When they remove the blindfold it takes me a moment before I realise I’m not losing my eyesight. The instant I adjust to the foggy light I try to take a step back but a solid presence behind me makes it impossible.
“You’re not going anywhere but forwards.” The voice sounds as disembodied as it did the first time I heard it, when they caught me.
The rails on which the small cart in front of me sits are red from rust. I can’t tell for sure because of the fog, but I’m certain some of the supporting pillars have broken away from the structure or are about to crumble. The moment the thought hits me I hear the scream, high pitched and filled with anguish and despair. It doesn’t last long and silence descends again, leaving me to reflect that I wasn’t the only one being brought here.
I can’t believe I find myself in this position. I managed to avoid them for two years. I moved around, never staying in one place for longer than the few hours sleep I needed in order to keep going. I fought despair, refused to think about failure and, toward the end, even allowed myself to hope I might make it.
“Get in,” the voice orders.
I study the small cart resting on the rails in front of me. It looks at least as fragile and unreliable as the structure on which it sits.
I’m pushed forward and nearly fall. That would be the end of me. I’m not sure how high up we are—I can’t see the ground—but I know I wouldn’t survive if I fell. Then again, I don’t think I’m supposed to survive. Would falling be worse than following the orders?
While I sit down I reflect that once upon a time these structures were a source of terrifying fun. I don’t know where we are but it’s possible that I’ve been here before. I may have made this trip before, with my father, his arms around me as we sped up and down the rails in safety. There’s no father for me today, no strong arms, and I don’t think there’s a safe destination either. They came. They took over. They’ve been hunting us. I don’t know their purpose. I only know I’ve never seen anybody again, after they’d been taken.
I thought I might survive. Towards the end I believed I might make it to safety. My heart grew lighter, despair turning into optimism and then they were upon me.
“Want to know how we found you?” the voice asks.
I say nothing, but it makes no difference.
“Hope always shines bright in the middle of dark despair.”
A hard shove and the cart starts to move, slow at first and then gathering speed. I close my eyes and allow hope to die.
As always, more stories based on the same image can be found in the Monday Flash Fics Group on Facebook.