I awoke to the sounds of distant screams echoing painfully off the building walls. I opened my eyes to find an unending darkness. At least I believe I opened my eyes; maybe I was blind. But the world here felt much too cold and empty, as if light had never entered this forbidden place. The cacophony of screams stabbed through my body, my bones rattled with them, and my heart began to pound so fast I could barely breathe. What was this place? What was happening out there? Unable to see even the slightest glimmer of light made the impenetrable darkness a physical force drowning me in its’ own mystery, though being able to see whatever tortures were befalling those elsewhere probably wouldn’t make me feel any better. I tried to take a deep breath to remain calm and reasoning, but found myself choking on the dry fetid air.
I was unbound, but felt inexplicably weak as I shakily rose to my hands and knees. I ran my hand along a floor that had the rough gritty feel of a concrete slab. All directions were the same in the dark, but I did the best I could to crawl in a straight line towards anywhere. My hands and knees felt raw and frozen as they scrapped across the floor, while I seemed to be getting nowhere but closer towards the blood curdling screams that ended so abruptly I feared I’d gone deaf. I had thought the screaming was the most terrifying aspect about this place, but the silence was even more sinister. Silence was filled with watchful eyes that were laying in wait, knowing I was doomed but allowing me the hope of an escape that could never happen. The silence strangled me until I didn’t think I would ever be able to breathe again. What was out there? Then I hit a wall.
I almost couldn’t stifle the shout of relief that bubbled up in me. How ridiculous it was to be happy over the feel of a wall, but it was something in this vast nothingness. I pulled myself to my feet, and moved towards the right until I found the most beautiful thing in the world, a door. I grabbed the handle, ready to exit this nightmare, when the thought of the unknown gripped me with fear. I didn’t know what was on the other side. I barely even knew what was here with me, but nothing in here had hurt me yet. This door, however, could lead to anything. I just stood there waiting.
That’s when the skittering began. It felt like it was coming from the other side of the door, but maybe it was inside with me as well. I spun around, peering fruitlessly into the dark until I couldn’t just stand there anymore. I finally slammed through the door into a blinding light, but I never even got to see what was on the other side as I was yanked back into the room I’d just escaped, and now it was my turn to scream.