Lisa Kittle, an eighteen-year-old girl, sat in the corner of a dark, musty room. She was curled up in the fetal position, as she usually would do after her captor sexually assaulted her. A single tear rolling down her face. Another day goes by, and still nobody to rescue her from her living hell. A brief thought of her tolerance level came to mind as she remembered she used to have a lot more tears and a lot more crying. But now, one tear is all she could well up, fearing escape and rescue were looking less likely to happen.
After some time had passed, Lisa crawled onto her old, used mattress and placed the tiny sheet that her kidnapper gave her a year ago over her small, frail body. Her thoughts took her to a happier place and time with her family. It was the only way she could fall asleep. Before sleep arrived for her that day, she heard a loud noise in the hallway. Lisa did not know the sounds, and it frightened her. She sat up in her bed and placed the sheet over her. Only her eyes visible looking at the door, she trembled in fear.
The yelling and screaming only scared her. Not knowing what was happening on the other side of the door, she only became more frightened. Lisa recognized only one voice—her kidnapper. He would scream profanities at whoever just forced their way into his home. She sat patiently, looking at the door, wondering if she would be next.
She heard large, heavy footsteps coming down the hall towards her room. They stopped in front of her door. She shook even harder and covered her head, not knowing who was on the other side. Then, suddenly, there was an enormous bang. Whoever was in the hallway had just broken down the door. Terrified, even more, she trembled as she put herself in a small ball, with her face towards the mattress. She cried, not knowing her fate.
“Lisa?” a soft female’s voice said. It was the first time she had heard her name spoken since she was taken. “Lisa? It’s okay. We’re the police.”
She brought the sheet down from her face and saw a female kneeling down in front of her. She had a dark blue police jacket on and a gold badge attached to her waist. After a year of not talking and being abused if she spoke, Lisa struggled to say anything. The bright light from the flashlights hurt her eyes causing her to cover her face with her hands. Not knowing if this was a dream, a trap, or another hopeful vision that she used to have, Lisa stood up and was escorted out of the room. Only when she saw her kidnapper handcuffed and sitting on the couch did she realize this was really happening.
As she passed by him leaving the house, she looked at him. His eyes were sorrowful, and for once, he finally looked broken and hopeless. Just as she had felt for the past year.
A part of her felt lost and sad. The man that sat there was her only lifeline for the past year. Even though she had to endure the assaults and the sex, she also knew he took care of her. Bathing her. Feeding her. She knew if it was not for him actually caring for her, she would be dead.
Another part of her was glad it was finally over. She would not have to deal with the abuse from her kidnapper any longer. And finally, he would get to know the feeling of being locked up and treated like some animal. A brief thought even passed through her mind, hoping he would find out what it was like to be raped.
“Lisa,” the detective said in a quiet voice. “Before we release you to your parents, we are going to take you to the hospital to have them check you out, and then I will need to get a statement from you. Okay?”
Lisa nodded, not saying a word. Her eyes, still squinting from the sunlight that she has not seen in a year. She sat in the back of an ambulance to drive her to the local hospital for an examination. The ride was quiet. Lisa could do nothing more than stare at everything going by in the window. Seeing items like trees, cars, people—the things she never thought she would see again.
The ride only took a few minutes. The EMTs unloaded her from the ambulance’s back and wheeled her into a waiting exam room where a doctor did a full check of her.
* * *
Lisa woke up in a hospital room. Several hours had gone by, and the detective sat waiting for her to wake up. She knew Lisa had been through an awful ordeal, and it was probably the best sleep she had received since being abducted. “Hi, Lisa. I’m Detective Julie Marshall. I’m the one that found you yesterday. Remember?”
Lisa adjusted herself in bed to sit up. Julie helped her by using the controller to raise the back of the bed. Lisa watched intently, not knowing what the detective was doing.
“Are you hungry or thirsty?” Julie asked.
Lisa nodded, still not saying a word.
As Julie stood up to get Lisa a glass of water, she asked, “You have said nothing. Can you talk?”
Lisa nodded. “I… I… I… have not said a w… w… w… word in over a year.” It took time, but Lisa’s first sentence finally mumbled out.
Julie handed Lisa a glass of water and placed her hand on Lisa’s shoulder. Lisa flinched, still nervous about people touching her. “It’s okay,” Julie whispered. “It’s okay.” The detective returned to her seat. “Can I ask you some questions?”
Lisa nodded as she looked down at the water.
“Do you remember the day that man took you?”
Lisa remained still. Her eyes open, Julie could see she was thinking. Lisa finally shook her head. “No,” she whispered.
“Did he hurt you at all?” Julie already knew the answer after receiving the report from the doctor that examined her.
Lisa looked down and nodded. A tear welled up in her eyes, and she cried. The memory of the things the man did to her returned. The memory made her curl up and place a blanket over her head, hoping the darkness would make the recollection go away.
“Lisa,” Julie said. “Lisa. I’m sorry. I know this is difficult for you. But I need to know what he did so we can make sure we put him in jail for an extremely long time.” Julie placed her hand on Lisa’s back. “Lisa. Can you please talk to me?”
The sheet slowly came off Lisa’s head. “He hit me,” she said.
“Okay, okay. This is good. Did the man use a weapon or just his hand?”
Lisa shook her head. “Just his hand and fist.” She cried again, thinking of what the man did to her. “Then he… he…” She cried harder, unable to finish the sentence.
“Lisa,” Julie whispered. “Did he sexually assault you? Did that man rape you?”
Lisa busted out crying again, nodding her head.
“How many times?” Julie asked, afraid to know the answer.
“Every day,” Lisa responded, continuing to cry.
Julie stood up and gave Lisa a hug. “I’m so sorry, Lisa. I’m so sorry. It’s going to be okay.”
The hug continued until Lisa’s crying subsided. Julie knew then that Lisa needed more time to rest and to heal. She stood up. “I’ll be right back, Lisa.”
The detective stepped outside and walked to a waiting room where Lisa’s parents were anxiously waiting to hear from the detective. “Mr. and Mrs. Kittle? I’m Detective Julie Marshall. Your daughter just woke up.”
Both parents rushed to the door.
“Wait… wait!” The detective said. “She is still very skittish and is having a hard time talking. She doesn’t remember much, but if you could keep the conversation only to things about the family and not bring up her experience, it would be helpful.”
“Of course.” The parents rushed in to see their daughter, followed by Julie.
Crying started from all the family members—a reunion, one-year in the making.
The detective knew that statistically, these types of crimes rarely end so nicely. This was one of the few that had a happy ending. She knew the family would go through a rough time during the kidnapper’s trial and Lisa’s emotional healing before returning to everyday life—if she ever did.
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