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THE LOCKED DIARY #3: I MADE IT TO ELLIS ISLAND, YOU CAN'T EVEN MAKE A FLIGHT!

I wake up with a jolt. I’m in a pitch-dark room with no windows. My head pounds heavy and slow. Like a heartbeat. Like a prison guard’s boots slamming against cinder-block floors. Like horror movie music. I lay in paralyzed silence for a moment. Like I’m procrastinating facing the dark reality that I’ve likely been kidnapped and am being held hostage in a lightless basement where I’ll stay until I die. Unless, of course, I get serendipitously rescued after six months. I envision the Safe Return™ to my family making national news. I see the headline: Adult Kidnapping Victim, Zara Barrie, Tearfully Reunites With Family. And suddenly I’m the face of adult kidnapping. It’s not what I had in mind for my life but I’ve always wanted to be the face of something, so I lean into it. I *finally* have a platform people will take seriously. When I candidly wrote about being sexually assaulted by a male bartender after slugging back more Sauvignon Blanc than my body could handle in a London pub—an editor at a top-tier publishing house rejected my book proposal because she was looking for “more serious stories about what women are up against.” I dare that editor to reject me after my stint as a missing person. I feel a fleeting moment of glee: I’m finally going to fulfill my dream of being an Oprah “SuperSoul” speaker. Right as I’m prepping for my first appearance on the Howard Stern Show—

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