I wake up in a familiar place. Raise my head and look around. The curtains, the furniture reminds me of some place I once knew. Familiar. I lie back down. Awake but motionless, staring up at the ceiling, trying to recall where I am, what I’m doing here.
What time is it? It’s too dark for me to make out the hands of the small clock across the room. Come to think of it, I don’t even remember what day it is.
I sit up slowly and reach instinctively for the light switch that I know is on the wall beside my bed. Just within arms reach. Damn, no power. No wonder it’s so hot.
I can see outlines of stacks of books on the table against the opposite wall. Sheets of paper scattered everywhere. God, my throat’s parched. I reach for the bottle of water on the small bedside table, accidentally knocking over the glass beside it. I brace for the shattering sound that never comes. There was a rug under there, now that I think about it. The water is warm, tastes stale, but I’m too thirsty to care.
I try to get up. My legs are stiff and creaky, they tremble and my knees give a little as they get used to my weight. How long was I out? I walk to the table and pick up the clock. Stopped. Walk to the door and try the handle. Locked. Typical. Parting the curtains reveals a barred window, with glass just beyond the bars. I have a vague memory of looking out at the woods through this window. But all I can see now is a high brick wall a few feet from the window, and a small patch of sky above the wall.
It feels like some place I know. Feels like home, but not quite. Like those concrete and plaster caves and artificial moats they build in zoos. Familiar, somewhat comforting, but incontrovertibly a prison.
Somehow, the panic I would associate with the realization of being imprisoned just doesn’t set in. It’s like I’ve always been aware of it. Some part of me seems to have accepted the status quo to be an unalterable fact. Like somebody sat down and explained just why me being locked up is the best thing to be, I’ve just forgotten the arguments at the moment.
How long have I been here?
How many times have I woken up like this?
Alone in this familiar prison.
I hear a click. It rings, loud as a gunshot in the stillness of the room. Is that the door? Is somebody out there? I rush to the door but it seems to go further away. It was five steps! always five steps, I counted!
I run towards the door that opens a crack now. I can see the light streaming in. Almost there, just a little further. I reach out for the handle, my fingers can almost touch the cool steel when i get yanked back by my ankles falling hard on the stone floor. My head hits something smooth and cold, my eyes close momentarily.
I wake up in a familiar place.