The moment of madness

They say lack of sleep is the oldest form of torture. She hadn’t slept in almost seven days, finding it impossible to drift into slumber whilst in such constant pain and fear.

She was tied to a wooden chair. Gardening twine bound her wrists and ankles and looped down her back. Every movement of her hands gave a painful tug on her ankles. She had struggled, merely earning wounds at both sites, weeping and chafed by the rope and chair. She had tried everything, pulling, wriggling, rocking and stamping and tearing. She had even tried to throw the chair on the ground to shatter a joint, or anything, just to gain some kind of purchase.

He came every day at the same time to feed her. He gave her a delicious shake, followed by a glass of water served in matching paper takeaway cups, silently. There was no distinguishing feature about him, a shapeless man in indeterminate clothing. She could see his eyes though. If she were sleeping, they would surely feature in her nightmares. Not because they shone with true evil, because they burned with piercing intensity or even because they betrayed his turbulent emotion of hate or love or fear. She would remember those eyes until the day she died, however soon that might be, because they were so lifeless, entirely devoid of any discernible emotion, so uninvolved.

She had tried screaming at him, had spat in his face, even made a clumsy attempt to headbutt him once, but had never managed to elicit any kind of response. Even the spit, which she had worked up over some time into a sticky, globular slime, drew no reaction, he merely continued with his chore as it dripped from nose to chin, and from chin to chest and floor. A shattering anticlimax.

And then he was there again. Same two cups, same nondescript stranger. Except today was different, today he spoke. But his words gave no comfort, revealed no plans to end this nightmare, for better or for worse, just quiet words explaining exactly how long he could keep her here like this, alive but unable to live, dying but unable to die.

And in that moment, the exact moment when she lost her mind, his eyes finally focussed. Everything became so perfectly, manifestly clear. In slow motion, pictures tumbled through her disintegrating mind, scenes frozen in time while her mind spun round, seeing everything, yet seeing nothing.

In that one moment, she knew, really knew everything she had always wondered about. She saw how everything worked, how it all fit together, saw her own place in the great big out there. Watched the people whose lives she had touched in some way, some big moments, but mostly small things. Small things that had inspired others to go on to do big things; small things that had made someone happy; small words that still stung hearts.

Those who would miss her now she was gone.

The moment of madness


Joined January 2008

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