by Summer Hillfield
My eyes are throbbing from straining too hard. I try to see deeper into the darkness but all I see in black. A squeak of a door fills the cold room I’m in. I can only tell where it comes from by the tiny sliver of blue light that appears on a wall in front of me. With the little light, I can make out a bench that I have my fingers gripped on turning my knuckles white, a floor under me that extends into metal walls and a ceiling. Other than that; emptiness.
My head turns around to see what caused the squeak but all I see is a figure. A tall, muscular man stands between my body and the door that leads outside. Outside. Where am i? Who am i? Why can’t I remember anything? Did something happen? Who is this man? I turn my head back around so the man can’t see my wide-open eyes that are filled with confusion.
I focus on my breath. It is almost as cold as the air that is trapping me. I try to slow my breath down but each time I try I feel a lump inside my throat that gets bigger and bigger. I swallow hoping it will go down with my saliva but all I get is a bigger lump. I bite my lip to keep from shaking out of fear. Or is this confusion? I don’t remember.
“Stand” his deep, urgent voice echoes throughout the room. Obediently, I lift myself off the bench so only it is between the man and me. My hands grip the side of my legs to stop them from shaking. What’s happening to me? The man’s footsteps echo in the room and fill my ears. He stops so close to me I can hear his breath. His lips brush my left ear and every muscle I have tenses up. What’s he doing? “When I tell you to run, you run” he whispers into my ear “trust no one”.
He pries my hands from my side with little force and clicks them together behind my back with a metal tool. “Where” my voice scratches from my throat. I didn’t expect it to sound like that. It sounds much higher and less intimidating than the man. Either way, I want to know what he’s talking about and why he wants me to get away from this place.
“Past the sisters, under the water and to cabin” he answers guiding me towards the door. With each echoing step, I get closer and closer to the light. I haven’t seen something so bright and dazzling as light itself. Or maybe I have. I don’t remember. Once we get outside the metal doorframe, the light overwhelms me. I close my eyes but even my eyelids can’t protect me of its blinding features. The warmth seeps into my skin to defrost my freezing body. My whole body shivers not from cold which I have known, but from the kindness of the light.
My feet try to keep up with the force the man is putting on my back to guide me forward. I open my eyes just enough to see where I am. The light is not being as kind to my eyes as it is to my skin. I try to blink the pain from my eyes and soon I am able to make out the floor. The shiny hallway looks nothing like the room I was in, but feels like it. Figures of people pass me and the man, though; I can never make out their faces. All of them are dressed in a bright color but as hard as I try, I cannot remember the name of the color. I know blue. Blue is the soft color that introduced me to the man that’s helping me escape. But escape to where?
I know I’ve asked this question before and I remember the answer I got. ‘Past the sisters, under the water and to the cabin’ is what the man said to me. There are three words in the answer that I do not understand. Sisters, water and cabin. I form my lips around the words to see how they work. I know I need to remember that. I also know my destination is a cabin. How do I know where to go if I don’t know what to go to?
My eyes are adjusting to the hallway bit by bit. I keep walking though I think this walk will never end. There are things I know and things I think. Judging by the way this man is eager to get me out of this place tells me this place is bad. That is what I think. Finally, I am able to open my eyes all the way. I continuously blink but my vision is still blurry. The light hurts my eyes worse when I look up so I try to look at my feet. I’m wearing a dress that is just long enough to cover my knees. It’s almost the same color as the floor I am walking on but a little lighter. I can see one shoe at a time with each step I take. Surrounding my feet are shoes that are tied with little ropes. They are the same color as my dress and make a noise each time they touch the ground.
Some people are holding things. Others are rushing to get to the point of their destination. Each is as quiet as the next. No speaking, only their shoes hitting the metal floor. The man behind me is walking eagerly but not rushing as fast. I have a feeling I know this place but I can’t remember why or how. I tilt my head to the left to find a girl staring back at me. I snap my head forward and focus on the hall floor. Who was that? I decide to look again.
My head turns exactly when hers does. Our faces make the same confused face at the exact same time. The man behind her is just as muscular as the man behind me and both men are gripping at our wrists and guiding us through the hall. I soon realize the person staring back is me. I look closer at my face to see blue eyes. The only color I know besides gray which is the color dress I wear and the color of the floor I walk on. The dark circles under my eyes bring a little color to my pale face. My hair is fastened onto the back of my head with a few short strands in my face that couldn’t fit with the rest of them.
The man behind me has the same color hair I do but it is cut short enough just to cover his skull. His jaw outlines a round face with brown specks lining the bridge of his nose making him look as young as me but much wiser. He wears pants and a shirt that are the same color as the people passing us. He’s taller than me by at least three inches and his eyes focus hard over my head and to the end of the hallway. His eyes catch mine and then snap back in front of us as fast as they came. Embarrassed by my curiosity, I move my head in front of me and try to focus on the thing he’s focusing on.
I can soon make out the end of the bright hallway ahead of us. Not as many people are passing us now. The man loosens his grip just enough to have one of his hands free. He crumples a piece of paper into my hand. The crinkled edges of the paper poke at my hand fit to form my grip. I know this piece of paper is important, yet, I don’t know why I’m holding onto it so tightly. Instead of gripping his free hand on my wrist, he fumbles in his pocket for a few moments. Then, he tugs at the metal tool that’s keeping my wrists together followed by a click. The metal tool lets go of my wrists but his hands are still securing them together. Why doesn’t he want me to get away? Why am I not running?
As the end of the hallway gets closer and closer, a door appears in my sight. The door is as metallic as the walls and the ceiling. There is nobody at the end of this hallway. The door is in full view now. If the man wasn’t gripping on my wrists, I could reach out and touch it. Finally, he lets go of my arms and steps in between me and the door. My eyes meet his and I find a worried look. He gulps loudly and bites his lip nervously. Is he supposed to be doing this? “Do not open the paper until you’ve gotten past the field. Remember. Past the sisters, under the water and to the cabin”
“I don’t-” my voice shakes but he interrupts me before I get any further. “I know you don’t know anything. You don’t know what to do or who you are. Trust no one and if anyone captures you, destroy the paper. Your questions will be answered at the cabin.” He says quickly gesturing to my hand. I nod although I do not quite understand why anyone would want to capture me or what I’m running from.
Voices start shouting at the other end of the hallway causing the man to shove open the door revealing more bright light. I shield my face from it and brace myself to go into the unknown. As the voices get louder, the man takes my arm and pulls me towards the door. “Run” he insists with the widest eyes I’ve seen. The voices echo down the hallway and obediently, I burst through the door frame. As my feet glide from cold metal to warm grass, I hear him whisper to me “good luck, Eolas”.