Dreaming of a Quiet Hell
Inside a warehouse a young Chinese girl reached for the phone. It wasn’t ringing yet, but she knew someone was calling. She put the phone down and scribbled notes onto her pad. I studied the pen she was using. A Parker pen with the bat symbol over it. But the decal was lacerated. Bite marks and gashes everywhere.
“How long have we been here?” I asked.
“I’ve forgotten,” she said. “Didn’t they say they would let us into the garden soon?”
“They promised us bunks, but all we got were chairs,” I said. “I think the garden is out of the question.”
I looked at my hands. Deep cracks were forming by the wrists. A cluster of red stars were burned underneath my forearm. I picked up the pencil in front of me and said, “Trade you for the pen.”
She agreed and broke the pencil into two uneven pieces. She continued to scribble over the pad. The skin around her mouth was pale. But her lips had retained their supple pink color.
There came a memory.
Had I seen her in a previous dream within the same night? Or was it on a different occasion?
“This used to be my pen, you know,” I said. “Anne gave it to me for my birthday.”
“It didn’t look like this then…it was pristine,” I replied. “Oh, I wish I wasn’t so neurotic. It’s still the same pen.”
I covered my face with my hands and repeated the word ‘neurotic’ over again.
“The phone is going to ring again,” said the girl. “Answer it.”
I stared at the phone. I watched as a thick hand wrapped around it.
“I’ll get it,” said the woman.
She was a large woman with thick trunks for legs. They appeared swollen and dozens of veins had reached the surface.
The door opened behind us. A group of men in dark suits entered. Silence filled the room. They noticed only three of us were left.
Door slammed and the Chinese girl began to sob.
“What is it?” I asked.
“I can hear them talking,” she cried. “They’ve locked the door for good.”