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Pinky Swear - Part I

Issue Date: Friday, Jun. 29, 2007

The hum of silence was loud in her ears. She knew she shouldn’t hold her breath for very much longer or the exhale that followed may be loud enough to give her position away.

She closed her eyes for a while hoping that when she opened them she would be more accustomed to the darkness and would be able to see in what seemed like an ink black environment.

She let a breath out through her nose, softly and controlled. She opened her eyes and slowly put her right hand in front of her face. She could see the outline of her pale skin even in the darkness.

Eyesight, check.

She still didn’t know if she was deaf or if the silence was just so loud that it was a void that refused to let noise in. She raised her right hand to her right ear and swiped the pad of her forefinger against the pad of her thumb one time. The resulting “shhhh” of skin on skin was a relief, it was also louder than she expected. She had been straining to hear a noise, any noise for so long that her ears were hypersensitive to even the slightest sound.

Hearing, check.

She could partially see in the dark and her ears were very alert. She pressed her right hand alongside the surface her back was resting against. She could feel wood paneling and the dampness that comes to a house, or building with age. She tried to move her feet and found her legs and what lay below them fast asleep. She took a breath and detected an unpleasant smell of neglect. Mold, rat droppings and an unpleasant chemical smell that she could not identify.

She closed her eyes and took a mental inventory of her body starting with her feet and her legs that were asleep; she shifted her weight and found that she was crouched in a very uncomfortable position. One that would make her almost invisible or a very small target, which would explain why her thighs were burning, her legs asleep and her feet were numb with cold and lack of circulation.

She concentrated on the rest of her body, ticking off each extremity. Feet cold, at least I have feet, she thought. Calves and thighs, cramping... must move soon or will have trouble standing... if I can stand. Back... sore but not broken, right arm and hand... good... left arm and hand... ow.

She lifted her left arm and tested the shoulder, making sure to make small movements, small sounds, small tests of her mobility or lack thereof. Her shoulder was fine. She lifted her left hand to her face and tried to see if the outline would tell her why her arm was throbbing. Oh, she thought to herself, would you look at that? I’m missing my pinky.

The loss of the digit on her hand didn’t concern her as she could also see that the wound had been dressed in gauze that stood out whiter than her skin in the dark. She ran her right hand over her head, face and neck looking for wounds. Five wound types, her brain told her as she gingerly felt her own clavicle and around to the back of her skull. Abrasion, puncture, laceration, crush, incision.

Her left shoulder may be a bit bruised but she didn’t have any wounds except the missing finger.

She lifted her right arm above her and felt for the top of whatever she was in. A room? A closet? An oven? An oven? Why would she think that she would find herself in an oven? She felt no clothes hanging down from above but did find a bar that clothes may once have hung upon.

I’m in a closet, she thought. This, I can handle.

She knew that standing up too quickly or exploring her space without a bit more information may be her ticket to fatality.

She inched up along the back of the wall and when her head softly touched the bar at the top of the closet a few wire hangers to her right softly chimed their presence.

Now that she was standing upright she began working her right hand along her thigh muscles to help alleviate the cramps she thought would come from being crouched down in a closet. For how long she had been in the closet, she did not know.

She didn’t know her name, she didn’t know why she was missing the pinky on her left hand and she didn’t know where she was or why she was crouched in a closet for that matter. She didn’t know why she had the foresight to be quiet or to take a mental catalog of her body, senses and her injuries or why she was in this predicament. She just knew that she needed to get out. It was instinct.

Running the tips of her fingers lightly along the door frame in front of her she saw the closet door in her mind. Standard door, it did not feel reinforced, no extra locks or heaviness. She longed to knock lightly on the door to test for thickness. She wanted to know if the door was locked, latched or otherwise secured and would not open for her from the inside if she would be able to brace herself against the moist paneling behind her and kick the door open. She hoped it wouldn’t come to that. Entering a blind room after making a loud racket by kicking a door down was something she knew not to do.

How did she know these things?

How was she so sure that she could even kick the door down? Where were these thoughts and decisions coming from? She didn’t know if she was a regular woman with a job, a cat and a boyfriend. She didn’t know if she was something that someone was looking for – for good reasons or bad. She didn’t know why it didn’t bother her that she was missing a finger. And the biggest question that she didn’t know the answer to was, where she was, and why.

She found the doorknob inside the closet and tested the give in the lock. It didn’t rock to the right or left, up or down. The door to the closet wasn’t as brittle as the paneling behind her, neither was the hardware for the doorknob. She lightly gripped the handle and turned it clockwise, it turned smoothly under her hand and a small “snick” was all she heard when the lock was disengaged.

She took another deep breath and closed her eyes. She opened her mouth and let the breath out slow, as she exhaled she slowly pushed the door to the closet open. Just a crack at first, she put her eye to the crack and looked into the darkened room before her. No movements, no sense of another person or being waiting for her on the other side. She then closed her mouth and placed her nose close to the opening. She drew in a controlled breath, smelling the other room.

The room smelled like nothing.

There was a complete absence of smell. Was it just the closet that smelled like mildew, neglect and that unpleasant chemical smell? She could pick up on other people’s pheromones. Her sense of smell was very acute and from what she could remember, each person had their own signature scent. She didn’t smell any animals in the room. She didn’t even smell the lingering odors of clean laundry, dirty laundry, ozone, food from a kitchen, gun oil.

Gun oil? Why would she be testing the air for the scent of gun oil?

These questions kept popping into her head and she needed to stay focused if she wanted to stay alive. The reason she felt like her life was in danger and how or why she instinctively knew what she needed to do next shouldn’t be of any consequence. When she got to a safe place she would search her pockets and her memory for the answers to the millions of questions circling her brain like bees buzzing around a hive.

She shook her head once. Twice. Focused her gaze on the darkness in front of her, took a deep but silent breath and opened the door.

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To understand this dear reward (above) at all, you must hie thee on and read gatsby’s grape ape entry and my comments.

And because of said comments he sent me my very own dream turtle in an email titled wee gift with these words attached, “my purple monkey is booked solid so i ordered you a tangerine turtle. hope he proves helpful.”

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