#BlogBattle is a weekly writing challenge organised by Rachael Ritchey. You can find more information about it here. It’s a fun battle, and a supportive group – a great place to hang out! The theme this week is ‘OASIS’.
“Please. Stop this.” My words were barely coherent; my throat raw from my protests, from screaming so long and loud I’d bruised my vocal cords.
I didn’t expect an answer; knew the cool liquid mixing with my bloodstream would soon become an inferno which burnt my skin. My eyes were closed, but I knew what I would find when I opened them. A cold, sterile room. My prison.
But you’re not.
I raised my lids, staring into Sam’s familiar face. Instead of hope, I felt pain; the kind which bruised my heart. She was a mirage and, like a watering hole in my own barren landscape, Sam became my oasis. The one who sustained me during my torture, the one just beyond my reach.
My eyes filled with tears, and Sam’s features wavered. I saw a pair of cold, expressionless green eyes staring back at me.
“If you tell us what we want to know, all this goes away. You’ll be free.” The words were without emotion; the voice as cold as the eyes.
Laughter broke free, the sound eerie in the small room. My sanity had fractured long ago, left as broken as my body. Still, they could not win. The secrets they wanted were hidden behind an impenetrable wall inside my mind.
My captors had tried everything. There were so many drugs in my system it was a wonder I still lived, though I hoped for death. It wasn’t the pain I sought to escape. I was prepared for that. It was the hope. The hallucinations were far more dangerous than their devices of torture. I didn’t know what was real anymore.
Even now I could hear the sounds of battle; gunfire echoing through the room. I started to laugh again; the walls of my prison vibrating with the violence in the air. What new reality had my mind conjured this time?
My tormentor was screaming at me, but I couldn’t make out his words over the din.
“Just kill me already,” I said, blinking until the green eyes faded and the deep brown of Sam’s eyes came back into view.
I no longer cared she was an illusion. It hurt to look at her, and yet, even a phantom was better than being completely alone.
“It’s okay, we’re going to get you out of here,” she said. It’s what she always said.
I smiled, humouring us both. “I’m ready.”
This was not my first rescue, though the details varied in each case. Sam would start by unhooking me from the table. Sometimes she had to support my weight, other times my body was strong enough to make it across the room on my own. We would open the door to the white, sterile room and escape for a time.
“We need to hurry.”
That was new. Sam was usually confident, so sure of her movements. This time she fumbled with my wrist restraints, her eyes darting to the door.
“Dex!” She screamed the name, her breathing ragged.
“Hey, it’s okay. Everything will be okay,” I tried to reassure her, but she didn’t respond.
Dexter hurried to the table, a new addition to my hallucinations, but a welcome one. Dex was a good man; solid in a fight. This was going to be fun.
“I need your help,” Sam said. “You’ll need to carry Bailey out of here.”
“Wait, I can-”
Dex looked straight at me, his fingers prodding at my neck. “Shit, Sam, I can barely feel a pulse.”
“What?” My mind balked at that. Why weren’t they listening to me? What kind of crazy hallucination was this? I couldn’t even be a part of it.
A scream tore from my throat when Dexter lifted me off the table and threw me over his shoulder. I tried to squirm in his strong grip, but I was too weak – my body refused to cooperate.
“Everything’s going to be okay, Bailey,” Sam said from somewhere behind me, a second before Dexter moved.
I groaned in response. This illusion was no fun at all. Maybe that’s what happened when you lost all hope.
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