Mushrooms – Piece 2
Ryan had seen five teenagers around his age die. He was once in the same predicament, but now he has found himself alive and living – at least for now.
“Lorena?” he whispered. “Are you okay?” he asked. He always asked, even though most of the time they didn’t respond. Many preferred to sit in silence, hating the world, hating him. He could hear her crying. “Lorena, everything will be okay,” he lied.
There were two large cages in the room, if they were aquariums, you’d be able to fit one large shark in each. Ryan used to sleep in one and Lorena slept in the other. Ryan had earned the right to stay outside. For all he knew, he was the only one. His bed made of blankets and pillows stayed in the corner opposite of his painting supplies and, in this dark damp basement, he was happy.
He spent most of his time painting. Today he added green to the grass in his mural. Lorena eventually, still traumatized, started watching Ryan work. His hand flowed and twitched with a certain artistic precision she was unaware of.
“Why are you doing it?” she asked.
“Doing what?” Ryan responded as he stood back and looked at the wall.
“All this. These paintings and drawings. Why do you do them?” she asked with a hint of anger. She was displacing her anger on Ryan – it was typical of her, and of any of Uncle John’s captives.
He wanted to tell her that it was the only reason he was still alive, but he didn’t have the heart. “What else are we going to do?” he asked.
“Well . . . can I draw something?” she asked. Ryan walked over to his supplies and dug through the mess. In the dark he had found a clean sheet of butcher paper. Ryan passed it to her and they sat at the edge of her cell and they began to draw.
She drew a circle, forgetting about the old chubby man’s ugly naked body. Then she drew little ears – the time she had spent in the man’s bedroom had vanished. She felt like a child again. She drew hair, then a pair of eyes and a nose. She drew herself – happy.
“Pretty,” Ryan said, through the darkness she could feel his smile. It was warm and comforting
Uncle John returned and as the door clicked Lorena ran and hid in her cot. Ryan picked up his supplies and began to put them away. The light flickered on as he entered the room. His silhouette was accompanied by another shorter darkness. They had a new resident. Her name was Samantha, but Uncle John introduced her as Sam. Ryan stopped and stared at her; her face was hidden by her hair.
Uncle John looked back at Lorena after he locked Samantha in her cage. He was out of shape – or just round and chubby -, he may have been in better shape when he was younger, but he wasn’t now, not even close. He looked like he was in his late forties, but with the single light hanging from the high basement ceiling, it was hard to tell. His belly stuck out of his shirt and hung over his belt, Ryan hated that. The look on Uncle John’s face told the next story – it was time for Lorena to die.
“Lorena, it’s time for you to go home,” Uncle John lied. Her eyes lit up as she scrambled from her bed. “Ryan, help Lorena with her stuff.”
It was all a charade. He wanted to inspire hope with the new captive, but the truth is Lorena would be taken to Uncle John’s bedroom, where she will be murdered and raped.
Next: Piece 3