March 18- Fetter: a chain or shackle for the feet, something that confines: restraint
I notice my hands first. They are white. I am outside. The temperature, I estimate, is below freezing and it’s some time close to morning. I cough once and spit out a thick blood-filled saliva. I roll over onto my back and attempt to sit up but almost immediately, my head spins and pounds and suddenly I’m heaving up both blood and bile. I bite my lip and breathe deep through my nose, which seems to help. Doing this, I am able to slowly lift up. My legs are of no help to me. The skin is bare and numb and from what I can tell, my ankles are locked tightly in fetters. I carefully move my head left to right. Although my neck does not seem to be broken, it is incredibly sore and only one eye is able to open. I open my mouth to scream but only a whisper comes out. My throat feels ready to close at any moment, but I’m alive. That much I know.
8 HOURS EARLIER
Chrissy picks up the bottle of whiskey from the bathroom counter and takes a swig before handing it to me. “I’m pretty sure there’s a law against drinking while operating heavy machinery.”
“I’d hardly call this heavy machinery,” she yells over the music playing on the speakers and continues to wrap my hair around the curling iron. I roll my eyes and take a drink from the bottle. “Oooh we’re going to get wasted tonight!”
“That’s the plan!”
“Okay. Wait. I’ve got a good one. Kill, screw, marry. Ready? Shaun White, me, or your dad.”
“Ew Chrissy! No way.”
“What? I’d fuck me. Okay, sorry. How about the Quaker oatmeal guy, me, or Margo’s dad.”
“You are so strange. I’m killing you.”
“Wow, that was rude.”
“Screwing the oatmeal guy and marrying Margo’s dad.”
“Cheers to that! Margo’s dad is hot!” Chrissy takes another swig of the whiskey. “Ok now you do me.”
Before I can give Chrissy her three names, a knock comes from the door of our hotel room. Chrissy hands me the curling iron with my hair still wrapped around it and goes to the door. She looks in the peephole and then screams at the top of her lungs. She swings open the door. “Happy Spring break bitches!”
Margo holds up two bottles of Malibu over her head and walks in. “We’re way ahead of you girl!” Chrissy grabs the bottle of whiskey from the bathroom. I unravel my hair to go give Margo a hug. “Melanie!!”
Margo throws her arms around me. “Melanie wants to marry your dad.”
“Chrissy, you’re the one who said he was hot! Plus, you’re choices were fucked.”
“Damn bitch killed me. Would rather fuck the quaker oatmeal guy than her own best friend.”
“You two are insane. I need to get on your level. So are we taking shots or swiggin’ it?” I hold up the whisky bottle. “A toast.”
Margo and Chrissy open the two Malibus and hold them up. “Cheers to getting drunk in Canada with my two best friends.”
A little over an hour later we walk out of the hotel in tight cotton dresses and high-heeled patent leather boots, cozy in our alcoholic blankets. None of us chose to bring a bag, instead tuck our phones into our boots and our IDs and several twenty-dollar bills in our bras. We cross the street and make our way into the heart of Toronto.
We follow the sound of techno music until we reach a plain looking building with two large men standing by the door. The three of us look at each other knowing we’ve struck gold. An underground nightclub. We take a deep breath to mask our giddy child-like excitement of getting into a bar under 21. Chrissy walks up to the bouncers first and hands one of them her ID. He studies it for a second then looks her up and down. He hands the ID back to Chrissy and opens the door. Margo and I follow suit.
Once inside, we’re overwhelmed by the electric blue lights and a bass pounding so hard we can hardly even speak. Chrissy grabs my face and kisses me square on the lips. She pulls back and gives me the most mischievous smile. “Let’s go!”
Chrissy, Margo, and I lace our fingers together and enter a different world. Men in mesh neon tops thrust their hips at anyone walking by. The women have makeup dripping down their faces. We look for a space clear enough for the three of us to fit, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Then, Chrissy stops pushing through the mob and points up. Margo and I look in the direction of her finger and see a cage on a small platform. The only open space. We all smile, shameless to satisfy our American egos in this foreign country. We make our way towards the cage and when we get there, two more bouncers stand in front of us. “IDs,” one of them says in a loud, deep voice.
