As I opened my eyes, all of my senses came rushing over me at once, like a river when a dam breaks. The first thing I noticed was the overwhelmingly musty smell. The second thing to catch my attention was the intense pressure on my head. In fact, my head was throbbing with extreme pain. I reached up to grab my head when I felt tight, dry restraints around my wrists. I shivered as I looked down at the knots around my wrists and my eyes followed the ropes until they met a hook coming out of the area of the wall next to me.
That’s when I noticed the wall. It was black and grimy, as if it had never been cleaned. I looked around and noticed that the rest of the room I was in seemed to be in the same condition. The room was small and there was a single wooden door near the corner in front of me. There were two miniature windows high up on the wall to my right. They were so dirty that hardly any light came in through them, but enough weak rays made their way through the cracked windows for me to see. Between the two windows was a dark, ancient wooden cabinet. Above the cabinet, I could make out the shape of a large wooden cross.
As I looked around, I began to piece together everything that had led to me getting tied up in an abandoned church.
My boyfriend and I were going to visit an old church on the countryside. We had heard about how magnificent it was and wanted to see the well-known building for ourselves. As we were walking toward the church, I marveled at the structure. It had been constructed beautifully., with delicate spires rising into the sky. Many windows were dirty and cracked and small plants were growing up the walls. It was clearly abandoned, however the condition of the church made it more grand. It was a truly beautiful church, at least from the outside.
I was holding hands with my boyfriend as we walked up the steps. As soon as we entered the doorway of the church, he began gripping my hand more firmly than ever. As my hand began to hurt, I looked down at it and saw the blood leaving my hand.
“Ow, what are you doing?” I exclaimed. He continued to hold a tighter and tighter hold on my hand. His face had distorted into a pained, confused mask. His whole body began to shake until he was writhing. “Let go of me! Let go!” I finally managed to pull my arm out of his grasp and backed away. As soon as he took a step toward me, he let out a sound that a human could not create. I turned around and ran from the church. As soon as I leaped down the stairs, I turned back to see the church door begin to open again. Before I got a glance of him, I began sprinting, trying to get as far away from him as possible. “What’s going on with him? What just happened?” I thought. I looked back and forth down the empty road and decided to go behind the church, where there was a forest. “Just keep running. Do not stop running,” I kept repeating to myself.
The woods were dense; almost no light got through the canopy of tall trees. As I ran, I began to hear crunching of leaves from behind. I glanced back and saw a figure swiftly coming towards me. I surged forward with another burst of energy, but I could hear him approaching. Without any warning, I felt a jarring pain that started at my head and rushed through my body. Everything went black.
Coming back to attention, I suddenly realized there was another person in the room with me. I began to sweat and shiver uncontrollably as he walked toward me.
“Did you have a nice nap?” he asked me calmly. I stared blankly at him. “I said, did you have a nice nap??” I mumbled an inaudible response. “I can’t hear you!”
“Yes,” I said as I glared at him. I felt the tears begin to sting my eyes. I blinked rapidly to make them disappear. “So what am I doing here?” He turned around and began pacing, facing the opposite direction. Under my breath, I whispered, “Wait a second, I think I know what’s going on…”
“What did you just say?!” he snarled.
All of a sudden, his neck began rotating to face me. His body hunched over, his head continued to swivel until he was looking at me backwards over his shoulders. His head had turned one hundred eighty degrees.
I was transfixed. Subconsciously, my jaw had dropped. He made his way towards me, his body realigning itself with his head as he drew near. He brought his face right in front of mine. I turned my head away from him, trying to shrink back as far as possible. My vision began to blur and I felt the warm tears streak down my grimy cheeks.
Before I realized what was happening, he had cut the ropes on my wrists with a knife and practically yanked me to my feet. He pulled me to the cabinet, opened one of the creaky doors, and pulled out a glass bowl. He then dragged me out the door of the small, dirty room and up a narrow set of stairs.
I was paralyzed; the thought of trying to escape crossed my mind, but I knew trying to bolt was futile.
As we emerged from the basement and entered the main hall of the church, I noticed the distinct beautiful carved stone columns and soaring ceilings associated with hallowed buildings. It reminded me of ancient European ruins. The building was vast and empty. Cobwebs hung on every surface of the ceiling. Small gusts of wind blew through the cracked windows, causing the dull chandeliers to slowly sway back and forth, creaking quietly.
He walked me to the front of the church and tied one of my wrists to a handrail. He pulled out the knife again and calmly placed it on my free wrist. I looked down at the knife on my wrist. That’s when he began to cut. I shrieked as the knife tore my skin and watched as the blood flowed out. I tried wriggling away, but the knot around my wrist was tight and he had a firm grip on my other wrist.
