Head full of fog I try to open my eyes, but it’s harder than it should be. Slowly and with full effort I finally succeed. My vision is as cloudy as my thoughts, but I am acutely aware that I am not at home.
As my eyes come into focus panic riddles my body so swiftly that I grow dizzy.
I was right, this is not my home.
In front of me is a door, but hope fades before it has a chance to flare. No knob, no handle. Not even hinges to try to unscrew. Above, below and side to side, nothing but concrete.
I’m in a concrete box.
I try to stand up. My legs are tingly and weak.
What the hell?
I gingerly shake them before attempting to rise again. Wobbly, but successful I stand and get my bearings.
Turning to face the back of the room I see a security camera in the corner, red light glowing. I stare at it wondering who is on the other side. I want to ask as much, but for the first time I realize how dry my throat is.
I swallow hard as my eyes drift over to the back wall. The fear induced gasp causes spittle to catch in my throat. A coughing fit doubles me over, hands on knees until it finally dislodges from my throat and splats onto the concrete floor.
I take a deep breath to gather my courage before looking up at the wall again.
You know what you did. Repent or die.
The words are painted across the wall. Fresh enough for beads of dark crimson to run from each letter toward the floor. My sense of smell kicks in and I choke on the metallic, coppery scent in the air.
It’s written in blood.
My brain pounds against my skull, palms grow sweaty as my body temperature skyrockets.
Backing away from the wall, the creak of the door opening stops me in my tracks. Panic sends my heart racing and I breathe so quickly I think I’m going to faint.
“Don’t turn around.”
The voice is disguised, robotic, but it is terror inducing nonetheless. I do as I’m told—solely because I am paralyzed with fear.
“You have forty-eight hours to figure out which of your sins has sent you here to your reckoning. If you succeed and repent you will be set free. If not…you will die.”
My brain goes into overdrive searching for the right words, for sins I’ve committed, a primer on how to speak, but then he is behind me and all thoughts fade away. Except one.
I don’t want to die.
Tears flow freely as I hold my breath in anticipation. That’s when I feel the pin prick of a needle sink into my neck.
An unbearable screeching pushes on my brain. My eyes shoot open and I sit up--heart racing. I look around to discover that I'm in my room. Relief sweeps over me knowing that my nightmare was just that. A nightmare.
Reaching over I hit snooze before closing my eyes and laying back down. I must have drifted off again because the alarm wakes me. I stretch my arms wide and let out a little morning roar before shutting if off and taking a moment to savor the quiet.
I open my eyes ready to start the day, but instead prickly bumps rapidly spread all over my body and my breathing grows shallow. In my periphery I can see the exaggerated rise and fall of my chest. I lay frozen staring at the red letters that stain my ceiling:
See you in 48 hours.