~ PREVIEW ~
~ Lily ~
Mid-April – Hong Kong
The sounds of partying and sex have finally ended, and the house has grown silent. Sneaking out should be easy.
Grasping the door handle with a shaking hand I whisper to myself, “It’s now or never.”
The knob turns, and the door thankfully opens—my captors haven’t locked me in the small prison-like room. Two days ago, at least I think it was, I woke up disoriented from whatever drugs they had injected me and with the worst hangover I have ever experienced. Last year’s tequila fueled New Year’s doesn’t even compare!
The small room swam in front of my eyes, and I was too dizzy to comprehend what was really going on. I only knew one thing: I had been kidnapped. I have since been able to deduce that I’m most likely not in Paris. They aren’t speaking French, rather what I assume is Chinese Mandarin, so I have not understood a fucking word they’ve said to me through the drugged-induced haze.
Last semester I should have taken Mandarin instead of fucking French. It would’ve been a hell of a lot more useful! Who needs to speak French anyway? Most of the French I met in Paris spoke at least some English, and many of those were eager to practice their English with me.
Once the fog started lifting from my mind, I drank every drop of water they gave me to try and flush out whatever drug they’d injected me with. I also exaggerated the effects, making them think the drugs were still having an effect on me. By last night I felt almost human again.
Now it’s time for my escape.
From looking out the small window, I know that I am being held on the third floor of a large residential home. I feel pretty confident in my abilities since I have had plenty of practice sneaking in and out of my house in high school. I have been eagerly waiting until the house quiets. Hopefully, everyone is asleep.
I’m still wearing the same black dress I was kidnapped in, but my shoes have gone missing, so I tiptoe out of the room barefoot. The long hallway has several doors on either side, and in the darkness, I can make out a staircase on the far end. Slowly I make my way down the hall, keeping in the shadows and using the rug running its length to muffle my footsteps. I inch my way toward the stairs and slowly descend to the landing, leaning my weight onto the railing so my steps are lighter on the treads, until I enter another long hallway.
This one is brighter, and it’s not long before I come to another railing overlooking the open entryway. There I see the early morning sun coming through the windows. The large front door is in sight! My heart is pounding in my chest so loud I can almost hear it.
I move slowly toward the staircase but freeze when I see a large man dressed in a suit walking to the door and standing by it like a sentry. After several eternity-like seconds, he touches his ear almost as if someone is speaking to him and moves off down an adjacent hallway until I can no longer see him. I quickly hurry down the stairs. Throwing open the door, I bolt outside and down the cement steps, ignoring my feet protesting the cold and rough terrain.
I make it down the driveway and come to a decorative gate. I attempt to push it open, only to find it locked. Fuck. I am forced to crouch down in order to crawl under. I wince as I scrap my palms against the icy broken concrete. My dress’s flimsy material barely covers my knees and I can feel it beginning to tear. Once on the other side, I attempt to stand only to snag my dress on one of the gate’s unwelcoming spikes. Panicking, I tug myself loose, ripping a hole in the back of my dress.
Shaking and sweating, but not wanting to risk being caught, I continue to run down the busy sidewalk.
I don’t get too far when I freeze in my tracks. A black car has pulled up in front of me and several large men in black suits get out. I turn to run the opposite direction, only to run directly into more men.
One of the men picks me up and carries me over his shoulder. I kick, scream, and fight as they drag me back to the house. The street is busy, and pedestrians pass by, but no one attempts to stop them.
They take me through the back door and into what I now know is the holding room for any drunk or abusive clients. They are careful not to hit my face as they beat me with wooden canes, and laugh at my expense as I curl into a tight ball, protecting myself.
I am then forced into my now familiar closet, with only a pillow and blanket. I can barely move or breathe.
I’m stuck. Trapped.
But not raped. Yet.
The following morning, I am dragged out of my closet and taken to see the overseer, a balding middle-aged man who runs the house.
“You behave, or I have you beaten again,” he says, spitting and jabbing a fat finger in my face. “Until Sir comes for you, you work for me now.”
Since every man who enters the house is called “Sir,” this doesn’t tell me anything.
The only thing I can do is keep breathing—no matter how painful it is.
After my escape attempt yesterday, I’ve come to realize that I need to learn as much as possible about my surroundings before I attempt another escape.
Lying alone on the floor of this tiny, stuffy, closet with only a pillow, blanket, and my thoughts for company, I try to piece together what is happening to me and why. The rest of the day I sink into despair and silently cry myself to sleep unable to control my emotions. But I quickly realize that this isn’t going to help me escape.
The next day no one will tell me why I am being held captive. And I have asked, repeatedly. The other inhabitants of the house barely speak to me, unless to issue an order in broken English, although they jabber away behind my back. And by their tone and gestures, I know they aren’t saying how much they love having me here. So why am I?
All the women, from the maids who cook and clean to the girls who service the gentlemen, all seem to be here of their own free will. They smile, laugh, and eagerly greet the men who visit. None of them are locked in at night to prevent their escape.
As the days pass, I’m able to piece together several things, one being my location. After hearing one of the gentlemen talking to another I’ve figured out that I am now in Hong Kong. How I got here from Paris I still have no fucking clue. I don’t dare ask any of the men who visit for help. They barely acknowledge my existence, except to try and cop a feel or order a drink.
Nothing makes sense.
At first, I thought that I was being held captive for ransom. My late father’s company, MacKay International, is a multi-million dollar corporation and one of the largest textile importers in the country. Clearly, this isn’t the case otherwise I would be free.
My throat tightens and my chest painfully seizes whenever I think of my family. They must be going crazy wondering where I am and what has happened to me. I imagine my stepfather, James, and cousin, Peter, are frantically scouring the globe looking for me. And my poor mother, who’s already lost so much, is probably sick with worry and pretending nothing is wrong.
I need to get home to them. Now, all I have to do is figure out how!