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from A House Without Windows by Stevie Turner

Chapter 3

           My head is pounding, and a bright light above ensures I quickly have to close my eyes again. Feeling nauseated, I lie still, using my other senses to try and recognise sounds or a particular aroma which could confirm to me that I am still in the accommodation unit. However, I can hear nothing at all; not even the usual birdsong, and there is an unaccountably earthy, damp smell.   Suddenly curious, I fight sickness and confusion to sit up and take note of my surroundings. 

           I have no idea where I am. I am lying on top of a double bed. It is not the bed where I wrap myself contentedly around Liam.  There is a duvet beneath me covered with a surprisingly clean-looking lilac flowery cover, which is complete with matching sheets and pillow cases. There does not seem to be any other furniture. There are no windows, and the bare bulb above my head is the only source of light.

           Slightly panicky now and ignoring the increased hammering in my brain, I stand up shakily on the cold, concrete floor. The room is quite small, and I reach the only visible door after taking just a few steps.  It is not the sort of door that I could break down.  I turn the handle, but it refuses to yield.

           I am locked in. I want to scream in fright, but stop myself at the last moment from sliding into rampant hysteria. I reason that whoever is keeping me in the room against my will would not want me making too much noise which might alert searchers to my location. I figure that I need to keep on the right side of my captor.


           I take a few paces past the bed to the other side, towards where the wall finishes, and I look around the corner. There is a toilet and one sink in a tiny bathroom which is devoid of both windows and doors. To the left of the sink I spot a rail containing a matching towel and flannel. In the middle of the taps lies a new bar of soap.  There is an unused cup inside the sink, still in some sort of plastic wrapping.

           My mouth is dry, and I realise I am terribly thirsty. I tear off the cup’s wrapping and fill it with water from the tap. The cold liquid is manna from heaven. I can even imagine the action of peristalsis, as the water trickles down my parched throat to my stomach. The nausea begins to recede, although my head is still sore.

           I do not know what the time is or if it is still Wednesday 20th May.  The dearth of windows ensures not only the absence of another escape route, but also reinforces the certainty that I have no knowledge as to whether it is day or night.


           I run some hot water into the sink to wash my face. The water gurgles in the naked copper pipes running up the wall, making me wonder if the sound is going to alert anybody to the fact that I am awake. 

           I am correct. Within a few moments I can hear the sound of keys turning in the distance, heavy footsteps approaching, and then a bolt being pulled back on the door to my room and another key rattling in the lock.

           I walk forward and face my captor. With dismay I see he is the drug addict I treated a few weeks previously, and the one who pulled up beside me in his car to ask for directions as I walked home. Was that yesterday? He looks around forty years of age; there are flecks of grey in his dark hair and beard, and he is carrying a tray piled high with sandwiches and fruit. Over his arm is draped a selection of underwear and clothes, which I presume are for me, as all I have are the clothes I am wearing. For several moments neither of us say anything. I look beyond him to the open door, judging as to whether I could dart past him and make a break for freedom. As though he could read my thoughts he closes the door and locks it from the inside, balancing the tray on one hand, and then comes over towards the bed. 

           I edge around the other side of the bed away from him. He places the tray and the clothes down upon the bed, and backs off towards the door. We stand there, silently sizing each other up like two prize-fighters. I ask him what day it is, but he does not reply. He then turns around and goes out, locking the door behind him.


           I decide to give up asking him for the date and time. It is easy to decipher the approximate hour if I look at the offerings on the tray. Over the following days I see that there is always egg, bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes, or a hot...

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