I’m Ready

Mina glanced at the ocean waves that raced to shore. The darkness of the night surrounded the crescent moon and the reflection on the water. The memories of the past few months overwhelmed her as she adjusted the satin pillows that lined the window sill. She related to the sliver of light and a smile formed across her heart-shaped face as she lowered her head.

“There is always hope.”

The whisper fell from¬†Mina’s swollen lips¬†as she¬†listened¬†to¬†the midnight bells¬†from the church tower down the street. Clinging to that notion, she considered¬†the last time that she had a reason to smile then quietly shifted¬†off of the window’s ledge. A flash of her mother and father sitting on the couch echoed through her memory. The tug on her heart beckoned¬†her to continue as she walked to¬†the door of her¬†holding cell.

She wrapped¬†a hair tie around her¬†jet-black hair and tried to remain calm. Taking¬†caution as she¬†kneeled on her bruised legs beside the lock on the door, she¬†listened¬†for the thunderous snores from her¬†captor’s bedroom.¬†Her thoughts¬†clung¬†to the idea¬†that¬†he remained¬†ignorant.

After freeing the door from the lock, she removed¬†the bobby pin and paper clip. Standing,¬†her fingers¬†gingerly¬†turned¬†the handle.¬†The cherry colored wood opened with a creak and Mina¬†slipped out into the hall.¬†The adrenaline kicked in as she closed¬†the door behind her securely re-locking it,¬†before listening for the patterned snoring to continue.¬†When she was sure that master hadn’t wakened she trained her focus on the escape.

As the muskiness of the damp basement filled her nostrils, Mina searched for the silver ring of keys and pushed nausea aside. Leading her hand against the wall, she quickly found them. The ribs on her right side ached, but she mustered the strength to climb one step, then the next.

“Almost there…”

She knew that her freedom was close but understood that she was running out of time.¬†The man that had taken her would be checking her room by one o’clock. If she didn’t go by then, he would punish her far worse than before and make sure that she never escaped again. With renewed fervor, she completed the final steps. Mina took the silver ring and searched for the one with the skull that¬†unlocked the basement. When she found the golden key, she opened¬†the door and walked through.

Taking one last look at the basement where she had lived over the previous year, she smirked and shut the door. Mina turned down the hall where the master would make her dress for their dates, then began to search for appropriate clothing. She removed the torn sack that had been her garment and rummaged for a pair of underwear.

When she found them, she smiled then quickly put them on and continued to piece together an outfit. The clothes that the man gave her in the beginning no longer fit the same as she slid a t-shirt over her thin frame. Her frown replaced the smile as she acknowledged how lousy she looked. Finishing her outfit with a pair of jeans, she checked her surroundings once more. Mina listened for the rhythm of sleep that guided her.

The house remained quiet.

Mina froze. Her plan hadn’t included him waking up. Releasing an almost-defeated¬†sigh, she considered her options.

“It’s now or never…”

Running to the window, she tried to pry it open, but it wouldn’t budge. She made her way back to the door and closed it then ran¬†down¬†the hall to the kitchen. She opened a¬†drawer and¬†pulled out the kitchen knife that he had cut her with many times before, then ran toward the front¬†of the house.

As she maneuvered through the living room,¬†footsteps filtered through the hall and she¬†shuddered. Finally making it to the front door, she opened it. The fresh air abruptly confronted¬†her, but she didn’t hesitate as she¬†began to run.

“Mina.”

The voice of her captor rang out through the night. She could hear his anger as he chased after her. Tears streamed down Mina’s face as she ran up the road. Silently reprimanding herself for not planning a second route, she evaluated her options. To avoid getting caught, she would have¬†to change her path.¬†Her thoughts began to overwhelm her as she continued¬†toward the woods.

Panic set in as she cut through the trees running as fast as she could. The underbrush scratched at her feet, but she urged her body to keep going. Racing past branches and leaves, she fought her way through. When she reached a clearing, another jolt of panic set in. Mina ran toward the second set of trees across the opening.

