In another episode of not reading the prompt clearly, I wrote this and then realized that maybe this wasn’t what was meant. Oh well!
Once again, I grabbed today’s prompt from this website. If you are interested, consider writing to this as well. I set the timer for twenty minutes and did my best.
Content warning for implied torture, imprisonment, and talk of death.
What if the universe as we know it is actually someone’s imagination?
“It’s broken,” Brent said, throwing the part across the room in disgust. “We’re still trapped here. There’s no way out.”
“You’ve never given up before,” I countered as I stalked across the room, gathering the part in my hand. I held it up to the light that filtered in between the slats of our small cell. It was coming along nicely, a jagged piece of metal that we’d sharpened over the weeks of our captivity.
I could barely remember the taste of home anymore. The smells of potatoes wafting from the kitchen, the feel of the sun gently shining down upon us, the sound of gravel crunching beneath my feet. Every day that we were trapped here, I could feel my memories becoming distant and muted like the sound of a bell under water.
Every day, I gave in to despair, and every morning, I woke up feeling renewed and willing to try again. But it was wearing on us both.
I stared in to Brent’s eyes and I could tell that the hopelessness was winning. At night, our lives became one pain after another as we were forced to endure indignities from the guards. Every night, my voice grew hoarse from screaming. Every night, I knew I was losing more of Brent until he’d become the tormentor.
But not tonight, damn it. I slid my hand in his and squeezed tightly, desperately wanting him to feel my skin, the strength in my hand, the conviction in my grip.
“I can’t do this anymore, Wren.” He said softly. “Every day is like the day before. The guards come in and not even the promise of making it to the next morning keeps me tethered to the now. Last night, I wanted to make Wilkins bleed. I wanted to hurt him.”
What could I say? I’d seen the look on his face, the menace in his eyes. Gripping the metal tool tightly, I said, “I know. The walls felt like they were closing in. I could hear the screams. I could smell the blood. I know it’s too much. But we have to hold on.”
“Why?” Brent asked, anger in his tone. “Why do we have to endure? You’re the only reason I’ve held on for this long.”
Tears blurred my vision as I quietly walked to the corner of the cell, lifting the blanket as I furiously dug around the corners of the tile, my hands shaking. “I don’t know.” I managed after long moments of painstakingly continuing my pet project of digging. It started on my first day here and I couldn’t stop the compulsion even though my spirits flagged. My throat was dry and my heart felt as though it were fragmenting in to a thousand pieces.
“Brent, I can’t do this alone. I know..I know that you can’t see a way out for yourself. But, let’s try to see a way out for each other.”
“Escape was your idea.” He said, his head bowing. It killed me to see this an brought so low, to know that perhaps he was right.
I placed the tool down and wrapped my arms around him. “Feel me,” I whispered softly. “Feel me here. Right here. Touch my hair. Feel my skin.”
He stood stiff as a board at first and I leaned in to him, trembling now. “Brent. I can’t do this without you. We promised that we’d either live together, or we’d die together. And I’m not ready to die.”
“Wren.” His voice, broken by all that we’d experienced wrapped around me like the sweetest caress as his arms came around me in a tight, fierce hold.
I had him for one more night. We would endure together, or we’d die trying. But I wasn’t ready to die.
I kept my voice a low, steady murmur as we comforted one another, hands stroking over one another, mouths pressing for a moment in a sweet and desperate kiss.
We sat on either side of the place where I’d been trying to dig our way out. Grabbing the jagged metal, I lifted the tile and it slowly begin to crumble in to the sloping passage below. The light began to fade as the dark slowly settled upon us. Shifting shadows waited eagerly against the wall as a door slammed closed.
“We don’t know where it leads. What if it’s worse than here?” Brent asked quietly.
I pushed the dirt and tiles aside with my hands as we looked down in to the passage below. I saw so much light there, so much hope. But it could also be a trap.
Avery Chilson’s mind was a labyrinth of torments. My hand curled around the metal and I smiled grimly.
“Then it least we have a weapon.”
Brent laughed, a sound that stroked over my senses like a hug.
I slid my hand in his as the guards came rushing toward the cell. The shadows took shape with teeth and claws that I knew by experience was capable of rending.
“Not this time, Avery,” I murmured. “Not this time.”
Perhaps if Avery were a better person, we would have tried to soothe him. But knowing that what he perpetrated upon us here was what he often did to his victims left me without mercy.
“It’ll tear his mind.” Brent said softly.
“Good,” I murmured as I heard the cell door open and felt the clawed hand reach for me.
Out of time and options, we jumped in to the cavernous passage, the light bathing us with intense beauty and utter agony. We both screamed as we hit the ground hard.
I opened my eyes and Brent was beside me, his hand still in mine as we stared up in to a night filled with stars. Stars that were not the imaginings of anyone. Stars that were real and bright and beautiful. We looked at each other and we smiled. We were finally free.