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Silence is one of my talents.
I slipped out of bed without making the slightest rustle of bedsheets. I felt the click of the door handle, but I knew how to open it without disturbing the peace. I’d done this so many times before, I didn’t even have to think about my actions as I flew–wait at the corner for the first guard to sweep his flashlight along the hallway, good, go–and went down, turn at the first left, left again, last door on the right.
The soft knocking was the only sound I made up to that point. The light from under the door became striped where a man’s feet stepped. Then the door creaked open slowly allowing a streak of light to spill into the corridor and make everything glow until I hurriedly went in and closed the door behind me.
“Good evening, Skye,” Dr. White greeted me with a nod and kind smile. “Your escape went smoothly, as always?”
He walked around his desk and sat in his office chair as he spoke, reaching over to his bookshelf to turn down his classical music so that it was just background noise.
“Yup,” I said, taking my usual spot across from him. “Happy Friday.”
“Happy Friday,” he acknowledged, “and happy birthday.”
“Oh, thanks.” I’d forgotten about that. Wow. I was seventeen today. I had spent five years in this hellhole. Vaguely, I wondered if I would be here long enough to someday forget what the outside was like. As much as I dreaded the possibility of it, I almost hoped I would.
“I have something for you.”
He reached for his drawer and I immediately looked right through the wooden desk out of curiosity.
“Money?” I said skeptically before he had fully retrieved the twenty-dollar bill. What was I supposed to do with twenty bucks in this place?
Almost as if reading my mind, Dr. White held it out to me and said, “You can save it to use if you ever escape. There’s a lot more to escaping than just escaping, you know.”
I accepted it without a word, thinking that escaping was hard enough by itself.
“So tomorrow’s another playground day.”
I nodded. Playground days happened twice a week. They weren’t very interesting on the days I didn’t try to escape. Basically, we just went outside for a couple of hours. Soak up some sun and breathe the sweet mountain air. There wasn’t actually a playground; that would draw too much attention. There was a tarmac area and a dirt area, fenced in by a simple fence on the inside and a tall electric fence around everything.
“Are you going to try to escape again?”
I sighed and lifted my elbow to show him a bad scrape. “I’m not at full health yet. So no.”
He nodded. “Maybe next week.”
Dr. White knew me well.
“Can I ask you something?” I asked, leaning forward in my seat as if about to diverge a well-kept secret.
“Always,” he responded factually.
“How come you never tell anyone when I tell you I plan to escape?”
It was something I had asked a few times before, but I always forgot the answer.
“Several reasons,” he replied, “the first of which being that I wouldn’t mind very much if you were to somehow leave this place. Second, I don’t know how you would manage to escape anyhow, so it would make no difference whether I said anything or not. Lastly, given your track record for attempted escapes, everybody already knows.”
“But they don’t know when exactly.”
“That’s true, but even you don’t know that, do you?”
I only shrugged.