Sunday, December 19, 2010

Portfolio 8 Short Story: Self-Imposed

Hi. I missed one.

I stare at the wall.

There is nothing interesting about the wall. It’s a fine wall, it is solid, it doesn’t let sound or anything through; it does everything a wall is supposed to. It doesn’t help me much, because the other wall lets sound through—lines of metal sunk into the floor and the ceiling.

But, then, I suppose it does help. When I was in the cell on the other side of this wall, I heard more shouts. I sleep better now.

I put my right hand against the wall.

It is rough, but not cold. Nothing here is cold. I know that if I scrape my hand against it, then it will bleed. I’ve never done it on purpose, but I try to walk around, and sometimes, when I think about something else, I trip and catch myself on the wall. Recently I’ve learned to fall away from it, as if it’s a pool edge instead of a wall. Don’t want to get wet.

I smile to myself.

This place is good. I know it is. The floors are smooth stone—uneven, but smooth, from years of walking. Years of feet that people who know the ground don’t pay any mind anymore, and so let them stay on the ground as they move, smoothing the floor like ocean water on old driftwood.

I sigh happily.

There is chatter from our sentries as they pass by. Another person in a room like mine calls to tell them good morning and they call back in kind. Everyone is always so happy to be here.

I close my eyes, a calm smile still playing along my lips.

A peace, the same peace that is in that smile, is spreading through me. All is good, and all is happy. I don’t have to worry anymore. I laugh quietly, thinking of how I had been scared when I came here. It seemed so silly now. Here there was a complete, all-encompassing peace. No one who had been here long ever feared. None of us feared anything, anymore. Our sentinels keep us safe.

And then, suddenly, still enough to break my calm as it shreds through the peaceful quiet of our home, comes a scream. “No! NO! Stop! I didn’t do anything! Please! Please!”

I turn around and stand, staring at the new recruit.

He is pretty. Not handsome, pretty. He has a definite feminine air about him, nicely curved and red lips, and a soft face even as he yells his fear. He is wearing what anyone here would wear, a nice, comfortable suit. In his case, it’s a blue a few shades too light to be called navy blue. I call it ocean blue in my head, just as I call mine rose leaf green.

I shake my head. “So silly,” I stage murmur. “What’s your name?” I call.

He turns to me, breaks free of the guards, and runs. I catch him when he stumbles and wipe his cheeks with the handkerchief I keep on me. He stares at me with scared eyes, and he trusts me as a child trusts his mother. Everyone trusts me. “R—Roger,” he whispers. His tone was that of a person who had screamed too much.

“I’m Emiliana.” It was a lie, but a comforting one. Everyone relaxes when a sage young woman you trust reflexively is name Emiliana.

He relaxed in my arms. I brushed the hair out of his face and kissed his forehead. “Stay with them,” I whispered, a lullaby tone. “They will help you.”

He stayed still and confused for a moment, then nodded and moved back to them. He stumbled along the floor where he expected it to be flat, but he caught himself.

One of the guards who were just walking their rounds nodded to me. “We might be able to get you let out soon, Emmy.” Everyone I didn’t have to be…careful around called me Emmy.

I looked at her. No mask, no job, just looked at her with what I was, naturally, in my gaze. The woman dealt with death and destruction every day. She paled at what danced in my red-brown eyes. My voice deepened to its natural timbre. “You don’t want to let me out.”

Her heart was beating faster than it had been a few moments ago. She tipped her hat quickly. “As you wish.”

I watched her walk away, then turned and sat.

I stared at the wall.

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