Daily Prompt : 1984
Posted by Simon on 09/01/2013
You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.
Daily Prompt : 1984
It was my turn in the room again. We didn’t know how the mainframe knew what particular object of fear would work on each of us, but it never failed. The orderlies arrived to drag me from my single cot. I screamed – I’m not proud of it, but knowing what was waiting for me in the room, I could no more stop myself from screaming than I could stop myself from falling if I jumped from a tree. This time, it was the two who I had nicknamed ‘flat nose’ and ‘crooked teeth’ who came to collect me. They were different in facial makeup and odor, but the bulk and strength of them both were almost identical.
The soft shoes we were required to wear skidded and skittered against the cold, hard floor as I was bodily dragged backwards through the dormitory door. My fellow prisoners looked away, their eyes filled with the mixed emotions of thankfulness that it was not their turn, but also sympathy. Some of us had grown quite close these few months, and we shared a camaraderie fostered through our mutual suffering.
The corridor toward the room was as damp and desolate as I remembered. I had stopped struggling by the time we had rounded the corner from where we slept. Struggling against the orderlies was as pointless as trying to push over a mountain. With each passing footstep toward my waiting torment, I grew more resigned to my fate, but that didn’t stop my fear from increasing, my body shaking, my skin breaking out in cold, clammy sweat.
Soon, all too soon, we arrived at the door to the room.
Unbidden, my voice called out again, pleading, begging to be taken back to my dormitory. Begging not to be placed in the room had never worked before, but it didn’t stop my body taking over my brain and pleading for mercy. But with the same result as always, I heard the key click in the lock and the door swing open.
With a last desperate cry, I was thrown into the room and onto the floor, with the door slamming shut behind me.
I froze. This was one of the worst parts. I knew what was waiting for me, but I never knew where they were. I knew there was a small bench to sit on and some other old furniture but they were never in the same place twice and until the light started to fade up in the room, I was in pitch darkness. Which you’d think would be worse, but if I couldn’t see them, I could pretend they weren’t there at all.
The bulb hanging from the center of the room began to brighten, slowly, as though operated by a dimmer switch. It never got so bright to eliminate shadow – that would make my ordeal a tiny bit more bearable – but it usually stopped at just enough light so that every single shadow could be one of them.
As soon as I could see enough, I struggled to my feet and jumped up onto the bench. Waiting. Waiting for the first of them to appear. The first couple of shadows that moved, I jumped, and screeched like a child. But no, they were just shadows. As my heart thudded in my chest, my eyes scanning the room, trying to spot the first one…and there it was. My heart went from painful thudding to (what felt like) instant stop. It crawled, slowly, from behind a small set of drawers, and then sped up toward the bench I was stood on, aiming to disappear under it.
Eight legs. Dark, black body. Moving in that odd, jerky, oh so efficient way. A spider.
And it wasn’t the only one in this room. You see, that was the torture the mainframe knew would work for me. To be trapped, in a half light room, with spiders hidden from me behind these scant pieces of furniture. But they didn’t stay hidden… oh no. They would appear, running across the floor, up walls, and torment me until I would feel I would die from terror. As another one crawled up the wall opposite me, the size of a large cookie, I let loose my first scream.
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