I stretched out my legs as far as they could go, pushing hard against the wall facing me. My back was against another wall. My legs weren't even three quarters of the way extended. On either side of me the walls pressed in close, making it almost impossible for me to lift my arms. I had less room than I did yesterday. Everything was pressing in, moving slowly closer, giving me less and less room. I used to be able to sprawl out across the floor, arms and legs stretched wide. Not now. Now, everything was confining, suffocating, repressing.
With each breath I used up more and more of the precious oxygen keeping me alive. I was going to suffocate before I was crushed to death. I couldn't decide if the slow numbing of my body from air deprivation was better or worse than the screaming pain being crushed to death would bring.
I felt the walls push inward, shoving my feet back toward my body and the rest of me forward a little. My elbows were jammed into my sides painfully, making me whimper. The grating screech of the cold, hard concrete was enough to shivers coursing through my body, making me shake so bad my teeth chattered. Already I felt like the air was thinner, my breath coming in short gasps that were only going to deprave me of oxygen faster. But I couldn't calm down.
Tears welled in my eyes as my vision blurred, my body still shaking even though the walls had ceased moving. I dug my nails into my sides, my fingers clenching so tight I felt blood trickle down my back. A sob wrenched its way out of my throat, echoing harshly on the cold, hard concrete boxing me in. It reverberated, hanging in the air for what felt like hours, torturing me as the tears overflowed and fell down my cheeks.
My head had begun to ache, my heartbeat pounding relentlessly against my temples. I let my head fall back, smacking it against the wall as I dug my teeth into my lip to keep the sobs from echoing back at me. The sound of my own suffering was pushing me over the edge, down into the dark abyss I knew I would never return from.
I could fix this, I knew, by pushing the softly glowing button on my left. My senses were vanishing, though the torture of my thoughts was no less. At first, it had been easy to ignore the button that demanded I give the information I guarded so closely. It had been far away, off in the corner, providing a dim light I could use to move around.
But now there was no moving. I couldn't escape the faint red light as it glowed near my head. When I closed my eyes the glow would intensify, turning the backs of my eyelids red. There was no escaping it. I knew it wouldn't stop until I either gave in or died.
Death seemed the much better option. Telling my secret could end all the suffering or it could only prolong it. Death, on the other hand, would end everything. It would all stop: the pain as the walls inched their way toward me, the numbness as my body used what little oxygen I had left, the panic as I thought about divulging the information I had guarded for so long.
The walls slid in again, jamming my limbs closer to my body. It pressed against my fingers, shoving my nails further into my sides. I cried out without meaning to, the pain shooting through my numbed body like an electric shock. It slammed my mind back into awareness, throwing off the surrounding numbness for a few moments. I was sure the crushing pressure was going to pulverize me, drag me down into the dark fissure where people screamed, trying to claw their way up and out of the endless torment.
Opening my eyes, I gave up on stifling my cries. They echoed loudly, eating away at my ear drums and sanity. My shoulders shook as my sides grew sticky with the red-black blood dripping from the wounds the walls had made me deepen, my shoulders hunched painfully. Each sob caused a painful intake of breath, a shock of never-ending pain. I could feel my senses dulling again, though my terror was as fresh as ever. I didn't want to die; I wanted to be free. All I had to do was share my secret…
But I couldn't.
The agonizing pain and terror seemed to go on for days, the walls creeping slowly closer. A centimeter, an inch—every little bit they moved caused nearly unbearable pain. I could feel my shakes edging away, my eyelids getting too heavy to hold open. The light burned brighter than ever, as if it were begging me to just tell my secret already. Like it wanted me to live instead of suffer. But it was too late. I was too far gone; there was no turning back. I was going to die, and they would have to figure out how to pry my knowledge from my dead body. They wouldn't get any information out of me. The secret was mine, and I could share it with who I wished. I didn't have to do what they told me. So what if I died? There was no going back to any sense of normalcy after all the pain I had endured. The end was creeping up on me, suffocating me, pressing me in its dark embrace, no matter how unwilling I was.
It was here.