Voices and laughter resonate around me, as I drift through the haze of sleep.
I catch myself smiling as I drift slowly back towards consciousness. I vaguely realise that it must have been those voices which awoke me while simultaneously feeling amused at what one of the women describes happened to Jerry last week. Their laughter fills me with joy, as if I am part of their group.
Suddenly their voices fade away, accompanied by footsteps echoing between the buildings, until I'm left alone with the soft rustling of leaves and the sensation of sunlight on my face. Willing myself further awake I try to move the blanket that's covering part of my face away, only to find that I cannot move my arms at all.
As my eyes open suddenly in shock, searing pain courses through my arms and into my shoulders. Together with the pain, realisation hits me along with many unpleasant memories. As I attempt to move my jaws, I can feel very clearly that there's no blanket lying on my face, but a strip of fabric which has been tied tightly across the lower part of my face. I can now feel the knot pressing on the back of my head.
My hands seem to have been similarly tied behind my back, which explains the severe pain. The blood circulation must have been cut off for I don't know how long, not to mention the stiffness from lying in the same position during that entire time. When I try to experimentally move my legs, I can feel that they, too, have been tied together.
I recall the voices, the arguments and struggle, with his rough hands grabbing and bruising me. Then nothing. Until waking up just now, that is. Twisting my head enough to be able to look somewhat around this room I have found myself in, I find that I do not recognize it. It's sparsely furnished, with just the bed I'm lying on, a closet and the single window which is apparently ajar. The thin curtains in front of it ripple slightly in the occasional breeze.
Next to the bed, on the side which I'm facing, is a small table on which stands a cheap-looking reading light accompanied by a typical, black plastic alarm clock. Its red numbers indicate that it is just before half nine in the morning, which seems to match up with the light coming in from outside. Those people I heard earlier must have been on their way to work.
As part of my brain tries to calmly assess my situation, I can't help but feel panic overwhelm me. I'm completely tied up, incapable of yelling for help and fairly certain that he or anyone else won't be returning any time soon to release me.
Forcing myself to calm down and take slow, deep breaths, I have to nevertheless admit that I have little to add to that panicked assessment. Bitterness fills me as I try to find ways to blame myself for this situation I have found myself in. If only I had realized much sooner what was going on. If only I hadn't been so trusting.
“Why do you always have to be difficult?”
I can still hear his voice. Always with that slight lisp and always sounding like he's accusing me of being the source of everything that has gone wrong in his life.
“You're the one who is crazy.”
It didn't take very long for things to unravel. After months spent living together, compromising and keeping things in one piece, everything came to a sudden and dramatic end. His insistence that I was the one who was wrong about things when I addressed something I did not like about his behaviour. That maybe it might be a good idea if he talked with a psychologist, because to me it was obvious that his behaviour towards me and other people was anything but normal.
Him yelling at me for what seemed like hours, that I was the one who was being weird, that I needed to see a psychologist or worse. Everything I had said got turned around and used against me. Then one day something just broke inside of me during one of his rants, and I just collapsed on the floor, clasping my hands against my ears. I could still hear him ranting even as I was lying there, to then feel his hands grab me and jerk me around.
The sound of fabric ripping. The touch of cold air on my bare skin as my clothes were ripped away and his hurtful remarks as he continued to further underline his statement that I was ready to be dragged off by the men in white coats to a mental institute. I don't think I felt much more at that point. I was trying to shut out the things he said to me, while fighting off his grasping hands.
Suddenly something heavy hit my head, followed by the taste of blood and something else inside my mouth, right before I passed out.
Tearing myself away from these unpleasant memories, I find myself pondering the irony of finding myself in such a peaceful room after such an experience. Bound and gagged, of course, but still. That thought then leads me to ask myself what will happen next. I can still not hear anything in particular which would indicate that someone else is in this house or apartment, and outside nothing can be heard beyond the sounds of an occasional bird or a car in the distance. Beyond that there's just the curtain moving with the currents of air and the rustling of leaves outside.
Looking down at what I can see of my body, I notice that I am wearing pretty much what I was wearing before I got knocked out, minus the parts that got torn off. Everything looks very much the worse for wear, with big rips and other damage to my clothing.
As I glance again at the alarm clock, I notice that nearly half an hour has passed since I first looked at it. As I realise this, the hollow feeling inside my stomach makes it clear that it must have been a considerable period of time since I was knocked out and put here. Worse, I can feel that I will probably have to go to the toilet soon as well. Not that that is likely to happen any time soon, of course.
I find myself wondering whether the door is unlocked. Even while bound I might be able to contort my body enough to make it over to the door and open it somehow. Maybe I could make it out of the front door if nobody is home and find help that way.
