Lindsey woke abruptly, sat up fast with a rigid back and tried peering through the darkness. She hugged her drawn up knees, straining to hear something besides the constant drip-drip of the water pipe in the far side of the dank basement. She felt a nearly weightless spider cross one set of knuckles, then the other. No footsteps crunched the gravel outside, no stairs creaked, no anguished hinges betrayed a slowly opened door. Spelov, her captor, might be away.
Viscous mud had oozed from the wall-floor joints in her sleep period, slick on her bare skin. Day? Night? Pointless to wonder. She leaned forward to place her lands on a dry patch of concrete and heaved up, careful as she stood straight to not let her feet slip. She stooped to dredge up mud and proceeded to smear it liberally across her breasts, down her boney ribcage and past her narrow hips.
Raising her hands and bowing her head she chanted, “P-R-O-B-A-B-L-Y, PROBABLY.” The feeling of the mud transforming into golden armor gave her the confidence she would sorely need.
Spelov clapped his hands and laughed from only a few feet away, his grating voice reverberating. How had she not sensed him so near? She stood firm, not frozen from fright but because of will.
She heard him shuffle closer, feeling his breath as he growled, “Girl, I will break you yet!”
The lights came on brilliantly, blindingly. She blinked and saw him leering from the corner of her eye. In dismay, she realized the gleaming armor she’d created covered only her front. A cookie in one hand, he now reached to place his other hand on her unprotected rear.
She instantly shifted to face him, splayed fingers extended stiffly to ward him off, chanting, “N-E-C-E-S-S-A-R-I-L-Y, NECESSARILY.”
Bells suddenly pealed at a deafening, head-pounding volume. She fell to her knees and looked through slitted eyes at her enemy. Spelov faded away, laughing manically until he vanished into sparkling cookie crumbs. She had won this round, yet remained his captive. Would the cacophony never end?
Lindsey grabbed the phone off her pillow and touched ‘snooze’. What a weird dream! Trying to recall it brought up memories of last year’s 7th grade effort. C-O-O-K-I-E, COOKIE. WRONGwrong WRONGwrongWrong! Sirens and howling wolves! CookY! Why? Because we wanted to humiliate you! Injustice and chicanery! Judged using an archaic spelling book! A-R-C-H-A-I-C, C-H-I-C-A-N-E-R-Y. Not this year. She zipped her jeans decisively. Not this year.