Saturday, 11 February 2017

The Warehouse. A Tale of Counting and Survival.

42. Warehouse: Write about being inside an old abandoned warehouse.

What follows is almost entirely free written.  Just carrying on typing and hope for the best.  I went back a couple of times to change earlier lines for consistency.  That's all.

When I began to type I knew what the first word would be.  I didn't know what would follow.  Enjoy this product of my happy go lucky mind.

Not a warehouse. I don't have an inside of a warehouse photo.

Drip.        Drip. Drip.
I didn't know how long they had gone.
Drip.    Drip.    Drip drip.
I didn't know how long I had left.
I had tried counting the drips as a way of gauging time.  I'd lost count somewhere around the three hundred mark.  Counted again.  Made it to two hundred that time.
Right now I could only measure time by the amount of times I lost count.
Or by the number of times I replayed my version of events to come.
Or perhaps by the times I believed the end was coming each time I heard that clanking from somewhere beyond the door.  And maybe that car in the distance would swing round and come to me.
Drip drip drip.
Counting again.  One.  Two.  Three.  It's better than the alternative.
It helped take my mind off my need to urinate too.  Don't focus on that.  To begin with it was easy to ignore but as the pressure grew more urgent the call of nature began to cry out above the counting.
Eighteen.  Nineteen.  Twenty.  Stay in the moment.
Don't piss yourself if you don't have to.
If I only knew how long.  Perhaps it would be hours.  What was the point of painfully holding it in if the result was inevitable?
Perhaps it would be longer.  Days.  Maybe I'd watch as the warehouse fell from gloom into deeper darkness.  The sunlight had already passed me by and the room was quickly falling into shadow as the sun fell below the level of the high windows.
There hadn't been much to see.  A few barrels, covered in a dark oily residue, sat on pallets.  Some metal piping was stacked by one wall.  That's all.
Unless I counted the beams supporting the roof.  Or played games with the patterns of the oil stains and indentations in the concrete floor.
Even a view as unchanging and bare as that would be better than darkness and I wondered how much street light might be visible through the windows.  If I was still here.
Drip.            drip drip Drip.
I'd lost count.  Distracted by shadows.
Could it be over soon please?  My bladder hurt and the ropes holding my wrists tightly to the chair they sat me on chafed when I tried to move, tried to do something to bring circulation back to my hands.  My bum hurt too.  And my back.  I just wanted to get up and stretch.
I don't know why they bothered tying me to the chair anyway.  It's not as if I had a way out of this place.  The windows were too high to climb and I'd never break through those doors even with some barrels and some pipes to help me.
I'd wondered about the chair too.  It was the only piece of furniture in the warehouse.  Did they bring it here especially for me?  Thank you for that but I wish you hadn't bothered.
Loud.     Clang!  It echoed for a while before dying away.
What was that noise anyway?  It probably didn't matter.   It's not as if it was going to affect my situation in any way.
Drip drip drip drip drip        Drip.
Irregular.  Damned irregular.  The whole thing was irregular.
I didn't know who they were or why I was here.  They punched me in the face before pulling and pushing me into the back of a white van.  Knocked me to the floor and covered my head.  That covering was as unnecessary as the ropes. I didn't see a thing.  They didn't let me.  Not until they had tied me up here.  Four men and one woman.  All dressed in blue jeans and plain T-shirts.
None of them said a word in the warehouse until just before they got in their van, drove out of that big door and closed it behind them.  I could hear them locking it.  Hear them adding chains to the locks.
Before leaving one of the men said something like, "Next time one of us sees you it'll be to put a bullet in your brain."  Something like it.  I wouldn't want to repeat his exact words even if I could remember them.
I was almost looking forward to the bullet.
And as the light receded into grey I became more afraid.  No oil stains and cracks to concentrate on.
Just the drip drip drip and the fantasies of my own head.
I couldn't help imagine how it would be.  Which of them would return?  One of them or all.  Perhaps that balding man with a scar on his cheek.  Maybe the man who spoke to me.  He would come.  Put a gun against my head and pull the trigger just like in the movies.  Or would it be the woman?  She hadn't looked friendly.  Nobody would create a poster of her with the slogan, "Embrace Your Inner Femininity."
If he or she or they didn't come back very soon I'd have to give in to nature.
Let the pressure go.  Soak my knickers, my skirt.  No.   Don't do it.
Drip. One.  Drip. Two.  Drip drip drip. Threefourfive.
I could hardly make out the walls of the warehouse now and my whole body hurt from being stuck in one position on the chair.  I stretched as far as I could and let out a cry when the rope rubbed my wrist too far.  At least my ankles were covered, safe from the rough material binding me.
Fuck.  I couldn't hold on.  I wet myself.  Physically it felt wonderful to be free of the pain of keeping it in.  Mentally, emotionally it was worse than the fear.  For shame, for shame.  I hadn't wet myself in several years.  Each time my parents had punished me severely.  They didn't believe in sparing the literal rod and thought they could beat incontinence out of me.  They told me how bad I was, how I was an idiot for wetting my knickers.  My dad would hit my head and call me a retard.  He died when I was nine.  I stopped wetting myself the same year.
The warm urine cooled and comfort became discomfort, increased as the smell hit me and began to grow more stale.
"Get this over with."
"Come back."
"Just kill me now."
"Don't make me wait in the dark with the rats."
Perhaps there were no rats but I am not ashamed to tell you that I cried.  I shouted.  I screamed to the world to get me out of there.  I struggled against the knots.  Again, I cried.  Defeated.
Drip. Drip. Drip. I couldn't even be bothered to try counting anymore.  Pointless.
I listened to myself as I found myself trying to pray.  Observed it from a distance.  Didn't know who I was praying to or if anyone would listen and I didn't know what to say.  "God.      Oh God.    [weeping]   God. If you're there I ... I ... I, oh I don't know, just do something.  What am I doing?  Oh God I'm so alone and you're not even real."
Later.  They came.
Not the ones who threatened me.  Not them.
Bolt cutters on the doors.  Drills on the locks.
I heard the doors being pulled back and the lesser darkness outside rushed in.
In the gloom I saw four police officers in uniform.
"We've got her," one of them shouted, "and she's still alive."
I cried again.

I saw the people again.  The police caught them two days later and I had to attend identification parades.
They saw me too.  One at a time.
But there was no bullet through my brain.
I saw them once more on the day I testified in court, part of a hearing about a much bigger case than a kidnapping that had been a case of mistaken identity.  They had meant to grab the daughter of a cabinet minister.  Not the daughter of a dead postman.
They saw me that day but had no bullets.  They didn't even have words.
There was to be no death sentence for me.
But there were life sentences for each of them.

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