4 Fenced-In Mates
Slowly, I made my way toward something looming in the distance. Soon, I could make out an enormous fence. I ran my fingers over the rough-hewn, chain links, peering through it in abject horror. My eyes followed the trail of my fingers as high as I could reach and then I raised them to the top.
The fence was adorned with coiled, razor wire affixed lewdly atop like life-threatening graffiti; a detestable contrast to the blue, cloudless sky. Everything outside looked so peaceful, so friendly and normal, it made my heart ache. My knees gave way and I sank to the ground, unable to pry my eyes from the hideous razor wire.
We’re not patients. We’re incarcerated prisoners, inmates with no hope of escape! This isn’t jail. It’s hell! Verifiable hell!
Danica’s first words to me rang in my ears, “By the way, welcome to hell.”
Did she know how right she was? Her three days and nights here must have seemed unending.
The sun set and night fell with a damp chill. I didn’t notice. I sat, from dawn to dusk with downcast eyes, my fingers tightly wound around chain links in hopeless misery. I clung to the only tangible hatred I had; that which trapped me inside, in more ways than I could bear.
My world was drastically reduced. There were only two places in existence now, inside and out there.
Inside were endless, desperate, days and nights stretching out before me. Outside was an elusive dream; all ‘look but don’t touch,’ like some museum painting, cordoned off and guarded by goons.
Danica came to collect me, but I doubted it was possible. All hope was shattered. I was shattered. No one would be able to find the pieces of me I’d lost.
Great, I’m suicidal Humpty Dumpty.
I sat hugging my knees, weeping in futile rage. Never had I been so lost, so alone or so impossibly trapped. I knew then, that I was entirely at the mercy of the merciless. I couldn’t breathe, move or speak.
Danica pried my fingers from the chain links whispering, “Come on, Em’. Come inside with me.”
She helped me to stand throwing my arm around her shoulder as we stumbled back, shrouded in darkness that masked the tears streaking down my face. She patted my back gently, saying, “Shhh. There, there. It’s going to be okay.”
Everything in me wanted to plead for an answer I knew she didn’t have,
How? How is it going to be okay! Tell me how, please!
I had no voice, no words, and I knew it would be fruitless to ask.
She sat me at the edge of my bed, saying in a hushed tone, “Be right back,” as she scooted from the room and returned with paper towels. She wiped my face and cleaned me up whispering soothingly all the while.
As my sobs subsided, Danica sat down next to me taking my hands in hers, “Remember,” she whispered, “Show no fear. It makes you an easy target. Don’t give them that.”
I knew she was right. I thought of rent-a-goon, just waiting for an easy victim. She would shred me at every chance and lay in wait, relishing her next opportunity.
Finally I wiped away the last of my tears, set my jaw and straightened my back, adopting a less devastated posture, and then hugged Danica hard. I mouthed my thanks to her. She hugged me back, looped her pinky through mine and said, “Sisters. Promise?”
I promised nodding affirmatively with a weak smile and promised myself, then and there, I wasn’t going down without unleashing an unholy war.
Danica went to her bed stretching and yawning, and for reasons I couldn’t fathom, I felt a ton better, like I’d been suffocating in a world that had caved in on me. Danica was my buffer, my pocket of air. For better or worse, she was now my sister in sins committed and those we would commit.
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