The Waiting Game

She lay at the bottom of the giant container, stiff and horizontal, unsure of whether she was rocking back and forth from fear or shaking violently from the cold.

She had felt guilty at first, having hid beneath her siblings as their captor picked them off one-by-one in hope that she would find some way to escape. But now they were no longer here to protect her. She was alone. All she could do was wait. And it was that anticipation that terrified her most. Never knowing when she was going to be chosen, or where she would go once she left this place.

The darkness shrouded her, wrapping her in its cool embrace. Darkness was good. Darkness meant the container was not open and her captor would leave her be, if only for a little while longer. Each noise outside the container caused her anxiety to increase. Several times a day, her captor would open the container and extract the other prisoners in the rows above her. Their cries would grow softer as the container closed and they were carried away. She was, at least in part, thankful that it was them and not her.

The cold air rushed out of the container as the door was forced open. This was the eighth time today, only this time there was no warning.

Not me, she prayed. Please not me.

A blinding light opened up as a grotesque being came into view. It was monstrously large and completely hairless, apart for the grey mop atop its prunish head: it was her captor. The being stretched out one arm and reached to the top shelf of the container. It shifted a few things around before retracting its limbs, bringing with it a slab of rotting remains. The captor’s hand lowered, bringing the contents of the slab into view as they reached into the container once again.

She held back a gasp. They’re dead. Chunks of dead meat lay haphazardly on the slab, like dead soldiers on a battlefield.

She recovered from the shock quickly as the other hand pulled out another slab. This one had a curved edge, making it impossible to see into, but their cries of help told her that they weren’t dead. At least, not yet. She could only imagine the torture this second lot would face at the hands of their captor.

The container closed, and all went dark.

She rolled, so she was laying on her back looking up at row above her. Through the gaps in the floor, all she could see was the bottom of her neighbour’s bed. It had a small, round base that curved up and around. She often heard incoherent mumbling come from up there. The number of voices indicated that quite a few of them were sharing the one bed. They had arrived the day before, replacing a foul smelling fiend who shouted curse words whenever the container opened. Maybe that was why he had only lasted a few hours.

Outside of the container, a voice came. “Howard, can you get me a carrot from the fridge?”

The container opened and a hand reached in. The pink flesh curled around her body and she was wrenched from her confines. The container closed with a soft bang. She heard the screams of the potatoes in the pot as they slowly boiled to death. That was her fate. It was her turn to die.

Raelee Lancaster

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