Madness moved around her mind like a slippery snake, haunting her dreams and writhing through her thoughts. Obscuring reality with insanity, twisting the pair together like a pretty braid of imaginings and happenings, until all that existed was confusion.
Fact or fiction, the meaning different, the outcome always the same. When madness occurred for so long within the same place, madness became the answer. Madness became the escape.
“Is she awake?”
Selma heard the whispered voices outside her cell and turned her head to the side. She stared at the solid metal door and blinked rapidly as even the minute speck of light that fed through a rust hole at the top burned into her retinas. Swallowing past her dry, tight throat, Selma struggled to rouse from her heavy, suffocating sleep.
“I don’t know, you go and check,” another voice snapped and Selma brought up the image of a round woman with grey hair, with eyes so full of malice they made her chest go tight.
Selma fisted her hands and did the slow, excruciatingly painful check to her body she always did after rousing. Her muscles were always stiff and locked up, her eyes always stung and felt as if someone had rubbed sandpaper over them, repeatedly. Her neck screamed from being stuck in the same position for a long time. No one ever helped her, it was always her waking agony.
Selma turned her head very slowly and glanced up to the grey clock on the wall, she read the time—six o’ clock—whether that was Am or Pm, Selma had no way of finding out. Other than that pin of light, there were no windows in her cell. What day was it? Selma never had any clue. If Selma fell into a sleep, it could last between one hour and one month, nobody knew for certain. Though, Selma could tell by just trying to lift her leg that her muscles had been asleep for a while this time—a long while.
Rotting in this cell…
Though ‘they’ called it her ‘room’ Selma had long since known it to be her cell. She remembered the cells in the castle she grew up in and—“Stop!” She croaked through her tight, pained throat and cringed at the pain it caused to speak. She had to get control of these stupid, made-up stories in her mind. She had to gain control of her brain, she had to tell her mind to stop giving her images of castles of such beauty and size, and of a king and queen with smiling faces and loving, gentle hugs—she had to, or she would never get free from this place.
Selma heard the rattle of lots of keys and turned her head toward the door again, her chest sunk a little, knowing that one of those cruel nurses was coming in. Yet hope rose as thoughts of going into the sunroom where she could watch the scenery, the birds and the ever moving sky.
Selma swallowed back the fear and plastered an uncomfortable smile on her face.
Bad things happened when Selma allowed her fear to rise. Bad things that she could not explain. Bad things that could never be attributed to her—but Selma had known it had been her. It was a deep, unsettling knowledge that made her wary around her captives.