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The Way Out of the Dark

Taryn wakes to find herself in an unknown place, surrounded by frightening criminals. She soon learns that it’s no accident she was taken from her home. Can she hold onto herself through unspeakable horrors, and find a way to escape to a life she’d barely begun to live?

Age Rating: 18+ (Content Warning: Rape, Sexual Assault, Homophobia, Assault, Drug use/overdose, Kidnapping, Torture)


The Way Out of the Dark by G.L. Holiday is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.



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Taryn wakes to find herself in an unknown place, surrounded by frightening criminals. She soon learns that it’s no accident she was taken from her home. Can she hold onto herself through unspeakable horrors, and find a way to escape to a life she’d barely begun to live?

Age Rating: 18+ (Content Warning: Rape, Sexual Assault, Homophobia, Assault, Drug use/overdose, Kidnapping, Torture)

Original Author: G.L. Holiday

“Sometimes it takes heart to write about a thing, doesn’t it? To let that thing out of the room, way in the back of your mind and put it up there on the screen.”

It seemed that I was the most boring and plain person at Porter Stanton High School.

I’m not saying that I had a boring personality or a plain sense of style either, I just wasn’t by any means extraordinary.

I wasn’t an all star or an athlete, I wasn’t a cheerleader with an unlimited list of friends, and I didn’t win any academic achievements.

I suppose I was just average that way. Another face to disappear until the high school reunion.

I was simply a girl who no one talked to. Not to say I didn’t have any friends, I had a few, they were just closer with other people.

That wasn’t to say I didn’t have any talents either. Things that I was good at, none I would really call a talent anyway, were things that most other people could do; or at least it felt like everyone could.

Whenever I brought it up to somebody and said ‘hey, I’m good at reading’, they would comment on how good they were at reading, too. In a way that made me feel inferior.

I suppose that was my fault though, for feeling inferior or not picking a better hobby.

Something rare though, that I really did enjoy was solving cases. I used to go on a website that would give you scenarios of crimes for children to practice using their thinking skills.

I'd sit for hours doing the same puzzles over and over again. I'd move to more challenging puzzles as I grew older.

My parents weren’t very influential but that’s how you knew where you were placed on the social hierarchy in my town.

They say that the popularity thing fades when you get out of high school but apparently here, it doesn’t.

Depending how cool your parents’ jobs are and how much money they roll in is what defines your popularity at Porter Stanton. It’s like hand-me-down uncoolness from your parents’ experience.

My mom was a nurse at a local home for the elderly and my dad worked at the Marynn Casino. They weren’t high-paying jobs, but it was honest and that was enough for me.

We lived in a small town near Albuquerque, New Mexico called Las Cruces where the sun was shining most days out of the year.

Despite living in a quiet place in town, my street seemed the busiest. There wasn’t a moment without a car on the street, unless it was three o’clock in the morning.

My last day as a senior in high school; I never thought that day would come. I was so ready to get on with my life at the age of nineteen and somehow, that seemed wrong.

In a couple of months, I would be in Central New Mexico, a community college not far from me. Even then, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do.

I had told everyone I wanted to go into Business, but in my head I was still undecided.

What I really wanted to do was work with people, like a counselor, but that didn’t sound as nice to my family as Business did.

I woke up at around seven in the morning for my final day at Porter Stanton until my graduation the following week.

That morning I woke up very groggy. I was so anxious the previous night that I couldn’t sleep.

I tied up my freshly cleaned hair and put on a romper. It was my favorite because it had somewhat deep pockets, big enough to fit my phone into.

When I went downstairs, my mom was sitting at the island in the kitchen, sipping coffee.

“Has Dad gone to work yet?” I asked her and she shook her head.

Mom didn’t talk to me very much at all. She had wanted me to always be sweeter and girlier than I was.

When I had refused, she wanted me to be more intelligent, and mild-mannered but I couldn’t seem to manage that either. She had always wanted more, but not for me just from me.

My mom was wearing the clothes she always wore when she went to work; Khaki pants, a polo shirt, and comfortable shoes. She wasn’t like herself when she went to work.

When she was at the nursing home, she was pleasant and helpful. She had even offered one of the old girls over to our house on Easter when her family didn’t take her out for the day.

