I wasn't sure I was going to write this at all. I was kidnapped, you all know it, I don't really want to talk about it. I haven't even talked to Grandpa about it, really. I haven't really talked at all since Grandpa rescued me, except to answer the medically relevant questions of the doctors. And to quietly request that I be tested for any and all blood borne diseases. You can't be too careful in the aftermath of all of this.
For a while after the kidnapping, things were alright. She'd come in and threaten and act crazy at me, then she'd leave and Mr. Flint would clean up and talk to me for a while. Frustrating, yes, but not the horror I was expecting. That last week, though... it was bad. I think maybe she was getting impatient and the boredom made things worse? I'm not sure, I'm not an expert in criminal psychology. In any event, she started ranting and raging and hitting a lot more than before. Then she took a bite out of my cheek. I'll probably have a scar forever, it's a nasty wound.
After that... She made me lick up some of her blood (Which is where the concern about disease came from). She made me 'help' her tear one of her own people apart, then made me eat his heart. She came very, disturbingly close, to taking off a few fingers to 'sweeten her stew pot'. She wouldn't leave me alone. Every time I thought it couldn't get worse, it did. Until Grandpa showed up. You've already gotten the details of the rescue, I won't bore you with them again. I was a bit distracted for most of it, because Andre shot me pretty early on.
Getting shot is way worse than getting stabbed. Or maybe it's just that he hit my spine. The pain wasn't so bad, I've dealt with worse. But the weight of it, the entire lower half of my body immediately turning into so much dead weight. One minute I was running, the next moment I'll never run again. The pain from the shot wasn't as bad as I would have expected. The bone fragments that had just recently been my lower spine, though... Those hurt worse. Especially when Maggot had to move me out of harm's way. It's strong, and managed it without much trouble, but every tiny move hurt so badly I half hoped it would kill me.
For the first time in my life, I couldn't think. I couldn't focus, I couldn't speak except to scream in pain and fear. Some distant part of my brain noticed that my legs were numb and knew that was bad, but I didn't know why. I couldn't register what was wrong. Just that everything was, my whole body felt focused on the bursts of pain in my abdomen. I tried to curl up, but only my torso complied, my legs stubbornly refusing to bend up to protect my chest. It was only when I noticed that that my brain started back up. Legs not moving was bad. The shock that was creeping up was even worse. Grandpa was busy, I didn't know how long he would be and I couldn't risk the shock killing me before he could get me to a hospital.
Not that there was much I could really do to prevent shock, but I was hoping if I could keep my brain moving, keep the thoughts coming, that I could stave it off. I don't know if it worked, but I didn't die so I'm counting it a victory. I don't really remember the ambulance ride or most of my hospital stay after that. They saved my life but couldn't save my legs. I counted myself mostly lucky to not lose Grandpa in the bargain. I'm still not sure why the hospital didn't ask more questions about an eight year old getting shot.
It's only once I got out of there that the reality of the situation sank in. Half of my body no longer provides any useful function. My legs might as well have been cut off. They're just useless hunks of meat now. Weighing me down, getting in the way instead of helping me move. Just meat. Like Jessica thought of me. She always called me veal, said I'd make an excellent stew.
Do you know what makes veal? It's not just young cows, though that is a big part of it. Veal comes from calves who are kept in the dark and coddled all their short lives. Often, veal cows weren't even allowed to move, but were kept bound or suspended or merely locked in small pens, unable to do much other than eat sweet feed until they died. They were are kept perfect, fat, and tender, defenseless and sweet. That's what makes the meat such a delicacy.
I am not veal. I have been all over. I have stretched my mental and physical muscles. I have eaten awful things, starved a few times, and running keeps me lean and limber. Most of all, I am not defenseless. Grandpa, Ben, Mama, and a few others have all made sure I know how to fight back.
But in a world of fighters, of fast, strong, violent people like Jessica and Grandpa and my Mama, Sanna and Annalee and all the proxies floating around, I might as well be. Grandpa wanted to protect me, to let me grow up, to try to let me be a 'normal kid'. Whatever that means. I made a fuss and fought him on random bits, but overall I let him. I had learned to fight, but I hid behind him instead. Because I'm just a kid, and I'm not as good and I'm not as strong. I couldn't stand up to someone like them and I knew it, but instead of trying I hid and I read and I tried to make myself out to be some big damn grownup while hiding under the metaphorical covers.
I'm not going to do that anymore. Grandpa's probably not going to like it. He'll probably try to insist I go back to what I was doing. But this whole ordeal has shown me that no matter how much I want to, no matter how much I want to, I cannot depend on anyone else to protect me. It's not that Grandpa can't, because he can. It's not that I don't want him to, because I do. But no one can be there every minute of every day, not even David Banks. And I don't want him to have to be. I'm going to start spending as much time working on my shooting as learning new languages or whatever. Just because I can't walk doesn't mean I can't fight-I don't need to stand up to shoot well and I was always a better shot than anything else anyway.
I've used my gun to defend myself before. I've even learned to kill with it if I have to. It's time to stop pretending I have the luxury of expecting anyone else to protect me.