Unbending my crunched body, now I am completely stiff from being in the perched position too long. The sweat of my face has dried into a salty mask. Beginning to get dressed for a new day I hear a faint knock at the door. Still wearing my P.J. pants I slip a shirt over my pale cold body. Because of the knock I do not fear the intruder.
I slide to the door, open it enough to let the little form enter, then I quietly close and lock the door. The small figure curls itself into the fetal position grasping a pillow so tight it might explode. I wander over to him pulling him into an embrace knowing he must be in agony.
“You okay?” stupid question to ask him.
“No, they’re gone. They’re gone…” the boy cried into my shoulder.
“Don’t fear Danny. I can help you to remember some of the dreams, but not all,” trying to comfort him because he is not the first to come to me.
“Will I remember my mother? I cannot see my memory of her. She is my only memory getting me through each day.” Danny said muffled as he sobbed into my shoulder.
This is not the first child to tell me their fears.
. . .
After Danny scurried outside my door and hopefully back into his room, I change my shirt again. Because it is currently plastered to my body because it is drenched in Danny’s tears and snot that was trickling down his face.
I take a moment at glance at my reflection in the fractured mirror. I glance at my eyes, they are dead to me. I have not cried for some time and now my eyes are only useful to observe my surrounding and keep me alive.
I quickly glance over the rest of me, but the garment concealing my nude, pale body covers my dreads and fears beneath it. My vison drifts back up to the shard, of mirror, capturing my eyes. My eyes are the only part of me that do not lie to me. They are piercing blue with flakes of orange and green; however, depending on who sees me they always see a different color.
Knock! Knock! Knock! ”Get your lazy butt out of that room and cook up the food!”
I scramble for my shoes and hurriedly slip my feet inside them. That voice is one you cannot let enter into your room. The fear of him far outweighs any other danger.
As the stomps fade away, I crack my door wide enough to slip through the opening. Placing a penny on the door knob, is my own security system and I will know if there was an intruder in my domain. We have no locks on our doors; there is no imprisonment to keep us in, but no protection to keep things out. Beyond our rooms hold the true dangers.
The hallway…the hallway is the quietest space in this place. The musty, burnt umber wood streamlines down the narrow corridor, which seems to travel forward forever. Every three feet there is a brown tall door, every one exactly the same as the next. The smallest difference seen is the door knobs. Some are drenched in a black liquid slime; others have only a small smudge. The marks help determined who and how many have replaced their dreams with screams.
Continuing down the corridor I come to the only glimpse of change, a bright red door. This is the entrance to reality.
Reaching for the knob a hand clasp my shoulder. I turn and there stands David with Danny on his back, and following him are all the other children stranded here. Danny’s face is still a rosy red, due to the sobbing earlier, but something has changed in his eyes; they seem glossed over or dull. David’s hand still hovers on my shoulder, he is the only other older one I have seen, and he gives me a reassuring squeeze to continue.
“You ready Jane?” he says softly, not wanting to stir up the emotions of the children following.
Of course I wasn’t ready; when is anyone ready to face the unawares… “Let’s go,” mustering up the courage, pulling open that heavy, bulky red door, stepping over the threshold of safety and towards the unknown reality, and then venturing into the light.