In the Hallway

Eunice Owusu-Amoah

Published Winter 2021

“Food’s here.”

The small rectangular slot at the top of the door opens up, sliding in a paper plate with mashed potatoes, a chicken thigh and a plastic spoon. Before the arm holding the plate can fully retract, she pushes her own arm through the rectangular slot, scraping her skin against its edges. She grasps onto the hand of one of her captors, picks up the plastic spoon with her other hand, breaks it against the wall, and attempts to stab her captor with the now sharp end.

In the awkward angle, the spoon scrapes against his skin, taking with it a layer of skin. Her captor screams as he buckles to his knees, attempting to take back his arm.

“The door.” She snarls, digging the plastic spoon in deeper. The man frantically attempts to stretch out his free arm and places his thumb against the fingerprint reader. As the door slides open, sinking into the wall, they both hastily pull their arms from the food slot.

In the next second, she strikes her elbow across her captor’s face. Blood gushes from his nose as he falls forward. He looks up at her, reaching out with his injured arm, his mouth opens to speak. On her feet now, her bare heel crashes across his face before he can speak. She does it again, and again, and again. Until the ends of the white onesie they had forced her to wear for the past few weeks were stained red.

“Don’t leave.” The words drag themselves out of his blood-filled mouth. Irritated, she kicks him again, his body limply flipping over. Finally, he is knocked out. Then, she begins to run.

She runs through hallway after hallway of white walls and white doors with food slots just like hers. The smell of antiseptic so strong it burnt her nose and each hallway as eerily silent and empty as the first. Suddenly, the lights that had lighted the hallways turn off and she is abandoned in darkness. She skids to a halt. Her chest burning but her body refusing to take a breath.

The light just in front of her turns on. It was yellow which was weird because it had been white just moments before. She looks behind her. Wondering if maybe she should return to her prison. Maybe it was safer there, locked in that tiny white room. Goosebumps form on her arms at the thought or maybe it was because of the sudden cold. Hugging herself, she faces forward again and her gasp of surprise gets stuck at the back of her throat, momentarily choking her.

The source of her surprise were the two little boys in front of her. Toddlers really. They stood side-by-side, creepy reflections of each other. They were dressed in blue onesies similar to hers, but it fit them so tightly that it looked as though the boys had outgrown them and on top of their heads was a matted layer of orange-brown hair. They looked up at her, their faces blank of any emotion. Their hands casually stuffed into the pockets of their onesies.

“Hi,” she says, though her words came out as a whisper. She wants to believe these little boys were allies, victims just like her, but their creepy appearance made that hard. The one on her left speaks first.

“They cut open our heads.”

The one on her right continues.

“Emptied it with a spoon.”

The left.

“Then they carved on a face.”

The right.

“So we only had one face.”

Then together, “They did the same to our parents too.”

Suddenly, their skin begins to move, rippling as it turns as orange as the hair on their heads.

She wants to leave; wants to go back to her prison; wants to beg her captor to lock her back in. Mentally, she begs her legs to move, to turn her around and take her back in the direction she had come but they remain fixed in place by her fear. Her stupid useless fear.

“Do you want to see the face they gave us?” they ask, excitedly. Like someone practising emotions in front of a mirror, their faces slowly and uncomfortably transition until they resembled crying children. Their eyes and mouth squished into a frozen expression of despair.

Eunice Owusu-Amoah is in their 2B term of GBDA at the University of Waterloo. You can find Eunice on Instagram at @world_of_eu.