I’m standing on the platform, waiting for the train to slow to a stop, looking through moving windows for someone I recognise. There you are, looking for me too, and you smile when our eyes meet.
You take my hand and walk me through the crowds; I feel small again, but I feel protected, as if your shield surrounds me. ‘You didn’t do it,’ you say, and I don’t know what you mean. I think back, wondering what it is I’ve forgotten. ‘No matter, I’ll help,’ you tell me, as you pull me closer towards you. I smile again as you whisper, ‘I love you, angel’ into my hair.
You have me strip to my underwear and sit me on a chair. I feel something close around the tops of my arms, and my eyes widen. ‘Just to keep you still,’ you say, as I watch you remove your belt, ‘Don’t worry, angel.’
When you strike me, I feel no pain and I am surprised. Over and over again you raise the belt and I feel a sting, but it doesn’t really hurt. As I look down, I see my arms covered in stripes… and I see my hair. I realise that, every time your belt makes contact, another chunk of hair joins the pile on the floor. I try to say a word you once told me but for some reason I can’t speak.
I watch in silence as you pick up every last bit, and I wonder what you will do with it, and what the mirror will show me now. From your pocket you produce a box; it is small enough to sit in the palm of your hand, but you use a key to open it. I glimpse movement inside, something black and tar-like shifts and you begin to hum as you feed my hair to it. Still, I cannot speak.
This room gets smaller and the restraints fall away… I can move again but it does me no good, because I am alone in a tiny room with no door. I am inside your box.