“You can’t outrun me, whore.”

She turned and saw him standing between two bushes. Mina continued to run, but he was getting closer. Out of breath, she weaved in and out of the trees then leaned against a taller one and considered climbing it.

“I know you’re¬†here. I can smell you.”

His voice hung in the air threatening to destroy her. Placing¬†her left hand over her mouth, she closed her eyes. As a couple of branches behind her snapped she knew it wouldn’t take long. Pressing her body against the tree, she flattened her torso against the trunk. The urge to run had increased, but she knew that physically, it couldn’t be done.

“My… Have we gotten brave.”

His words attacked with venom as he placed a hand on her shoulder. She cut his arm with the knife and tried to run. His laughter rang out.

“Stupid¬†bitch,” he yelled after her.

When he caught Mina the second time, he pinned her to the ground.

She watched him take the knife. “You’re¬†fucking¬†dead.”

As he plunged the knife into her heart, a crooked smile appeared then sadly, she whispered, “I’m ready.”

When a Visitor Leaves a Gift…

As the room went quiet, Thea studied her notes. The information was familiar to her, and eventually, she grew tired of the review. Placing her data in a safe place for tomorrow and turning off the lights, Thea headed out of the Simulator room. Passing the guards, she said goodnight to Agent Steven. He had served the station for years and was the “father of the ship” as everyone liked to call him.

She gave him a smile and headed toward her bunker. The halls were quiet for the night, and everyone had gone to their own rooms or the entertainment room by now. She slowed her pace and enjoyed the solitude. Her mind wandered to various things, and when she reached her door, she almost walked past it.

Ascella, her roommate, reached for her hand and started giggling. “Thea, where are you wandering off to tonight?”

Thea glanced at her roommate and joined in a smile. “I was lost in thought.”

“Clearly,” she answered. Another giggle echoed through the hall as they turned back toward the bunker. “How was everything today?”

Thea rolled her eyes. “Don’t ask…”

“That good, huh?” Ascella¬†smiled.

“You could say that.” Thea plopped on a chair in the corner and rested her head against the palm of her hand. “I failed a practice mission.”

Ascella’s smile faded. “I’m so sorry, Thea… You’ll do better tomorrow! I just know it.”

Thea offered a smile and nodded. “What about you?”

Ascella considered the question for a moment. “My day was alright. I didn’t have anything drastic happen. Just another day with another list of things to do. The infirmary was pretty quiet.”

“That’s a good thing, though.” Thea rubbed her eyes and considered sleep. A knock on the door interrupted her thought, and the girls looked at one another. “Expecting someone?”

Ascella shook her curly brown hair. “Not a soul.”

She sighed¬†but stood and walked toward the door. When she opened it, no one was there. Thea glanced down the halls and searched for the visitor. The only visible object she could see was an envelope on the ground below her. “That’s odd.” Her voice echoed down the hall. Ascella took the final steps to get to Thea as Thea picked up the envelope.

“What is it?”

Thea raised an eyebrow. “I’m not sure.”

She closed the door and carefully turned it over. “It has my name on it.”

“Open it!” Ascella’s excitement reached a new level as her smile grew wider. Thea shrugged as she opened the pale yellow envelope. A folded piece of paper lay inside, and Thea tugged it out of its holder.

As she opened the paper, a smaller sliver of colored paper fell to the ground. Thea began to read the writing on the paper as Ascella bent down to pick up the colored paper that had fallen. When she touched the sliver of paper, a thunderous roar filled the silence. Both girls dropped the documents they were holding and glanced at one another.

“What was that?” Ascella’s voice shook as she finished her question.

Thea glanced from the papers back to her roommate. “I have no idea…”

*¨*

Will Thea touch the colored paper and investigate the sound?

(Search for the Purple Post-It.)

(OR)

Will the station’s guards come investigating the unplanned noise?

(Search for the Pink Post-It.)