You can find Part 1 here.
The Home Part 2
After lunch was a dull time. They passed out tiny cups with pills. Designed to keep us quiet I thought. When I first arrived, I threw the pills at the four-armed jailers, but that just made them hold me down and force the pills into my mouth. Eventually I gave up resisting as a waste of time. I wasn’t even annoying them, and I hated being forced.
The screen blasted more depressing images. I’d like to read a book, in a quiet place, a view out of the window of a broad, green lawn, a pond or stream in the distance. Not going to happen. I’ve never even seen windows in this hell hole.
I thought about Ralph’s question at lunch. How did I get here? Is everything I remember a lie? No. Wait. I remembered the pudding from lunch. I could taste the rich chocolate. My husband died years ago. My son graduated from high school as valedictorian, from college as Magna cum Laude. He was a famous engineer, had a beautiful wife. Wait! I have tow grandsons, lovely boys, smart as whips. They were real, right? There were pictures in my cell of my boy and his family. Even of my husband and me at the beach. Right?
I began to panic. There were pictures, weren’t there? I wanted to get up and go check but the monsters didn’t like us to get out of our chairs. I looked around. The afternoon jailer was at a desk, pretending to do something. I really wanted to check for those pictures. Glancing at the monster, I got up.
Enda gasped, “Laura!”
“Shh!” I took one step. Then another. Ralph and Mike stared, open-mouthed. I went slowly down the row of captives. Each of them reacted to my escape with raised eyebrows, gasps, and even holding out their hands as though asking for help to go with me. I ignored them all and kept moving. As I cleared the end of the row, the last woman made a sound.
“Shhh,” I hissed at her.
She stared, wide-eyed as I checked the goon at the desk. It looked to me like it was asleep but who knew. As quietly as I could, I continued on to the door and slipped outside.
The hallway led to several so-called treatment rooms. Then a cross-corridor to the right which led to the rooms. That’s where I stopped and checked to the right. That direction was where the doctor’s offices were. I knew that because they took me down there once a week to talk to the doctors. If you could call it talking. Most of them spoke gibberish. They tried to speak English, but they weren’t any smarter than the gray-green horrors who tortured us every day.
It was against the rules to go down that hall without an escort. That’s because that was also the way out. I eyed the end of the hall. The security door was closed but through the window I could see the guard on-duty. It was talking to another one of the aliens. Good. It was busy and not looking in this direction. As fast as I could, I hurried to my room. It was down this hall, left into another corridor, and eight doors down on the left.
In some demented show of care, they made us create a picture that had our name on it to hang on the door. I smirked when I reached my door and saw it. I’d drawn myself, right middle finger up and a scowl on my face. Maybe the jailers knew what it meant, maybe not. I didn’t care.
Room. Hah. More like a cell. The single bed was hard and the blanket, thin. I hurried to my dresser. On top were my pictures. I picked up the one of me and my husband—yes, us at the beach, and gave a sigh of relief. I’d remembered correctly. Placing it back where it belonged, I looked at the other pictures of my son, his family. They were real. I wasn’t crazy.
The cell door opened. One of the guards stood there making disapproving noises. It grabbed me and strong-armed me back to the day room. After popping me into my chair, it went over to the room guard. Even though it was their language, I could tell it was getting chewed out.
“Oh, Laurie! That monster is going to have it out for you now.” Edna patted my arm. “What did you do?”
“It was worth it. I went to see the pictures on my dresser.”
Edna looked at me, her eyes wide. “What for?”
“To make sure I remembered them correctly.” I grinned. “I did. The monsters haven’t broken me yet.”
Edna shook her head. “What made you think that?”
“Ralph’s comments at lunch. You know. How did we get here? I was starting to think I was imagining my life before this hell hole.”
Edna patted my arm again. “I know. Some days I wonder if this had been my whole life.” She sighed. “Those are the bad days.”
I clasped her hand. “Tell me when you get those days. We’ll tell each other our stories.”
A tear glistened in her eye. “Thank you, Laurie. You’re a good friend.”
Two boring hours passed, the damn screen blaring inanities, when a guard appeared in front of me. “Doctor Jenkins wants to see you,” it said, nearly clearly.
“Fine.” I got out of the chair.
“Good luck,” Edna called out as I walked away.
The Home, Part 3 will appear next week.