I Shall Fear No Evil
"The outside world was unknown to her, but she could see a glimpse of it through the window in his room."
Darkness and frost, the only thing that was visible except on good days, where she could see a tiny glimmer, not just her own reflection.
If ever her brother caught her sneaking into his room, his fabled room, he would chase her out, looking gray and tired. " Get away from here, there' s no point looking at that, looking out there, there is nothing for us there, "
She had caught him sometimes, sneaking a glance at the window, mostly after indulging in the much too expensive "relaxifier" (as was called opium) but it would make her uncomfortable, because it always ended in him burying his face in his hands and sobbing.
Sometimes words escaped his lips, words that seemed to tear open his soul. " What have we done? What have we done? "
But he would never explain himself further, would never acknowledge these unusual outbursts ( as he was always stoical ) and would never answer her. What was he talking about? What had they done, and why was it making him so upset?
She remembered more than he thought, she remembered him coming back to the house, she in her playpen, looking at her ball with utmost intensity, trying to understand why some pieces fit in certain spots and why she should put them in... when she had just shaken them out.
Since first opening her eyes, everyone had made assumptions about her, and she had let them in their illusions.
She was different, she wasn't like everyone else, she was useless, trapped in her little world...
Her brother had fought hard to keep her alive when the sanctions had started coming. Not enough food, not enough water, not enough air... and she was a weight, useless, hopeless, nothing to do with her.
Good for nothing, not even breeding, was what one of the old men had said. Imagine if she made more like herself. The catastrophe for the gene pool.
Her brother had shouted and thrown the old man outside their allotted living space, making her huddle in a corner, covering her head with her arms to protect herself from the outburst.
They had all become so gray, no place for smiles anymore, everyone holding back tears and cringing, their minds unhinged by their new reality.
Everyone avoided the room she preferred, no one wanted a view to the outside world, no one wanted a reminder of what they had lost, lost forever.
But it was fascinating to her. Out there was the world she had known before, the world of colors and flowers, not of concrete and grayness. And what if one day it would come back, why did they all think it would never?
Why did they all think they were getting what they deserved?
They were afraid to see what they had done, they were afraid of what it had become, but this was what made it so attractive to her.
Always so sure that they knew the beginning, the end, and everything in-between, but they didn't know her. So how could she trust anything they claimed?
The food was lesser every day and most people could barely walk from lack of strength... and some were starting to lose their hair, and that was making many debates, many shouts, although everyone was too weak to properly fight.
Her brother thought she was immune to this, oblivious, that she was caught in her world, her little world, best not to bother her in it... except when he found her staring at the window, again and again.
Always darkness beyond, never any light, all she could see was her own reflection. Sallow, sunken cheeks, haunted, red-rimmed eyes, gray skin, always glistening with sweat although her breath was starting to puff out, something about the heat regulators, her brother was always called to help...
Giving her more time to stare at the window, and imagine what was really behind. If you let fear rule your heart and mind, wouldn't that fear help shape your perception of what was, instead of seeing what was really there?
No one wanted to be close to that window, no one wanted to see the outside... the one reason they hadn't taken her away yet was because her brother had agreed to stay there with her, near the window, his penance.
But it wouldn't last and she knew it just as well as her brother did.
He kept arguing in her defense, wanting desperately to keep her with him... like when he had grabbed her from her playpen, screaming at the top of his lungs for their parents to get a move on...
But there was no time, so he had ran away with her.
They didn't count birthdays anymore, no one ever wished her, no gifts, no happiness, every day was a surprise and no one kept count, it seemed, of the time they had spent in their new home.
The Tomb, as her brother called it when he thought she was asleep, or couldn't understand.
Inside the Tomb, no one cared about time, no one made plans, no one had anything to look forward to.
But she was determined to see what was beyond. Just once, see what they were so afraid of, see what they had done, what they had to pay for.
The atmosphere was getting colder and more people fainted for no reason... some people vanished without a trace, one day there, the other gone. And no one ever spoke about it, not even in whispers.
This was what had to be, this was their penance.
But not hers.
Her brother worked hard every day, sometimes staying deep in the bowels of the Tomb for hours and hours, leaving her free to look through the window, making the frost on the window melt with the feeble warmth of her hand. The darkness called to her like a beckon, what more could she do than answer it?
Could she undo the window, could she remove it and see what was beyond? Was there a way to discover what lay beyond?
She studied the window with a whole new eye, not looking beyond it, but at it. Her breath pluming in front of her, her fingers freezing if she let them out of her jacket for too long, but she traced the contour of the window obsessively, looking for a way in, a way out.
It seemed impenetrable and hitting it ( which she did cautiously,so as to not attract attention ) was not working in any way. The window was much too solid to destroy, but there had to be another way.
There were hallways that had been condemned. No one ever went through them, no one ever went there, too afraid of leaving the comfort of their cells... so as long as her brother was gone, she could roam as she pleased.
The father she got from the 'nexus' the center of the Tomb, the better she felt, more free, capable of breathing better, thinking more clearly.
What was the problem, if not their narrow minds, incapable of seeing past their own noses? Incapable of admitting they did not know everything.
All had to be quantified according to their wishes, even unto death.
They had set up some kind of barricade inside the hallways but she could squeeze through. Even though the temperature was going down as she progressed, she did not go back for the remainder of her clothes. If she turned back, she knew she would never get another chance.
One window of opportunity was all she would have.
Her impression concretized a few minutes later when she heard a scuffle, things getting thrown to the ground, tinny, grating sounds, much too loud, and her brother screaming her name.
She started running although it made her feel light-headed; she had to get out, she had to reach the end of the hallway... which was a large vent with a ladder that stretched up to infinite darkness.
Frost covered and slippery, her fingers freezing as she started her climb, but she was more determined than ever, her grunts of efforts echoing in the enclosed shafts.
" Get down! Come back! Don't go, don't go! " her brother cried out, apparently too afraid to climb himself.
It did not even make her reconsider, there was something beyond the window, something better than one day disappearing and never coming back.
She reached the end of the ladder and shaft, the ceiling was a hatch, all she had to do was turn it to see what was beyond.
Her fingers were numb and she was short-breathed, but more from excitement than exhaustion.
She would not finish what little time she had left in the Tomb.
" Don' t do that, please! Please come back! " her brother said from under her, but he was climbing up, she didn't have much time.
She jerked as hard as she could and the hatch gave way with a creak of rusted metal.
The air that streamed in was cold as ice, frosting her hair and eyelashes in a matter of seconds, but she pushed up, beyond...
Rediscovering what it meant to be free.
About the Creator
I am a hobby writer who adores science fiction and intelligent characters and storylines!
I bet when she reaches the exterior world she finds me. Ta-da!