The cold steel around her wrists was almost paralyzing. Her head felt like it was spinning out of control from being jerked so hard backwards.
The light felt like it was piercing straight through her head. It wasnât that bright, it was more that they just werenât accustomed to the fluorescent bulbs above.
âWhere am I?â Lisa whispered.
She tried to rub her eyes, but the cold steel around her wrists restrained her reach as she heard chain links tightening and pulling taught on the table. She yanked on them a couple times to make sure they were sturdy. After a dozen attempts of pulling, she finally gave up and let the chains rattle limp onto the table.
Her head fell down onto her arms resting on the table. The brightness was still stabbing deep into her head.
Suddenly a loud deep boom rang out through the room. The room went completely dark in an instant. Lisa began tugging on the chains again, trying to free herself.
A faint growl, almost a purring, slowly paced in to her ears. She could feel moisture in the air against the nape of her neck. Every hair on her body stood at attention. Her heart rate increased as her breathing decreased as she tried not to move at all. A single tear rolled down her cheek as she tried her hardest to not even blink.
Lisa screamed in terror as a loud mechanical sounding roar echoed through the room so loud that even the table shook. Her arms tried to cover her face as the noise stopped as instantly as it had begun.
Her eyes slowly began to open and glance around the room. Her vision was more adjusted, as the lights were not near as bright as they were before. She could see only brick walls on both sides of her. Realizing she was still alive, she slowly lowered her arms down.
Staring back at her was two beady eyes inset into an old wrinkly face. She couldnât help but to stare into the strangerâs eyes as they turned colors right before her. From pale blue to green to hazel, they kept changing colors until they finally decided upon a bright reddish color.
A voice belonging to the red eyes asked politely, âLisaâŚ?â
Lisaâs bottom lip quivered and her head slowly nodded a few times before replying, ââŚyes.â
âWonderful! I believe that we have the right one!â
The strangerâs eyes became a darker crimson as she leaned back and stood straight up. The figure in front of Lisa was a woman dressed in a black blouse and mid-length skirt. Her arms folded across her chest that was half covered up by her wavy locks of red hair.
Lisa kept staring at her pale face as it came closer. The strangerâs knuckles cracked as her fists rocked across the table as she leaned in closer, never breaking eye contact. Lisa could feel light wafts of air as their noses were almost touching. The scent of sulfur reeked through the room. A lump pushed through Lisaâs throat as she swallowed all the saliva in her mouth at once.
The lights flickered a few quick times, but neither ladies stopped leering at the other.
âWhy did you do it?â She blurted at Lisa.
Lisa, startled by the intenseness, sat as far back in her chair as she could. Her hands gripped the edge of the table tightly.
âWhy did you do it?â echoed through the room again.
Lisaâs eyes begin to water. Her mind is racing as to why she is even here. âHow did I get here? Where was I yesterday? Where was I a few hours ago?â None of these questions could she answer.
âWhy?? Answer the question!â
Lisaâs head keeps reeling with emptiness. âWhy canât I remember? Do I have amnesia? My head hurts, maybe I hit it too hard against something?â
Finally Lisa retorts, âI donât know what you are talking about!â
Silence fills the room as the stranger stands up straight and closes her eyelids until there are just hints of her pupils showing. She crosses her arms over her chest and tilts her head slightly to the right.
The Stranger breaks the silence repeating Lisa, âI donât know what youâre talking about.â Her eyelids open a little. âHow could you forget something like this?â
âLike what?â Lisa inquires, âLike what?!â
âDo you honestly not have any idea why you are here?â
âWHY I am here, I donât even remember HOW I got hereâŚâ
Lisa looks at her hands that are holding the chains that keep her bound. Her eyes quickly dart up to meet the strangerâs eyes. Her glare feels like itâs invading Lisaâs inner soul. Lisa looks back down at her hands.
âLittle girl. There is blood on your hands.â
âWhat do you meanâŚ? Lisa looks up.
âWe are here because you killed an innocent person.â
âBut IâŚI didnâtâŚI donât even rememberâŚâ Lisa keeps shaking her head as tears roll down her cheeks.
