Sunday, January 22, 2012

All the World's a Cage

The steps led nowhere. Like some kind of an empty promise, they intrigued you, filled you with hope, and then left you standing disappointed and alone. Ada stood now, disappointed and alone, at the top of the steps, looking down at a valley of nothing in a country of nowhere.

Countless paths had led her to the same conclusion, and yet, in her particularly hopeful and naive way, she kept going. Always looking for a means of escape, a different kind of ending to the story she’d been living over and over again.

But there was none.

She was as disappointed and alone as she would always be, stuck in a world where steps led to nowhere and paths led to nothing.

Dwelling did no good, though, so Ada turned around and went back down the steps to nowhere into the valley of nothing.

It was time to eat. Although what they passed for food could barely be called that at all. Tasteless and vile cardboard, at best. At first, she wouldn’t eat it. She refused and instead searched the aimless paths for other options. After finding none, she forced the garbage down. Their prison food provided her with the nourishment she needed to keep fighting, keep searching for an escape.

A water source was located in the valley as well, dirty and contaminated water was better than no water at all. Ada drank thirstily and then started when one of her captors squealed and called her name.


The little girl couldn’t have been more than five. Innocent and bright-eyed, an obvious victim herself. Ada felt towards this small child and didn’t blame her at all for her own imprisonment. In fact, she suspected the child might be a prisoner herself. And Ada thought that was a real shame indeed.

With empathy in her heart, she looked to the girl and smiled.

And the girl squealed again. “Mama! Mama! Ada just smiled at me!!!”

Ada’s smile faded as the girl’s mother suddenly approached. She was tall, lean, and had vicious look in her eyes. She was the most feared of Ada’s captors, the most hated.

She spoke, and her voice was filled with a mixture of exhaustion and mild distaste.  “Elizabeth, darling, don’t be silly.” She sneered down at Ada; her derision and disgust obvious. “Rats don’t smile.”

Author's Note: This was written for a Lightning and Lightning Bug Flicker of Inspiration prompt: Shuffle. We were supposed to have a major shift in tone within our story. To read some great stories, visit:

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