Hunger

The first day wasn’t overly exciting.

I mean, I volunteered to be here so I guess that excitement to try something new was still alive in me. Plus the rewards they promised could make any person happy. The conditions were simple yet exact.

“Help Wanted: Need someone to enter into an isolated chamber for two months. Will receive $1,000,000.00 if completed and all instructions followed.”

Who in their right mind would turn down just sitting around for a cool million? Not me, that’s for damn sure.

I arrived and it was really everything you’d expect. Everything was very clean and almost everything was white. I had a small kitchen, a living room, a nearly impossibly small bathroom, and a bed. The bathroom especially felt nearly too small, yet I was able to use it effectively. Two months in this place? Easy.

That’s what I thought, at least. After about three days I started getting really bored. There was no cell phones allowed so I only had myself, the small rooms, and my imagination to work with. Things got very monotonous quickly. I had lost track of how much time I had actually been in here, so maybe my three days guess was off? I’m not entirely sure.

Eventually I heard a voice over a loud speaker.

“You’ve all had time to get familiar with your living space. We will be opening the pods to introduce you to your partners in three hours. After that, you’ll be introduced to another couple of people in seven days. Await further instructions.”

Unreal. I actually get to interact with someone. That’s going to make this go so easy. And yet… what if the person doesn’t get along with me? I started freaking out a bit in my living room for awhile. I started to get anxious and knew that I’d have to be ready to defend myself in case this other person tried to dominate me.

I started by hiding a butter knife under the carpet they provided. Mentally, I walked through what might happen if I struggled with the other person. Where I might go. How I’d use each thing to my advantage. The only hope I’d hold on to is that I didn’t get a huge guy that could simply overpower me. The anxiety of this upcoming merging coupled with the fact that I had no concept of time made me go even crazier with fear. Yet I felt happy for the first time since I came here. I finally was not bored, and even though I was in fear it was a refreshing feeling.

Then the wall in my living room started to rise.

After all that waiting, the moment was finally arriving. I prepared myself to act quickly, hoping to get the first strike. It would be critical to injure my opponent before they even had a chance to consider my weaknesses. My eyes narrowed.

When the wall finished opening, I heard a soft yet assertive voice fill my room.

“I-is anyone in here?”

I felt my fears wash away. They had given me a wonderfully curious woman who looked to be no older than 25. Her hair was a mocha colored brown that took a pixie cut shape. Her eye brow seemed permanently cocked in a curious position and her arms were already crossed. She swayed back and fourth, no doubt also anxious for our meeting. Without a moment’s hesitation, I emerged from behind my couch to greet her.

“Hey there. Sorry, I was worried for a minute,” I said still a bit cautious. “I guess we’re going to get to know each other for the next week.”

She gave me a coy smirk, one that held more devious intention than goodwill. I could almost feel her judging me as she walked passed me and inspected my living area. I walked behind her and she turned to me.

With her arms still tightly crossed over her chest, she barked, “So I’m bored out of my mind. Where is your actual cube?”

I gave her a pleading look. I mean she had to know that there was no other parts of my cube. At least I thought that was the case until I glanced over into her area. It was the very definition of luxury. She had a two story cube filled with a television, fireplace, a large shelf of books, and a kitchen stocked with amazing ingredients. It was actually infuriating, but now I had access to it.

My gaze intensified as I turned to her and asked, “Is this seriously where you’ve been? How can you say you’re bored?”

One insulted look later, she informed, “Excuse me, but I don’t read or watch television. I’m usually too busy for either of those things and I won’t start now. Tell me your real cube has a work out facility or something.”

I rubbed my eyes as I tried to comprehend what exactly I was dealing with. There’s no way someone could be this pretentious.

“This is my entire cube. I’ve nearly gone insane but now that I have access to all of this stuff, I’ll be fine.” After calmly telling her this, I walked over to her side and reached for the remote.

“Don’t you dare!” She screeched, “This is my cube and I will decide what happens here.”

“What are you going to do, stop me?”

As I went to hit the power button, she leaped on me and tackled me to the ground. I could hardly believe this was actually happening, and forced her off of me. She came back and clawed at me wildly. Despite her claims of working out, I was easily able to subdue her and quickly thought of a plan. Forcing her backwards, I knocked her balance of and quickly rushed her back into my cube. I shoved her quickly into my bathroom and slammed the door shut. Then I grabbed my couch and moved it in front, wedging it between the door and the wall.

She began violently banging on the door, bellowing that I was not allowed to go to her side of the room. I knew I couldn’t keep her in there forever, but I needed a moment to think. I yelled, “When did you last eat?” There was no coherent response, just a continued pounding and soon sobbing.

What kind of monster am I? Was I truly capable of doing such a horrible thing to someone? I knew that I had gone a bit insane but that was only three days and now I just meet someone new, enter their space, and lock them in a bathroom? I don’t like that this experiment is doing to me. I think I am going to opt out if things keep going down this road.

I decided to not use the television. It was a the least I could do since I just assaulted and imprisoned this girl. I even stayed on my side of the cube. Part of me would be lying if I said there was a fear that she’d somehow get out and kill me while I was distracted.

“Did you watch the TV?” a meek voice asked from the bathroom.

“No. I felt awful enough about my reaction, so I am still on my side. I’m wondering if it’s worth it at this point.”

A sigh of calmed relief was audibly heard and she said, “Listen. It’s my fault for assaulting you. I don’t blame you at all. Just know that we’re going to have to trust each other if we’re going to make it out of here alive.”

