Knowing

How long had I been out of it? I didn't know - couldn't remember. Something about my thoughts made me suspicious: they were fuzzy and unclear, as though I'd just woken up, or as though I'd been drugged. As soon as I thought that, I knew it was what had happened, and I became angry.

"Jon, what the hell is going on here?" I said, sitting up. The movement made me dizzy, but he wasn't in the bare room. In fact, nobody was. I was alone.

I didn't have anything else to do and the door looked pretty securely closed, so I decided to try and work out where I was. Obviously, I'd somehow been brought into the house with the strange knocker, on this street where nobody goes. The room was almost empty, with floorboards for floor and white-washed walls, but there was a fireplace on one wall and a small wooden chest on the other. A metal ring had been sunk into the plaster on my left. I wondered why.

There was a window, and I went over to it hopefully, wondering if perhaps it would enable me to see out, but the glass had been painted over with emulsion so that it was impossible to make out anything outside. I was on my own here.

After about twenty minutes - though that was just a guess, since they'd taken my watch - the door opened. I hadn't actually bothered to check that it was locked, but the rattle of a key made me sure that I'd been right. I was all ready to yell at Jon, spit in his face, and demand that he take me home - which would have been fine if the man that came in was Jon. But it wasn't.

"What's your name?" he asked me. He was wearing a dressing gown. That was honestly the first thing I noticed about him. Then I saw that he seemed to have something wrong with his face, and then I realised that every bit of his skin was covered in blue patterns like the ones on Jon's elbow. But they didn't look like tattoos. They looked like they'd grown there.

"Why should I tell you that?" He remained silent. "Why am I here? What is this place?"

"You know why you are here. You knocked on my door."

"I didn't. I don't remember knocking." There was a blank space in my memory between realising the knocker looked like Jon's tattoo and waking up inside. "You're lying. Tell me what's going on before I break something!" Yeah, I was riled, but with good reason. Who wouldn't be?

The man took another step forward. "What's your name, girl?" I kept mum right up until the moment when he put his hand on my face. I think that's when I shouted.

"Feck off, all right? Let me go! I haven't done anything to you!"

"When you knock on somebody's door it's normally because you want to go in," he said, sounding puzzled. It was a ruse. It had to be a ruse. "I thought you would appreciate my letting you in, and so I did so. I didn't think it would upset you like this." When I didn't reply, he continued, "And may I just say that I don't allow language in my house, thank you very much."

"So what am I supposed to do? Mime?" I knew what he meant but I was determined to make this as difficult as possible. "Tell me why the hell I'm here and I'll go quietly. Wait - no. First, tell me who you are."

The man pursed his lips. "I'll tell you who I am if you tell me your name."

"Fine. Whatever. My name is El."

"Ah, Eilidh Niamh McConnery, am I right?" Just like that. Didn't even blink. Didn't stare into my eyes and see my soul like they did in books. Just told me my full name as though it was the most normal thing in the world. 

The End

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