All content copyright 2014 Woodpecker Tales LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Florida Nightmare Part 3 - the final Chapter

Quickly, panic took over and I began to scream. I yanked and pulled on the door handle but the door didn't move. I kicked and screamed at the door, barely causing it to shake a little. The thick wood held fast. It barely even shook.

"Help me!" I listened for a moment and heard nothing in reply. I screamed again and again. Suddenly I stopped. I had heard something. It was incredibly muffled, as though coming from a long way off. I couldn't make out what was being said, but I could tell it was another girl. She was screaming the same thing I was. That was when I knew that I was in far more trouble than I had originally thought. I pressed my ear to the door. The sounds were coming from farther down the hallway.

I laid on the floor and pressed my ear to the crack underneath the door to listen closer. Footsteps padded lightly through the hallway, straight to my door.

"Nobody can hear you," he said from the other side, speaking as softly as though we were face to face. "Scream all you like, there's no help coming."

"People know where I am," I yelled. "They'll come looking for me!"

"You mean Adam? I donot think you understand. He thinks you left already. Your things were gone. I talked to him this morning. Donot feel lonely though. Adams last substitute girlfriend is just down the hall in another room." I knew then where the screams had come from. I heard the main door close and I knew he was gone. Peering under the door, I could see everything was dark.

My mind whirled in a vortex of the steps I had taken the night before just after the knife was shoved through the clothes inches from my nose. I sank into a black hole in my own mind. Not a soul in the world knew where I was. My family didn't care where I was and I had no friends in this strange town except Jenny. If she went into my room and discovered everything was gone, she would think I had left, too. There was nobody alive who would look for me. I knew it could possibly be the end of the road for me.

The blanket crowding my thoughts cleared. I needed to get out of this place. I looked around the room and saw a possibility on the opposite wall to the door. I made my way down past the length the couch and flung back midnight curtains to reveal a window. It had been boarded up long ago. I dug and clawed at the wood over the window until my fingers bled. I broke a lamp on a near by table and used a piece of the shattered ceramic to start digging at the nails holding the plank in position. It started to come loose and my adrenaline kicked in full force. I grabbed the wood and yanked with all my might, finally freeing it of its purchase.

The wood slid out of my hands and hit the floor with a hollow thunk. The window had bars in place, but beyond the bars was a solid wall of brick. The place was air tight. He was right, nobody would hear me scream.

I sat on the couch close to the window and ducked my head between my knees. My breathing became rapid and panicked and my eyes became blurry with tears. I knew I wouldn't survive the night. I took a deep breath, wiped my eyes and sat up. Again, I looked around for any way out of this trap.

The door was in the corner to the left of me. Next to the door was a small round table with another lamp on it like the one I had broken. It was the only light source I had. In the corner next to the table was a tall, black, standing wardrobe. Along the wall in front of me stretched the bed, covered with a shabby old brown bedspread. Between the couch and the bed was another small round table under what was once the window. There wasn't much in the room, but I knew there had to be SOME way out.

I opened the wardrobe to discover a marijuana plant growing under a heat lamp. The musty smell nauseated me and I wanted to do something to aggravate and piss off my kidnapper. I dug under the bed for something to wrap the plant in and found an old 2 liter bottle that had been empty long enough to begin to mold. I pulled it out from the dirty clothes shoved under with it and opened it. The moldy smell was about as bad as the marijuana plant. I grabbed the plant up, shredded the leaves and stems and shoved them all into the moldy bottle. Then I secured the top and set the bottle on the table by the door like a flower in a vase. If nothing else, I felt like I had done something to my attacker in return, though not enough.

I had lived through Hell for more than three weeks at this point. Constantly there was some obstacle in my way, trying to force me into submission. Just as I did when I was a kid, I mentally prepared myself to fight back. When my parents took away everything I owned as a punishment, I mentally fought back and found a way to not only persevere, but to thrive without their knowledge. I could find my way out of this Floridian Hell, too.

