by LMG Swain
Escape was pretty much impossible.
She marveled, though, at the room’s construction, at the simplicity and the genius of the room — 10 by 10 by 10. Unlike an oubliette from a Poe tale, her forgotten prison was comfortable, more like a comfortable economy hotel room, complete even with a gaudy large sand, sea, and sunset painting hanging over the king size bed.
The only thing lacking, what reminded her most that this wasn’t a hotel room was that the only door was in the ceiling, ten feet above her head.
Even standing on the lone chair the room provided was of no use — at five-foot-two, the best Lila could do was increase her height to six-and-one-half feet, and her reach could not exceed her grasp, thus putting the door utterly distant and daunting.
So, she just sat on the chair and stared at the door so far away from her. Her gut and her fear told her it was just about that — that time when Frank and Harriet — one of them — would open the door in the ceiling, then one of them would slide the ladder down, and then both of them would descend into the room below their home — the room Frank had insisted upon when they built the house 15 years earlier, insisting the room would be a storm shelter. After all, Oklahoma does experience more than its share of tornados and extreme weather.
And that’s what Frank and Harriet had told Lila when the couple introduced it to her. She did think it odd the room looked more like a cheap hotel room than a storm shelter, but, then again, who was she to question the excentricities of a middle aged couple who were providing her with a place to stay, food, and some spending money in exchange for some light house cleaning and sex — with both them; not at the same time: That would be vulgar, Harriet had explained. Yes, Frank agreed, adding that neither he nor Harriet expected any emotional attachment — just sex. After all, Harriet concluded just before the couple shut the oubliette’s door for the very first time — entrapping her for the very first time — unicorns aren’t expected to be affectionate, just physical.
Lila had played the sycophant, but this only angered Frank, and Harriet had screamed at her that they didn’t need a groupie.
So, she sat in the chair, waiting for the door to open, the ladder to be lowered, and for Harriet — she always descended first — and then Frank to enter the sunken room. She wondered what they thought of her now, of her body — three months — or was it longer — after she had first been entombed. Her torso looked more like a muffin top now — not the straight-into-jeans waist with which she had first greeted Frank and Harriet. If anything, they fed her well.
This time, though, she promised herself she wouldn’t cry, she wouldn’t shed any tears for what they would do with and to her. For unicorn tears — she had once read — were the saddest tears in the world, and Lila was tired of being sad.
When the door in the ceiling creaked open, though, the tears began.
Originally written 01 Jun3 2015
12:25 PM–12: 50 PM