Guest Post: The Captive
October 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
Her breath caught in her throat. This was her chance. She could escape right now if she was smart and silent. Eyes darting side to side for the most direct exit, her pulse began racing and she felt slightly sick from the taste of near deliverance not quite at hand. The right side of the hallway seemed the best option; it was mere feet away from her and the floorboards would not betray her. With a momentary glance to check that they were still unaware, she silently began taking steps toward the hallway. She willed her breathing not to sound so very loud. Calm, she commanded herself. Be calm, or this is all over. That thought was almost too much to bear, and panic tightened its gruesome grip around her throat. Her fluid steps continued, but her mind was suddenly drowning in a whirlpool of despairing cries.
What will they do to me if they catch me right now?! My life is in their hands… She almost choked on that thought, and tears filled her eyes. Everything I hoped to accomplish will be lost… But the hallway was upon her, and her bare feet glided along the smooth wood, carrying her lightly even as her mind was sinking in fear. Her back was to them now, and she kept her pace normal, scared that unusually slow movement would alert them. Her fingertips gently pressed against the wall, steadying herself as she took step after step along the edge of the hall, closer to freedom with each passing inch. Their voices grew further already, and she reached the bottom of the staircase. Her body was shaking, and she realized her face was dripping with tears. You can do this, you can do this, she forced her herself to breathe evenly. Just the staircase to conquer. Her absence still unnoticed, she took the first step gently, her hand leaving a film of nightmare-induced sweat across the banister. The second stair, too, accepted her sneaking step graciously with no audible betrayal.
Then, of course, the unthinkable happened.
She sneezed. Without warning. Without any chance of muffling it. An undeniably loud sneeze. A fatal sneeze.
Their heads whipped around and their conversation ceased instantly. Eyes narrowing, they dropped everything in their hands. Their entire beings tensed at the sight of their captive attempting an escape. For a solitary moment, she was frozen, watching them as all chance of escape slipped as far out of reach as an infinitesimally small pebble beneath the waves of a giant ocean. They were on their feet in a split second, running toward her with screams and shrieks and and wild eyes and foam at the corners of their mouths, their clawing hands ready to snatch her back to themselves.
“Mama, Mama!!!” they shrieked in their baby high-pitched voices. “Where are you going? Stay downstairs! We want to be by you!” Reaching her on the stairs, they wrapped their chubby little arms around her legs and refused to let go. “Stay down here, Mama! We want a snack. We want juice!” She let herself slump against the banister. Forfeiting her ideas of accomplishment, she sat down on the step, and, with eyes closed in a definite kind of resignation, she allowed herself to be climbed upon by her captors. She had simply tried to go upstairs to put away laundry, but her beautiful children had noticed.
Now, it was time for a snack and juice.