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The Captive.

Then she was roughly pushed into a dark room. The door slammed shut as her head hit the floor. She lay there stunned, eyes smarting with tears.

The floor was cold, hard stone. Lying still for a few minutes she got her wind back. Her forehead throbbed as she sat up and a drop trickled down the side of her face. She wiped it recognizing the smell of blood.

Pushing herself forward, half crawling in the pitch dark room, she reached the wall and sat with her back against it, waiting for eyes to adjust to the darkness. She looked around, trying to see a pattern, a break in the shadows. There was nothing. No up, no down. Wondering if the knock on the head had blinded her she shut her eyes tightly and opened them again. The only difference was the swirl of colour when they were shut.

She took a deep breath and almost gagged. The putrid stench of the room was suffocating. It was the smell of rats, urinals and dark nights. It touched her like unknown fingers, making her flesh crawl. The bile rising in the throat almost choked her and she pushed it down with an effort. It left a foul taste in her mouth. Water… she wanted water. Gallons and gallons of Ice cold water, to drink, to wash and to splash in. She licked the dust on her lips and rubbed her face in an attempt to clean it. Legs buckled under her as she tried to stand. So for a long time, in the tomb like silence, she sat listening to her heart beats. Slowly they came back to normal, well..... almost normal. She tried to stand, seeking support from the wall, and this time she managed. Inching sideways along the wall like a crab she thought, she has to be a crab from now on, hiding in the crevices and under the moldy rocks.

The damp and rotting wall kept flaking at her touch. She kept rubbing her fingers on her jeans to keep them clean and moved on again, feeling her way along the wall. The ground felt uneven in a few places with stone slabs missing. She stumbled a few times but didn’t fall. She pretended she was a cat as she tried to see through the inky night. Her shoes touched something. She gingerly pushed it around, trying to figure out what it was. It rolled away with a metallic clang. She sat down and reached out, feeling with outstretched hand, fingers seeking in the direction of the sound. It had rolled a little farther than she had thought. Hating to leave the security of the wall, with her back still against the wall she reached out and groped around. Her fingers found coolness of metal. It was a light weight and dented metal cup. She searched for sharp edges. Sharp edges are useful, if used properly.

Her eyes kept scanning the darkness. That little patch to her right looked a little less opaque. Could be a boarded up window, she thought hopefully. Little by little she moved along the wall towards it.

She stared hard at it and noticed the lighter patch of darkness high above her. She decided to make a mark on the wall to find the place again later. The cup was still in her grip. With its edge she started to carve a long notch on the wall. The cup kept slipping from her fingers making loud clanging sounds. First time that happened, the sound paralyzed her, but soon she realized that there was no reaction from outside.

She had to keep finding the cup every time it fell. The darkness felt less threatening, now that she was learning to move around. It took her some time to make that notch deep enough to be found easily with the finger tips. The effort had completely drained her. Once again she rested against the wall.

A faint sound outside drove the sleep away from her eyes. A thin shimmer of light shone in the darkness. Crouched like a cat, gripping the cup like a weapon …she waited. The door opened a little more, and two people entered the room. One of them put something on the ground while the other one stood guard. His flash light searched around the room and pinned her down, blinding her. The light beam flashed on the objects on the ground. A cup and a few pieces of bread on a plate. The light beam arced around the room once again, briefly illuminating a grimy commode in a far corner and was switched off. The door slammed shut and once again the room was plunged in darkness.


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