But whenever my mom was allowed the time to drink, she would. My father noticed how excessive it was getting and reprimanded her whenever she’d drink in front of him.

So naturally, she hid booze from my dad and drank until he came home from work around midnight. She was never abusive, she was just catatonic.

I wasn’t sure if he was aware that I knew, but he never spoke about it to me.

My father was a very shy man. A family man. He wasn’t the kind to strike up a fight, even with me or my mom.

If he had something to say, he would bring it up to one of us like a request. He was meek, almost skittish. I had never heard him raise his voice to anyone.

My father walked downstairs in his uniform for the casino. He usually ran the blackjack table.

It was perfect for him too, because he was good at taking orders. You tell him to deal you another card, and you’d have one in your hand before you finished your sentence.

“Hey Sweetie,” my dad said as he pulled me close and hugged me.

“Hey, have you seen my hat? I think I put it in the wash by accident,” I asked, looking up at him. My dad wasn’t very tall but neither was I. I was around five feet tall and one hundred and fifteen pounds.

“I did actually, it’s on the dryer,” he said and I ran to retrieve it. I saw my wide-brimmed hat resting on the dryer and I picked it up.

I had gotten that hat at a festival I went to with my friend and my father. I got it during my ‘Stevie Nicks phase’ but it was still a good sunhat.

I strategically placed it on my head and noticed something underneath it.

It was a pair of black slacks that belonged to my father that had been worn the night before. I could tell because they were bunched up and smelt like cigarette smoke.

There was a gambling stub peeking out of his right pocket.

In New Mexico, it’s illegal for someone under the age of twenty-one to gamble.

So, at the Marynn, they requested a ticket machine that tells the time at which the person entered one of the high stakes gambling rooms.

That way, they could keep a record of whoever went in there, for legal reasons.

According to my prediction, I was right; the date on the ticket was the night before.

That seemed otherworldly, my dad would never gamble and never in one of those rooms.

Whenever he would participate in school raffles, he’d get so excited, he’d have to leave and miss the rest of it.

He would never stand a chance against any of the regular high-ballers that went there. It threw me off my day to say the least.

Not to mention the fact that, unlike most people who gambled at the Marynn, we didn’t have money. We had enough, I should say, but not enough to gamble with.

My mom had enough money for her weekly alcohol, and my father had what he needed for our daily expenses. I had a good $20,000 tucked away for college.

I heard my dad calling me and saying I’d miss school if I didn’t hurry. I balled up the receipt and put it in my pocket and ran out my front door, shouting a last goodbye to my parents.

I used to opt to walk to school instead of taking the bus because it would help me clear my head. I guess old habits do die hard because there I was, walking to school.

I could drive, I got my license and everything, but I liked walking.

When I walked into the school, I saw my one true friend standing at her locker.

Alexis had long dirty blonde hair and chocolate-brown eyes. She had a short, upturned nose and small mouth.

She was friends with all of the popular girls and when they weren’t around she’d talk to me, probably out of boredom.

That being said, she was nice to me and she’d defend me if someone would talk about me behind my back.

I think the reason I garnered so much attention from the school, even though I was a self-claimed nobody, was because I was nineteen.

People were lucky to be eighteen at their graduation so that they could rub it in their peers’ faces that they were older. I would have given anything to have been younger at my graduation.

I missed the cutoff date for kindergarten, so I had to wait a whole year to be enrolled again.

People at the school thought it was strange and made rumors that I had failed classes, which was untrue. But Lexi believed me when I told her it wasn’t.

“Hey, Lex. You look kinda stressed, what’s up?” I asked, concerned for, as far as I knew, my only friend.

“I’m freaking out ’cuz I didn’t do my makeup today because there’s, like, a serial killer and I’m stressing out and that Jake won’t think I’m pretty and-” I cut her off.

“I’m sorry, go back a step, what did you just say?” I asked with extreme worry. Then she looked at me like I was crazy, but it was mostly because no one interrupted her when she was bitching.

“I said, ‘Jake wouldn’t think I’m pretty’- well I always am bu-” I cut her off again. Her boyfriend wasn’t much of my concern after that.

“No Lex, the serial killer part,” I said, almost frantic to know. I think she rolled her eyes at me when I said that.

“Don’t you watch the news at all? There have been murders scattered across America and the FBI think they’re coming here! Like, what if I’m next?” she said, frantically fanning herself with her hands.