With hope flourishing in my chest, I painfully manoeuvre my body towards the edge of the bed so that I can drop my bound legs off the side. Each shift in my position sends waves of agony along my limbs and back, while the bruise on the side of my head painfully throbs along with the beat of my heart.
For a moment I fear that it is going to hurt too much, but then I somehow find the strength to push myself off the bed and onto my feet. As I stand there, for a moment I revel in this small victory; I am no longer a hapless victim, bound and gagged on a bed.
With the ropes around my legs being tied high enough that I can just shuffle along on the room's carpet, I slowly make my way towards the door during what feels like half an eternity. I can feel every muscle in my body protesting against this exercise after lying in a cramped position for hours.
Arriving at the door, I gingerly reach for the door handle with my right shoulder, intending to press it down and open it that way. Contorting my upper body, I manage to push the handle down, but no matter what I try, the door will not open. After a while I have to conclude that it has been locked.
Defeated, I sink to the floor, sitting awkwardly against the door of what I now realise is my prison. Closing my eyes, I feel a soft breeze on my face. Opening my eyes again, my gaze falls upon the curtains. 'Of course,' I think, 'I can just attract attention via the window.'
Working myself up until I am again standing on my feet, I shuffle over to the curtains until I can get my fingers around the fabric and tug on it. Grasping one of the curtains and awkwardly shuffling with my back to the window, I manage to open it. It isn't until I turn around that I get my first look at the window. To my despair it isn't a regular window, but set with frosted glass, giving me almost no impression of the outside and simultaneously disallowing anyone from the outside to see me.
Maybe if I make noise, bashing against the window, while people walk past… maybe someone will notice it. I'll just have to wait until there are people walking around outside again. Looking over at the alarm clock, I note that it is still a few hours until noon. Nothing to do but wait, it appears, and pray that people will be passing by during their lunch break.
Deciding that if I am going to be waiting for a few hours, I may as well do so more comfortably than trying to stand upright with both my arms and legs bound. I make my way back to the bed and try to find a somewhat comfortable position. Lying on my side seems to work okay, if I can just ignore the discomfort in the shoulder which I am lying on. Then, I just wait.
Positioned so that I can see the alarm clock and thus keep track of the time, I nevertheless close my eyes for a while so that I don't have to watch every single second pass. Without consciously willing myself to do so, I find myself mulling over and over again over those recent memories and my fears regarding my current situation.
* * * * *
I'm feeling cold. Shivering, I try to draw my limbs closer to my body as I wonder where my blanket went. Then I fully wake up with a shock as recollections come flooding back. With a sickening feeling I realise that I have fallen asleep. Instead of it being noon it's now dark. Worse, I can no longer move my limbs due to what appear to be restraints keeping me from moving more than just a little.
I'm now lying on my back, with from what I can feel my arms no longer tied behind my back. Instead they're lying aside my torso, with multiple bands keeping them as well as the rest of my body firmly stuck down onto the bed. The gag covering my mouth is now so tight that I can barely move my jaws. Looking around in sudden terror, I notice that both curtains of the window are now fully closed again. Listening intently for any sound, I can however still not detect any hint that there's anyone else in the room but me. Whoever closed the curtain and tied me down to the bed must have left a long time ago already.
Bitterness wells up again inside of me as I realise that I have not only missed what may have been my last chance to be rescued, but also missed getting any details on who is doing this to me and what this person may have planned for me.
Then another kind of pain hits me. No longer in pain from having my arms tied behind my back, and with nothing else to distract me, my body decides that it now really has to go and relieve itself. With no way to get to the toilet from my current position, it appears that the time has come for what seems like the ultimate humiliation.
I can feel the tears streaming down the sides of my face accompanied by my muffled sobs as I release the burning pain in my lower abdomen. After first feeling the warm wetness pervading the fabric of my ruined jeans, it soon turns into a cold, clammy sensation. I feel like I would be okay with dying right on the spot for this experience alone. I feel more helpless and alone than ever before.
What is going to happen next, I wonder? Nothing at all, a dark voice inside my head answers. I'll just be left here to starve and die in my own filth, as the ultimately revenge by him. Yet at the same time it'll all be nothing more than a curious headline in the morning news for everyone else. Dead woman found starved to death on a urine-soaked bed in local apartment building, it would read, or something to that extent.
With nothing else to bring in against this analysis, I decide to give in to the only thing I am still free to do, being to cry and feel really sorry for myself. It's somehow comforting to hear my own crying and feel the warmness of tears flowing down my face, almost if I can still feel like I am a proper human being. As if I am not forced to slowly dehumanise myself here until there will be nothing left which separates me from a starving animal dying in its own filth.
Slowly my sobbing subsides until I can only feel a tired numbness overtaking my thoughts before I drift off into uncomfortable sleep, filled with nightmares.
