One Photograph, Two Points of View: Comparative Flash Fiction
Echoing… by Nina D’Arcangela
Dark halls echo the sounds of the past. I put my hands to my ears, but cannot block them from intruding.
Bloodied and covered in filth, I cower in the murky dankness of my corner. A ray of sunlight leaks in just within sight – yet so far down the hall. Do I dare crawl to it, or will they come for me again? Unsure and frightened for my own safety in this house of illusions, I shiver with indecision as the glow slowly fades away, the hours tick past.
The last vestiges of light receding, my hope of sanity dwindling, I begin to crawl toward the retreating beam of hope. Nearing the doorway, I pause to make sure all is safe, clear for my passage. One splayed hand laid upon the long wooden floor before me, my body follows, curling around the frame as I begin to emerge from the room. My other hand is near to landing upon the hallway floor when I see a figure move through the source of light.
No! On hands and knees, I quickly scurry back into the corner, but not quickly enough. They know I tried to escape, they know I reached for the brightness; they know my intent was to abandon them.
Enraged by my daring, they begin to assault my every sense as the light is snuffed. It’s always worse at night. Half crazed I scream for leniency, none is granted.
As my eyes adjust to the deeper darkness, I see the black shadows moving about me. “Please,” I beg of them, “please don’t hurt me anymore.” But they only laugh. The nearest whispers a rotted warning in my already damaged ear, as the others close in upon me for yet another night of terror. Cold fingers grasping, my screams echoing…
All Rights Reserved © 2012 Nina D’Arcangela
Committed by Kalla Monahan
Five years ago I escaped this place. I can still recall it in the rear-view mirror as I sped away.
Pain. Torment. Humiliation.
Those were the tools used to inflict physical and psychological warfare. I barely survived; I know many that suffered a fate worse than death at the hands of our jailers – judges really. Every single movement of muscle was a foundation for retribution.
It was a terrifying time, one I am glad is only a memory. Not distant but a memory all the same.
Coming back to this place has awakened the strife, the pain, the absolute terror contained in each and every moment. Living, breathing fear saturates the walls. It’s still here. The passage of time has done nothing to allay the wrong that was committed.
Committed. Such a funny word. It means so many things to such a select few. I have committed myself, seen others do the same. I have even once been committed; committed to a house of horror.
As the soles of my shoes tread quietly down the decrepit hallways, I am struck full force by the memories, the atrocities. Turning to my companions, I feel their fear.
They do not know I was once a guest within these walls. I have done an excellent job melding into the façade of normal society; of hiding the great expanses of void within my psyche.
I stop for a brief moment at the doorway to Room 157; the reconditioning room. It was here that I had spent most of my tortured time. Entering the room is like flipping a switch – the restraints still sit at attention on the vinyl covered procedure chair at its centre.
I sit, overwhelmed by the memories. The restraints pull tight against my flesh as my screaming begins all over again.
All Rights Reserved © 2012 Kalla Monahan
Comment below for a chance to win a digital copy of Aspen deLainey’s Love ‘n Lies!