I couldn't quite make out what they were saying. They were right there in front of me clear as day but as the sounds escaped their lips it was warped like there was a glass wall between us and I was just another odd attraction to laugh at, to scream at. In fact, the way their eyebrows furrowed and bodies that shook with all their being, they looked ready to explode upon the glass between us. I envisioned volcanoes bubbling to the very brim with hot magma practically screaming to be let out. This was my own personal prison, with Hades as my warden.
Further from them I realize I'm in a room that's as bored as I am. Bland walls that look like they’ve never seen the light of day ensnare me. There's a single dirty window the perfect size for perhaps an ant. Through it I can practically smell the sunshine and feel the sweet warmth of it graze my fragile skin. But alas I am trapped. Trapped in a room I do not know. Trapped within a the only thing keeping me alive. I hardly feel alive here. Im surviving not living. Existing not feeling. I'm constantly stared at with empty eyes. Poked and prodded with cold needles as if I'm some science experiment not a human being. A single smell prevails, one that keeps me nauseous, one that keeps me awake. The smell of old metal on a rainy day mingling with the smell of stale sheets and disinfectant. No, there's more than that, it's the scent of iron fleeing from my porcelain skin. It's the smell of me in the disturbed form I now found myself in. I do not smell like flowers and sunshine. I do not smell like scraped knees and sidewalk chalk. I smell like the breath of death itself. And with each breath I took I lost the will to take the next one.
I felt like a puppet. Never in full control of my body. Never feeling like a real person. Always exactly where someone else wanted me. Moving on my own was impossible. You'd expect that puppets can not feel pain but to me just being a puppet was torture enough. Every cold touch, every prick, every single thing that even grazed my skin sent needles down my spine. I couldn't open my eyes but that just made it worse. It was a nightmare. Not one filled with spiders and monsters around every corner. But a nightmare nonetheless. The pain was constant it was the only thing I knew was real I figured the rest was the tortures of my own mind. Like my mouth which was always dry and cracked, I was constantly tasting the iron from my blood. Tasting the nothingness that was my own saliva. It felt like I was literally eating away at my own consciousness, my own existence even and really maybe I was.
My hands are numb the air around them is thick as if when I wanted to let go but something still refused to let me. Sometimes that air would give me a light squeeze as if a ghost was stroking my palms. Between the cold sheets within this cold cage I found myself, it was the one thing that was soothing. Akin to the warm embrace of a mother. The intense warmth of being loved, being cared for. Accompanying this bittersweet warmth was cold splashes of salty water. It was a swift rainstorm upon me that though refreshing felt heavy on my skin. Their faces were coming into focus, they no longer were explosive volcanoes but gloomy clouds the furrowed brows replaced with puffy eyes and shaking bodies now quivering lips that looked like they needed to say something, as if they imprisoned thousands of unsaid words waiting to break out. I was staring directly into the face of regret. And it looked a lot like my own.
Aside from warbled calls and the silence of my own existence there's a constant buzz around me. Like the soft thumping of feet but more robotic. Lethargic yet swift like a slowly trotting stampede. I found this sound almost calming. It was constantly ticking away. After some time I imagined it as my own clock constantly ticking down. So as long as it kept ticking I knew I was alive. It was hope that maybe my nightmare would end and I could wake up and be a real girl again. Then something that has never happened before did, the stampede started off sprinting. What was usually the constant thump was now a parade of forceful beeps and tones. Within the next few moments everything is trembling, shaking violently to no end like an earthquake indiscriminate and powerful. My world of nightmares disintegrates into one of chaos and frenzied bodies. I feel on edge, like the tension in the room could slice through the largest diamonds. It felt deadly. Everything goes black and all I hear is a single crisp voice shout, “Clear!” And I'm free.