The floor was cold as I awoke. My jaw was sore and my body was stiff, and when I opened my eyes, I couldn’t tell where I was. It was dark. The walls were pitch-black but I could see a bed without a mattress. One of the springs were loose… I tried to stand, with some difficulty, and when my senses had gathered I endeavoured to move. I had no recollection of where I was or how I ended up here – whatever here was. There were large metal bars in my way that felt course on my hands. It seemed that I was a prisoner, of some sort, that much was clear. My attire confirmed my suspicion, wearing a grey jumpsuit, the one associate with criminals. I rattled the bars and felt them move. Pieces of the concrete rained on my head. A hard enough push and the bars would come crashing down, I imagined. But for some reason, I hesitated. Something was wrong. It was too quiet… Too dreary, or maybe this was common? I wasn’t sure. Had I deserved to be imprisoned? I didn’t know. Surely I was not?
In either case, I felt the bars and after some force, it all collapsed loudly on the floor. I stood paralysed as the crash echoed in my ears and through the hall, before it became deathly silence once more. I stepped out and felt cold wind on me. It whined through a broken window, which I approached. There wasn’t much of anything that I could see in the distance, only trees and an empty courtyard below. There was a lonely car parked near the entrance and I imagined it to be a means to my escape. I turned back to the hall and was engaged to find my way downstairs when I became paralysed once more. There was only utter darkness ahead, the light from the window seemed to die halfway down the hall and I shuddered at the thought of heading into it. But, seeing no other way I steeled myself and headed towards it. One could only wonder why the prison had been abandoned to begin with and why I was its sole inhabitant, so I did not, and focused instead on my escape.
Only now did I realise my feet were bare. The floor was course and a multitude of different things, and pieces, lay scattered that made me painfully aware of my naked feet. But I kept on moving, feeling with my hands on the right side of the wall to not lose my way. The wall disappeared and I imagined the hallway forked to my right, and as I was about to head that way, my feet became firmly planted on the floor. There was a scratching noise, like metal being dragged against the concrete floor and I froze. I remained still as it came closer, making efforts to breathe shallow breaths. Though I did not see it, I felt the strangers presence as it lurked past me and when it reached the light I became vindicated that I had made the right choice and remained still. He was a massive man, muscular and faceless. And the weapon, that seemed light for a man of his stature, was dragged along the floor, like it was his purpose to make his presence known. He stopped by my cell and inspected it.
I struggled to keep quiet as it searched my former abode, and when it deemed it empty, it returned the same way it came. Only when the sounds were distant did I dare to move. I decided that my only way of escape was through the window and I searched for anything to make a rope out of. I searched other cells too, though I avoided the locked ones in fear of making any sounds that would attract the monster to me. I gathered all the cloth I could find and managed a rope that I hoisted out the window. It seemed to reach all the way down and I did not hesitate to throw myself out into the world. It had started to rain, which made the climb more difficult, but I was in high spirit, when, from the window, a figured stared down at me. A moment later, I held onto nothing and I was falling, along with my makeshift rope.
They say that your life flashes before your eyes before you die. I can say with certainty that this is true, and as mine did I no longer feared death and accepted my fate.
© Christopher Stamfors
Art by ChrisCold