Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Turn To Me, And The Cage Goes Away

She was at a party. She wasn't entirely sure where it was, or how she had gotten there, but it was definitely a party: rooms full of people talking, laughing, eating, drinking. She didn't know any of them, and found herself moving through them in a succession of polite smiles and nodded acknowledgements; she wasn't ignored, but she wasn't engaged, either. Seeking the fringes of the event, she drifted out of the lavish ballroom and along a short hallway. There were windows, but she couldn't make out anything in the darkness outside them. There was a smaller room ahead, and she slipped into it gratefully. Three men were playing cards at a small table in one corner, but Linda ignored them in favor of the bookshelves that lined the walls.

For a moment, she was distantly aware that she was sleeping on a narrow cot in a concrete cell, wrapped in a rough blanket. There was no door, and only high, barred windows; the air was cold and damp, and all she had with her was what she'd been sleeping in: a tee shirt and a pair of boxers. Her throat hurt from screaming and sobbing, for all the good that had done. Nobody had come, and even if they had, how could they get her out? For that matter, how had she gotten there in the first place? Was she still in her closet, somehow? Or had she been brought somewhere else?

The dream was comforting, a blessed relief from all that, and Linda sank back into it gratefully. She pulled a book from the shelves, and opened it. Then she laughed in delight as the words and images of the story spun around her. A young sorceress was setting out from her family keep, on a journey that almost certainly wouldn't end where she expected...

"Turn to me," said a voice behind her. She was back in the room, still facing the row of books. The table in the corner was empty, the deck of cards neatly stacked at its center. Linda straightened, but kept her eyes on the book. The images, the story, had collapsed back into words on the page.

"Who are you?" she asked.

"Turn to me," said the voice, "and the cage goes away."

In the darkness of her cell, Linda woke up shivering.

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