I cannot remember life outside this room.
The light is faint through the small grating near the ceiling, although I find it just enough to read by during the middle of the day. Despite the lack of fresh air the room isn’t too bad. There is a soft bed in one corner with a table next to it, laden with books. I have a rack against the wall with a few clothes, and a cupboard containing all the videos I could ever want to watch. I don’t often get bored.
The only problem is… I don’t know how I got here.
It was almost as though I woke up one day and here I was. Anything before that moment was blank.
I knew nothing of my parents. The only other human being I ever came into contact with was Alex. He came down three times a day to give me my meals, and each time he would sit with me in my room and talk to me about life. I would ask him who my parents were. He would tell me that I had none – that he was the only father I had ever had. I would ask him why I had no friends. He would tell me that friends are for the weak. That I was a strong young woman who he loved, and I didn’t need any friends.
Of course I questioned. I spent all day, every day, questioning. As far as I knew the world consisted of that one small room and the passageway beyond it. I had never been to school so I had no education. Alex would never let me out, and I dared not ask again.
Then, one day, that all began to change.
I began to remember.
“At ten o clock this morning, three year old Sarah Mason was snatched from her back garden in Nottingham. One witness observed a white male who appeared to be in his late twenties enter the garden and talk to her. Although the witness did not see the male take the little girl, the police are looking for someone fitting his description, believing him to be the culprit.
"Road blocks have been set up all around the city and police are doing everything they can to find her..."
Patty and Kevin Mason sat together in their living room, staring silently at the television, where a young woman sat at her desk, relating to the country the terrible news. They were not alone: press were dotted around the house, one or two helping themselves to coffee in the kitchen, one outside having a cigarette, and a few still trying to get what information they could out of the parents. Two policemen were sitting opposite them on another sofa, while frequent blue flashes through the drawn curtains showed that the emergency services were still parked outside their front door.
It had been a matter of hours since Patty had wandered into the kitchen, carrying empty breakfast plates from the dining room, and glanced outside the window to check on her daughter.
Unable to see her, she poked her head of the back door. Panic began to bubble up inside. Maybe she had gone round the side of the house? A quick search told her all she needed to know. Darting inside she scrabbled for the phone and dialled 999…
“Chicken today!” I heard from behind the door. There was the familiar scraping sound of the bolts being drawn back, and then the same old face appeared.
A plate of chicken and mashed potato was placed on my bedside table.
“Alex,” I said, as he sat down beside me on the bed.
“Yes,” he replied.
“How long have I been here?”
His smile disintegrated. “You have always been here.” It came out in a monotone.
"Just dreams," he interrupted angrily, before storming out and slamming the door closed. I heard the bolt slide across, and then nothing more.