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She was screaming. She was screaming for him, weeping and pleading. The boy could hear her voice growing hoarse as the minutes passed, as his shoulder grew numb from hitting the door of his prison. Was he crying with her? He thought that maybe he was. But it was dark, so dark in here, that he couldn’t even tell. He couldn’t stop his search for an escape long enough to feel his face. He was so close to her, so close to protecting her! They had always been close, hadn’t they? He had never even taken a breath without her near him. She’d been born first but her fist had been tightly clasping his wrist. Even now she never wanted to be where he wasn’t. She always said that, didn’t she?
And now the separation. And the screams. Even if she had been silent, even if she hadn’t cried out continuously until his body shook with pain, he would have heard her. Hadn’t he always heard her? His thoughts fractured. His mind was almost as shattered as his ankle was. There was only one solid thought in this darkness, only one hope. His fingers, numb from the cold, frantically ran along ever crevice, every inch of the dark floor looking for anything, anything, that could help her. And the screaming continued.
The girl didn’t know she was screaming. She wasn’t conscious enough of her surroundings, of herself to know how her voice keened like a wild animal in a trap. She wasn’t even aware of the man, not really. Her body may have tried to shy away from his touch but inside everything was black. She was huddled inside herself, the pain ricocheting so that she didn’t dare try to escape. She didn’t dare try to swim back into consciousness of herself.
Then everything stopped. The absence of sound roared into her ears. It forced her to the surface of awareness even though she knew it was a trick. She could hear screaming in the distance, somewhere beneath her. She knew it was him, knew he would come if he could. The thought made her open her eyes.
There was light here, so much light that it blinded her. She was on the faded linoleum floor that was dotted with blood. It felt cool against her flushed face. She could see the stove, the pasta still merrily bubbling. How long had it been? It felt like years, oh God it felt like years! But the pot was still bubbling. She didn’t bother looking around her. She knew that the man was still there.
As if summoned, the man came up behind her, leaned down and touched her, pushed her on her back. She saw his eyes, his perfect face, his smile, his absence of clothes. When he touched her again, when he spoke to her like a lover would, she shuddered once then violently threw up.
When the silence began, he howled, enraged. She wasn’t dead, he knew she wasn’t dead But it was the other thing, the thing that could cause her silence, that drove the last traces of fear or pain out of his mind. He rushed the door again, again, again, again! A crack. A crack! It took the sound a moment to reach his ears over his frantic breathing.
His fingers brushed across the door and his heart gave a leap of triumph at the feel splintered wood. He hit the door again, his breath coming in harsh pants, to revved for screaming now, his eyes narrowed on the tiny splinter of light in front of him.