were all red, and her face was black and blue. There were long bruises on her throat.
Dana shifted and said, "It's time to go."
The sky had faded to darkness while Tamar slept, but not dark like night. She shrank away from the trees when they touched her, but there was nothing she could do about the things that snapped and poked her feet, the scratches on her legs, or how cold she felt.
Eventually Dana stopped. "We'll camp here."
Tamar didn't know why here was better than any where else in the woods. They had gone up and down, crossing two streams, passing through a couple of clearings carpeted with tiny, tart, wild strawberries that made her even more hungry than before. The trees were not as big, their trunks thinner, maybe the width of her leg, not as thick as Dana's.
Sitting on her heels, she watched Dana limp around, gathering branches that were on the ground and dragging them over to a nearby broken pine with one end still on its foot. Dana placed the branches against the tree, then pushed handfuls of dead leaves into the open space beneath.
Tamar obeyed, crawling in on hands and knees. It was better than outside, even if the wind did come in, and things were creeping in the wood. Dana came in after her, blocking the wind that came from the front, and Tamar found herself almost comfortable. Besides, Dana was warm, hotter than she had been when the man had first brought her to the hole.
Unlike her hole, the darkness here was filled with sound. Owls hooted, and something else screamed every so often. There was a flurry of wings and then a shrill squeal, followed by absolute silence. Once she thought she heard someone walking nearby, crunching through the leaves, splashing through the nearby stream. Just when she was about to nudge Dana the woman awoke with a start, shifting to look out towards the noise. Whatever was out there must have stopped, or gone away, for there were no more sounds and Dana went back to sleep.
Tamar wished she could sleep as easily. Her eyes snapped open at every out of the ordinary sound, even when Dana shifted, at the ghostly touches of insects on her skin. She watched the long night lighten, until once again she could see the forest that surrounded them.
Spears of sunlight lanced through the crowns of the trees when she heard the first call. Dana hadn't moved, although she was still breathing, and Tamar couldn't decide wether or not she felt safer next to Dana or not when the call came again, and again, and again, seemingly from all directions.
A dry crack sounded behind her and she twisted to see what was happening. The view was broken by the greenery which Dana had woven through the branches, but it didn't matter, because Dana was moving now, leaving Tamar even more chilled.
"Stay there and be quiet," said Dana. She carefully stood and took a step, stumbling then catching herself against a tree on the next step. "Sir?"
Another person walked into the clearing, but Tamar could only see their legs from where she was. Whoever it was, they were bigger than Dana. Then Dana sat on the ground all at once, as if she were really tired, and a big man squatted beside her. He made her drink from an orange bottle while he spoke into a small gray box that gibbered back at him loudly.
After Dana motioned to her, Tamar crept out from under the branches. She was stiff and cold and her feet still hurt.
She couldn't tell what the big man was thinking as she walked towards them, but his face was all screwed up like he'd been hurt or pinched really hard. She ignored Dana and went right up to him and huddled against him, figuring he would like that. It was scary, because she didn't know what he might do, and the man sometimes did and sometimes didn't like it when she did things before he asked, and once she lost hearing in both ears when he hit her head after she unbuttoned his pants when he hadn't told her to.
Instead of holding her, he took off his blue and white checked shirt, wrapping it around her. He was tall and the shirt came to her knees.
"Tankoo," she said.
"You're welcome," he answered, his voice cracking with emotion.
Things happened like a dream after that.
The big man gave her something he called gorp to eat, but it was too hard for her to chew, so he gave her a flat waxy wafer instead. After the first cautious bite, she remembered it was called chocolate, and crammed half of it into her mouth, holding the rest even though it made her hands sticky. It was good but she threw up afterwards.
Despite her best efforts to stay by his side, the big man made her sit next to Dana when the other people arrived. She kept waiting for the man to show up, too.
But he never did.
After a while, the big man came and sat with her and Dana. She didn't understand half of what he said. He gave her something salty and sweet to drink, and then everyone stood up and started to walk in the same direction. When she was too tired to walk any more, the big man carried her, and she fell asleep against his shoulder.
"To a terrorized person, an open
door is not an open door."
Martin Symonds, M.D.
Quiet, He'll Hear You by Dryad
3/3 disclaimed in part one
Her room was white, with a big picture window overlooking a little park. There was a tall tree in the center of the park, and places where people sat when it was sunny out. Inside, she had a soft bed and a bathroom that had a toilet and a sink and a shower. She liked to stand in the shower until the water no longer seemed hot. Or until the nurses came in and made her get out.
It was dark outside now, but she looked out of the window anyway, ignoring everyone else in the room, even Dana.
"Is she, is she normal, Agent Scully?"
"As normal as can be expected, considering, Mr Davies."
Tamar could see the man they called her father sit down in one of the stuffed chairs by the door as reflected by the window. He blew his nose and then wiped his eyes with the used tissue.