My first sentence when I was a kid was "I do it by self" and I meant it. I've always been that way, but somehow I lost that drive for a while when I got married. I didn't want to "do it by self", I wanted someone else to do it for me because it was easier. Here I was in a situation where I knew I couldn't depend on another living soul to help me. It was up to me now, and my life depended on it.

I started to claw at the dirty clothes under the bed looking for anything I could use to unscrew the door handle and get out of the room. I tried buttons on jeans and the taped ends of shoe laces. I tried my own finger nails. I tried using a heart shaped necklace pendant I found and tried not to think of what happened to its original owner. The heart was too wide for the bit in the screws. I tried the bottle cap for the moldy bottle. I tried the shards of lamp still under the window and even tried splinters of wood from the piece I had pulled off the wall. Nothing I found worked. I grew thirsty and hungry, but there was no food or water around.

I made a discovery towards the back of the clothes that made my heart leap with joy and hope. There was a very dull, very old serrated edge knife with about a 5 inch blade on it. It was a very thin steak knife, but it was a knife! I used the tip to pry at the screws and only succeeded in breaking the tip of the knife off. I tried to use the broken edge and managed to cut my hand on the dull blade. My eyes welled with tears again as I became so frustrated I wanted to scream. I knew that wouldn't do me any good. Out of the frustration I was feeling, I swung the broken knife at the door and rested my head against the cool wood. The knife stuck. I looked. Inspiration struck again and I started to hack away at the door with the dull, broken steak knife with a fury that would make most people cower in fear.

Six hours later I had managed to saw a hole in the door just barely big enough for my hand to fit through if I pinched my fingers together. I had refused to give up even when my fingers cramped and my muscled ached. I stabbed and sawed at the door until I could see the back of the poster on the front of the door. I jammed my hand into the tiny hole and began to reach for the door knob. I couldn't reach with my right hand, so I frantically tried with my left. I was so close to freedom I could taste it! The jags of wood cut into my hand as I pushed it through the opening. I could feel my skin ripping and blood began to ooze from day old marks put on me by a Holly bush. Fresh cuts were made, but I pushed on. I didn't pay attention to the pain I felt as the wood gouged a piece of flesh from the back of my left hand big enough to leave a scar even to this day.

My hand touched something just above the door knob. The cold metal surface shocked me. I hadn't noticed this on my way into the room. I felt a hinge of sorts and a metal paddle with a hole on the end. Inside the hole was another piece of metal protruding. I felt around more, my hand beginning to go numb from the lack of blood flow due to the constricting space I had my arm in. There, hanging from what I had discovered was a latch, hung a combination lock. I pulled on it, turned the dial and prayed that I could get it open. After twenty minutes of failure, I had to give up on that pursuit. No matter how I tried, I wasn't getting out of that room. The only thing I had discovered was that removing the door handle wouldn't change the fact that I was locked in the room.

I threw the knife at the wall and watched it hit soundly and bounce back a little before landing in the pile of dirty clothes I had pulled out from under the bed. Once more, I had a moment of inspiration. It was as if seeing the knife land in the clothes was pointing them out to me. I knew what I needed to do.

From my best guess, it was around 10 at night. I had to act fast. Hopefully "Esteban" would be back soon to check on me or do who knows what with me. I needed to prepare. I began tossing the dirty clothes onto the couch in a large pile. I grabbed the 2 liter bottle containing the marijuana plant and mixed that in. I began to form a shape to the pile with the bottle being about two feet from the end of the long pile. Then I grabbed the brown bedspread from the bed and tossed it over the pile of clothes. Pulling a few last items from under the bed, I fashioned something that resembled red hair and left it poking out of the top of the blanket.

I walked over to the door to survey my work. I had done remarkably well. The plastic bottle provided just enough lift to one pair of jeans to resemble a slightly bent knee under the blanket. It looked like an actual person was sleeping under there - but something was missing.

