Rachael was seven years old and about to die at the hands of her abductors, but that was okay. She didn’t want to live any more, not now, not after all the bad stuff. The bed, on which she lay, stank of sweat, blood and other things, so there was no relief from the stench, when she buried her head in the sodden pillow. She lay on her side, her eyes darting up at the dark shadows passing between the uneven floorboards above her head. Footsteps dislodged dust trapped within the wood, and she coughed as particles fell on her face. They didn’t care if she heard their plans, and instinct told her life meant nothing to them, the bad men. One of them laughed and the sound was terrible. She touched a wound in her arm. The tips of small fingers fitted in to the indents of the teeth marks. Her body roared with pain when she tried to turn over, and she closed her eyes, wishing they would come and get it over with. Three nights had passed, she measured time by the light that came and then faded through small fissures in the cellar walls. It was no use wishing, her mother wasn’t going to come and save her now, she bit down on dry, blood-encrusted lips.
The trap door above her head opened and she watched with fear-filled eyes as one of the bad men climbed down the ladder. He didn’t look at her but placed a small plastic box on the bed and sat down. Flicking the lid open, he withdrew a syringe and began to fill it from a small vial. Rachael dreaded visiting the doctor and the underlying threat of having a vaccination, but the sight no longer held any terror for her.
“It’s no use struggling,” he looked down at her. “You’ll only make it harder on yourself.”
“I’m not going to struggle.”
Her words chilled him, but he brushed aside his discomfort with a sneer.
“That’s just as well,” he grabbed her arm. “I don’t want to have to hit you again.”
“My mother is going to make you pay,” she hissed as the needle pierced her skin.
“You’re such a silly, little thing,” he laughed, as he pushed the plunger, emptying its contents into her battered flesh.
He couldn’t know that in the seconds before the drug took hold, how Rachael’s mind screamed out for her mother. It wouldn’t have matter had he known, he felt nothing for the small, wasted form on the bed. He pulled the stinking pillow from beneath her head and placed it over her face, just to make sure. The others were in the garden, the crunch of the shovels slicing through the dry earth echoed from above his head.
“Time to go,” he hauled the small body from the bed and draped it over his shoulder.
Her weight didn’t register, as he climbed the ladder and carried her through the cabin, and out into the back garden.
“Drop her in,” the command came from the man nearest him, and he did as he was told.
The small thud her body made as it hit the soil, sounded amplified in the still surroundings and he walked away. This was the part he found distasteful, the blood-sweet smell of the earth and the sound it made, as they scattered it over the body.
Back in the cellar, he began to tidy up. There wasn’t much time, the few remaining items of clothing would need to be buried with the body. Lacing his fingers through the straps of her sandals, he looked down at the shiny leather and smiled.
Her mother was going to make them pay. He laughed and shook his head. The possibility of being found out was ludicrous. They were too clever, too organised. Everything had a set pattern and they never deviated from their plans. No, they had done it all before, and would do it again. The idea made him lick his lips in anticipation.