“The fear settled inside me... It was excruciating... It was rapidly destroying me.”
Imagine you are walking home alone one evening. Suddenly, you are assaulted, drugged and kidnapped. Strange men drive you through the night and keep you prisoner in a dark, tiny room. You don’t know who they are. You don’t know what they want. They speak a language you don’t even understand.
This happened to me.
When I was 21, I was abducted off the streets of my hometown in southern Russia by a group of criminals. My abductors kept me prisoner in a tiny room at first, then later in a dirt cellar under a house. I was utterly alone – no friends, no family, nothing... Every day, I had to knock on the door to my room, so that a blank-eyed gunman with an AK-47 would let me out and walk me to the bathroom under his supervision.
Soon, I learned that the men were holding me for ransom. But a few weeks after my kidnapping, a brutal civil war broke out, and all contacts were cut off. The country plunged into darkness. There was no electricity, and no telephone service. There could be no negotiations for my release. I was one lost soul, powerless, and at the mercy of hardened killers in a land where innocent people were dying every day.
I saw decapitated young soldiers, their heads decorating the trees like Christmas bulbs. I saw bloodstained city streets, the bombed out wrecks of tanks and jeeps still burning. I saw things I have trouble thinking about.
Through eight horrifying months of captivity – witnessing atrocities, surviving bombings and sexual violence – I fought desperately to stay alive, stay sane and to not lose the one thing that kept me going: hope.
"This book will astonish and inspire you. One woman's shocking true story of abduction, war and survival." - Brian Whitney, author of SUBVERSIVE