he first death I've ever heard of my family was my grandfather’s. On a really normal afternoon when everything seemed usual, the call came about his passing. It did not really affect me so much then, even though I adored my grandfather. It was only after I visited my grandparent’s home some months later that I began to feel his absence and began missing him. The only regret was that I missed his funeral due to my exams, and I couldn’t mourn him.
Funnily, the next death I heard of was of my own. It was on national news when I saw myself being suspected as murdered. I was used as a hostage by the nation’s most wanted criminal, namely Byun Baekhyun.
His name was a dread to everyone, and when news came that he had escaped a high security prison, everyone shut their doors and waited for the criminal to be taken in again. I will not say I am lucky because as I was returning home with my friends from the university, I found myself suddenly attacked, placed in a chokehold with a gun pointed to my head. The police were in pursuit of the culprit, and they had come to our lane. I was that unfortunate. Among the 8 people there, I was the only one in a chokehold with frightened screaming stuck in my throat. My heart felt like it was going to leap out.
“Do anything, and I will not hesitate to shoot you." His voice was gruff and filled with so much hatred it did nothing to calm my terrified heart.
The police, in fear of something happening to me, failed to stop him as he dragged me away in a hitched car and drove to a place where no human could ever live. There was a small battered T.V. up on the rotting shelf. I observed him through my streaming eyes as he gagged and bound my hands and feet before leaving the room. He was stick thin with dirty matted hair and was of a smaller stature. I saw a little of his ragged face and smelled his decaying, rotting scent. His skin was sickly pale, probably due to the lack of sun exposure.
The next morning, I found myself in a ship of some sort, the kind that smells so rotten and fishy that I felt the urge to puke with every passing minute. I was still gagged, and bound, and slumped on the slimy wooden floor. It was not comfortable. The ship wobbled to and fro, much like my own sanity.
From my position, I could see the blue sky from the small, circular window and cried some more, my head was throbbing. Is no one coming to save me? Will I ever get to say goodbye? I didn't know for how long we traveled but I did know that it was a long, long journey. I was starving to death by the time we reached whatever destination we were. I was unconscious for the most part of the journey, slipping into consciousness occassionally, but that helped me get through it. The entire time, I had to pee in my pants. Thankfully with an empty stomach, I did not have to take a dump. It was probably the most miserable days of my entire life.
It had been two weeks since I was forced onto this dreary, little island where rain pelted the thin roof day and night. I was thankfully released from the binds, but I was still shut inside a small room with nothing in it except a hard bed made with a dank, woolen blanket and an old, wooden chair.
The island, based on what I could see from the small, barred window, was sparsely dotted with small, in-roofed houses. The island was rocky and hilly. I was possibly somewhere in the middle of that small, rocky mountain. There weren't any vegetation or trees between the shacks as it sloped down till we could see the expanse of the roaring ocean. My room smelled of rotting wood and sodden blankets. The air smelled of salt and wind.
The storms were terrible. Every now and then there were loud claps of thunder that shook the entire house, and I could do nothing but scream and try to protect myself. I had anxiety attacks every now and then, sinking deep down into depression thinking of the miserable condition that I was in.
I wanted to escape so badly. It was what I prayed for every night. I never knew I had so many tears until I cried out my lungs every single day due to the horrible condition that I was currently in. I was hungry. He gave me barely enough to keep me alive, and it was excruciating. I would jump in joy if someone gave me so much as a piece of bread.
The seagulls were the only source of music that I got to hear the entire two weeks; their cries pulling me out, even if it’s a little, from the pool of insanity that I felt myself slip in. The rough winds and the pelting of the harsh rain had always been present as though they represented this little island.
However, after the two long dreaded weeks, the rain ceased, and it was as though someone gave me a warm smile. The sun was shining down on my small window, and I never felt so much at peace. My ears were no longer ringing constantly from the harsh wind and rain hitting the tin roof.
The morning was pleasant, so pleasant I found myself smiling as I looked out the window to see the calm sea. The sky was no longer the shade of an angry grey but a beautiful blue with the warm sun. Suddenly, the island didn’t appear to be so bad anymore. In fact, it looked warm and welcoming. I could now hear the people’s voice from here. Oh! Human voices. They sound like heavenly music.
On a sudden impulse, I wanted to shout for help, but something held me back and it surprised me. I found myself strangely accepting this dreaded life, for what was worse? Being in constant state of hate for the criminal? I could not afford that anymore. My body was already weak and frail, and I had to do something.
The last few weeks had been an extreme turmoil for me, and I never wished to visit them again ever in my life. It was always up to me, whatever situation I am in to be in charge of what I feel. I decided to be a little more positive with the situation that I am in. Left and right there, seemed to be nothing good about this even if I lied to myself about it, I was tired of crying, being miserable, and exhausted that I wanted to make myself falsely happy. I was not going to cry anymore.
I waited calmly and patiently for him to come. He was supposedly my enemy, but to my surprise, my fears appeared to have vanished with the dark clouds. If he wanted to kill me, he could have easily blown my head off the first day. But here I am still, maybe for a reason or not, but I did feel as though I might live much longer than this.
There was a bathroom attached to my room, thankfully, and I had access to water, fresh rainwater as the minuscule bathroom had some sort of pipe coming down from above, something that collects rainwater. The reservoir was still full and it would probably last a while, at least until the next time it rained. What was funny was that my kidnapper had at least bought me a toothbrush and toothpaste. Maybe he snatched them somewhere.
My clothes felt dirty and greasy on my skin. I had been wearing the same thing for over two weeks now; I swear they must’ve smelled like fish. I washed them, but I couldn’t go without them because there weren't any other clothes to substitute. I was in my normal college wear – jeans and a white shirt, unfortunately. It was crisp and pretty when I wore them to college but now, they were somewhere between dull yellow to light brown.
My door creaked and he came in, my fears returning. It was impossible not to be scared though, after being held at gun-point and treated like an animal. The food was the same – one burnt fish. But before I could throw myself into another pool of self-pity, I saw his burnt hands and all I could do was gasp. Merlin’s beard, maybe he did not know how to cook, and this was the best he could manage. He put the plate on the floor just by the door. Suddenly pity filled me, replacing whatever fear and hatred that was present.
As I watched his retreating figure, I studied him but not with fearful eyes, rather with a new outlook: I studied him as a human would another. He was thin, so fearfully thin. I thought if I gave him a light push that he’d fall down and die. His hair was long and greasy and his clothes were torn and dirty.
Despite the situation that I was currently in, I felt bad for him and I suddenly really felt like doing something for him. The fish felt nice on my tongue as I tasted the pain he had gone through to make this for me. Some parts were burnt black but all I wanted to do was smile at that.
I must have gone insane, legitimately. It wouldn’t be a surprise with the amount of turmoil I had gone through.
For the first time in what felt like a long time, I tied up my hair with a band that I found in my jean pocket. I wanted to explore the island, to know what was here and yes to get some food. Should I knock? I don’t think he’ll let me out but then it was always worth a try.
I walked to my door, with my empty but dirty plate in hand and found it unlocked. Did he ever lock it? The outside was as dreadful as it was on the inside, only dirtier. I had at least made some effort to make the room which I was staying in a little cleaner. The wooden floor was thick with mud tracks; the walls were mossy and almost rotten. I had come out to a hallway, leading to different rooms, it only held two other rooms with doors facing one another. I walked to my right since t