Straining my muscles I crawled towards a stale piece of bread thrown in through rusty bars. My throat was sore and I prayed for some water. I knew I am not getting any till evening. I clasped the bread with one of my hand and used the other one to push myself forward grabbing the rocky ground and dragging my tired body into the darkest corner of the cave. It wasn’t so easy minding the broken parts of me. Each movement was a result of sheer will. I bit my lip when my chest brushed against a sharp rock. I promised myself that they won’t get a sound out of me. They can break my fingers, pull out my nails, drown me and beat me up, but while I am me, they are not getting even one word out of my mouth.
Finally, I reached the darkest side of the cave and breathing heavily slumped into my lair. It was sloping and almost straight part of the huge rock. This is where I spent my dark hours meditating, drowning my helplessness in the land of thoughts and memories, strengthening my will. I just leaned on the wall, when a sound of steps and weapons clanging echoed in the far corridor. A group of at least ten minotaurs was coming towards me. I shrank near the wall remembering yesterday’s tortures. Are they going to take me there again? If they leave only such short moments for me to rest I will be leaving this world sooner rather than later. I thought they had an intent of keeping me alive as long as possible. Seems that’s not true. I sighed and collected remnants of my will. With my eyes closed, I tried to remember my friends, our mission leading up to here, I remembered all we experienced together. Finally, I remembered Moriana. I smiled with my swollen lips. She hated when I called her that. I imagined her voice saying
‘Mori. I won’t talk to you for a week if you call me something else.’
I remembered our last moments together:
‘RUN!!’ I shouted ‘I’ll catch up to you’
That moment I saw in their eyes that they knew I won’t be coming back alive. My friends Roni and Pari were looking into my eyes for a few heartbeats, then they nodded, took each other by the hand and ran into the shadows of the forest. Mori wasn’t looking at me. She was facing the other way and not moving.
I whispered taken by emotions. She angrily clacked her tongue. After a few moments, she squeezed her fists, turned, ran towards me and kissed me. She was pressing to me with her whole body and angrily but passionately kissed my lips. Then she turned around again.
‘If you won’t come back, I’ll find and kill you myself.’
Then she ran after the other two.
A minotaur hit the bars of my cell with an axe. I opened my eyes and strained my tired muscles.
‘Wakey wakey little lovebird. We brought a little friend for you.’
He grinned showing his rotten teeth and nodded towards another minotaur. He was dragging a dark bundle. I got a terrible feeling. They unlocked a cave next to mine and threw the bundle inside. A huge minotaur kicked it on the side and the bundle moaned painfully. My heart was thumping like crazy. It wasn’t that lively for a long time. It was expecting the worst, even though I was whispering it’d be impossible. I was watching the thing on the ground being beaten up and could do nothing. After one of the harder kicks, the bundle slid on its side and faced me. The face was swollen. One of the eyes couldn’t be opened by any means. Lips were beaten up and leaked dark blood. All face was a mess- a mix of bruises, bumps and wounds. The only eye in that weirdly shaped face was running around in my cave as if searching for something. Finally, it stopped on my face, blinked and calmed down. The face was so different, but still so familiar. It was Mori. At least what was left of her.
My thoughts were interrupted by something loud. I heard someone’s shriek and someone’s loud laughter. Another sensation was my dry throat. It hurt as if it was being stabbed with knives. It took me some time to understand I was the one screaming and a huge furry thing was mischievously laughing beside me. I shut my mouth but some kind of squeak was still coming from me.
‘Oh, I see you found your voice’ somebody growled next to me. ‘That’s the confirmation we needed. Nurgur, leave her alive. Let’s go back to our master. Let the lovebirds welcome each other.’
He kicked my chest a few times and left the cave locking it. I finally fell silent and waited until there was only silence around me. Then I got up and pushed myself onto the bars of my cell. They were breaking my few good ribs, but I didn’t care. I was reaching for a small, ghostly white palm. It didn’t move a bit. Finally, my fingers touched an icy hand. I squeezed it in my hand and pulled her closer.
‘Ori’ she moaned.
I cried. No matter how selfish that was, the only thing I felt at that moment was relief. I wasn’t alone anymore.
In Hell, I had a neighbor.