By Joseph Logsdon
Was it all in her head? Nola sat in the dark chamber, cold and depressed. She stared at the wall, painfully seeking to escape from her prison. Water dripped from the ceiling, laughing at her feeble attempt to mentally escape. Her cellmate, Agatha, glared into the darkness, silently wishing for the big sleep. As far as they knew, they were the only prisoners remaining. The others, for one reason or another, had been moved to a different location. They had no one, no one except themselves.
The guards had disappeared, vanished without a trace. Where had everyone gone? Had they been left behind? Nola asked herself those questions again and again, only to receive no answers. Hungry and tired, Agatha grabbed a spider off the wall, swallowing it without hesitation. Nola stared at her, disgusted by what she had just witnessed.
"Do you have to be so disgusting?"
"What do you want me to do, starve?"
"It's not a matter of starving, it's a matter of common decency. You spit and yelp, as if you were some kind of animal. Well, then again, maybe you are," Nola laughed.
Agatha scowled at Nola, blatantly trying to ignore her. The walls were closing in on them, or so it appeared. Surrounded by darkness, they were slowly going crazy. They had been driven mad, and madness doesn't die very easily.
"It's quiet, almost too quiet," Nola whispered.
"I don't know how that can be, with you talking every five seconds," Agatha huffed.
"Like it or not, talking is the only thing that keeps me sane. I sit in this cell, day after day, pleading to be released, for someone to come rescue me. Without that dream, I'll lose my mind, just as you have lost your mind," she gasped.
"If I lose my mind, you'll know it," Agatha hissed.
Nola started humming, desperate to combat the loneliness. Water dripped on them, providing the only source of nourishment. Minutes turned to hours, hours turned to days. In all that time, they refused to succumb to the isolation.
"Did you ever think to yourself, how could the world be so cruel? We sit here, hungry and malnourished, hopelessly looking for some magical way out. What did we do to deserve this, really? I stole money from my husband, never thinking he would actually press charges. I mean, he was my husband, not some stranger. What did you do, except try to provide for your family? It's insane, what they'll try to do to people like us," Nola cried.
"I wonder, what would it be like to escape from here? I know what you'd say, that they'd catch us. It would be worth it, to finally get the chance to do something different. What do you say, are you willing to help me?"
"For the sake of arguing, let's assume that I agree to help you. First of all, what would be your plan? Unless you can somehow unlock the door, I'm afraid we're going to be stuck here. Don't you think I've thought about this? It can't be done, not without major risk. Do it yourself, because I'm out," Nola stated.
Agatha turned towards the door, hoping to solve the answer to her problem. She grabbed the knob, tightly tugging the handle. To her surprise, the door opened. Nola gasped, confused by what she had just seen.
"Something isn't right," Nola stated.
"What do you mean?"
"It wouldn't just open like that, not unless someone opened it for us," she sighed.
"What are you saying?"
"I'm not saying anything, I'm merely suggesting that we've been tricked. In other words, we're meant to leave the cell. You and I, we've been chosen to do something," Nola stated.
"Where you get these wild ideas, I'll never know," Agatha laughed, stepping out of the cell.
The two women walked down the corridor, both feeling very nervous. The building was completely empty, and as they walked, an ominous feeling started to grow inside them.
"What do you think happened?"
"Whatever happened, it wasn't anything good. See that dead body over there, the one with the orange shirt?"
Agatha turned her head, her eyes staring at a dead man. She screamed, nearly fainting in the process. The floor was covered with dead corpses, all of them rotting and decaying. Unable to cope with what she was seeing, Nola grabbed the wall, puking uncontrollably.
"They're dead, all of them. From the looks of things, they must've died of some kind of disease. What that disease was, only God knows," Nola gasped, barely containing herself.
The two women proceeded, fearful of what they might encounter next. Approaching the front gate, they noticed that the sky had gone completely dark. The city was dead, along with everyone in it. Nola and Agatha looked at each other, both of them realizing that they were the last people on the planet.
"My God, what happened?"
"Well, we escaped one prison, just to find another," Nola gasped.