Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Dreamer's Prison

This is the fourth installment in A Haunted World. No, I still wouldn't count on it ever getting finished, if I were you.

There was a silver tray beside the narrow bed. Linda blinked and closed her eyes, tried to find a comfortable position on the narrow cot. After a few minutes she opened her eyes again.

The tray was still there. It was impossible; the cell had no doors, and the windows were high and barred. There was no way a wide silver serving tray could have been brought into this cell, but there it was: sitting on a wooden stand beside her cot. Was she dreaming all this? The thing in her closet, the horrible sense of being taken into darkness, her time in this cage? Or was it all some sort of trick? Had she been drugged and kidnapped? Was there a door here somewhere, carefully hidden?

She sat up and pulled the blanket around her shoulders, partly against the chill of the air and partly out of a fear that someone might be watching her, unseen. She approached the tray and tentatively extended her free hand. When nothing changed, she touched it: metal, solid and slightly cold. Encouraged, she lifted the lid from the tray.

Underneath it was a wide, shallow bowl. It was half-full; oatmeal, by the look and smell of it. Linda's stomach rumbled.

For a long time she just stood there, looking it at. Then she put the cover back down over it, picked the whole thing up (cover, tray, and wooden stand) and moved it to the far corner of the cell. She left it there, and went back to the cot. Even with the blanket, it wasn't particularly warm or comfortable, but it beat standing on the cold stone of the cell's floor.

She wanted to look for a hidden door. She'd been brought here, somehow; so had the food. There had to be a way in and out. Instead, she lay back on the cot and covered herself with the blanked. She wanted to see if anyone would react to her refusal to eat. The door, if there was one, would have to wait.

Later, when she looked back at that corner, the tray was gone.

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