I have attempted to write, and rewrite this story for over three years. This story has gone though almost every plot change and development possible. I have rewritten the first chapter nearly ten times, and hopefully now I have gotten it right. Now, I present this chapter; I do hope you enjoy.

Unedited Version: Read at your own risk of seeing errors in grammar and spelling.

His Song Bird

Chapter I

Once upon a time, I sang a song of hope...

The prison cell was a hollow cub of concrete, one way in, with no visible windows. No sound to be heard, no light to be seen, no furniture of any kind; it was barely big enough for a full grown man. In there, one had no idea how much time had passed or even if it was night or day. The isolation was total and the stimulation was zero. Given enough time a person could forget their own name, and she did.

Nameless and disoriented, she sat in the corner, with no tears left to cry; a stale piece of bread, no larger than a ping-pong ball was in her delicate hand. She nibbled at it, yet she no longer could feel the hunger in her belly. The growling had become the only noise she heard and the pain was the only emotion she felt other than emptiness. Slowly see had been loosing her grip on reality, but one day, she had gone insane.

Her memory from before was terribly foggy, and her thoughts had soared into oblivion. She could no longer remember her name, or why she was even in the concrete cell. Her age had become nothing more than a number. Her family seemed to be distant in her mind, and every thought of them was blurry. She could not remember what another voice sounded like, for she would only hear her own. Every time she spoke it was scratchy, for she lacked water and her throat was dry.

She felt filthy of course, or did, for she did not feel anymore. Her cell had filled with feces and urine; after awhile, the smell could not bother her. The girl lived like an animal, and sometimes - when she could form a proper thought -, she believed herself to be one. She was fed when her captors allowed, which was once every three days if she was lucky. They would throw in a small portion though a hole in the metal door. She was clothed in rags for she had out grown the ones she came in. Her hair which were once voluminous curls were now left to be tangled and knotted.

She felt so alone...

Her dry lips parted, her eyes fixed on the wall. She could remember a portion of one thing. A song someone had sung to her as a child, yet she did not know who. The girl could think of a few of the words, but not the melody. So, each day she would sing the song a different way, hoping to one day remember at least one thing:

"The dying songbird rested...

too weak to even fly.

The virus burning through her...

wouldn't let her try."

A tear slid down her cheek, even though she thought she could cry no more. Following that single tear came another one, and another one, until soon, a steady stream of salty tears flowed it's way down her pale cheeks, releasing the sadness and sorrow that had been held inside of her for all this time; but yet, she still did not make a sound.

A sudden banging sounded from outside her cell. It was the sound of someone hitting on the door. Frightened, she scrunched herself into a ball from her fetal position, and waited for another punishment. They had beaten her, flayed her, and raped her. She was now a professional at being tortured.

The door was twisted open, and for the first time in what felt like an eternity, she saw light. It was very dim, as though an entire hallway was lit by one single bulb, but it was still enchanting to her.

There was a man, standing above her with a bucket. He splashed the water onto her in order to awake her from her dazed state. She stared at him, afraid and confused. She wanted to know what she had done wrong. Already freezing from the lack of covers provided, the girl began to violently shiver. Her captor, who was a larger man, much taller than she, stood over her with the now empty bucket in his left hand. Weak, she could not scream or fight. All she did was stare.

She felt herself hoisted up onto his shoulder, and carried away. Maybe today would be the day that she would die and finally be released from this terrible hell, but she was wrong. When released she noticed that she was in a dirty, old bathing room. She had been here before. The men had bathed her only twice before: once in order to wash the blood off of her so she would not get infected and die; and the other time to clean her so that they could rape her.

The bathtub was already full of water, with a bucket of soap near by. The man said something in an unknown language, and two women rushed in to begin their work. They forced her into the bath, quickly scrubbing at her disgusting body. One gripped her hair in a tight hold before chopping away with a blade. Inexperienced, the woman continuously nicked the scalp of the girl. She felt as blood began to pour down her forehead.

After being clean, she was dragged to yet another room. This one was open with the only furniture being a simple chair. She could barely see, with all the lights blazing. She was instructed to sit in the chair, which she did, and then was tied. The women took their time binding her to the chair. They both knew that she was too weak to escape.

When they were done, the man from before said something once again, and they both left. He took a moment to look at their handy work before punching her. The wind was knocked out of her the moment his fist collided with her stomach. A scream left her lips as she scrunched her face in pain. Her chocolate brown eyes shot up to look at him; anger and agony could be seen in her pupils. The man ran a hand through his black as sin hair, slicking it back, before lighting a cigarette.

"Raven," he hissed –puffing out a ring of smoke before continuing- "Who the hell did you tell?"

Raven, she thought to herself, that must be my name.

His face suddenly was so close to hers that she could smell the thick smoke on his breath. She could only focus on his teeth; they were darkened, probably from the disgusting habit. The smell was foreign to her, yet so familiar. It brought a feeling of hatred in her, which was odd. For a while, she had not felt anything other than hopelessness and pain.

When she did not answer him, he swiftly punched her once again in the stomach causing Raven to cry out. The taste of her own blood filled her mouth and she tried desperately to spit it out.

He bent down to her level and cupped her face. "Girl," he began, "this could be less painful than you're making it to be. Just answer the question." - He leaned into her - "Who the fuck did you tell?"

