Although, Nadia hadn’t heard the phantom speak for hours, and no longer sensed a threat present, she felt defenseless in her new environment. She walked around the room searching for anything of hers she recognized. No bags or trinkets, nor pictures nearby. Except for the blood spatter, the cement walls were bare. A white radiator sat beneath the window, cold to the touch. The small bed contained only a flat pillow, and a white thin fitted sheet with blue stripes and a wool blanket, with the initials embroidered on them.
A.A.? Who is A.A.?
She walked around the room covering every square foot, and noticed a small cabinet adjacent to the steel door. Once opening the cabinet, she thumbed through the folded linens and empty hangers. A small stuffed bear sat on the top shelf. One eye was missing, and its fur matted. She picked it up, closed her eyes and brought it to her nose, inhaling its scent. The bear smelled musty, but a faint smell of vanilla lingered deep within the stuffing. Her shoulders dropped as she tilted her head. Looking into the eye of the bear, she saw a piece of herself. A brief, yet powerful, sense of comfort flowed throughout her body.
She chose the lightest corner of the room to sit, since the darkness was unpredictable. She held the bear to her cheek, rubbing its arm over the tip of her nose, her tears soaking its paw. She placed her chin against her knees, rocking back and forth. To keep her mouth from quivering, she bit her lip, and hummed the bear a lullaby, the same lullaby her mother once sang.
The tune of the song brought bits of her past forth. The fuzzy faces made it hard for her to make out the details, but she knew who they were. She saw her mother’s long dark hair waving in the breeze while hanging sheets on the clothes line; her father cutting the hay; and the sound of her sister laughing, while sitting on a blanket playing with their dog. In the far off distance, the forbidden area behind the barn, the hired help butchered the swine.
But what happened to them? she thought, biting on her hair.
Her mouth tugged her hair causing the gouged pieces of her scalp to sting, reminding her of the lurking evil.
A faint clacking sound came from outside Nadia’s door. Her ears alert, eyes wide open, jaw locked, and chest tightened.
What now? Her eyebrows squeezed together, gritting her teeth.
The sound of footsteps slowed in pace as the clacking of shoes loudened. A shadow appeared underneath her door.
Is it help? Will they hurt me?
Or could it be…
‘’Momma!’’ she said, racing to the door.
Before she reached the door, keys began to chink. An atrocious hum came from the shadow. Nausea swept throughout her body, washing away all hope. The shadow swayed side to side, its breaths shallow and raspy.
Nadia ran to the bed, curling up into a ball, concealing herself under the sheets. Her muscles convulsed in rhythm to the pounding of her heart, her fingers white from her grip on the linen.
Please don’t come in. Don’t come in. Don’t hurt me.
The door opened. It entered the room. Nadia saw the shadow approaching her through the thin sheet. Her toes curled and cracked, hands trembling.
No. No! No. No…
Pale fingers crept over the edge of the sheet, pulling it down, and exposed the frozen features of her face.
There stood a plump woman, her appearance resembling a Raven. Bits of stringy, grey wisps streaked her ebony hair. The Raven’s almond shaped eyes reflected the emptiness within, mannerisms dry and absolute. Her bent nose stood out farther than her cleft chin, lips were thin and pallid, and two black hairs freely hung from her jaw. The course black dress she wore rustled as she walked. No skin showed except her hands and anything above her neck. A wide long scar ran from one side of her neck to the other, as if she didn’t like the head she had, but then changed her mind to keep it. The name tag read Minchin.
Why do I feel that I’ve see her before?
Without saying a word, Ms. Minchin approached her, kneeling beside the bed, snatching Nadia’s hand, pinching her fingers, knuckles crunching. Minchin reached into her pocket, and pulled out a large syringe filled with green solution. At the sight of the large needle, Nadia shot out of her fetal position and onto her feet, wriggling her hands to free herself from the Raven’s grip. Minchin laid the needle down and grabbed Nadia by the hair, jerking her down to the bed. Holding Nadia down with her own knee on Nadia’s chest, she jabbed the needle into the bend of her arm. Inoculated with a thousand bees, the solution stung its way up her arm, and into the nape of her neck. The walls whirled, the room topsy-turvy. Her head danced from side to side. Purple circles swam across the walls. Ms. Minchin turned into a Raven, and flew away.
Nadia raised her brows to keep her eyelids open, but they were too heavy. Unable to see any longer, she laid down to sleep.