She had no idea how long she had been held captive. After years kept in rooms with no windows she rarely had any idea if it was even day or night. There were times she would take a moment to ponder how old she was now or if anyone she had known in her former life remembered her.
He called her girl. This one had never used her name. The only reason she remembered it was because she told it to herself every day. Each of her "owners" had referred to her as something different. Only the first had called her by her given name but it was brief and never out of love.
She tried to escape as often as possible back in those days but after being beaten repeatedly and then sold for being too difficult she had attempted it significantly less. She had had a few masters that allowed her out of the basement or tiny room she was normally left shackled in. Those had given her brief moments of affection and one had even given her a book though she had never learned to read.
She was reported as missing when she was just barely nine years old and hadn't been seen since, at least by the authorities or anyone that actually cared about her. They searched for weeks without finding any trace of her but her stepfather never gave up hope. Even now, though she didn't know it, he continued to follow any potential lead in hopes of finding her.
She was intelligent though not traditionally book smart. She remembered nearly everything she had ever heard and was extremely talented at eavesdropping. She learned as much as possible from the basic reading she could do and when someone occasionally spoke to her other than to bark orders she would take the opportunity to explore any topic they would willingly discuss.
She still would attempt escape whenever possible but she rarely made it far and would of course receive severe punishment. There was one single time she made it out of her owner's house but only to find herself in the middle of the forest. She started running anyway. Given only the mere moonlight to guide her, she made her way to a river and waded across as quickly as possible. Once she was through the water however she her the sound of dogs behind her.
Chancing a momentary glance over her shoulder she saw him, her master, standing just a few yards back from the water's edge. He was holding a shotgun and casually smiling. He had known she escaped immediately and was obviously certain she would never make it very far. She ducked behind a small grove of trees and crawled to the opposite side of the trail staying completely in the shadows. Catching her breath for a moment she listened and heard the splashing of man and dog crossing the river.
She looked in ever direction, searching desperately for a safe route. Finding nothing but more trees she decided running was her only option. Just twenty feet into her journey though she heard the blast of the shotgun. It rang out loud and clear although she was positive that it had been fired into the air above her head. She ran faster bursting through bushes and jumping over rocks clearing obstacles like an olympic hurdler.
She pushed her was through a large group of shrubs and fell forward down a hill landing hard on the side of a road. She landed on her back hard, knocking the wind out of her. She struggled to catch her breath when she saw a car stopping up the road. She couldn't speak but there was a woman coming toward her. She was saved. Or at least she though she was.
Before she could say anything HE came through the trees and picked her up, hugging her tight. He held her in a way that pushed her face into his chest so she still couldn't breathe. He told the women, her savior, that she was his daughter and had gotten lost. Said he had been out looking for her for hours. She mentioned she had heard a gunshot, clearly uncomfortable with the situation.
With tears in his eyes he explained that he had heard it too and was terrified that some hunters were out poaching in the woods and would shoot her by mistake. That seemed to satisfy the woman and he thanked her for being so caring then said he had to get his princess home so she could rest. He leaved down and whispered that she was going to wish that she had been hit by the car when he got through with her.
The woman got back in her car and once she was driving away he let her down to watch as salvation drove quietly away. As the car drove around a curve and the brake lights disappeared she sank to her knees and cried. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her all the way back to the house. She cried the entire time. He threw her into the basement taking pleasure as she bounced off the bottom stair. He told her to sleep tight, she would need her all her strength to make it through what he had planned.
As he closed the door he laughingly told her that she better pray tonight girl. She curled up on the floor and she did pray. She prayed for death. She prayed for forgiveness and she prayed that when she was found someone would remember her. Just before she passed out for the night she reminded herself as she did every day, my name is Annora.