CHAPTER ONE - WAKING UP IN CHAINS
NAOMI SLOWLY BECOMES CONSCIOUS. She lifts her head up as she wakes, to find that her body is restrained. Her arms are raised above her head and they hang from chains in which are hooked to the ceiling. Below, her ankles are held above the floor by chains that are hooked to the ground. This design of restriction has her held in the middle between the floor and the ceiling, touching neither of those surfaces. Her body is suspended in the air by the rusty chains and rings around her limbs.
She gasps as she looks around, panicked. She discovers that she is trapped in a small, windowless room, just about the size of a bedroom. The lighting is almost pitch black, so Naomi struggles to make out her surroundings. The only light that illuminates the room is the very faint light bulb, harsh white light, yet almost burned out. The smell of rust and sweat lingers, and Naomi can see that the four walls around her are filthy brown and green. To the left of the wall in front of her, a heavy brown door looks impossible to open. Just as she goes to inspect the floors, the light flickers out. Naomi freezes, at first thinking that someone else might have turned out the light, someone she didn't notice was in the room with her before. Soon enough, though, it comes back on, dim and flickering once again. She breathes outward. Looking down, she sees that the floor is also filthy. It is also slightly wet as though there was a muddy leak in the room. The corners of the room are packed with insects and cob webs, giving Naomi the shivers. As she looks to inspect the last corner, she spots a dirty, torn, thin blanket, poorly laid out. The eerie feel of the room and her entire situation makes Naomi close her eyes for a moment, shutting them tight.
Hearing the muffled sound of keys from the outside of the room causes her to open her eyes again. She hears the sound of something coming in contact with the brown door. Slowly, it opens, creaking. In walks a man with heavy footsteps, dressed in clothing that looks like he is ready for a rough job. Naomi thinks of a factory worker in a dangerous facility, or a construction builder. As the man takes his big jacket off, he speaks in a comforting voice.
"Hello, darling. Are you awake?" Naomi gives him no answer, feeling she wants to scream, but fails to get any sound out of her throat.
"Hmm?", the man encourages, waiting for a reply. "It's okay. . .Don't panic. You're fine. You can call me Jonas," he tells her, although, who knows his real name by now? He probably doesn't even know it himself, going through life on hundreds of aliases for years now. He reaches to touch her face, but she protests, leaning back as far as she can in her chains. This makes Jonas smile, proceeding to gently touch her face anyway, despite her efforts to move away. She finally chooses to speak, asking him, "Where am I?" in a panicked voice.
"You're with me now, Naomi," answers Jonas, giving her no useful information besides the fact that he just said her name.
"How do you know my name?", she asks. Jonas chuckles.
"Where am I?!", Naomi demands, now yelling. Jonas remains calm.
"In my home," he says, and gestures with his arms to draw attention to the room they are in. Naomi looks around, frustrated, confused, and frightened at the same time.
"This?", she asks. "Just. . .tell me what you want from me. Please, I swear, I'll do whatever you want me to. If you just let me go, I'll never tell anyone. Not a soul. Please, just let me go?", Naomi pleads, trying to convince Jonas. He is not moved by her questions.
"No, sweetie. That's not going to help me. I want you here. With me," he explains. This causes Naomi to yell once more, outraged.
"I don't know you! What do you want me for?!", she screams.
"Whoa, whoa. . .calm down. Here, if you promise to cooperate, I'll let you out of these chains. I bet your wrists and ankles are hurting by now. You've been locked there for a while," Jonas tells her. He proceeds to give her instructions on how he is going to let her go.
"Okay, since you're suspended in the air from both ends, I'm going to unlock your legs first. When you're hanging there, I'm going to take off the chains from your arms. When I do this, you have to jump forward so that your feet won't land on the hooks attached to the ground. Be careful."
Naomi looks down. She notices that she doesn't have shoes on, that he must have taken them. She also sees the hooks he was talking about, hooks cemented to the floor for her chains to attach to.
"Okay," she tells him. Jonas unlocked her ankles first, as he said he would, and then her wrists, and she jumped to the ground.
"Nice job, you're a good listener," Jonas tells Naomi.
"Where are my shoes?", Naomi asks. Jonas ignores her question.
"Are you hungry?", he asks, instead.
"Please. Please. All I want is to be let free," Naomi pleads to Jonas, with desperate eyes.
"Darling, if you don't tell me whether you're hungry or not, I won't know what to get you," Jonas says, completely skirting away Naomi's begging. She looks down at the floor.
"I'm not hungry," she says quietly.
"Oh, come on. I know you must be. I'll go get you something to eat. I'll be right back. Just get comfortable," Jonas tells her. Naomi continues to face the floor as Jonas leaves the room. Once he is gone, she lifts her head up.
"What happened?", she asks, talking to herself. "How did this happen? Who is he? How do I get out of here?". Naomi walks to the door. With no doorknob, just a groove to pull, she places her hand in it and pulls. Locked. There's no way out. No windows, no skylights, no nothing. Naomi walks over to the ugly blanket on the damp floor and sits. As she sits and looks forward at the wall in front of her, expressionless, her mind is blank in escape ideas. She is lost, and she has no way to find her way back home.
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