Confused, she did not answer. Her memory of the situation had been lost. Her name, her family, this man all seemed to be a bustling blur. He waited for a moment to see if she would answer, but when she did not he grew angry.

He pulled out a pistol and pointed it at her face. Raven froze, staring at the gun that was now pointed a meter away from her head. For several moments, the only thing that could be heard was the breaths of her kidnapper and her own. She knew what she and to do; she and to think fast, and act. Her glance shifted, desperately searching for a way out. Her breath hitched when she noticed that there were no exits. No windows, doors, or passage available for her escape. Her eyes refocused the moment the old wooden floors creaked. She turned towards the man who was now only a foot away from her.

Raven struggled out of the rope binds and attempted to run – not out of fear, but out of reflex.

A gunshot rang out into the night…

Darkness was a the oddest thing, and at that moment, that was all that could be seen. Now awake from her deep slumber, her head was pounding with a furious headache. At an attempt to adjust to the lack of light, she continuously blinked her eyes only for her efforts to turnout to be in vain. Not even a sliver of light shined within the confined area. Struggling to move, she hit her head on something hard, causing the pounding in her head to worsen.

Am I in a box?

In an effort to escape, Raven stretched out all of her limbs, trying to see how much space she had; yet again, her actions were in vain. She noticed that ropes were wound around both her ankles and wrists. She pulled at them, frustrated, but nothing happened.

She felt the sweat from her forehead as it ran down her face. She could smell the dried blood that was on her torso, along with the blood that was currently still pouring out. The darkness she was in smelt of death, and Raven knew if she didn't get out soon, she would be dead. A bullet was in her stomach, and it stung like a bitch, but mostly it was a numbing ache. She knew it had been there a while.

Moving her hands together to manage a thrust at her shirt, she pulled up the gray camisole and saw that her wound was bound with a blood soaked cloth. They had at least tended to her wounds.

How thoughtful... she sarcastically thought.

Raven rolled over, trying to find a more comfortable position. Now lying on her side, she bit at the ropes; with each bite she found it harder and harder to breathe. Where ever she was, she was losing oxygen quickly. Suddenly, she felt herself being tossed lightly into the air with a bump. She bit her lip, and felt the blood began to drip.

I'm in a trunk, she figured.

Oh God, they were transporting her. Scared and thinking quickly, Raven developed an idea, and she whispered a thanks to her god while looking for the outline of the rear lights. Finding the mold of the car's back lights, she kicked at it until it broke.

Her heart began to race with hope as she caught a glimpse of sunlight. She was going to have to work swiftly before the kidnappers noticed. She stuck her arm out to the light, feeling for the trunk's release valve. She found it and pulled down hard, bringing the back of the trunk flying up. Unexpectedly, her arm snapped in an unnatural direction, causing the girl to scream. At the sound of her cried, the car stopped. Raven cradled her arm as the men came around from the front.

"Aren't you a smart one," one praised as he watched her sob over her hurting arm.

He hoisted her over his shoulder, and when she struggled, he only squeezed her torso. It was enough to cause her to go dizzy. She managed to tilt her head up and see as the car she once was in slowly vanished. The creaking noise of the trunk swinging in the wind was all she could hear. It was her last hope, and now it was gone.

"Tie 'er up!"

Suddenly, she was slammed down into the ground. Her entire body winced in pain upon impact. Before she could psychically recover from the hurting sensation, she was hoisted up to her knees by the patch of hair she had left. The lackeys strained her beck, nearly snapping it if they pulled any harder. She was on her knees, exhausted and began panting. The men tied roped around her torso, making sure to pull it tight on her wound. She gasped, earning a laugh from all of the people around her. Sweat began to once again run down her forehead.

With a few motions, they hooked her onto something. Raven could hear the clacking of the metal, then she was being lowered down it a large pit. Her breath was set unsteady as the rope that was around her torso slowly dropped her down into the dark prison awaiting her. From one cell to another, she felt even more helpless that before.

She felt as her feet touched the stone ground. The coldness of the floor brought chills through her body. Raven felt as the pressure and tugging on her stomach as it stopped, knowing that the rope from above had been cut. There were only three words on her mind.

Where am I?

There were men, many of them, yet none of them looked like the ones she had seen for months. She noticed their unkempt hair, and their rotting teeth. Their clothes looked like nothing but rags. Judging by the way they looked at her, they hadn't seen a female in weeks, years or perhaps even decades.

Again she asked herself, where am I?

No one seemed to pay attention to her, nor did they care what she did. She crawled to a wall and stood, holding on for support. Her eyes looked around the pit that she was in and she tried to take notice of every detail. It was so large; she had seen nothing like it.

After a moment, realization began to kick in. She had traded on hell for a larger one. She had no clue where she was, no idea of who she was, and no memories of what she had done wrong. All she knew was that she was now being punished for a crime she did not commit. Or, at least she did not think she committed.

The cold floor sent chills through her as it did when she first landed in this hell. She scrunched up to the best of her ability, trying to take in the last bit of warmth that she could. Raven's eyes looked out into the abyss of darkness, her eyes locked on the wall. She let out a light breath, seeping into a pit of despair. Little did she know that someone else was looking out into the abyss. They were watching her...with hope.