No Refunds, part six
Previous - this entry written on February 29, 2008 at 12:21 pm - Next

*** warning - graphic, if you're not into yaoi you might want to give this a miss ***

I finally managed to fall asleep after he'd gone, still huddled beneath the blankets, preferring unconsciousness to the chaos of my thoughts. I dreamed.

...I was walking along an dimly-lit hall, moving at a slow but steady pace. There were others walking with me, several in front and at least one in back. I didn't look back over my shoulder, I just knew they were there, heard their footsteps. Bare feet on stone, the walls draped with brightly-dyed burlap between the flickering light of torches, the roof stained pure black with what must have been decades of smoke.

There was steel around my throat, steel around my wrists, steel around my ankles. A chain ran between my wrists, linking them together. Another was attached to my left ankle, a much longer one that stretched forward and backward, linking all of us in the line. The collar was heavy, a round bar bent to fit and then locked in place. Wait... no. I could see the collar of the person in front, it was turned with the fastening in the back, facing me. There was no lock, just a lump of metal soldered in place to ensure it couldn't be removed.

I kept walking - the chain at my ankle ensured that even if I stopped, I would be pulled along, and more than likely would cause the entire line to end up with sore ankles. I knew, somehow, that injuring the others would bring me considerable pain and suffering.

The hall seemed to stretch forever. I had time to look quite closely at the boy in front of me. Long, narrow scars crossed and recrossed his back and his thighs. He was wearing something that called to mind the wrap skirts of ancient Egypt, white fabric with a vivid blue trim along the waist and bottom. The fabric was nearly transparent, and I could see a mark on his hip as the corridor curved, a series of numbers written or tattooed there. I glanced down at my own hip; the cloth covering my mark was tinted yellow, with red trimmings, but still translucent enough for me to make out the numbers.

They were not just numbers, there were a few letters as well. Now that I was focusing on it, I could feel a faint throbbing there, and I could see the reddened, raised skin. Definitely a tattoo. I shook my head in puzzlement; Sarah had tattooed me there, but that wasn't her mark...

...wait, who was Sarah? I struggled to remember, to bring back a face, a memory. The harder I tried, the further it slipped away until I wanted to scream in frustration. Then... then I did scream, suddenly terrified, the hall seeming to melt away into nothingness...

"Hey. Hey! You're ok, you're safe, whatever it was, it was just a dream. Wake up. It's ok."

I knew that voice; still trembling, I pressed against the hand that had slipped through the bars of the cage, wrapped myself around it, clung to it for a moment. My eyes were still tightly closed, and it took several minutes of arguing with myself to manage to open them. When I did, the first thing I saw was a concerned Kieran staring at me with a rather worrying intensity.

Somewhat sheepish now, I shook my head to clear it, then scooted back, releasing his hand and pressing my back against the far side of the cage from where he knelt.

"I'm sorry, I don't usually dream... If I woke you, I apologize, I'm truly sorry-"

A raised hand was signal enough, and I shut my mouth.

"You didn't wake me, boy. I was reading, I heard you calling out, and I stuck my head in to make sure you're ok, is all. ARE ok, yes?"

"Yeah. It was a weird dream..." I trailed off, remembering it with surprising clarity. "I don't even know what was so scary about it, up until the end it was actually kind of boring."

There was an odd flash of recognition in Kieran's expression when I said this, quickly disappearing to make room for polite concern. He glanced at the cage door, then chuckled.

"You have a bit of a problem there, unless I'm mistaken."

I followed his gaze, saw the closed and locked cage door.

"I... did you... why did you lock me in?"

"I didn't lock you in. It was like that when I came in, I believe; you must've done it yourself in your sleep. Do you know where Sarah keeps the key?"

"Yeah," I sighed, leaning back against the bars with a disgusted look, "she keeps it on her keyring. Which she packed."

He started chuckling again, then as he caught sight of my expression it turned to laughter, leaving him rolling on the floor for a moment, struggling to catch his breath.

"Oh... oh gods, and we don't even know for sure when she'll be back... hehehe, you're going to be stuck there... oh gods, and when she gets back she's going to be so confused, she knows I can't stand putting anyone in a cage... oh, the look on her face will be priceless!"

I rolled my eyes and muttered, "At least one of us is enjoying this..." which only had him laughing harder, gulping for air. After a minute I couldn't help it, I started grinning... then laughing as well, the ridiculousness of the situation outweighing my annoyance at myself.

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