I – Derivation


shocked, unsteady.


sore everything.

thoughts racing.

who is that?
there is steel around her ankles.

the room is barely visible.

her face begs for mercy, mouth sealed with stray cloth.

a very cold floor.

approaching, horror in her eyes.

back away. seeming to terrify her.

where is this?

where are the windows?

where are the beds?

rust, detriment, decay.

smell of rot.

scittering within the walls.

she’s asleep again.

questions. . .

something outside of the walls.
a voice?


hours pass.

or is it minutes?

maybe a day?

the silence is deafening.

she sleeps, mostly.

wishing the same.

wishing for answers.

running out of simple things to do.

alone with my thoughts.

wanting. . . to drift off . . .

hoping this is a dream . . .

. . .


something slid into the room.
held to the little candle.

etched barely, and fresh- maybe with now ruined fingernail.

“f r iend ” 

steel around her ankles.
a keyhole.

approaching, mustn’t wake her.
gently, test the key.

she awakes!

screams behind cloth.
thrashing in fear.
her nails catch my face.
force the key in.
she stops thrashing.

the key doesn’t go in.

that voice again…
is it louder?


she looks confused, disbelief.
mistrust, concern.

trying to remember…
what is this place?
why does everywhere hurt?

too dim to see bruises.
too dim to see anything, really.

she throws her hair, catches my eye.
she glances towards the unlit corner.

take the candle, stumble over a dead something.

a box!
with a keyhole.

insert key.

the lock cracks and breaks from years unloved.

the box opens

. . .

an old knife.

gems, embroidered.
many are cracked or missing.

trimmed in gold and silver.
faded colors.

a small hollow running the interior length of the blade.
filled with some kind of moisture.

this was once beautiful, probably.
it feels good to hold tight.

this is something reassuring.

she exhales.
attention back towards her.

she’s slightly more welcoming. sort of.
she looks down.
making a gesture with the old weapon in hand.
she nods.

the tattered old cloth around her mouth floats downward.

she takes a deep breath, and coughs with a shock.
her voice is sand and broken concrete.

it pains her to speak, but she looks determined.

“the    lock         is    very old.”

she goes into a coughing fit.
moving a gentle hand to her shoulder, she jerks away.
she gets caught by her bonds and yelps.

obtained the little candle.

exploring the room.
heading towards light, being choked in from outside the wall.

which lock was she talking about?

her chains move about as the light gets closer.
the light is coming from behind a door.

it’s old, alright.
the knife barely fits, and you push harder.
it goes in a bit further.

the lock snaps!

rushing for the doorknob, excited for freedom!
but wait.

what’s on the other side?
hasn’t escape been the plan?

there isn’t a plan.

what about her?
who is she?

she’ll have to be left behind.
for now, probably.

push the rusty lever mechanism.
conveniently thumb-shaped.

it takes force to open the door.
the wood on the bottom splinters and cracks.

the door is thrown open!

the sudden brightness is blinding.
eyes take too long to readjust.
the candle is useless out here.

a glance downward.
. . . what happened?

torn and battered skin.
cuts, bruises, torn clothing.
fingernails long and yellow.
maybe there’s a first aid kit in here.

where is here?
an inn?

it can’t be.
the halls are too narrow.

a jail?
really smooth floors.


that voice- it’s louder! words? is it speaking?
must run! taking off running!

left or right

left or right

left, right? left!

where is it coming from!

f o o t s t e p s   are getting closer!


the hallway twists and turns. left. right. left. right. wider. narrower
doors everywhere, whizzing and blurry in peripheral vision

“please stop” a voice says

the sound vibrates the hallways and chills bones

“how did you escape your room” the voice says

can’t look back. keep running. keep running!

“why do you run” the voice asks

it sounds so close

“you should go back to your room” the voice says

can’t take it anymore!

have to turn around!

eyes blurry from running.

a white blur.
moving frighteningly fast.

the blur becomes a shape.

it’s . . a person?
it’s a person!

f l o a t i n g
across the floor with horrifying speed!

the shape becomes a


two double doors block your way.

fallen to the floor.
the thing instantly catches up, and wickedly stops frozen above.

it looks down.

“let’s go back to your room” it says.

“you’ll be happier there” it promises.

trying to get up,

its mouth is sewn shut.

it offers its talons.

a sharp pain in your thigh.
the knife is still in your pocket.
here goes nothing.

quickly, jab the knife into the outstretched hand.
it screams. loudly. skin crawls
the stitches come out.

the knife is removed, only to be inserted again somewhere else.
it goes in with a scraping difficulty.
the lab coat is stained red.

it collapses to the floor.

it stops moving.

. . .

a moment of respite, looking over a body.
a much needed moment, giving time to catch breath.
a moment to realize the danger.

what if there’s more of these?


there’s something in its lab coat.

obtained the shiny ring of keys.

– – – – – – – – –


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