I took the leap. Leap of faith. I landed safely. I realized I really was in the middle of nowhere. The only thing I saw was an old railway track and a tiny train station in the distance. I knew exactly what to do. I ran. I ran wild. I was finally free.
In those dark days after the ambush, after our children were abducted, the grief was enough to sink the strong. Our hearts were enough to rise, and we became the parents our souls demanded we be. Those who sell drugs also deal in body parts for live donation. The only way to find them was to set up an ambush of our own to reclaim our own. These people can't make even a scalpel - so there is a trail, somewhere.
In this cell, I know when it is daylight by the slim shaft of light that penetrates the air vent on top. I wish to God it was a little bigger, I'm so skinny now I could fit into a regular vent, but this one is meanly proportioned. There was also one window. From the high window came a ray of daylight, sending white beams to illuminate the grime and show the dust that floating in the air. If I could reach it, I could find out where I was. Even if I couldn't tell the exact location, even just knowing that I’m still in New York would be something. I strained my ears for sounds, for cars or for ships. Were there seagulls or garden birds? Was this deserted, residential or just in the middle of nowhere? I focused on the window again, the frame was new, but it wasn't the sort you could open.
Perhaps someone did make it out one day, I'd like to think so. The only other way out is the door, thick oak, new and strong. It's out of place against the metal walls, but that's common now. As the technology of yesteryear decays, it is replaced by the methods of centuries earlier. Once this prison was a rehab centre, a place where psychiatrists searched the minds of the deviants. Now it's just a place to rot. Whatever your “crime” there is only one sentence- life imprisonment without possibility of parole. But the only difference is that there is no crime. It’s more like kidnap if you ask me. Rumour has it that once your relatives stop visiting, they take you out back for a shallow grave. They're not cruel though if you dig it yourself, they kill you fast; otherwise, they won't waste a bullet on you.
I could feel the cuffs tunnelling into my wrists and the rope wrapped around my ankles. There must be ventilation shafts. I knew how to get my hands free, but I just didn't relish doing it. Enough pressure in the right spot would break my thumb, then it would be time to check-in. I just had to get a glimpse of the outside of the window.
I heard the station guards’ footsteps. They were coming to give me food I suppose. That same rotten food I get every day. I was wrong. It was actually time to check-in. I heard the jail door open making that annoying sound like the nails being scratched on a blackboard. They untied my chains. My wrists finally free. The ankles are finally alive. I walked over towards the end of the long silent alley. Millions of children trapped in millions of cages. Just like me. Each cell has the same high window. I was taken into another room. Where I saw him. The kidnapper.
“Check her for weapons” He ordered.
“check her for any other objects.”
Finally. I could go back to my cell. To that same high window that gave me a ray of hope. A second chance to escape.
Going back, I saw that same dark, empty, cold room. It stood silently at the end of the corridor. The same lifeless shadowed figures curled up in the corners of their cells, whispering their demented secrets. I knew it was time. The perfect time. The time to escape. If I wanted to spare my thumb, it was a perfect time since I wasn’t chained up. I leapt out of the guards’ hands. Sprinting towards my cell. To the window in my cell. I knew exactly what to do because I had planned it before. I just didn’t know that plan would come in handy this quickly. “Oi! Come back” The pale guard yelled. I made so much chaos that every little child looked up from their cell floor. Motivated to do the same. I used that shelf in the corner to climb up. It was filthy covered in rust. But enough for me to get to the window. I was just the right size to fit through the window. I took the leap. Leap of faith. I landed safely. I realized I really was in the middle of nowhere. The only thing I saw was an old railway track and a tiny train station in the distance. I knew exactly what to do. I ran. I ran wild. I was finally free.
That day was the day I realised escape is led by the first glimmer of light in a world that has been in shadows for longer than memory and to have the courage it takes to reach for that unfamiliar promise of better days.
If I could have been a grown-up woman sooner instead of being stuck as a girl, I would have not felt the need for escape, for that is a sense of being in a cage. There was no cage. Perhaps, in this imaginary more mature version of myself, I'd have kept us together. Not from greater care. You had far more of that than a grown man should be entitled to. No. I should have taken better care of myself. I should have had better boundaries on what I could give and what I could not give. Most likely though, we'd simply have ended sooner. I guess, in hindsight, that would have been better. We both would have found our freedom to grow, to become the versions of ourselves our inner passions were pulling for.