I feel groggy as the last of my sleep fades away. I rub my eyes before opening them and frown at the still present darkness. My hand is halfway up to my face to check if my eyesight is covered in any manner before I remember that my life is this dark. No tears come now at this realization since they long dried up in what seems to have been weeks of imprisonment. Not even a little beam of light ever enters the room as my captor has the connected rooms just as dark. “So as not to let you suffer while I provide you your food.” He had laughed when he came for the first time and heard me groan at the unchanged darkness.
“Strip a sense away and the rest grow to compensate.” It’s what he said every time I initially begged to be freed. And it was the truth. My sight was gone but my hearing and other senses were way sharper than I had ever realized. Perhaps having the numbing world filtered away had something to do with it. But I won’t give that sicko any credit.
The growth of nails and hair is how I track my duration of captivity and now, as I curl up in my now usual fetal position, I can feel that my breath is the sole sign of life in this place. And maybe I am going crazy but this silence doesn’t bother me anymore. I try to make myself remember. “My name is …” Partly horrified, partly indifferent, I face the realization that I have forgotten my own name as well. In this dark, everything I ever was has been slowly but surely taken from me.
It is perhaps my thoughts that summon him because less than five minutes pass since waking up, I presume, before he arrives. The darkness becomes useful for the first time as I realize via the improved senses that he entered through the third eastern gate. For a few moments I was unsure if that was really the correct gate but the man’s nearly silent steps echoed in the dark and thanks to my instincts, I have a fairly good idea of where this gate is. But I let out of a soundless sigh when I realize that without setting up a proper bait, I cannot get out from here by trying to replace him on whimsical plans.
I remember somehow that I had once tried to use the walls to get to the entrance of this dark room, when I had found out that this place had 20 gates, though which were real and which were fake was something I hadn’t yet figured out how to identify. I am knocked out of my thoughts by a huge sound of the metal gate clanking behind the doors. “Come on now, time for food. You know where to find it.” He speaks and I want to murder him for the impatient tone. Yeah? If you are so unwilling to have me here, why have me at all? And I ain’t your pet, so watch your words.
I speak nothing though, because there was an incident when I did speak up and was given no food or water for so long that I had felt like pledging my life to him just for a bite of food. Though calling it a food is a bit of exaggeration. What I am fed must be nothing more than some water and a half of a dry loaf of bread. I mentally try to plan an escape for when he returns next but the ever present hunger and the overpowering sense of defeat make me unable to even focus on something like that.
In the early days, he manacled my hands and he let me understand the situation just enough to know that I should never expect a rescue and nor should I bother with an escape plan because getting lost seemed to be worse than just staying put. But call it stubbornness, or whatever else you want, I still tensed up and cursed myself for not preparing myself to be near the open gate to prepare to jump him while the place was still dark. At the same time, I must acknowledge that I am too weak to win this by mere brute strength. At some point while I am consuming the garbage like the finest of delicacies, he leaves me alone. It is only after he’s gone and I’m done eating that I realize that he left me here once again. By instinct, I check for the door and feel it locked on the other side. I curse out loud at this. Someday, you’ll make a mistake and I’ll be ready to grab it.
So, having him once again gone, I let out a frustrated sigh at yet another missed opportunity and make my way to the center of the room where my food is left. And having forgotten everything that was once the ‘civilized’ part of me, I hungrily eat it all while being uncaring to the worry of being served poison food.
Whoever my captor is, I know that I am needed alive. And if I die here, then it would hardly be convenient. There is no way that this is for money since I am alone in this world and there hasn’t yet been a demand of ransom. Not that I have any notable amount that would make all this planning worthwhile. So I finally decide to sit here and wait, either for the captor to reveal the reason for this or for the chance to get out of this room. It feels like hours pass as I sit and let my mind run at the full speed for no good reason, except maybe to keep it active. And before I know it, I am feeling sleepy again.
Feeling an urge to lie down, I let out the words that have now become my mantra.
“When tomorrow comes… I would like not to return to my old life. No, I would rather choose to just be grateful for being back in the light.”