"No, I mean...will she always look like that?"
Dana shrugged. "Ten years of malnutrition isn't easily corrected. The bald patches on her scalp will probably grow back and her skin will readjust once she spends some time outside, but she'll never be taller than she is now. It's unlikely she'll ever have pubic hair."
"Christ," A tall girl named Leila tossed her hair over her shoulder. "What about her teeth and her legs? She looks like a goddamned refugee."
"Lack of vitamin D," Dana said. "We used to call it Ricketts. She's already been fitted for a pair of dentures, they should be ready within the next couple of days. She has an appointment with the physiotherapist this afternoon for leg braces and a physical exercise program to strengthen her musculature. She'll need proper nutrition and as much time in the sun as she can stand, Mr Davies, in order to prevent the onset of osteoperosis in later years."
"And her mental state?" asked the other woman, who had short yellow hair and wore round glasses. She swayed towards Leila, but Leila twitched away.
"Leila," Tamar's father said. "Miranda was just asking."
"I don't give a shit what she's asking, she has no right to be here," Leila spat.
"This is not - "
"Yasmin should be here, not your new wife," Leila continued, folding her arms tightly against herself. "She should be here."
There was a short silence, then Dana shifted and said, "Are there any other questions I can answer for you?"
"You think she's capable of doing rejoining normal society?" Miranda asked, glancing at Leila.
"With therapy, special schooling, and support from her family, yes, I think it's possible. It won't be easy, but it is possible."
Mr Davies got to his feet. "Alright. Tamar, we'll be back to visit you tomorrow, okay? G'night, pumpkin."
Except for Dana, they shuffled out of the room, smiling scared.
Dana approached the bed and Tamar closed her eyes. She felt something touch her hair, her cheek.
"It's okay, sweetie," Dana spoke low. "You've done what you had to do to survive, and don't let anyone ever tell you differently. You will survive this too, as I did."
Tamar heard the creak of the door and a man said, "Scully?"
"I'll be out in a minute, Mulder," Dana waited and then murmured, "Remember, Tamar. You did what you had to do, and you will do what has to be done now. Survive, and be well."
Warm breath washed over her face, and she felt the featherlight touch of lips against her brow.
'In some cases, people may have considerable ambivalence over viewing a crime as an actual crime (with a victim)...When the victim has had a long-standing relationship or connection with the murderer, it is easier to place some blame on the victim.'
Author's notes: Rhyme courtesy of Rhi, who sent me the most amazing, most perfect piece!
Fairy Tale Rhyme:
Can't even shout, can't even cry,
The Gentlemen are coming by
Looking in windows, knocking on doors
Need to take seven and they might take yours.
Can't call to mom, can't say a word,
You're gonna die screaming but you won't be heard
Thanks to the Lyric Wheel I've finally been able to finish this tale, which has been languishing on my hard drive for the better part of two years. It has been very difficult to write, not only because of the subject matter, but also in trying to write from the perspective of someone who doesn't have a lot of words, and has little experience of what we would consider minor things – like going outside whenever we choose, or flipping on a light switch. So, please forgive the stiffness of this piece.
In no way do I want to suggest that the one time rape is an experience the victim finds pleasure in. Having said that, however, it is my understanding that long term non-consensual sex between the same people can have that effect, which is to say, the body reacts to the stimuli even though the mind is in a completely different state (Trudy in When Rabbit Howls mentions this specifically). Role play of this nature between consenting adults is not to be confused with what I've written above.
Finally, my story 'Birthday' is the companion piece to this tale, and can be found on The Grove and Gossamer. It was also written for the Lyric Wheel, and although it's a prequel, it should be read after Quiet. http://www.hegalplace.com/xflyricwheel/dryad12.htm
The following books were of great aid in the writing of this story:
Sexual Homicide; Patterns and Motives - Robert Ressler, Ann Burgess, and John Douglass, The Free Press, 1992 (particularly chapters 13: "The Victim's Family and its Response to Trauma", and 14, "Victims: Lessons Learned for Responses to Sexual Violence".
Stolen Lives - Oufkir, Malika. Miramax Press, 2002
Patty Hearst quote - p.45 - The Perfect Victim: the True Story of 'The Girl In The Box'. McGuire, Christine and Carla Norton. Virgin (UK), William Morris (US), 1992 - An extremely difficult read.
Martin Symonds quote - p.149 – The Perfect Victim, McGuire and Norton
Last quote, p. 194 - Sexual Homicide. Ressler, Burgess, and Douglas. The Free Press, 1992
Why They Kill: The Discoveries of a Maverick Criminologist – Rhodes, Richard. Vintage, 2000
The Gap Series. Donaldson, Stephen (My pathetic attempt at stripped writing was inspired by this series). Bantam, 1992-1997