I took the lamp shade from the broken lamp and tore the paper to long strips. I crumpled these like newspaper and shoved them into a sleeve of an over sized hoodie. Then I strategically left three pieces slightly poking out of the end. From a distance, it looked like fingers hanging out. I propped this piece over the arm of the chair as though the person was laying face down. The filled in sleeve made the perfect arm. It bent in just the right spot to look like a wrist. My creative project was done. I picked up an ink pen from the table near by and absentmindedly placed it in my pocket.

I got on my hands and knees and crawled under the small round table by the door. It had to be near 11 pm at this point, but that was only a guess. This happened before the days of everyone having cell phones, and I didn't have a watch. At the time, I didn't feel the need to wear one. Now not a day goes by without one. This story is that reason. It's also the reason I am obsessed with making sure I have a cell phone with a full battery at all times.

I crouched under the table, ready to spring up if anyone opened the door to the room. I had lived through a nightmare long enough, it was time to do something about it. Fully empowered by my own thoughts of escape, I knew that I could outrun about anyone right then. Adrenaline pumping, I listened closely for any movement.

I waited for what felt like hours. My stomach growled and my head throbbed. I leaned back against the wall, still perched on my toes and sitting on my heels. Without realizing it, somewhere around 5 am, I fell asleep. When I woke up, I was petrified. The door had been opened. If it hadn't bumped my hand that had fallen out in the way, I wouldn't have noticed. I froze.

I couldn't move. If I had, the movement might have been noticed. If I didn't move, my hand might be stepped on and the difference in texture would have been noticeable. I took my chances and remained in place. One shoe stepped right next to my hand. If I timed this perfectly, I knew I wouldn't be seen. The other foot began to move ever so slightly. I thought I had been spotted, but then the foot lifted and came closer to my hand. I yanked it back quickly and silently, just before the shoe landed exactly where my hand had been. Once more my heart threatened to give me away with its obnoxious pounding in my head and neck. I heard my own heart thumping between my ears. All of my muscles tensed up and I got ready to spring into action. The legs weren't moving though. Did the dummy not fool my keeper?

He took a step closer to the couch. He reached over. He touched the 'knee' lightly with a finger tip. Almost gingerly, he caressed the 2 liter bottle. I knew it wouldn't be long before he realized it was a fake.

I sprang into action and leaped for the door. I came up too quickly though and my shoulder struck the edge of the table. The jarring noise startled my attacker who shrank farther into the room before realizing what was going on. He spun and looked at me and then at the couch. By then it was too late, he was coming at me.

With my left hand I reached behind me and grabbed the light source casing eerie shadows on the walls. No hesitation kept me from bringing the lamp hard across the temple of 'Esteban' the kidnapper. He stumbled back and dropped something. It was the combination lock from the door. I wanted to reach over and grab the lock, but I knew I didn't have the time. He was already coming after me again, reaching out in a dazed trance. I dashed out the door and closed it behind me as I went. I strained and pulled, trying to keep him inside the room. His arm began to flail wildly around through the hole I had cut in the door. He grabbed my arm and tore into the skin with his fingernails. He was screaming at me but I couldn't understand him. I tried to yank my arm away but he held fast. I grabbed the pen from my pocket with my left hand and stabbed him between the knuckles of the middle finger and ring finger. He yelped in pain and yanked his hand back. The end of the pen was covered in blood. He started reaching again and I slapped the latch of the door in place and shoved the pen through the hole. I knew it wouldn't hold him long, but maybe it would be just enough for me to get away.

I hit the main door to the house at a dead run. I was blinded right away. I had lost all track of time while asleep under the table and the sun was high in the sky, showing the time around noon. I had been locked up for 23 hours, strategically fighting for a way to get out and survive. My sneakers tore at the gravel driveway and I slid around the corner without slowing down. I heard a loud bang behind me and knew he had gotten loose. He would be coming after me. I heard another loud bang, but this one sounded more like a 'Pop' of a gun or a car backfiring. I wasn't going to stick around to see which one it was.

I ducked down one of the side streets and headed straight into a lawn. Diving on my hands and knees, I crawled beneath another bush, but this time it wasn't Holly. The car I had seen Esteban driving went roaring past me on the road.

