Open Arms

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It doesn’t really matter where I am or how I got here. I can’t tell you what date it is or what time it is or even if I’m dead or alive. The only thing I know is that I haven’t been this scared since I was a little girl.


From what I can tell, the room is round, about forty feet in diameter.  A cylindrical cell.  The ground and walls are stone, rocks put together with delicacy. They are smooth and slippery as if they were tumble. Easy on my naked skin. The ceiling is only about four and a half feet high, and I cannot stand comfortably. I can only guess that the stones are ebony, but since there is no light, they could be any color.

 There is no light. There isn’t anything here. Nothing except me and a pair of arms.


I woke up to the smell of mildew. I don’t have to tell you that I was frightened. In the blanket-darkness I pawed through the air until I found a wall. I tried to stand but hit my head on the ceiling. Very slowly, I used the wall to navigate the room, feeling every crevice for evidence of an exit. Sometimes I would backtrack three feet in fear of missing something. Pretty soon, my knees ached from being pressed into the hard ground. I guess I had gone about ten feet before falling asleep.

            I had been crying the whole time, and that can be pretty exhausting.


I wasn’t even afraid when the arms woke me up. Not at first. Lying on the ground, I felt fingers brush up against my face and stroke my hair. They were dry and gentle. I grabbed one of the wrists as it petted my face. “Thank you,” I said. Over and over again: thank you thank you. I put out my own hand and another grasped it and held it for a long time until it pulled me in. It held my hand as it escorted me back to the wall.

The hair on the wrist was course, like a man’s. I asked him what his name was, and he said nothing. I kept thanking him and kissing the back of his hand and feeling further up the wrist to the elbow and then up to the shoulder.

But it wasn’t a shoulder, it was another elbow.

 I stopped kissing the hand.

I counted five elbow joints before the arm disappeared into the wall. The other arm was a shoulder length further on the wall and slightly lower. I want to say both were at least six feet long. I backed away from the arms growing out the walls, their fingers lingering on me until I was out of reach, near the other side of the room. I could hear the hands slapping together and the fingers making snapping sounds. They wanted me to come back.

I screamed until I tasted blood.


I was pretty sure that I had fallen asleep out of grasp, but I awoke to fingers. I startled, but the arms wrapped around and held me. Perhaps it was delusion, or maybe I was defeated, but I welcomed the embrace. Looking back now, I should’ve been more afraid, but they were so gentle.

            Up and down my face, the fingers danced and graced. I closed my eyes and it moved down toward my neck, sending the right kind of shivers everywhere. I think I was maybe saying no, don’t, but not really meaning it. Across my naked body, the fingers sashayed, lingering on my breasts and in between my thighs. I finally ignored the dull ache of fear and crying that had been in the back of my throat for so long, and gave into them. The arms were all over me and rubbing me and brushing me and inside me and I didn’t want it to stop.

            I didn’t mind the taste of dirt they left in my mouth and I moaned and I came.

            Afterward, the arms held me and it was probably the last time I’ll ever feel safe again.


Again and again, the arms woke me up. It didn’t matter what part of the wall I fell asleep next to, the arms grew out of it to touch me. And they stopped playing nice. They would grab too hard or they were too rough when I wasn’t in the mood. Stop it, I would tell them and push the arms away. They persisted and I told them to fuck off. Perhaps it was because they didn’t like dirty language that they slapped me, left my face stinging. I spat at them and went to the middle of the room where they couldn’t reach me. I stayed there, without a wall to support me, and listened to the hands slapping and snapping for me. The dull ache returned in the back of my throat.


I probably rolled in my sleep. Rolled close to the wall. Close enough to let the hands wrap around my neck. I coughed and gasped; saw flashes of color that I hadn’t seen in a long time. I reached up and found one of the fingers wrapped around my throat and pulled back, bending it until there was a snap.

The hand dropped me and I scurried back to the middle of the room, listening to the hands ferociously slapping the wall, each other; clicking. When I finally caught my breath, I screamed “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT?”

            Since I couldn’t see, I can only imagine from the silence that the arms had stopped dancing and were pointing their mangled, broken finger at me.


Fear makes it easy to see clear, easy to make a plan.


The arms were violent when I approached them, as I expected, but they relented by my willingness to approach them. They grabbed my waist hard and pulled me close to the wall. “Shhhh, c’mon, take it easy,” I told them.

Eventually they loosened their grip and I took one of the hands and licked it, rubbing one of the fingers over my lips. “I’m sorry, I don’t want to fight anymore.”

            The hand submitted and I closed my lips tight around one of the fingers running it in and out of my mouth; circling it with my tongue. I took hold of the other hand and placed it against my body, letting it touch me up and down. Letting it trust me.

            Fear makes it easy to make a plan, makes it easy to bite off a finger.

            The hand wrenched back when I bit down, but I wouldn’t let go. I felt the strain of the knuckle against my teeth, but I continued to grind down, feeling blood fill my mouth and run down my chin. I held the other hand and continued to bend all the fingers any way I could. I suppose the finger that was already broken was on that hand because it wasn’t as strong as the one that was in my mouth. I swallowed blood and skin and some of my own teeth that the knuckle had broken off. The arm pulled back, pulling my head forward, giving me enough leverage for a good tug. The finger came off with a snap and I held it in my mouth for a second before spitting it back at the hand. I retreated back to the center of the room and perhaps the destroyed hands were snapping at me, but I couldn’t hear anything over my own laughter.


I don’t know how I got here. The only thing I can tell you is that I now sit here in the middle of the room, listening to the arms flop around in a puddle of their own blood, making wet slaps on the dark stone. I know I can never leave this spot because the arms will never forgive me, and they will never play nice. But I will get tired and sometimes I roll around when I sleep.

            I know and the arms will be there to welcome me.

            I haven’t been this scared since I was a little girl.

Created: Feb 24, 2011


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