The wide Sargasso Sea

But I shielded it with my hand and it burned up again to light me along the dark passage. I had no idea how long I’d been here in the underground. It can’t have been too long if my candle still burned; but time had stretched and warped and flowed out of recognition. Drafts flickered the flame which I had to keep protecting, tantalisingly hinting of escape to back above ground, but looking for the source just added to the torture. The vague light made horror friends of my dancing shadows along the walls as they followed me through the tunnels.

Why I kept walking I didn’t know; I knew I was lost but to keep moving seemed the logical thing to do, however, irrational. To keep still was to await fate, moving meant life; I had some control even if it meant just making the choice of going right, right and right. But right, right and right again and I never once went down the same passage. Each seemed to hold its own character, a smell, a hint of aged decay.

I just didn’t know how much longer I would have once the candle had burned through. I tried not to see or imagine how scratch marks on the floor and walls were not made by some predecessor. My hearing now so acute I was deaf. I’d heard numerous scuffles and screams and then the silence and decided it had been silence all along. The last imagined scuffle had been sometime ago, whatever sometime ago meant. Nothing to hear and soon nothing to see. I wondered yet again after my friends and how I had lost them so easily after we had all made the most solemnest of vows to stick together. Together we could over come anything. Together we had each become lost so easily.

We were chosen as the most beautiful, brave and worthy of our city. We were told to be proud to be chosen. The truth being in my mother’s tears and father’s coldness as they bade me farewell among the baying crowds. Me just waiting for someone to call time on the bullshit and realising the mob were doing exactly that, but still doing nothing to actually stop it, in case the grain that made their daily bread and filled their bellies would be stopped. So there was a real limit to their empathy.

I should have a future with a family, sailing, harvesting, fooling around, growing old and wondering how I’ve turned into my parents. Not lost underground in some foreign land - my body never even left for the crows let alone burnt for the gods releasing me to find the ferryman. I always worried how I would find the him, now seemingly such childish worries. My spirit will be left to wonder this endless labyrinth. I don’t want anger but anger is coming easily right now.

But time has ended, the candle burns itself out; I feel hot breath on my neck.

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