I jumped out of my hiding place and took off in the opposite direction. I saw a black and white police car and once more failed to flag them down when I needed their help the most. I ran straight out into the street screaming at him.

Esteban heard my screaming and squealed tires to turn around illegally in the four lane road. Seeing this, finally the cop stopped. I ran to the window and screamed wildly at the cop inside. It was a petite female by the name of Sandoval. I tried to tell her that I had been kidnapped and escaped. I told her where the place was that I had been held in and that there was someone else inside. I told her that Esteban was the one who had done it, and she looked at me like I had sprouted two heads. Esteban, seeing that I was talking to a cop, spun around again and took off. Sandoval tried to persue, leaving me on the side of the road on my own once more.

A wild pursuit ensued on the streets of Daytona Beach that day. Cops swarmed the house where the other girl was being held captive. I walked meakly back to Adam and Jenny's house, gathered my things from under the house, and walked away from the Florida Nightmare forever. I slept on a few park benches until I found another place to land, but anything was better than where I had been for the past three weeks.

Walking away from that disaster with my life was probably the luckiest moment I've ever had. I've lived a blessed life to continue on with the determination and desire that I have. The story you've just read is true. I didn't even change the names to protect the innocent - because in the end, nobody was innocent. Not even myself. I'm guilty for not standing as a witness, for not going back for the other girl myself and for not telling Jenny the truth about Adam. I'm also guilty of stealing something from Jenny and Adam.

I still haven't gotten my knee surgery, and over the years my knee has gotten worse - but it reminds me of the desire I had to survive and all I have to live for.

This story in its entirety has never been told before today. You are among the FIRST to know the truth. My own family doesn't know this story - and unless they read my blogs, they probably never will. Yes,I was kidnapped. Yes, I lived to tell about it. And now, you know how I survived.

Had I not been patient enough to think clearly througout my situations, had I not had the luck I was born with, I wouldn't be telling this story today. The Secret of Life may hold more meaning for each of you now that you know my story.

We all have that strength within us. Sometimes it just takes extreme circumstances to bring it out of us.

The Jade Coyote
(Yes, I kept it.)


  1. Two and a half hours have gone by. 76 people have viewed this blog. I've not gotten one response. Interesting.

  2. I think people aren't responding because they dont know what to say. I know I don't. Always know I love you. Always.

  3. I think you're right, Aunt Debbie. I wasn't sure exactly what I expected, but I suppose "dubfounded" is a good word for what I ended up with. I don't want sympathy from anyone... just an understanding of who I have become because of my past.

  4. I'm probably one of the very few who had heard any of this tale before. I knew of the trauma, if not all of the details. Still, even with the advance knowledge, seeing the history unfold in writing is a shock. I'm glad you're putting it out there. You needed the catharsis of the telling of it, I think. Remember there are those who genuinely care about you. Always.

  5. PW - Though I'm straining my brain and cant come up with the name your initials are trying to bring up from the recesses of my memory, your comment has gone down in my personal book of the very best compliments I've ever been given.

  6. Outstanding!! Dumbfounded is right. I love-hated this story. It was captivating and unbelievable, yet I KNOW it is true. You are an amazing person. :)

  7. Really? How 'bout a limerick?

    Who I am really should not be
    All that much of a mystery.
    A look at your watch
    May give you a clue.
    Though the name there is not PW.

    I'm glad to have been added to your personal book once again.

  8. Ahh! Yes!
    Thank you...
    It's nice to have you back. The power of your comment hasn't lost any of it's overwhelming effect, even though I now know who left it. Thank you again. You always had a way with words - and limericks.

  9. Vicki - Thank you!
    It's certainly one that deserved to be told, though it's taken me a long time to manage actually sitting down and doing it. Many times I've been told this would be an amazing movie - but honestly, my whole life is a series of movies, or at least a 7 season syndicated TV series. Whether it's a drama or comedy has yet to play out.

