‘Captive in the Shadows:’ by Brooke Scott, Year 10, Thomas Clarkson Academy

Trapped and confined in a tight room no bigger than a shoe cupboard. Blinded by foolishness for disregarding all earlier warning flags… probed and poked like a parrot in a cage. I had no possibility of remaining alive, simply to rot away in the foreign land that was supposed to be my new home.

But I guess… in the end… it was.

Worrying about your suitcase getting lost on vacation is stressful enough, but when you’re moving your entire life halfway across the world, ‘stressed’ is an understatement. I was so worried that I had left anything vital in England that I had been getting up as early as 6 a.m. to locate and unpack the boxes packed in my hallway. “Early to bed and early to wake. Makes a man youthful, wealthy, and clever.” Or so I told myself. But I never made it to my new job. I had barely finished unpacking before accepting my fate and saying goodbye to the life I had envisioned for the last five years.

Velma, my roommate had persuaded me to visit the pub. Hesitant at first, but then accepting with no inkling of what was going to transpire. That’s where I met the intriguing ‘man of my dreams’. We spoke as Velma snogged the first man she came across. The mysterious man had won me over, he took total control and although I felt fragile, it was his fascinating demeanour that made me feel protected. Frank offered to buy me a drink, I agreed.  I felt safe, Frank was a charmer and this moment in time seemed like a dream; then we… well… Without warning, suddenly my vision became blurry; my sense of direction was construed. My stomach began to churn, as the quickness of the darkness approached without warning. Blackout.

Trapped and enclosed: naked, alone, numb. My mascara was smeared across my face and my clothes were scattered among the chairs in front of me. The suitcase stress was nothing compared to the raw and overwhelming emotions I felt during those first few moments. I knew what had happened to me, it was obvious. However, I didn’t accept it. “I mean, this only happens in the movies, right? When you’re in an alley way isolated from the busy city left behind. Not in a bar when my best friends sitting next to me!” That’s what I kept thinking within my perplexed mind. I was so removed from my surroundings that I didn’t notice the’ man of my dreams’ approaching me. The arrogance of someone who knows they have placed you in such an aggressive situation. The ugly smirk was pasted on his flawless lips. The Devil in Disguise.

As I lay there, all my emotions flowed slowly out of my body. Used and then abandoned. Used and then destroyed. Used, then discarded. Each time he invaded me on that chilly floor, he took a fraction of my dignity with him…

He’d won.