WIND UP TO RELEASE
By B.C. Pope
Pain was the first thing Ram could understand. The very first idea that his mind worked to accomplish while swimming up from below his unconscious dreamed existence. Next came the thin blurred line of white, curved at the edges far too bright to accept. But as bright as it was the white line was at least less real than the pain, which began to crash upon him like the tide coming in to shatter castles built upon the sand.
“AHHHHHHHHHHHH,” Ram cried out as the pain struck again completely opening his senses to the world around him. A black room, a single bright light, a shadow standing before him, everything bent and blurred all but the pain.
Ram slumped forward but did not fall, there was a force holding him in places just enough to give a reprieve but not enough to loose him to gravity. His eyes opened again becoming clearer allowing light to dance across his retina bleeding into his mind, information processed images and becoming cognition. The shadow, now solid against the black background became a man. He was average height, but loomed over Ram teetering on the tips of his toes. The man’s clothes were of business dress, a pair of black slacks, white shirt, tie, and dress coat. These items tied him together as one might tie a knot to remind themselves of something important. Ram looked closer unable to make words to question. The man in his suit just stood there looking at Ram. But not really looking, mocking him with a smile painted wide and proud across his blank face. The madness of the smile stood a stark contrast against the pressed neatness of the suit he wore.
“What is going on?” Ram croaked through dry lips. “Who, who are you, what is going on, why am I here?” Ram continued to question.
No reply from the man, he only smiled wider and bowed his head. Ram could feel anger mixed with fear crawling up his throat. Sensing this man in the suit turned away from Ram and walking a few paces to a table. His hand reaching out and pressed a button on top of a black box. There is an audible click as the sides of the box slid away exposing several racks of metallic balls. Neat and ordered like the man’s suit they stood awaiting something. Another click followed and a single ball rolls away from the others down a slide creating a sound like sand and water rushing out a pipe. CLANG, rang out the ball marking the end of its journey.
“For the love of the Gods, what is all this?” Ram bellowed out in frustration. The man only turned again and walked slowly into the wide welcoming arms of darkness cutting the room from light.
“HEY, hey come back here, dammit you son of a whore, COME BACK HERE!” shouted Ram full of fury and rage. Ram’s empty threats returned only empty echoes trimmed in the sound of another ball sliding down the machinations of the box.
“Please, let me go,” pleaded Ram into the dark. “I have money, any amount you want it’s yours. Whatever it is I can give it to you, just let me go.” Ram’s voice broke while he pleaded, he could feel the wet tears begin to fall.
Over and over Ram called out into the dark never given a response, never hearing anything but a rolling ball and a clang. Ram counted the time it took a ball to fall, the time it took to reset, the time it took to count the time. It all passed around him just as the ball passed from a static state to a different static state. He was alone with nothing but his thoughts, his count, and the darkness.
Ram moved from pleading, back to anger, to silence and back again to pleading. Ram’s mood turned again at the same time a ball hit its end. As if the box knew Ram’s mood had changed another light shone down before him. It illuminated a simple sign saying only Save Him Save Yourself.
“Save who dammit, what is this crap you expect me to do?” hammered Ram’s voice against the darkness.
Ram’s mind loaded with emotion grasped hopelessly for reason. The rushing sand and water sound continued over and over mocking Ram’s questioning. Clang rand out the box, another light came on flooding over a mannequin wearing a neatly pressed black suit.
Another clang another light this one showed a man bound to a board a mirror reflecting back another Ram. Ram’s eyes danced over the man, he was not the same but was the same. Ram could feel the desperate climate of their plight, he could empathize with it, own it for himself. Ram’s eyes moved to the sign, Save Him, Save Yourself. It was all clear, each broken piece came together, Ram knew what must be done.
Ram stopped breathing long enough for his body to remember it needed it. He gasped air back into throat filling his lungs to bursting. Ram was drowning alone in a room filled only with a machine, a black suit, and his remaining sanity. But his head has surfaced long enough to make it real in his mind. Ram gave in to the idea, sinking again into ocean of doubt knowing his next breath would be on dry land.
“I understand, let me free, I am ready,” Ram spoke softly into the darkness. His request was answered with the sudden release of his bonds. He fell like a rag to the floor his legs atrophied from lack of use. In time Ram was able to crawl his way to the suit. Ram remained on the floor allowing the blood to flow freely back into his deprived extremities.
When able Ram stood, dressed himself in the suit and moved to stand before the man. All the lights but one went dark around him. Ram could not fight it; a smile without reason slowly started to spread across his face.