Chrissy looks at us for support. I reach into my bra and take out my ID and hand it to the bouncer. He looks at it, gives it back to me, and opens the cage door while the other bouncer opens his hand to help me up. Margo and Chrissy do the same. Finally, all caged up, we’re alone. My best friends and I smile at each other before breaking into a dance so sexy, I didn’t even know my hips could do that. I feel invincible, like a princess above the commoners. I make eye contact with a guy sitting at the bar. My heart pounds immediately. He sees me looking at him and nods his head to the bar. I grab Margo and point him out. Her jaw drops. “He’s gorgeous!”
“He wants me to go over there.”
“I don’t want to go alone.” Margo turns back to look at Chrissy who is gyrating against one of the poles.
“She won’t miss us.” Margo grabs my hand and we sneak down out the opposite side of where Chrissy is dancing. We make our way through the strange people. I stop only once to look back at Chrissy. We make eye contact. She’s standing still in the cage, her hands gripping the bars, staring right at us. I quickly turn back around as Margo grips tighter on my hand.
We get to the bar and begin scoping out the seats to see where that guy is. We see him towards the end sipping on a whiskey and run over. “I saw you watching us.”
“Hi. I’m Melanie and this is my friend Margo.”
“Let me buy you two a drink.” Margo and I look at each other. Margo shrugs. “Jack and coke, no ice please.”
I look at the bar tender. “Bay Breeze.” Margo gives me a nod of approval. I guess I did something right. The bartender is quick to get our drinks. “Cheers ladies,” says the guy and holds up his drink, “welcome to Canada.”
I think for a moment about how he knew so quickly that we were American. We clink our glasses and sip our drinks. I look back at the cage but it’s empty. Maybe Chrissy is making her way to the bar. I quickly take a few more sips. “Would you ladies like to dance?”
“Yes!” Margo finishes her drink. “Let’s go!”
I down the rest of mine, too. It goes down easy, myself still heavily intoxicated from the drinks we had earlier. The guy holds out his hands and Margo and I each place a hand in his as he leads us out to the dance floor. We stop in the center of the raging crowd. I feel the bass against my feet. It pounds with the rhythm of my heart. I lace my fingers in Margo’s and we dip and swing our hips to the music. The guy comes up behind me. He moves his hands up and down my thighs and presses my pelvis into his. I bend over, suddenly fully confident in my dancing skills and press myself into him. A man comes up behind Margo and starts doing the same. She closes her eyes and lets the music take her, dipping down low and pressing herself against him. I close my eyes for a moment too, but when I open them again, everything looks different. I can’t see anyone around me, just a blurry dream-like image of Margo moving to the music. I can no longer feel the guy behind me; I’ve gone numb but can see his hands. One hand is sliding from my thighs to just under my waistline up and down, and the other hand is moving up under my dress. Margo goes limp, but my mind doesn’t seem to process it.” I just watch her as the dream fades in and out.
After a few more deep breaths, I stand up slowly to assess the damage done to my body. My ankles are definitely trapped in fetters and lord knows where the key is or who even has it. Who would have it? When did this even happen? What even happened? The confusion makes me dizzy again and so I sit, but even that hurts a little too much. I lie down. Maybe I’ll just close my eyes for a bit. Maybe it will take the edge off my thirst.
I open my eyes again and see four others staring into mine. I stumble back and try to scream but only squeaks come out. “Melanie Stevens?” asks one of the two men.
I manage a few nods. How does he know my name? I see him grab a black speaker on his shirt and talk into it. “We found her. Bring back up fast. We’re losing her.”
He turns back and begins speaking to me slowly. “Melanie Stevens, we are part of the Ontario Provincial Police. We are here to help. We have an ambulance on the way. We are attempting to contact your parents right now. We’re going to get you better. You’re going to be all right. You are lucky to be alive.”
I continue to hear his voice come in and out as I lay on the ground wrapped in a fire blanket. His voice sounds rhythmic. It bumps around in my head like music in a nightclub. I pretend to take some of the words and put them in my head to see if they make sense. I hear him say, “days” and “rape”, but I’m not sure what he’s talking about. The ground starts to shake now and I see tires. The next thing I know, more people are touching me. I’m being lifted onto a stretcher and taken into the truck. I feel my body start to convulse as a painful flash of memories seeps into my conscience. I squeeze my eyes shut. I can’t understand any of them. Suddenly, the memories fade and I see a flash of white. Margo is there waving. She looks beautiful. I can’t wait to give her a hug.