* * * * *
Voices and laughter once again greet me as I wake up. 'Congratulations, you lasted one day so far in this personal hell,' the dark voice in my head whispers to me as I regain consciousness.
Taking stock of things, I note that it doesn't appear that I have had visitors during the rest of the night, with everything unchanged from when I last fell asleep. In so far as I can judge this with it being completely dark last night beyond the faint light of street lanterns illuminating the room somewhat. I am however still tied down with the same straps, and the gag is really beginning to chafe the sides of my mouth. I'm also very thirsty, hungry and need to go to the toilet again.
As the last comfortable warmth of sleep fades from my mind, I can feel dark despair taking its place. What will be in store for me today? Just lying here, defecating and urinating where I am lying, wallowing in my own filth until I fall asleep again, and have this cycle repeat itself until the bitter end?
I can hear voices outside again, piercing through this veil of despair for a moment. Inside me I feel the sudden, violent urge welling up from deep inside me to lash out at the people behind these voices. How can they be so happy and carefree when I am lying here, facing starvation and death in the most humiliating way possible?
Tears stream down my face again as I make muffled, incoherent noises. I jerk around with my arms and legs, vaguely expecting my restraints to tear loose at this display of sudden force. All I can feel is rage; uncontrolled, powerless rage and frustration. Sobbing, I listen to the voices outside continue on until after a while they fade away. Then new voices replace them, and others join them. I can hear lively conversations and sounds of people going through daily life, shopping, heading to work, stores being opened and all the other sounds belonging to a world of which I am no longer part.
Ultimately I have no energy left to cry and just lie there, staring at the white ceiling, listening to these noises, my mind feeling blank and numb. The gentle motion of the curtains no longer looks calming to me, but instead seems to symbolise the frustration and helplessness I am feeling. No matter what I do or try, I'll just end up back at where I started. It's all hopeless.
Time passes and I can hear more and more activity outside. It's clear to me now that there is a busy market or shopping street outside. Hundreds of people, just a few meters away from me, blissfully unaware of my situation, living their own lives without any serious problems to worry about.
As I feel myself thus overwhelmed by this intense feeling of unfairness, sudden cramping brings me back down to the basic physical needs of my body, as it makes it clear that it will no longer accept any further delays. Try as I might, my humiliation continues. This time I realise that wetting oneself really isn't so bad in comparison. If only for the smell. I hope that I'll get used to it soon.
* * * * *
I guess it's true what they say about time no longer seeming to be a real thing any more when one is in dire straits. Instead it becomes something fluid and intangible, in so far as one can term such a thing as something concrete to begin with. In such a situation, time is no longer measured, but something which is and isn't there, just something which drifts by and easily ignored.
Something must have broken inside of me at some point. Maybe it was when I tried to shut out something so terrible that I simply can no longer accept reality. I seem to be barely aware of my surroundings any more beyond just the most basic of impressions. Pressure, warmth, light, cold.
There's nothing there that matters anyway. There's just the light in the room changing during the day until night arrives, even if I'm not sure why I still pay attention to this. I seem to recall having a body at one point. I'm not sure I still have a body. I think it is still there, somewhere.
I am just here. Drifting just barely on the edges of consciousness, aware of voices nearby, floating alongside me on this warm cloud of near-oblivion. Maybe things aren't so bad after all like this. If this is how my life will end, I cannot feel much sorrow at the thought.
At some points I find myself trying to define the passing of time instead of just letting it pass by as something irrelevant. I do not remember how many days have passed since I first woke up in this room. Six, maybe seven? It's hard to keep track of time when there is so little to measure it by.
After the first few days, I haven't felt the urge to go to the toilet any more. The only thing I am sometimes aware of is how incredibly thirsty I am. My lips are cracked and painful, so I try not to move or touch them too much, also so that the gag doesn't scrape over them. It is okay, though. My body does no longer matter. I'm not in pain.
I do not think that whoever put me here in this room ever returned to check up on me. It probably wasn't necessary anyway, since I cannot go anywhere. That's okay, though. I do not really care to learn why I am here. Why I will be dead soon. All that matters is that I am not in pain. I'm feeling fine.
Everything will be fine.
Feeling more at peace with myself than I ever recall feeling before, I allow myself to slip away further and further into this feeling of comfortable warmth. Only vaguely am I aware of loud noises in the distance. As though through a haze, I am vaguely aware of the noises and shouting coming closer.
The rush of cold, fresh air over my face, accompanied by my body protesting against this sudden temperature change. Hands grasping me as my body is jerked from side to side as around me shapes who I think are humans yell things I cannot understand any more. I do not feel anything or care what is happening.
It's all fine with me. I feel fine. Everything is fine now.
Draft Veiled worlds Date: 2015/07/11
Author: Maya Posch Revision: 0