Drip…. drip… drip… SLAM! … drip… drip… I shake my head, blinking my eyes rapidly to adjust to the dim lighting. Drops of water strike stone somewhere nearby, and off in the distance a heavy door occasionally slams. Big, thick ropes tie me roughly to a chair, digging into my flesh. A cloth of some sort is tied around my face, clamped in my mouth like a gag, which I suppose it must be. As my eyes begin to clear and make sense of things, I see that it’s just a small, square room, with walls made of stone. A metal table sits directly in front of me, a glass of water settled perfectly in the center. It smells musty, dark, and heavy. Like sun-baked humid air plunged into darkness, but cooler. This place… it’s so familiar. So wretchedly familiar. A shiver runs down my spine.
I try wiggling in my restraints, but the rope only digs deeper into my flesh. I resort to looking around, taking in every detail of my surroundings that I can make out. But the closer I look at the features of the room, the less defined they become. Almost like they’re not solid objects, but liquid, held loosely to their forms by some unseen force. But those aren’t waves. What is this? Is that… words? I gasp, watching the words swim and swirl around. They’re everywhere, like ants at a picnic! Millions of tiny words, forming everything around me. Even the rope that binds me is made of words. It’s as if the words were like the cells that make up my body and everything in my world. But this is my world… Right?
Suddenly, the events of last night come thundering down on me, blasting my conscience. No. No no no, this can’t be happening. It’s got to be some kind of nightmare! This is impossible! I can’t possibly be… inside my book? No! It just couldn’t happen! I fidget around, straining against my bonds, doing everything I can think of to rip free. Before I’ve made any progress, the door creaks open.
The face of the man with the blue eyes boldly meets mine, and I realize with horror the full severity of my situation. Judas. With his stoney glare, I’m finally reminded of why this room is so familiar. It’s the cell… the one I interviewed him in just a few months ago! But this time… I’m the one that’s bound… My eyes widen as a fresh wave of fear overcomes me, and a wicked smirk slowly contorts his lips into something so vicious, my skin crawls beneath it.
“Well, if it isn’t our dear Author, in the flesh!” He chuckles sarcastically. I fix him with my deadliest glare, but he only gives me a cat-like grin. He smoothly saunters over to my shoulder, and in one quick, practiced motion, he lets the gag drop around my throat.
“You really think you can keep me here, Judas?” I snarl, snapping my head towards him, ready to bite down on his hand. He quickly draws it back, laughs again, and leans back casually against the wall. What does he think he’s doing?
“I don’t see any reason I couldn’t. Do you?” He quips, smiling once again, with that cat-that-ate-the-canary look. I narrow my eyes at him.
“You seem to be forgetting who’s in charge here, Judas. I’m the Author, remember? I can do anything I want here, pen or no pen!” I growl, staring him down.
“Ah ah ah! You were in charge here. But you seem to be forgetting one very important detail.” The gleam in his eyes tells me he’s got me trapped, and I silently beg for Jude to fight him back. But not even a flicker comes to Judas’s eyes, and I revert my focus to searching everything I know about him. He taps a foot impatiently, rolling his eyes and crossing his arms when I pretend not to notice. And then, I notice the ink smudge on his pinky finger. Oh no… My jaw goes slack, and he knows I’ve realized my mistake.
“Mmhmm. I’m a writer too. And thanks to your neat little transcriptor…” His grin is suffocating. The room suddenly seems to shrink, and I can feel his breath as he speaks.
“What have you done, Judas?” I say in as controlled a voice as I can muster, unable to keep a slight trembling from my limbs. A dangerous light flickers behind his eyes, and he licks his lips. He takes a seat across from me, resting his feet up on the table and leaning back. I feel anger flaring up in my chest, but suppress it. He’s doing this to frustrate you, Hannah. Don’t let him get to you.
“Oh, don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll figure it out soon. Besides, you’re in the book now. You’ve got to wait and see, just like the rest of us.” He whispers the last part, in a low, hissing tone, like some kind of viper. Before I can stop him, he gets up and exits the room, leaving me alone again, with nothing but the constant dripping to keep me company, threatening to drive me mad. Drip… What have I done? Drip… How could I have let this happen? Drip… drip… drip…