"No!" I cry as I fall into the darkness below. "NO! I'm clean!"
I land gently on the cushioned bottom of this despicable pit. Something wet and sticky touches me and I shudder.
"I'm clean," I whimper as my last ray of hope is sealed off with the top of this stinking prison. The darkness is putrid, so thick it is almost tangible. It penetrates every corner of this cesspit.
How I loathe this place.
"Well, well." The voice cracks its way through the darkness. "What do we have here?"
A sense of foreboding darker than my surroundings fills my being.
So it begins.
"Long time no see, eh?" The taunt is followed by a chorus of high pitched giggles and wheezes from the piles around me.
A rough fabric nudges me, and I can feel the filth left behind. "Where ya been, Leftie? We missed you!"
"Rumor has it you bailed on us."
"I heard Rightie's been bawlin' herself t'sleep at night."
This isn't looking good.
"Hey guys," I say cajolingly, anxious to defuse the situation. "I'm one of you. None of you can say you haven't thought of slipping off every now and then...."
"That's right, Leftie. You are one of us." I jump at the sound of the harsh voice grating from underneath me.
"Yeah, only we don't leave our partners to rot in a drawer while we lie low for a while." Somehow, the darkness seems to deepen with my fear. I flinch, attempting to ready myself for the inevitable.
"It ain't right, what you done. It ain't right."
"If I din't like Rightie so much, I'd shred you right now."
The barrage of angry, spitting voices rise, battering me from all sides. I curl up as small as I can, as if that could protect me from the fury around me. Then, suddenly, a single voice cuts through the rest, sending a chill to my very core.
"NO!" A last, desperate plea tears itself from my throat. "No, please...."
It only incited them.
"Yeah, sink him to the bottom!"
"He should count himself lucky if he ever sees daylight again, after what he done!"
The clothing around me writhes, as the maniacal cries increase in brutality. I gasp for one last breath of clean air before I am sucked into the sweaty, stinking depths of the hamper.
I'm sorry, Rightie. What's a sock to do? I think. I close my eyes and surrender myself to the filth.
What's a sock to do?