Even the worst situations can become mundane if you are in them long enough. The next morning, and the next morning, and the next morning, I washed my face and waited for my menstrual cycle to start. Each day I ate and drank the food that the women brought to me.
After breakfast a couple of the women with a male guard escorted me outside for some exercise. This was the only time of the day I enjoyed. We would walk around the compound at a fast walk. My white dress was a badge of my descent. The witches in the compound refused to look at me. I was a reminder that if they made a mistake, any mistake, that they would lose their status and would be in my position.
No birds or animals were allowed in the compound, but I could hear the birds outside, whistling and singing their lives away. I wanted to go outside and sit under the trees so I could watch their little lives. It would be relaxing and for a moment I could forget my predicament. Of course, I was not allowed outside the gates. I was one of the prisoners.
The night that I cried myself to sleep, my mind had feverishly gone over my options. I could break the lock with my little magic, but even if I was able to get through the compound, which was guarded, both day and night, and even if I could get through the woods, then where would I go? I had no friends in the outside world. I thought all of my friends were here and that my friends would protect me.
It was a hard lesson to learn that my friends were really acquaintances. These friends would not endanger their positions to help me. Plus my supposed closest friend was now possessed by a demon. To be perfectly fair, the man had never been my friend. It was another deception.
I could feel the gravel against my thongs. There was another reason why I couldn't escape easily. My feet would be a mess after walking through the compound and woods in these flimsy footwear. Even now I could bruise my feet in these things just walking in the compound.
I didn't mention these things to the women who escorted me. I kept my eyes on the path around the buildings and refused to talk to them. They were too cherry and too helpful. I was pretty sure that they reported every word, every action to that creature who had taken my father.
After my walk I would sit in my cell on my bed, they had taken out anything that would be considered extra, and would open the religious book sitting on the end table. It was the only thing I was allowed to read. Plus when I didn't open the book, one of the women, these women didn't give their names, informed me that if I didn't study that they could use my help in the kitchen.
For now I wanted to do some heavy thinking. I might get bored enough later to want to work in the kitchen so I could listen to the gossip. It would be a relief from this white room.
I would sit the book on my lap and turn the pages slowly for the camera. Under the book I would try again and again to light a spark. Sometimes I could feel some warmth in my fingers. Other times I felt nothing. I didn't know if practicing would help me. It was something I had to do.
The monitor crackled open again. I saw Mark's face as it filled the screen. I tried not to shudder. Mark smiled, but his teeth seemed sharper and thicker. I didn't smile back. Because he was using the monitor, I couldn't check his aura. I could tell that it was now a full possession.
I tried not to shudder at his smile. The monitor went black. I couldn't get the thought out of my head that he had turned on that monitor to watch me in my sleep. If I thought him watching in my sleep, my throat vulnerable, I would go stark crazy. I had to make those thoughts go away. They were not productive to my survival. Still my body shuddered and I held the tears back.
If he saw the tears he would win. I couldn't let him win.
After lunch I would feel tired from my practicing. I also suspected that the kitchen put something in my food or my tea. I would yawn and lie down. In moments I would be asleep and then the nightmares would start.
The first time I had the nightmare was the first day after my impregnation. In this nightmare I felt like I was floating to the ceiling. I could see the spackled ceiling in sharp detail. When I looked down, I saw my body sleeping naturally. I was on my right side, my pillow bunched up under my head. I had fallen asleep on top of the covers, but someone, I expect one of my women attendants, put a light blanket over my body.
I saw a silver trail from my body's navel to my navel. I was transparent. This time I didn't look around me because I panicked. I flailed and screamed until THUNK, I was back in my body. My eyes opened and I found that I was covered in a light blanket, exactly like the one I had seen in my dream.
Each time I fell asleep in the afternoon after that tea I would drift from my body. As it became more normal, I started to enjoy drifting asleep and then drifting away. It was like a mini-vacation from my worries until she talked to me.
I had not noticed that there were shadows in the room. They were black and stayed in the corners. It might have been that reason that I didn't notice them. I was not one to look into shadows. They looked perfectly natural to me until one spoke.
It had a gravelly voice; I knew it wasn't speaking because there wasn't a mouth. But I could hear a gravelly voice in my head as it spoke. It talked of quiet times, of babies, and then of death. It was always about different ways to die. I wondered if the voice was talking to me or if it was just mumbling to itself.
The first time I heard that voice I scurried back to my body on that silver string.
As the days and then weeks start to drift away, even the voice became routine.
Then I confronted it. I made sure that the black shadow couldn't reach my silver life line. I had a pretty good idea that if it touched that line that it would darken and possibly kill me.
"What are you talking about?" I asked it from the center of the room, near the ceiling.
The shadow peeked out of the corner. I could tell it was a woman in a white dress that had grayed. After that one peek, the ghost, it had to be a ghost, pulled back the shadows.
"You are going to die," it said.
"We all die," I answered. "It is the way of things." I could feel the impatience color my words.
"No," said the ghost. "You will die as soon as you have that baby."
I didn't let its words shake me. I had known it as soon as I had been put in the breeder cell. Many of the breeders didn't survive especially if they had girls or if the boys didn't have magic. I didn't know what happened to these women, but I bet it wasn't pleasant and was probably a gruesome death.
"Who are you?"
The ghost peeked at me again from its shadows. "I lived here, I think." The ghost sounded so young and so unsure, I wondered if she was one of the children who had shown magical promise and had been stolen from her home to be a breeder.
"Why are you here?"
I had a premonition that I wouldn't like the answer.
"Oh," the ghost said. "I guard this room. My job is to dampen magic. These others," she pointed to the other three black spots in the room "are here to eat you if you try to escape this room."
"Thank you," I said politely. I was learning that the people around me responded better when I was polite. The ghost nodded her head to me and then I was back in my body and waking up from my imposed nap.
It would be impossible to escape from this room without damage to me or the baby growing in my womb. That poor baby had nothing to do with this situation and would be used like I was being used. I wonder if my mother felt the same way about me.
I felt different about the abandonment when I realized that she had no way to escape. Her rescue wasn't even death. It seemed that the breeders were used beyond death. It was horrifying. If I escaped, I would not only have to rescue the women who were in the cells, I would have to consider how to rescue the ghosts that had been imprisoned in the very rooms that had been their nightmares.
It just kept getting worse.