He looked up at me abruptly. His eyes showed just a flicker of compassion as he whispered, "I'm sorry. It just needs your blood." All at once, the look in his eyes transformed back to the cruel, almost demonic stare. He then continued to slice my wrist open without emotion. I stared at him, shocked at the momentary character change from this monster to my caring boyfriend and back.
"What is it?" I asked myself.
As my blood continued to flow, he held the glass bowl underneath my arm and let the blood drip down. I began to sway back and forth as I felt dizzy. When he realized that I was about to faint, he simply untied me and led me back down the stairs to the basement. Once we were in the room, he pulled a bandage out from the cabinet and wrapped my wrist. He proceeded to tie me up in the same spot as before and left me there. I slowly drifted into a deep sleep on the cold ground as the glow of the little available light faded.
When I woke up, I could tell from the changing light that it was morning again. I recalled my unimaginable nightmare. Yet when I looked down, I realized it was real. My heart started pounding incredibly fast as I launched into a full-blown panic attack. Suddenly, I couldn't breathe and my chest began to feel tight. None of it felt real, yet on my own arm was proof of what had happened.
"I have to get out of here. I need to escape," I croaked to myself. "Okay, focus, how are you going to escape? He has a knife and he's acting insane." I began to contemplate the reason behind the drastic change in him as soon as we entered the church. "This cannot be him. He would never act like this. He would never hurt me," I tried to convince myself. I thought back to our two years together. He had always been calm and well-mannered. I could not imagine him harming anyone.
Just then, he walked in. "No! Please, no, don't do this to me!" I pleaded to him. Just like before, he untied me and took me upstairs with the glass bowl, which was now empty. I stood completely still after he tied me up, knowing his purpose. There was no point in trying to avoid it, my blood being spilled was inevitable.
After enough of my blood had fallen to satisfy him for the time being, he took me back downstairs and wrapped my wrist once again. I remember the fading light and drifting off. He took my blood for two more days. I felt more helpless each time. I started to have mild hallucinations, usually of people rescuing me. Yet when the visions ended, I felt even more dejected because nobody was going to come and save me.
I began to think of my little prison as a sort of home. When I was in the room, I was exhausted, but it was an escape from the torture of watching my own blood continue to pour every single day.
When I woke up on the fifth day, I looked down at the several cuts on my wrists. For a moment, I thought I was hallucinating. I could not even recognize my own body. I was extremely weak and pale, almost as if I were a skeleton of who I used to be. My body could not sustain this any longer, and neither could my mind.
However, my mind was too cloudy to be able to form a logical plan.
The next time he took me upstairs, he didn't tie me up and he let me hold the glass bowl since I hadn't resisted for the past several days. Suddenly, a vague idea popped into my head, but I could not fully think it through.
As I held the bowl, he began to slice his blade through my sore wrist and my hand began to tremble. At first it was almost indistinguishable, but soon, my hand was shaking uncontrollably and noticeably. Before he could catch it, the bowl fell from my hand and shattered and the blood in the bowl splattered on our shoes.
"No!!" he screeched. "I need that blood!" He bent down and it seemed as if he had begun furiously trying to collect all of the blood.
"What are you doing?" I implored, hoping that in his panic, he might answer my question.
Without looking up at me, he exclaimed, "I need this blood to survive." He was still frantically clawing at the ground. Instantly, I saw my only chance at escaping. With a surge of energy, I lunged for a substantial piece of glass and attacked him with all of my might.
As I howled, he looked up at me in shock, not expecting that much energy from someone mostly drained of her blood. As he turned to face me, I jabbed the shard into his arm. I had aimed for the chest, but my blind rage and extreme weakness impaired the steadiness of my hand and my vision.
"What have you done!" he screamed. His voice began to change. "Not a drop of the hosts blood shall be spilled. Not a drop. Not a drop..." He repeated this mantra while trying prevent the blood from trickling out of his wound. He paid no attention to me because clearly his life was in danger. His chant got more and more quiet as I made a break for it.
As soon as I exited the church, I looked in front of me at the acres of fields and down both sides of the desolate dirt road. I chose to go right down the dirt road for no logical reason. I dashed down the road, but I was extremely weak. I began stumbling down the road, feeling weak and disoriented. After what felt like twenty miles, I came upon a small, run-down house. I dragged my heavy feet up the steps and knocked desperately on the door.
"Help! Help me!" I yelled. Finally, a man opened the door. He first noticed the blood spattered on my shoes. "I need help! Please call the police!"
The next few hours were even more blurry than the past few days trapped in the church. When the police came, I sent them to the church. Soon after, I was called to the church. As I walked in, I saw the minor wound in my boyfriend's arm. He was lying on the floor of the front of the church dead, just where I had left him. With that image in my head, I collapsed.