Locked In

I found myself locked inside by my own house. Windows refused to shatter, doors refused to budge, even walls somehow shielded themselves from getting punched through. I couldn’t make a dent or scratch. Even the cupboards and fridge refused to open, and the water refused to run. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink water, and I couldn’t leave.

Luckily I had a few grocery bags left out from a couple days ago. I lived alone, and cleanliness and organization were not always priorities. That slobbish behaviour saved my life–or at least extended it. I had some fruit and boxes of non-perishables on the counters, some dishes with liquids still inside. Drinking cold coffee and mouthfuls of scummy water sitting in pots made me ill, but I needed to keep my strength up. I banged on the walls and the floor, screamed, did everything to get noticed but no rescue had come. The building cut my power so I had no internet and my cellphone ran out of batteries before I even knew I was trapped.

The heating was off, too, of course. The nights were freezing. I buried myself in blankets and sweaters and multiple socks. Winter was on the way and nights were getting colder. I wouldn’t last long.

The vents were too small to fit through. The windows began to fog, then frost until I couldn’t see outside–and no one could see inside.

Days passed. I ran out of food and water. I found myself smacking the sink and holding my tongue under the tap hoping for just a drop. Nothing. Then there was one especially freezing night. I lay there on my couch (my bedroom door was locked), all the blankets atop me, shivering, so tired but unable to sleep, and I knew I was going to die.

That was when the front door creaked open.

I thought I was imagining things. I looked, and sure enough the door was ajar. I threw the blankets off of me and leaped over my couch and ran for the door.

And just before I reached it, it snapped shut again.

I twisted and pulled on the knob, kicked and punched and screamed at the door, then fell to my knees, the power and energy gone. The building was toying with me. The whole city was. This was what happened when you thought yourself in control. It was hubris. Our creations were stronger than us, now. New Athens was more mythical than its namesake. And I tried to warn everyone what was going on. This was my punishment. Imprisonment. Death.

The door opened just a crack. I didn’t rush this time. I reached for the knob, and pulled. It opened a couple more inches and then stopped–too small to fit through. Then it allowed me to open it all the way.

This was a warning. The city could trap me again at any time. In this building or in another. It would close bridges and erect barricades. The city owned me. It allowed me to live. I had to play ball, or I’d be snuffed out.

So I humbly accepted its mercy. I opened the door and left, ragged and starving and dressed in several layers of wool and flannel. The rest of the apartment was warm. I waited there for a while, just in the hallway. Then I went back into my place. It was no longer freezing, and the lights were back on. I thought about how I could escape the city. I didn’t know if I could.

 

 


 

 

Day 334’s three random writing prompt categories were, “The Odd City,” “Magic prison,” and, “Wrath.”

– H.

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