âThere is blood on your hands.â
âBut I donât even rememberâŚâ Lisa replies, âI donât remember.â
âThere is blood on your hands.â
âAre you even listening to me? I do not remember!â
âThere is blood on your hands.â
âI said, I donâtâŚâ
The stranger abruptly leans forward, grabbing both of Lisaâs wrists, âThere is blood on your hands!â
âStop saying that! I donât remember anything!â
âThere is blood on your hands!! LOOK!!!â
The stranger forces Lisaâs hands to turn upright so her palms are facing up. The stranger states quietly one more time, âThere is blood on your hands.â
Lisa looks down at her hands. She sees her hands starting to bubble in the center of her palms. She takes a closer look as her veins become more visible and begin to turn a dark purple color.
Lisa shudders and the bubbling stops. Her hands look normal again as she blinks several times.
âThere is blood,â The stranger grips Lisa tighter, âon your hands.â
Small drops of red form in the palms of each of Lisaâs hands. The drop grows more and more increasing in volume. Quickly, the pads of her hands are covered. The blood then overflows onto her fingers and down her wrists. She tries to break free from the tight grip of her interrogator.
âStop it! Stop this! Let me go!â Lisa yells. She tries to stand up, but her entire body just slides off the chair instead as her body dangles from the table, the chains keeping her from hitting the ground.
Lisa, bewildered by everything, looks down to notice that her legs are both missing. Lisa lets out a scream.
Silence fills the room.
Lisa looks around the room and finds herself sitting down in the chair once again. Fully aware of what just happened, but unaware of how things went back to ânormalâ instantly. She looks around the room empty except for the table from which her shackles still cling.
A voice whispers into her ear, âWelcome back.â
Everything goes dark.
Dark red lesions mark Lisaâs neck.
Lisa inhales deeply as she sits upright in less than a moment. Her eyes take a few seconds to adjust to the light. The figure of the stranger becomes more and more in focus even with the room spinning in her head.
The stranger is standing against the wall. She has her arms folded across her chest. âAre you ready to talk yet?â
âI donât know what to tell you.â
âJust the truth, Lisa. Thatâs all I ask for.â
âThe truth is I donât know what you are talking about. The truth is I donât have any idea how or why I am here. The truth is you must have the wrong person.â
âNO! No, donât give me that song and dance â I know you did it. Iâm the only one who can help you right now, so you best go ahead and cooperate!â
âCooperate?? I donât have any idea of what is going on! I canât help if I donât know anything!â
Lisa looks down and suddenly notices that the bruises and cuts on her arms have been replaced with scars. She runs one of her fingers down her left arm following the path of the scars to her elbow.
A single tear falls from Lisaâs cheek and falls into her lap. She sniffles once and then looks up around the room. The stranger is gone. Lisa turns to look behind her and there is not another soul in the room.
Her chair echoes as she readjusts it to sit more comfortably at the table. She places her hand on the photo with the bruises again. She pushes it aside and looks at the next photo and then the next. She fans all the pictures across the table almost as if she is playing Texas Hold âEm with them. She scans back and forth over them as she tries her best to remember who this is or how this could have happened.
As Lisa sits back in her chair, she fully her extends her arms out because of the chains. She drops her head into her hand. Her elbow is propped up on the table holding her head in place.
A solid white object on the opposite side of the table catches her attention.
âWhat is that?â she asks herself out loud.
She reaches across the table and picks up another photo. This photo she hadnât seen before. She flips it over slowly and her face goes pale.
Tears stream down her face. She grabs the edge of the table and flips the table and all of itâs content over on to the ground. Not realizing in time what this action would cause, she is quickly pulled forward with the table as her chains whip her entire body onto the upturned table.
She finds herself keeling on the ground. She looks down at the ground and there is the same picture she was just looking at. She grabs the picture and kneels down on the ground holding the photo in her hands. Tears stream down her cheeks and onto the picture and floor. There in her hands, staring back at her is a photo of herself.
Itâs a picture of her laying lifeless on the ground.
Lisa leans her head back and expects it to hit the wall, but it doesnât. She looks around the room and realizes she is back sitting in the chair again. The table is back in place and in the center of it is a picture of her dead body.
A few moments pass by before she can feel and hear the voice of the stranger whisper into her ear, âWelcome to purgatory.â