SCORE: I Can’t Make You Love Me || Bon Iver
She knew, even before she opened her eyes, that it was morning.
There was no shaft or window to tell what time of the day it was but each morning came with its own unique sense of gloom and despair. It was that way all the time but, in the mornings, it somehow felt more suffocating. Perhaps it was because each new day came with the uncertainty of whether or not it would be her last.
She looked around and saw the others.
Some were older, some were younger. Some looked healthier than others. Over the past few days, at least one of the others had been taken away each day. There was no preference. Sometimes, some came back but, in the short time they were away, the look of terror in their eyes gave her icy goosebumps and made her wonder if it wasn’t just better to be taken away to die. She wasn’t certain that was always the fate of those taken away, but it was definitely a possibility. What else could be responsible for the bloodcurdling screams she sometimes heard when one of them was taken and didn’t return.
It didn’t seem so formidable anymore.
Now she looked forward to it, welcomed it even.
It had been foolhardy to think she could escape. She’d watched some of the others who’d been here before her kill themselves. That was the only escape, they said. But she was young and stupid and had hatched a plan. It was simple: play dead and, when they carried her out, she would run away. She’d been so confident. The cellmate beside her dared to hope. So they both played dead.
And they did come for them.
As they carried them out, they smiled at each other because they were almost there. Almost free.
She still had nightmares about what happened next… She remembered it like it was yesterday.
She watched as one of the captors held her cellmate by the legs and dipped her in boiling water. She heard a scream so loud that she couldn’t believe that it was even possible to make that sound till she realized that she was the one screaming. Tears streamed down her face as she watched death’s apprentice hold her down firmly; the glint of the knife he had in his hands added a sinister edge to the smile on his face. She remembered staring in disbelief as her friend turned her head to look at her, a smile on her face as the knife slit her throat, as if to say “Thank you for finally getting me out”.
She had nightmares about that smile. She didn’t even know her name and she’d got her killed. When death came, she hoped she’d see that smile again and get the chance to ask for forgiveness.
Maybe she’d meet her parents too. She’d never known her parents. The cage was the only home she remembered and the other captives were the only family she had.
The sound of the captors snapped her out of her reverie. It was that time again. As one of them made his way to her cell, she saw he had no food with him but still he approached her. As he opened her cage and reached for her, she saw the glint of a knife and understood what was happening.
The day had come.
As she was carried out, she took one last look at the others and bade them goodbye with her eyes.
She wasn’t sad she was leaving them, she was happy she was about to meet her real family.
As the knife made its way across her throat, she understood the smile her friend had on and she smiled too.
She was going home.
In loving memory of all the chickens and turkeys that have died because of Christmas…
Seasons greetings, TNC fam.