Ignorance is bliss, but ignorance is still ignorance.
Two weeks ago, I was walking to my car in the nearly empty company parking lot; I had decided to take overtime. In a tech company like this, women like me were typically looked down upon, cast aside, and/or ignored, we had to work twice as hard to get half as far as the men. So, a little overtime would look really good when it came to giving me a promotion. After all, it’s not like I had anything better to do on a Tuesday night.
I reached into my coat pocket for the keys to my dark blue Mazda, but before I could pull them out to open the car, I felt a thick cloth that reeked of chloroform cover my mouth and nose. That was the last thing I remembered before waking up with my wrists and ankles tied to a wooden chair.
I looked around the small, dimly lit, storm cellar I was sitting in, I appeared to be in the middle of the room and there was only one other man in the room with me, sitting in a chair a few feet away from me. He had short unruly, light brown hair that fell into his gray eyes and looked like he was in his mid thirties. He was wearing a navy blue dress shirt and black slacks. Other than us, the room was empty, except for some unused, dusty furniture and a compact bathroom in the corner. When he saw I had regained consciousness he pulled out his cellphone and made a call.
“Girl’s awake,” he said in a raspy voice.
The man came up to me and my blood ran cold. I tried reasoning with myself, he’s not going to kill me now, he would have done it already and he just called someone to tell them I am awake, I have some time. To my relief, he had a plastic water bottle in his hand, he opened it up, and put it in my mouth. “Drink.”
He didn’t have to tell me twice. My mouth was dry and the thought of cold, fresh water flowing down my throat gave me a feeling of raw ecstasy; I gulped the water hungrily as it touched my lips.
After my thirst was quenched, the man and I sat in silence for around fifteen minutes before the cellar doors opened. I squinted my eyes at the sunlight. I was shocked to see that it was morning already, I had been out all night. My stomach churned as I realized I had not eaten since lunch yesterday.
A freakishly tall man walked into the cellar, he had to be over a foot taller than me. He had a square jawline, piercing hazel eyes, and slicked back dirty blonde hair that almost reached his shoulders. He was wearing a black suit with a white dress shirt on underneath.
He looked over at the other man and said, “you can leave, nice work.”
As he walked near me he took off his jacket and tie, then proceeded to unbutton the top button of his shirt. As he neared me, he rolled up his shirt sleeves. When he was about a foot in front of me, he kneeled down so that we were eye level.
“What’s your name?” he asked sincerely.
“My name’s Sarah,” I whispered.
“Well Sarah, I need you to talk to me. You work at Artego Tech, you work for Maxwell Artego. Yes?”
I nodded my head and said “yes,” I didn’t see the need to be kidnapped for such a basic question.
“Well, if you want to leave this cellar,” he said looking around in disgust, “you’re going to tell me where the weapons are.”
“I—weapons, I don’t know anything about weapons.” I truly had no idea about what he was talking about.
“So you don’t know that your boss, Maxwell Artego, is smuggling illegal weapons with his tech products.” His soothing voice had escalated into an angry growl.
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Don’t lie to me,” he said as he rose up to his full height. “DON’T LIE TO ME,” he yelled again, and as he did, he punched me across the face.
“Tell me the truth,” he punched me again. “Where are the weapons,” he punched me once more.
My right cheek was in an agony that I had never felt before and I could feel the blood dripping down my nose. I genuinely did not know what he was talking about, but he did not believe me.
“I,” I gasped, “don’t,” I gasped again, “know.”
He struck me one more blow, grabbed his jacket and tie, and stormed out the cellar.
“Steven, keep an eye on her, keep her alive, and if she starts talking, call me immediately,” he said to the man from before, the one that had given me the water. At least I’m not gonna die in this cellar, I thought to myself.
Later that day, the cellar door opened again and another man handed Steven a bag before hastily leaving. Clearly he had better places to be. It dawned on me that I was missing work. There goes my promotion.
Steven came near me and I writhed in the chair, I hoped that there were no weapons in the bag, he couldn’t kill me, but who’s to say he couldn’t torture me. To my surprise, Steven untied the ropes around my wrist and put the bag in my lap.
I pulled out the contents of the bag. Through the pain I felt, I goofily smiled, “food” I whispered. I swear I saw Steven stifle a laugh at my reaction to the burgers he had brought for me.
I had never eaten as quickly as I had today, but after I finished, Steven threw out my trash and tied my wrists to the chair again.
The next day, the punching man came back. “I hope you will cooperate today,” he said. “You see, Maxwell Artego is getting weapons cheaper than me and selling them for cheaper. He is robbing me of my business. And I need you to tell me where he keeps those weapons.”
