Page 17 of Corrupt Kingdom

When I’m done with my bread, I stand and start my mission. I begin with the door right outside the kitchen. Then after that, I walk the main floor. Opening every door and every cupboard, I’m not sure what I’m looking for, maybe a key for a secret door or something. Although that won’t help me. Only a boat will, and it’s not like he would have a boat in the hallway. But I keep looking. I hit the jackpot when I find toiletries and women’s clothes. A part of me doesn’t want to use the clothes I find. Who knows who they belong to? For all I know, it’s another captive of his. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I need to shower and change. I’ll wash the clothes I have on, but while I wait for them to be clean, I can’t be sitting around here naked.

My body trembles at the thought of Cyrus coming back and finding me in that state. Reluctantly, I strip down and get in the shower in the bathroom of my room. I bring my dirty clothes in with me. I’ll wash them with soap and water until I can find out if there is a washer in my prison. That will take more exploring, but at least it passes the time.



The days mesh together, blending like the strokes of an impressionist painting. When I’m hungry, I eat. When I’m tired, I sleep. I’m always hungry, though. That’s the problem with living on bread and water for days.

The sound of the door opening has me bolting from my bed. I quickly slip on my sweater over my leggings and head down the stairs. What I’m met with once I hit the bottom landing has me halting to a stop. It’s not Cyrus.

My brain can’t even register what is happening.

Has the moment finally come?

Is this it? The moment I’ve been waiting for.

All the what-ifs bounce around like a pinball in my brain.

Before I can second-guess myself, I’m running toward her.

She can help me. The sound of my approach must take her by surprise because she holds her hand to her chest.


This is exactly what I need.

“Help me,” I say as I run to where she is standing. Her eyes go wide as she looks me up and down, and that’s when I finally look at her. She appears to be around my age, maybe older by a few years.

I expect her to say something, but when I move to touch her, to beg her, she takes a step back.

Her hand rises to stop me.

“Please,” I implore. “Help me. I’m being kept here. I’ve been kidnapped.” My voice cracks as my emotions threaten to overcome me. I’m petrified that this might be my only shot.

She looks at me with wide eyes, and then she does the unthinkable. She shakes her head back and forth.

“Não falo inglês,” she responds.

The language sounds like Spanish, but it’s not. I remember taking Spanish in high school. This is something else, but regardless of the fact that I can’t understand her, it’s rather clear that I have to assume she is saying she doesn’t understand English.

“Please help me,” I implore again, but this time, she doesn’t answer.

I lift my hand to my ear. “Telephone.” I gesture my hand to pretend I’m calling someone.

“Desculpa,” she whispers.

I continue to stare at her as my heart beats frantically in my chest. I can escape. Even if she doesn’t understand me, this woman must have keys to a boat. Could I be that lucky? Maybe? But then my stomach bottoms out as another thought crosses my mind. What good are keys when I have no boat?

She was probably dropped off.

The sinking feeling festers, spreading from my belly to all the other parts of my body, including my heart, that now pounds heavily. My plan won’t work. It’s hopeless. This woman can’t help me.

With my shoulders slumped forward, a sigh escapes me.

She bites her lip at my clear show of defeat, and then she walks through the house, leaving me stunned in the foyer. As she trails off, I force myself to calm down and follow her to the kitchen. There has to be something I can do. Some way she can help me.

Once I’m standing in the doorway, I observe her. That’s when I finally notice she has bags in her hand.


She’s here to make sure I’m fed.


That means I’ll be here for longer than I wanted to believe. If he’s feeding me, he has no intention of letting me off the island anytime soon.

This is bad.

Really bad.

There is a pressure building in my head, and my jaw starts to tremble. I’m about to cry in front of this woman if I don’t pull myself together.


Pushing all thoughts of my predicament aside, I sit at the kitchen table and watch her. She puts some food away, but the rest she cooks.