Several minutes passed. She opened her eyes, but it was too dark to make any difference. Why had I gone down that road? She thought. Why? Her thoughts went back to the rusty nail she held in her fingers. It wasn't going to be much help. If only there was a loose brick, like in the films... Through the darkness came a small whimper, and she reached her hand out to the girl beside her. She wasn't going to let the poor girl die in here. She had to find a way out. The situation was deperate. Closing her eyes, she recalled the last few days....
It had been a nice night. The sky was clear and sprinkled with stars. It was warm, but very pleasant. She had thought to go for a walk. Her mother cautioned her not to go. Anything could be waiting for a pretty girl to come along in the forest. She assured her mother she wouldn't go further than the end of the garden path. She knew she was lying.
And when she'd got there... The forest was alive. Alive with the silent songs of trees. Was there a hint of warning in them? If the were was, she couldn't tell. And nor was she listening. Too busy gazing at the moon in its fullness. It was so bright.
What happened? She must've blacked out because the next time she opened her eyes, she was here. Where was here? This room... nothing was familiar. Panic hit her like icy water. And then she'd heard footsteps just outside the door of the unfamilar room. The door opened. She closed her eyes and willed herself away, to no avail. A gentle voice... so gentle and sweet, welcomed her to this house. Said she'd be happy here, and safe. Safe from what, though? Then she'd met him. The monster. The glutton. He always wanted more, never being satisfied. She was forced to serve him. If she didn't, she was locked in The Room.
She winced at the thought.
The room was dark as the blackest thing at night and as bright as the most painful headache in the day. There were no windows. A day in there was enough to terrify anyone into being compliant. But enough's enough. When he'd made the request...
She dry reached.
That'd been the last straw. She'd refused again and again. Yelling and 'making a scene' as the gentle-sweet voice had put it. Happy? Safe? Hah. She'd been locked in the room. She wasn't alone. Another girl was there. She was so skinny, almost a skeleton. She smelled. How long had she been here? She obviously hadn't eaten for a while. Her rasping breaths told of her dehydration. Through the blinding light she'd gone over the the girl. She stroked her face. Told her she'd get them out of this. She didn't know how, but she would. There was a rusty nail on the floor, she picked it up and rolled it in her fingers.
She crawled over to the girl and stroked her face. Her smell was almost overwhelming. But she probably smelled almost as bad herself. With the nail in hand, she waddled over to the wall and felt for the groove she'd already made. This had been her ritual every night, it was too painful in the bright light. She remembered stories of miners losing their sanity in the blackness of caves and wondered if the other girl had gone insane. Sanity, she thought, I'm losing my life, might as well lose that too. She laughed and wondered if she already had. There was a slight stirring at the noise of her laughter. It's okay, she said, I'm getting us out of here. She giggled as she realized their only hope lay in the little groove she'd made in the wall. She smiled, and didn't know why.
The door opened and made the light worse. The Monster felt guilty, said a girl in a green dress. She could only just make her out. Here, the girl lay down what looked like a tray. She looked sympatheticly and warily at the skin-and-bones girl as she went back through the door. On the tray was a cup of water and two slices of bread. Guilty, she thought as she sipped the water, He's not guilty, he's sadistic. She drank half of the water and ate one slice of bread. She held the cup to skin-and-bones's lips and prayed she would drink. Too many days of dehydration... She wandered how long you could go without water and survive. She squinted and swallowed back a groan of pain. Damn this light. She heard skin-and-bones swallow and grinned. Would she eat something, too? It wouldn't hurt to try. She put down the cup and tore a small corner off the slice of bread. The girl was weak, but she managed the chew and swallow the small morsel. And after a while skin-and-bones had eaten half of the bread. She'd give her the rest later, she thought and put the bread in her pocket.
After skin-and-bones had eaten the half slice, she went back to the groove. She wondered if she even had a slight chance this way. It would probably take years, at this rate. A wave of grief and desperation hit her, she cried out and fiercly scratched away at the groove. Sobs wracked her body, which was slowly starting to resemble skin-and-bones's. She scratched and scratched in her wild fit of desperation. It wasn't going to work and she knew it. It wasn't fair, life wasn't fair. She felt wet on her fingertips, it was slightly warm. She licked her fingers and tasted blood. She sniffed. One of these days, the monster will pay. She ran her fingers over the groove and felt a tiny part of the plaster crumble away. Tommorow she would work on the other side of the brick, maybe she could loosen it...
She woke and saw a fresh tray, with fresh water and bread. She sucked in a deep breath and crawled over. She consumed her share and helped skin-and-bones have hers. A tiny bit of colour returned to her cheeks. That was a good sign, wasn't it? She sighed, a new wave of greif washed over her. She rolled the rusty nail between her infecting fingers and tried to hope. Skin-and-bones had eaten the whole slice today, that was hope. Maybe she'd become stong enough to speak, and tell her name. She wandered about the girl's family. Did she have a family? What about my family? Do they miss me? She could barely recall her mothers face, her cautioning voice. I'm fogetting my own family, how long has it been? She leaned her head against the wall, swallowed back the pestering headache, and closed her eyes.
The next day was much the same. The girl in the green dress brought them a small portion of sustainance. She fed skin-and-bones who ate both pieces of bread. Skin-and-bones was on the mend, she'd even opened her eyes. As darkness came she worked away at the brick, she'd made deep grooves in two sides now. She listened to skin-and-bones thank her for feeding her. She'd thought she was an angel. And that's what she called her, because neither of the girls could recall their own names. One night they'd laughed together and speculated on what they'd do when they got out of there. But they'd both silently thought, If...
That night skin-and-bones was the one sratching at the groove. Three sides had been done now. She ran her hand along the brick, feeling for any give. The plaster seemed to be old, and crumbled down to the floor in dust. The brick was giving. Skin-and-bones smiled and wiggled the brick up and down, back and forth. Angel heard the scraping of brick against brick and came to see what was happening. She pushed skin-and-bones's hands away and worked on the brick herself. She picked up the nail and worked it in bewteen the loose brick and the wall. More plaster crumbled and the brick fell to the floor. Skin-and-bones and angel glanced at eachother in amazment. They pushed and pulled at the remaining bricks. Some clanged to the floor and they saw the moon. Full and bright. They clasped hands and ran...
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