  10. Amanda --
    You are very brave. I too am a victim of a kidnapping and rape. You have a lot of courage posting your story. It was only when I wrote my story down that I was able to move past it. My nightmare happened in Miami 1999 when I was twenty. When you said "blinding flashes of torture and rage surged through my body" it really struck home. For years I had a hard time thinking about the exact details. Then something funny happened. My boyfriend insisted that I write everything down. At first I thought he was being a perv, wanting to know every detail, but you know what, writing it down allowed me to sort of pour it out of myself and move past it. That boyfriend and I are no longer together but him insisting I share even the most disgusting details with him was what I needed to move past it. I had nightmares before and certain things triggered horrible memories. After I wrote it down, the nightmares started to visit me less. It's been four years since I wrote it all down and the nightmares are gone.

    You are a very good writer so I can tell there are details you haven't let yourself write yet. I know it seems weird but if you keep being brave and write them down, you'll be very glad you did. Even if you don't want to share it on your blog you should write down what this Adam bastard did to you. If you're like me it will really help.

  11. Carol -
    Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. Once upon a time I did write the details out in order to clear my mind. I needed all of the worst bits out there somewhere so they weren't trapped in my head, bouncing from one wall to the other. Unfortunately it was all hand written. Last July during a move, my U-haul was stolen with the book safely inside. That will eventually be in a subsequent blog.

    I commend you for coming forward with your story. He was right, your ex-boyfriend. It does very much help to write the story down. That's actually what started my whole writing adventure to begin with many years ago.

    You're right, there are many details that haven't been shared here. That's because many people have access to this blog, including children who don't need to know that many details. The fact that people know and understand what happened is enough for me. They can feel the pain. My family, at long last, knows what I've been through.

    When I clicked on your name I was hoping to be transported to a blog that perhaps you were writing. You're obviously well educated and have a clear thought process. I'd love to read some of your stories sometime. Something I've learned in my travels is that everyone has a story or two within them. All anyone really needs is someone interested enough to listen.

  12. I just finished reading this... I'm not sure why you aren't getting more comments except for the fact that your story is deeply, viscerally terrifying, all the more so for being true.

    I'm also hopeful the bastards who treated you so horribly got what they deserved!

    Reading this, the one thing I didn't understand is what happened to turn your grandmother away from you. It's implied that she felt betrayed but it wasn't clear why.

  13. MartyMac - may I ask how you found my blog? I'm very pleased that you enjoyed my writing. TY?!

    My Grandmother was a very confused woman at the time. She was going through some medical issues and was on heavy medication - which I did not know until years later. The confusion YOU feel at not knowing why she did what she did is exactly what I felt back then.

    She (like myself) has never been very close to the family, for a myriad of reasons. I've not spoken with her much since then and I hear she's in ailing health now from a family member that hasn't seen her since the 1950's and whom I've never met in person.

    I wish her no harm and harbor no ill will toward any living soul, especially her. I've learned (often the hard way) how to handle life and all it can throw at me through sheer determination, often severely hard work and perseverance. Until recently I never knew that she was the same exact way. She was a survivor, just like I am. Much of who I am can be directly contributed to my Ancestors, whether I knew it or not.

  14. As you stated, "I had been used, betrayed and manipulated into hurting my Grandmother." Yet in light of your comment here, it sounds like it wasn't you at all but her and whatever issues she might have had that led to that (poorly timed) parting of ways.

    I found your blog via the usual random walk that seems to tie the world together these days...:

    I read an article on Gizmodo about life imitating Tetris:

    It linked to a Flicker group of the same name:

    Amongst these photos there was one from you:

    Curious, I clicked further:

    Which eventually led to your blog here.

    (That reminds me, I should update my own blog sometime...)

