She had expected them to kill her immediately when she refused to provide them with any information about NCIS. It has been a glimmer of hope, formed when she was captured , and solidified as she suffered through the first round of beatings that left her with several broken ribs and an eye so swollen she could not open it.
Still, she had not said a word. The only sounds they had gotten out of her were involuntary screams and cries, and those only when she absolutely could not help it. She did not want to give them the pleasure of seeing how much pain she was truly in. He had ripped her necklace from her neck in disgust, and flung it aside. She knew she had no hope of ever seeing it again. The delicate clasp dug into the skin at the back of her neck as it was pulled away so violently, leaving a long scratch. It stung, but it was the least of her worries.
After that first brutal interrogation, he'd placed a bag over her head. She fully expected him to shoot her then. She hoped he would. He had not. What he had in mind for her was much worse than death it seemed. Instead of parting from the world and all of this pain, she was led—arms bound behind her back—to another room, where she was thrown to the hard-packed dirt floor and raped repeatedly.
She had lost count, trying as she was to block it out. It was more than five, but less than the 20 or so guys at the compound. They'd kept her eyes covered, so she could not actually see them. The men were so deprived that each encounter too very little time, and then she was alone. She lay with the coarse dirt floor against her bare lower- half. Her assailants had left her cargo pants around her ankles, and with her arms bound she was unable to pull them back up.
She was usually calm, steady, cool under pressure. It was part of her training. The reality of these circumstances was threatening to overwhelm her though. She had been through many tough situations in her 26 years, but none was so oppressive as this. She was alone—at least she thought she was—with a scratchy burlap sack over her head, bound, and naked from the waist down.
Ignoring the screaming pain in her side, she drew her knees to her chest, rocking forward several times before she gained enough momentum to stand unsteadily. A wave of nausea flashed through her, as some of the semen from her assailants dribbled down her leg. She caught her breath while leaning against the cool wall, willing it to pass. Taking great effort not to tip over, she leaned forward and shook the burlap free from her head.
For the first time she could see the space in which she was being held. The room was small. Big enough that she could lie down, but not much larger. She suspected that the only reason she had enough room to lie down was so they could rape her.
After quite a struggle, she was able to get her pants up near to her waist, though she was unable to fasten them with her hands tied behind her back. Just having them up made her feel better. It was cold in the desert at night, and that extra fabric helped some.
It was wasting far too much precious energy to remain standing, so slowly she lowered herself to sit, using the wall for support. If she had the means, she would take her life without hesitation. It was not in her nature to give up, but she did not consider death to be giving up. It was merely changing the situation to her favor. One way or another, this captivity was going to end in her death, and she wanted it to be on her terms.
She had told Tony years ago that she would never be taken alive. Well, she had failed at that, along with so many other things over the last few months. She thought about the number of men who had lied to her and used her of late…Her father, Michael, Malachi, Tony—well, maybe not Tony after all. Truly, he had been correct about Michael. She still wished that he had not killed him, but even in just the few weeks since that passed she had had a lot of time to think, and realized that Michael had been lying to her. On her father's orders.
He did not expect her to return. He could not have possibly thought that she would succeed. Perhaps with Malachi still at her side, but alone? Certainly not. But he still gave the go ahead for each step along the way. She had not quite realized the scope of this mission when she agreed to take it over, but she accepted. She deserved it. But her father had sent her to her death indifferently. At least she would never have to face him again.
She leaned back against the wall. She would never face anyone again. She was going to die in this remote desert compound before she had the chance. No one knew she had made it here. Was there even anyone left who cared? That she knew there was made this even harder. Tony. He had claimed that he had confronted Michael for her, and now she believed him. She would never see him again. All she could think about was how differently it all could have gone.
Her captors had left her alone for the night. Alone with her thoughts, full of regret and pain. Ziva would have preferred they had just killed her on the spot.