The air is hot and moist.  Mae feels it closing in around her; tightly wrapping encircling her and preventing her movement.  Despite her entrapment she is paralyzed by her own uncertainty.  Then the pain, burning hot, pushing, penetrating.  And then he leaves.  She lays immobilized.  Her paralysis fades with the smoldering throbbing pain. 

     Now the air is cold.  She wraps a large jacket around her shoulders for warmth.  The filthy musky scent of it fills her nostrils.  She sits in front of the television.  The talking heads move and interact.  It’s not muted but she cannot hear their words.  In a seemingly uncomfortable fashion she wraps her legs up under her.  She pulls the bowl up into her lap and commences to eat.  She eats his food.

     The couch is stained with the faint dribbles of Mae’s blood.  The door is locked and she has traveled back into the world.  “Hey” A masculine voice attempts to reach her.  Oily hair falls over girlish features.  Her gate quickens.

      “What have you got there?” the stranger queries.  “A doll” she acquiesces.  She wants him to leave her alone.  She secretly wants him to prevent her from ever returning.  “Why do we stop playing with toys?” his question is both jovial and philosophical.  She knows the answer but she doesn’t share.  “Yeah, I kind of need to go.” She urges past.   He doesn’t stop her just stares as she walks away.  Would he entrap her if he could?

     Alone in a sparse basement room she convinces herself she will never return.  She rocks back and forth the hunger growing.  It gnaws at her stomach threatening to consume what is left of her from the inside out. 

     Thud, the solitude grows palpable.  Thud, an angry red splotch begins to grow at the back of her head.  Thud, she is alone and she begins to long for his call.  She knows it will come.

     Mae tells him she can’t come.  She is sick.  She is dizzy.  He begs and she walks out into the cold.  A quarter of the way she falters.  It is not too late to turn back.  But he’s there behind a tree.  He reels her in guiding the rest of the dark journey through the tunnel.

     Inside she is forgotten huddling in a corner close to the door.  It is always unguarded but she can never seem to open it while he is there.  “Eat!” he demands.  She refuses.  The tears form in her eyes to accompany her shivers.  His anger mounts displayed in the tense lean muscles of his human guise.  You can see the monstrosity in the set of his jaw.

     “Eat, M!” he threatens.  He has taken away her name too.  The sugary sweet morsels in the plain white bowl are transformed.  The yellow hued mush squirms with nutritious maggots.  The slender arm reaching for the knob drops to her side.  She eats.

He smiles devilishly and opens the door.  She tells herself she won’t return.

The End

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