“Who were the victims? Were they all girls?” As I asked that, I got a little nervous myself. If Alexis was worried about getting murdered, I should’ve been equally as worried.

Part of me wasn’t worried at all. Alexis came from a wealthier family than I did and I felt like they would be more likely to take her.

I didn’t pose as much of a ransom payout as she did but if these were merciless killers then that wouldn’t matter. Plus, she was definitely prettier than I was; she was like a model, legs and all.

“No, they were all, like, thirty year old men,” Lex said, looking off to the side and I rolled my eyes.

“Something tells me you’ll be just fine,” I said and she crossed her arms with a huff.

“Can you at least, like, come over to my house after school or something?” she said, looking a little worried, but only for herself.

Like she wanted me there to protect her or take her place if there was a killer.

“I can’t, I have to be home tonight,” I said, truthfully and she nodded.


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On my way home, I thought about how I’ve walked to and from school everyday. I walked alone every time and nothing ever happened to me, nothing malicious.

I mean, I’d slip and fall on my ass in the spring because of the neighbors sprinklers. People would laugh but nothing beyond that.

Someone could have scooped me up from that puddle and taken me straight to Mexico. I would’ve never thought that if Lexi hadn’t made me paranoid.

I reached inside my pocket and fished around for my house key and suddenly felt anxiety.

I looked down the street that I had walked and looked to the other end of it and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. No strange men in black or cars tucked behind a bush, out of sight.

I took a deep breath and made my way inside. I locked the door behind me and pulled on it to ensure my safety.

I went upstairs to my room to change into comfy shorts and a tank top, throwing my clothes back into my drawer.

I figured what was the point of washing something I only wore for 6 hours. It’s only a quarter of the day I spent out of the house.

My house seemed a little nicer than most. There were two floors and a basement, two bathrooms, too.

I’m sure my parents thought that the luxury of the house would make up for the high cost and that they’d be able to pay it off in no time.

But then I was born, and the cost of luxury was getting uncomfortable. Loans were granted, mortgages were taken out.

For my mother and father, the house was a ball and chain of debt and a constant reminder of the house’s facade.

I remember I couldn’t go to Lex’s house that day because my mom said she wanted to talk to me.

For most kids, that would imply some kind of reward for making it through school with average grades and nearly perfect behavior.

For me it was probably my mom telling me to move out or that her and my dad were getting a divorce.

As I stepped out of my bedroom doorway, I heard a noise from downstairs. It sounded like someone hitting glass.

I reached under my bed and took out a baseball bat. I remember stealing it from one of the JV baseball boys after we broke up.

I crept down the stairs, trying my damnedest not to make a sound.

As I moved down, the sounds from outside became more apparent. It was coming from my back door window. I followed the sound through the kitchen and then it abruptly stopped.

My heart was racing a thousand miles an hour, and came to a complete stop in a matter of seconds. My breathing quieted and my head felt like sparkling water.

The entity that was on the other side of the door began to fidget with the knob. I wound my arms back so when it opened the door, I was ready to beat the hell out of it.

I didn’t expect what walked through the door.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” my mother shouted. The air my body had sworn against breathing filled my lungs. I lowered the bat and sighed in relief that it was just my mom.

“I’m sorry Mom, I was just paranoid, I thought it was someone else,” I confessed. She shook her head and walked through the house.

“Who did you think it was?” she asked, seemingly annoyed.

“I don’t know! A creep or a stalker… Or murderers,” I said, thinking about what Lex said earlier.

My mom glanced at me for a moment, and looked at me with a sort of glare. She rolled her eyes and opened her secret liquor cabinet.

I remember she was bent over, paused, like she remembered something.

“Oh, Taryn,” my mom said and I turned to her. “Your father and I are going out tonight.” I just stared.

“Why’s that?” I asked, curious. The way she said it made it sound like it was some sort of date night. I couldn’t remember the last time my parents went out on a date.

“I don’t know, your father said we were going out on a date to celebrate. Probably for my year of sobriety,” she said. She winked at me and snickered.

I sighed and dropped my shoulders. I thought maybe they were going to do something for me. Surprise me or at least talk about my future.

I felt a little selfish having that thought, for wanting my parents to be proud of me. But now I know that, that was a completely valid feeling to have.

Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t hate my mom. That being said, my mom wasn’t my favorite person in the world. She had this way of holding me under her thumb that I didn’t like very much.

Like the way she winked at me, it was her way of telling me that her secret was safe and she knew it. It was just a little scummy.

“When are you going out?,” I asked, wondering if I could possibly sneak over to Lexi’s and get back before they came home.

“Dad said around nine, why?” she said, pulling out a bottle of tequila.

“Well, I just wanted to know if I could go ov-” I was cut off.

“Nope!” she exclaimed, flicking off the cap of the bottle. I groaned and tilted my head.

“Well, what am I supposed to do? Can I have Lexi sleep over here at least?” I asked, slightly annoyed with the thought of sitting home alone while my parents lied to each other.

If I couldn’t even have Lexi over, it was going to be a long night.

“No, she cannot sleep over,” she said. I could hear her getting more and more agitated.

“Fine,” I said, finally giving in. There really was no purpose or good outcome to fighting with my mom. I either end up losing or not wanting what I wanted in the first place.

I decided to go back upstairs to my room, dragging my bat as I went. I dropped it as I walked to my bed and plopped down on it.

As I stared up at my ceiling, I began to think about my memories of the past few years. How little I’d done for my class, how unmemorable I was, how invisible I was.

Not in a bad way, almost a good thing even. I wasn’t bullied or harassed, only talked to by teachers. But having no one to talk to for three years kinda sucked.

I only met Lexi at the end of my Junior year and that was only because she bumped into me and felt bad. Then she bought me tea and we talked about our hobbies.

Surprisingly, Lexi and I had a bit in common. We both liked drawing and coloring and the same kinds of music. She also liked some of my clothes and we both binged on four seasons of The Walking Dead.

I thought about when we went to a Walker Stalker convention together. She was scared shitless.

I always saw people who had been friends since they were little and felt envious. But then I met Lexi and felt like I had known her forever.

I must have dozed off while reminiscing because when my mom woke me to tell me she was leaving, it was dark outside. She had glittery makeup on her eyes and a reddish-plum colored lipstick.

“Just wanted to let you know we’re leaving so get up.” My mother’s logic was infallible. I sat up with a sigh as she left my room.

She was wearing a short dress; the color or style didn’t matter. I just saw my fifty year-old mother wearing a dress for twenty year-olds.

I walked downstairs and into my kitchen to grab a drink. After staring into the fridge blankly for a while, I poured ginger ale into a glass.

I walked into the living room and sat on the couch, listening to the sound of clinking keys and hurried footsteps.

From the corner of my eye, I noticed my mom come into the room and walk in front of me. She picked up a skinny, black remote off of the coffee table and turned on the TV.

“Watch some TV and order some take out. We’ll be back around eleven,” my mom said and I checked the clock; it was nearly seven-thirty.

I never understood why she said they were going out at nine but left at seven-thirty until now.

“Don’t open the door to anyone, don’t invite anyone over and don’t make a mess.” That last one seemed like more of a threat than a direction.

She walked away and called to my father, who was standing in the door frame of the back door near the kitchen. He finished smoking a cigarette and snuffed it out. He stepped inside and kissed my head.

“Don’t wait up for us, Honey,” he said, smiling. The smile, though, was strange; it was sad, almost painful. He looked like he just heard that his childhood friend died.

I stood up to watch them leave and my father wrapped his arms around me. I hugged him back but it seemed unusual. He squeezed me tighter and longer than he normally would.

Any other occasion, if my dad wanted to hug me, I’d have no vexation. But that night, for some reason, he was acting strangely.

My father kissed my head again and he led my mother out of the house. I locked the front door behind them and watched as they drove away. I sat back down on the couch.

I was texting Lexi when I heard the name of my town from the TV and looked up.

There was a newscaster with blonde hair talking to the camera, standing in the dark.

“If you live in any of these towns, be careful, especially at night. Always be wary of strange looking vehicles and if you see this man, immediately call the police.

“Do not try to detain this dangerous individual,” she said. A picture prompt popped up next to her face.

It was a poor quality photo taken of a man who looked only a couple years older than me. It looked like it was taken by one of the victim's surveillance cameras around his home.

The man on my screen had a well-shaped face with deep hazel eyes.


Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!


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