Sometimes, at night, if Brida was deathly silent, she could hear faint hints of the goings on of the asylum. Now, as she strained for any sounds that might make their way to her ears, she could pick out the sound of a cell door opening and closing. Or was that just her imagination, playing tricks on her, because it knew she wanted nothing more than to leave her own cell?
Knowing it was against the rules to cry out, and knowing that doing so would likely earn her an expansion of her time in confinement, Brida pressed herself against the bars of the cell door and called out, "Hello?"
There was a clang, and then there was silence.
So, then, Brida was not alone. Bristling against the thought of being so close to another human being, and yet being kept so wretchedly apart, Brida considered yelling again. Instead, she shook the door against its hinges, creating a clang that would respond to her fellow prisoner.
That was what Brida's communication had been reduced to: she and her dungeon-mate, clanging their cell doors to let one another know that they existed. Or had that been wishful thinking? Had the other human accidentally fallen against his or her door, only coincidentally letting Brida know she was not alone? If that was the case, then Brida was making a fool of herself, by hoping that she might find a companion with two legs, instead of six.
The silence became unbearable.
Brida wrapped her fingers around the bar of the door and shook it again. Instantly, the corridor was filled with the sound of her and her clanking.
And then, the other door began to rattle, from its place down the hallway. Excitement bubbled within Brida, and she could hardly keep from yelling again. So, she had a companion! And they could communicate through the clangings of doors! Thrilled at the prospect of being alone no longer, she let out a satisfied giggle. For several long moments, the two bantered back and forth, through their albeit primitive way of speech.
Almost as quickly as Brida's dreams of companionship had arrived, however, they were shattered. From somewhere in the hallway, the warden's voice sounded, an unwelcome presence in Brida's ears.
"Be silent, or else face the consequences."
Brida and her mysterious dungeon-mate ceased their door-shaking. Their only form of friendship had been severed. But it had been enough to let Brida know that she was not alone. Whoever was in solitary confinement with her had to be intelligent enough to understand that they were speaking through their doors. And whoever it was, Brida was determined that when she left the asylum, she would move heaven and earth to find out who had shared her fate of solitude.
Of course, she had no idea how literally she would be moving the aforementioned "heaven" and "earth."