The views expressed in the texts do not necessarily represent the views of the artist.
The pounding was growing louder and louder, like the thump thump thump of an insipid beat on a dancefloor. It was closing in around her, pressing on her back, her temples, her chest. Breathing became difficult as the air around her thinned. Her body ached from exhaustion, as the walls—thick with red grime—loomed closer and closer.
“You’ll never make your way out.” The taunt seemed to come from all sides, echoing inside the dark sickly warm space.
“FIGHT BACK!” the voice inside her insisted.
“You won’t amount to anything substantial. You don’t have what it takes to make it out there.” The call reverberated, cutting through the hot dense air, ringing in her ears. It filled her heart with dread, punctuated by that incessant thump thump thump that echoed deep in her chest.
Maybe her captor was right, she thought. Maybe she was in safer in here, in these familiar red walls.
“NO! FIGHT BACK!”
She took a breath of precious, scarce air and reached out with her fists, hoping to face her tormentor, but her hands were met by thick red clots punctuated by a sweet metallic smell that was engulfing her nostrils.
“You clearly aren’t trying hard enough. You could do so much better than this. What is wrong with you?”
The little voice inside her head considered this. Was this true? Was she not trying hard enough?
“No,” she thought. She needed to get to the other side of the walls that were closing in around her; she needed to see her tormentor. “I will find a way out.”
Blindly, struggling through the darkness and the tightening space, she reached up above her, thrusting through the red mucous to grab hold of the wet spongy walls. The thumping continued to crescendo, reaching a feverish pitch that vibrated through her core as she hoisted herself up. The walls contracted, forcing her back, but she pushed upwards again, and the sheer effort of the movement was taxing with so little oxygen. Finally, her head pierced the pulpy membrane, bursting forward into a rush of cold fresh air.
As her shoulders, then arms emerged from the hole, she opened her eyes and looked out, ready to face her captor. It took a few moments for her eyes to adjust to the light, and when they focused she saw her at last—an anxious gaunt face covered in blood glancing at her through a single pane of reflective glass.