Chapter 13

Birds. Many birds flying high over my head. I watch them spinning above me, even though they blend in almost perfectly with the night sky. But their white underbellies act like stars, illuminating the darkness. I watch them turn circles until one of them breaks from the flock and descends, a star falling closer and closer to me. I cover my face with my hands.

I wake as it lands on me. The first thing I see is more darkness, which confuses me, seeing as I was just in darkness. But this is a different kind. This is softer- the kind of darkness not caused by confinement. I look around me and see the faint outline of a door to my right, and another to my left. There is a dresser in front of me, and a frame next to it. What? A picture? I sit up and bounce, unexpectedly. I'm on a bed. My pulse skips a beat and I pull back the sheets. I'm still fully clothed.

I sigh and the sound seems too loud for the room. Am I alone? It doesn't seem like anyone else is in here, but I slip out of the bed as quietly as I can, nevertheless. The floor is cold and hard like the floor in my own room, and it comforts me slightly. At least I'm out of that other room. A shiver races up my spine at the memory. What had happened in there? And why was I brought there in the first place? My muscles ache and a spot above my right eye throbs, but other than that I feel fine. I push the thought out of my mind- I'll start to panic again if I linger on it for too long.

I cross the room in a whisper to where the picture frame hangs on the wall. I'm wrong- it's not a picture, but a painting. I follow the streaks of blue and red and black as they swirl around on the canvas, creating an abstract image. I cannot decipher it. It is nonsensical.

My instinct recognizes the sound before my ears do, because all the hairs on my arm stand on end. And then I hear the rattling which means the door is about to open. I dive behind the bed and lift up the sheet and roll under it. Dust and grime float around me and it's all I can do not to cough or sneeze.

Black combat boots enter the room, quietly shutting the door behind them. They take a step in- and stop. There is absolute silence, and I dare not breathe.

The light clicks on.

The End

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