  15. Interesting story, I'm sorry this happened to you and am glad you have grew stronger from it. I found the link to your blog on Sutori and glad I came and finished the story

  16. You're one strong lady! God bless!

  17. You are an amazingly, strong willed, tough chic. We never know what and how we would react in any situation until we are put there. I pray those bastards got what they deserved.
    As scarey as it was to read, you have to have one hell of an amazing angel watching over you. God bless you!
    as well as sheer determination

  18. I could never see myself as amazing. I reserve that title for the people who spend their life time helping others. There's one particular person out there I admire above most others because of the work she has done in not only Third World countries but in our own nation to save young children from slavery. The only reason I had the determination to survive is because I knew that there was A good life out there waiting for me. The children that my hero rescues have never known what it's like to have a good life. When I escaped, I hated myself for not going back for the others. Now, thanks to this hero of mine, I have the ability to find me go back and reach out a hand for someone who was left behind.

    Please feel free to check out in your free time and find out what the amazing people of Operation Underground Railroad are doing to rescue children trapped in the world of sex trafficking.

    Join the cause and be a voice with us. Help save others and be a voice of hope. I certainly can't wait to go on my first journey with this group.

    Thank you for coming by and reading my blog. :)

  19. I can't imagine what you were thinking. Why wouldn't others help you, why did this Jenny not see what was going on? I wonder if she was one who was tortured and brain washed. I feel for you and pray that writing it out has brought some peace. I see this several years old. I found this on pinterest of all places.

    1. Anonymous:
      What was I thinking? I was thinking that I was a scared, alone 19 year old kid who had been sheltered her whole life and made to think the world didn't care about me and I was the reason why. Anytime someone didn't like me or would pick on me at school my mother would always tell me that I was the "common denominator" and that people didn't like me because of who I was. It was obviously my fault... right? Thankfully I learned what a load of crap that was some years later.

  20. I admire your strength and will to fight and not be just another statistic......Thank you for sharing your story. Thanks for being the voice of so many other women who don't possess your strength but have lived a similar story. Love that you OWN your story ..You OWN your past and now you Own your future....

    1. How could I not "own" my story? It has served it's purpose of turning me into the human being I am today. In fact, the lesson I just spoke of above to "Anonymous" came directly from that experience. I learned the hard way that bad things happen to good people, and sometimes math has nothing to do with it. I (and others) deserve better out of life, but we must learn to deal with the cards we are dealt. Once we deal with the challenges, things tend to get a bit better.

  21. Anonymous and Brentni, thank you both very much for your comments.

    What was I thinking? I was thinking that I was a scared, alone 19 year old kid who had been sheltered her whole life and made to think the world didn't care about me and I was the reason why. Anytime someone didn't like me or would pick on me at school my mother would always tell me that I was the "common denominator" and that people didn't like me because of who I was. It was obviously my fault... right? Thankfully I learned what a load of crap that was some years later.

    How could I not "own" my story? It has served it's purpose of turning me into the human being I am today. In fact, the lesson I just spoke of above to "Anonymous" came directly from that experience. I learned the hard way that bad things happen to good people, and sometimes math has nothing to do with it. I (and others) deserve better out of life, but we must learn to deal with the cards we are dealt. Once we deal with the challenges, things tend to get a bit better.

    I want others to realize that even in their darkest of hours, they are not alone. Others have been there. Others live through it every day. And others are willing to fight, to help and to aide as we each gain our own perspectives after unspeakable tortures.

  22. Amanda, I have finished reading your story. It is a story that really shows how one person has found the ugly brutishness of some of the worst of humanity, and in her own human spirit, found a way to triumph. I look forward to reading more.

  23. Amanda I am 21 years old and I was kidnapped along with my little sister who has not been found. I am amazed in every word you write. You are my hero I wish I could have done what you did and have the strength then maybe I could have saved my sister and the guilt won't haunt me everyday. You are a hero please reply I feel as if I was MEANT to read your blog as I randomly across it and I have never read anything more similar to my life then this.

  24. You may be one of the strongest women I know.


Your comments will need to be moderated before posted, due to recent issues with a cyber-bully and ex-stalker, but I try to get to it as often as possible. If for any reason I feel your comments are vulgar, abusive or attacking, I will block your IP address from commenting further. You will still see all the right screens to make you think you're commenting, but thanks to this new code I have, your comments will never reach me.

Thanks for commenting - I love reading your thoughts!