She spoke with such an assured tone, as if she’d figured something out and knew that I was her only way to get out of this thing alive. Something inside of me was starting to entertain the idea that the opposite was true too. I knew that I was incapable of murder, so I decided to move the couch. The door slowly opened and she emerged half clothed from the bathroom.

I moved the couch back and watched her slowly walk back to her side. She immediately went into her bathroom. Why wouldn’t she just use it while she was in there? Seems a bit counter intuitive but at the same time maybe this was a signal. She was terrified I would use anything of hers. She didn’t use anything of mine, even when she needed to.

The conclusion I drew horrified me.

Whoever set this up must of implemented rules to test our intelligence. She must have agreed not to tell me audibly about this. I guess if I use any of her stuff or she uses any of mine, we’re going to be punished. I don’t know how or why, but I felt I had to trust her.

She came out and sat on her carpeting close to where my cube began. I sat on the couch that held her hostage for a bit.

“So,” I finally managed to say, “I think I’ll respect your side of the room as long as you respect mine.”

She chuckled calmly. The look of calm understanding washed over her face and I knew that I had figured this out. I felt very triumphant. Take that, test givers. We figured this out and only have to hold one of us hostage for like thirty minutes to do it.

The days went by and we talked the time away. At first the television and books called to me, but eventually I was absorbed in this girl. Turns out her name was Daisy. I teased her relentlessly for having such a cliche name. She told me that she wanted to send her sisters to college with the money and would only keep a small fraction for herself. Good, now I can confirm I’m an awful person for locking her in a bathroom.

We made our meals separately. I honestly wanted to have some of the delicious things she was cooking. We at first slept in our own beds and woke up when the other did. Eventually we would pass out on the floor next to each other.

Finally we came to what we expected the seventh day would be. I told her of my initial fears with her and she agreed to prepare various traps on her side. It was much easier to work with the space she had compared to my tiny dorm. At this point my desire to eat something real was becoming stronger. I casually wondered when my fear of punishment would overtake my fear of death.

Without warning this time, another wall in my area began to raise. This time I was less anxious but still wondered about who would be on the other side.

The wall fully elevated and no one came through. The entire area on the other side looked eerily similar to my own, but it was completely devoid of life. Save for the furniture that was slightly moved and the food that was completely gone.

“I think it’s best if we… respect that space too.” I said, eyes dancing over the new area.

Over the next few days it began to unnerve me more and more. The fact that there was no one for us to talk to truthfully drove me mad. I was already at wits end with the fact that the food I so desperately wanted was being eaten in front of me.

My sanity was slowly deteriorating and Daisy knew it. She started sleeping in her bed again, avoiding me when we weren’t awake. That’s when I knew I had to see what was in the room.

I slowly waited for Daisy to pass into a deep sleep, then entered into the room.

It was torn apart when I got to actually look around. I noticed that there was flipped tables, ripped blankets, and smashed lights. I was cautious when I stepped because I knew there would be shards of glass. As I continued on, I noticed that the kitchen was barren.

Having seen enough, I turned back. That’s when the wall began to close. I noticed that not only the wall between the new room and our room was closing, but the wall between Daisy’s room and mine was closing too. I knew what I had to do. Without pausing for even a moment, I rushed back into my room and rolled under the wall that closed. Now I was alone with Daisy in her room, which I had figured out I would be punished for using.

Daisy tried to look angry, but I could see it in her eyes that she was terrified. Maybe it wasn’t me that would be punished, but her. I couldn’t help but take the risk, and I grabbed an apple sitting on her counter. How I wanted to eat that apple for so long. She jumped up and started to rush me. Not before I could take a bite however.

As soon as my teeth bit into the apple, the lights turned off. As I suspected, they were watching this whole time. Daisy tackled me and threw the apple away from my clutches. Not a smart move considering how hungry I was. I just knew that I needed to keep eating in order to regain composure.

So I did what I had to do. I had to incapacitate Daisy. I shoved her backwards into one of the traps we made under her stairs and she got snared in our blanket knife trap. Small cuts began to lacerate her as I started to kick the blankets. She screamed but my hunger was the only voice I could hear at this point.

She eventually passed out and I ravaged her kitchen. I did notice at some point that the lights turned on and the wall rose. I turned to find out that Daisy had escaped and was holding the remote for the television. Her eyes narrowed on me and she pressed a red button. The various things in each room were sucked back into the walls and the only things that remained were the carpets.

“I’ve removed all the weapons from you grasp, as our toxin is likely making you very aggressive at this point. Luckily I feigned losing conscience or you may have killed me to eat.”

I knew something was wrong. They were giving me some sort of aggression stimulant. Whether I wanted to or not, I felt the intense need to kill her right now.

“You’re unarmed. I have no fears that you’ll be able to escape. We’re going to keep you here until you’re tamed. Good bye.”

With that, she made a fatal mistake. She turned her back and began to walk out a small opening in the wall, I quickly rushed over, grabbed the knife I had hidden underneath the rug the day she met me, and rushed at her. If I had simply charged her, I would have had to use my hands to hold open the door, but since I had this knife I was able to keep a sliver of the door open.

Using all of my strength, I forced the door to reopen and Daisy for the first time screamed in true terror. Not pretending as I assume she did before.

I dug deep into her stomach with the knife and began to devour her. My hunger was too great and it felt like nothing would be able to fill the void in my stomach. I was slowly losing my sensibilities. As I tore through what was left of Daisy, I realized that this may be the first time since I arrived that something didn’t go according to plan.

As I finished and threw her bones to the side, I made my way outside. Night bathed me in a cloaked fury as I rushed into the woods. All I knew now was hunger. That’s the only instinct that mattered.

That’s the only thing I fear I’ll ever feel soon.

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