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Escape

Author: 
Ix
Old Vault Category: 
fanfiction
Old Vault ID: 
113

The lock is old and rusted from the dank air that fills my hole in this god-forsaken dungeon. The cell is barely five feet long and as only as much again wide. The floor is hard and cold and all I have to sleep on is a rude wooden pallet with a threadbare blanket well chewed by the rats that visit me at night to nibble my toes and fingers. I cannot stretch out when sleeping. There just isn't enough room. In any case I need to curl into a ball to keep my extremities in close and as much as possible away from the rats.

No light reaches me except when the guard passes by carrying his hooded lantern on his rounds. Day and night pass with me none the wiser except for the regularity of the guard. Each day the guard makes me empty my slops bucket into the night-soil cart. Each day I am allowed a ladle full of thin cold broth, a wedge of hard bread and a small bucket of water. At least I think it is each day. I have no way of knowing. This might be some sort of torture where they play tricks with my mind. I know I have been here a long time. But is it months? Is it days? I just don't know.

The chains about my ankles and wrists have rubbed my skin almost to the bone and infected sores ooze pus. I have numerous rat bites on my hands and feet and fleas infest my blanket and my tattered trousers and shirt. I am a sorry wretch.

The darkness presses in on me with an unholy presence. I can almost taste it. No! I can taste the darkness. It has a bitter acrid flavour that coats my tongue and sears my throat. When I lay down to sleep it forces the air from my lungs and pushes my eyes back in their sockets. My heart pounds with the effort required pushing blood around my withered and fading body.

The silence echoes in my head. The clamour of my thoughts at times is near to deafening. The only sounds that I hear that are not of my making are the squeaking and scabbling of the rats, the measured tread of the guard on his rounds and the rattle of keys, the creaking of the lock and hinges when the door is opened so I can empty the night soil bucket. I have tried singing but now all of the songs and tunes I know have fled my mind. I know I sometimes mutter to myself but I cannot make out my own words. My speech has degenerated into a meaningless mumble and cannot keep up with the thoughts that sometimes flash around my mind.

I burn with a fever and sweat dehydrates my body. I am getting weaker. It is becoming easier to drift off to sleep. I have pustules on my body and my throat is dry and sore. Standing up is a difficult task that taxes all of my energy.

I don't even recall why I am here. Maybe I am a King who has been deposed by his brother. Maybe I am a innocent victim of mistaken identity. Maybe I am a serial killer. Maybe I was on the losing side of a war or battle. Maybe I am just a thief who was not good enough. It matters not. I am here and rotting.

I know I am dying. My body is skin and bone. Anything I eat passes straight through me. Movement of any kind comes with great pain.

And now I dream of escape. My fevered mind sees me sneak out of the cell and down the corridor to where surely the stairs to the open sky can be found. Fresh air! Flowers! Sunlight! Freedom! The light beckons me, calling me closer. I reach out to embrace its warmth as I struggle up the stairs. A pain in my chest warns me that I am overtaxing my tired and weary body. Yet I cannot stop. Freedom is surely just a few steps away. I am crawling now. I feel the pain in my knees from the cruel hard stones of the dungeon floor. Yet I see the door in front of me. I reach out to open it and as I push it gives way to my feeble strength. I see grass, I see trees. I breathe the clean fresh air. My tired body makes a further effort and I am on the grass. The grass is cool and it refreshes my hot skin. Strange how no guards have come to drag me back to my cell.

And I lie there in the light. The cool grass under my fingers. The wind in my hair. The pain in my chest grows stronger. A vice clamping my heart. Odd too, but the grass is hard. The light dims slightly and reason slowly returns to my mind. Am I still in my cell? I refuse to believe that and the light grows in strength again. I have my freedom even if it is only in my imagination. And being free I wait for my heart to fail and my lungs to draw their last breath. I wait for death.

The final escape.

 

Escape © Ix

Migrate Wizard: 
First Release: 
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