Rachel Thompson

Pain and Gain – The Untold True Story by Marc Schiller (Excerpt)


I no longer had the strength to conjure thoughts of rescue. My body and mind, weakened by starvation, blinded and ravaged by pain, no longer responded. I sat chained to the wall and tried one last time to garner enough strength to visualize my children in my mind’s eye.

The invisible clock ticked down to what would surely be the last moments of my life. Numbly I sat there, aware of what awaited me, no more trying to fool myself that events would suddenly take a favorable twist. I knew my fate and reluctantly accepted it. The cavalry had never arrived, and I was now convinced that my ideas of rescue had been merely an illusion I’d created in order to survive my captivity.

It had been a month of torture, humiliation, and darkness that was now coming to a close. In a way, perhaps it was best that it was finally over, even though it would not end the way I had hoped.

That evening, they came to me and told me I needed to wash up and change clothes for the first time in a month. They happily announced I was being let go, since they had financially ravaged me and there was nothing left to take. They’d grown just as weary of me as I was of them. I wanted to believe them, yet I recognized their subtle hints and knew it was just another lie. Besides, I knew whom they were, and I was sure they knew this, and dead men tell no tales.

This, as everything else they had done, was comical. They wanted me to change my urine-drenched clothes and wash up so they could kill me while I was looking and smelling good? It didn’t matter to me, and I felt I might as well die with some dignity.

A month-long tour of hell with my own personal demonic guides was ending: a month filled with pain from the burns, electrical shocks, and assorted beatings. I hadn’t seen any light for the whole time, and food was almost nonexistent.

Perhaps the most difficult part was the rollercoaster ride of emotions I had endured. I had never imagined that I would be chained to that wall for so long.

So I waited for them to come take me away one last time. I sat and asked for forgiveness, and I prayed for my children.

I did not know how they were going to kill me. I just prayed that it would be quick and relatively painless. But what I had learned from my experience was that my captors enjoyed seeing their victims suffer. I braced for whatever was about to come my way. They had taken everything from me, humiliated me and made me suffer, but they had not been successful in smothering my spirit, and perhaps, in the end, that was what infuriated them the most.

Little did I know that the coming evening would set off another chain of events far, far beyond my wildest imagination. That was typical of my stay in Hotel Hell; everything that happened was surreal, as if the scriptwriter were a deranged, drugged madman who saw no boundaries in a world of lunacy.

So I just sat there on the edge of darkness, waiting for the lights to be permanently turned off and to make my final exit from that stage.




Piles of loose papers, yellowing with age, collecting dust, have sat in a corner of the room for nearly seventeen years. Those many pages, written in January of 1995, contain ghosts and demons that are very real to me. Perhaps this is why I have made so many attempts to write these words and have only succumbed to those spirits contained within the manuscript. Each time, I put them back in the corner and hoped they would remain dormant. At last, I have found the will to confront those ghosts and demons. Perhaps external forces did finally push me into writing this, my story. Yet, deep inside, I have always known that writing these words would play a large part in cleansing my spirit and allowing me to obtain closure. Cleansing and closure are so necessary for my healing to be complete.

It is often said that time heals all wounds, and as it passes we are able to evaluate our experiences and hopefully learn the sometimes harsh and bitter lessons. This largely depends on how deep those wounds and psychological scars are that are left behind, the magnitude of the trauma suffered, and the mental strength, tenacity, and fortitude of the victim. Sometimes, healing takes more than the mere passage of time.

In all respects, I feel blessed. I have been able to move on with my life and, for the most part, leave those events of November and December 1994 behind me.

In July 2008, a television program was aired about my story on TruTV. I was asked to participate, which I did. My interest in writing this book was revived, and I wiped off the dust from those loose pages. Naively, I believed that the television program of my story could help someone else by providing a ray of light and hope in a time when everything appeared to be darkest. My aspirations for that were soon dashed, and I realized that the program was not going to convey that message or even tell the story in a balanced manner. Disappointed, I put the manuscript back in the corner to continue its lonely process of decay.

Then, in 2011, I was told that Paramount Pictures and Michael Bay were making a movie adaptation of my story. I started to reexamine the possibility of writing the book once again. This time, I felt it was important to tell the audience what had really happened and not let them be fooled by a Hollywood adaptation, which would contain many fictionalized events and would trivialize what had occurred. I want to transmit the important lessons I learned. And so here I sit at my desk in 2012.

Incredibly, it all began in January 1995, when I first sat down and wrote about two hundred pages of detailed notes on what had occurred in the previous two months. It was not exactly a book but more like a cleansing of the soul and mind, a journal that documented the events I endured and marked the beginning of my long process of healing. Now, using those notes, I write these words in the hope that someone may read them and see that no matter how horrific things may seem, a message of hope shines through. I’m convinced there will be some individuals who, in reading these words and pages, will find inspiration and the fortitude to take on and overcome any difficulty they may face. If this book helps just one individual, then my mission is accomplished. That is my hope and the reason for this book.

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Genre - True Crime

Rating – PG

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