I did not know whether I should believe this stranger or if I should trust the man I had been working for the last three years. Maxwell Artego was not much older than me to be honest, he was in his late twenties and had established Artego Tech only five years ago. I always thought he inherited most of his wealth, but it is quite strange that he had gone from college graduate to millionaire in half a decade. It never occurred to me that something sinister was going on.
“I work for Maxwell Artego, but I don't know about the weapons and I don't know where they are.”
“Sarah, I don’t like hurting you, but if you don’t tell me where the weapons are, I will have to hurt you.”
“I. Don’t. Know.”
I waited for the pain, I was still sort of numb from yesterday, maybe that would dull the pain. I felt the first few of his punches, but I must have passed out after that since I woke up groggy about an hour later.
This went on for days. The punching man would come ask me the same questions and continue punching me when I told him I didn’t know. Steven handed me food once a day and gave me water and let me go to the bathroom at my request.
One morning I woke up, waiting for the punching man to come into the cellar and start asking me questions, but he did not. About halfway through the day, Steven got a phone call and had to leave.
I was alone, for the first time in days. I wriggled my right hand hoping to get it out of the rope, when that did not work, I bent down to try to bite at the rope. It was a miracle when I managed to loosen the rope enough for me to slip my right hand out.
After removing the ropes on my wrist and ankles, I got up out of the chair and stretched my legs. I grabbed my coat, and headed towards the cellar doors. I was covered in sweat and blood from head to toe and I’m pretty sure my nose was broken; I smelled awful and there were food stains on my tan, khaki pants.
I shoved the cellar doors open and felt the evening sunlight beam down on my face. I realized that I could not relish the sunlight, I had to get going before someone saw me leaving the cellar. The cellar was connected to an abandoned house surrounded by trees. Since I really did not know where I was, I just walked forwards.
About an hour later I approached a gas station. I reached down into my coat pockets to check if my belongings were still there. My car keys were still there, which was a good thing, my phone was cracked and all of the cash from my wallet was gone, but my credit cards were still there. I breathed a sigh of relief.
I walked into the gas station diner and collapsed into the nearest empty booth I could find.
A waitress, Jenny, I saw on her name tag, came up to me to take my order, but was unpleasantly shocked at my appearance. In her defense, my blouse was covered in blood and my face was all bruised up.
“Honey would like anything to eat, water, maybe?”
I smiled at her display of hospitality and ordered a sandwich and coffee.
“Uh, Jenny,” I asked, she turned around, with a quizzical expression on her face, “where am I, and what’s the date.”
She was polite about her answer and did not ask any questions about my appearance. “You’re in Centerville, Ohio and it’s April 27.”
I lived in Columbus, Centerville was a little more than an hour away from home, and I had been kidnapped for almost two weeks.
“Jenny I need a big favor, I was kidnapped and my car is in Columbus. I was hoping you could give me a ride.” At this point, I thought I deserved some display of kindness.
“My shift ends in five minutes, I’ll give you a ride home.” I was beyond grateful and grinned in her direction.
“Thank you, thank you so much.”
I was on my way to the police department. After getting my nose fixed, it was broken, I was right, I decided to uncover the secrets Maxwell Artego was hiding. I walked through the precinct and told John, the police officer I had set up a meeting with, everything that had happened to me.
A week later, the police got a warrant to search some private storage units under Maxwell Artego’s name and found the weapons he had been smuggling with his tech products. He was supposed to face trial soon.
Getting kidnapped had changed my life. Most people would be traumatized after an experience like this, but I thought it was for the better. I realized how ignorant I had been before, I had been working for a man who was responsible for arms trafficking, I couldn’t even fathom how many people had been hurt because of those weapons. Although I had been blissful living my life before getting kidnapped, I was still ignorant to the shady dealings of a man I trusted, worked hard for, and wanted the approval of. The bliss in me died with my ignorance, I could never undo what had happened to me, and in a way I would be haunted for the rest of my life, but at least I would not be ignorant.
You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.
Cool story just like any other of yours👍 Also if you don't mind will you check out my very new story and give your views on this it? Thanks.
The part where it says “ It dawned on me that I was missing work. There goes my promotion.”—- I really liked this because although it might seem weird that she’s thinking that while she seemingly has much bigger things to worry about, I think it shows how important her job is to her and how significant being promoted is to her. It just stood out to me and I thought it was a good creative choice.
Loved the first line. ‘Ignorance is still ignorance’. A very well-written story. Good job!
Thank you for reading my story, I really appreciate the feedback!
You are welcome! Stay safe! 😊
Please have a look at my story too whenever you have time. Thank you.