By Fernanda Poblete Gonzalez

Robert lifted me into his long arms, as he usually does, and put me in the place that he had been painstakingly preparing. I had a feeling that something bad was going to happen; every hair on my body stood on end, while my pupils slowly dilated. With their false smiles, they disguised the macabre plan that they were carrying out, while their knowing glances guarded the secret that they brought with them.

Suddenly, the shorter one quickly turned the small handle that was attached to the ceramic wall, causing a transparent colored liquid to drain through the entire space. White smoke emanated from the tile that generated the warm fluid that increased more and more, reaching the height of my torso. I was afraid, full of that fear that makes one freeze and become immobile, where the only thing your attention is focused on is how hard one’s heartbeats and how untenable one’s breath becomes.

The second of them, Agustina, suddenly took a bottle with her slender and large hands, which she pressed until a viscous substance came out. She rubbed the substance firmly on me, in such a way that it produced a smelly foam that spread over my white skin.

Desperation raged inside me from one second to the next, like an avalanche, fast and destructive. I immediately reacted to jumping out of that strange corral they were holding me in; however, they stopped me before I could even blink, completely ruining my attempt to sneak out.

“Help!” I screamed, hoping that one of my friends would save me. “They’ve kidnapped me!” Even if I tried again and again, after all, it was useless; there was no way they would listen to me.

When it seemed nothing could be worse, one of the traitors pulled out a sturdy weapon that was attached to the wall and began pointing it at me while expelling hot air. Meanwhile, the other wrapped me in a rough blanket like the one they use to cover a corpse, with which I scrubbed myself. I wanted to escape from that dark room, it was what I longed for the most, but despite myself, I could not find any escape.

For a second I thought it was my end, that everything was over, deluded into believing that they wanted me betrayed by my own family. I couldn’t believe Robert and Agustina were doing this to me and in our own home. Until suddenly, the door handle began to rotate, fueling my expectations of being free again. I used the narrow opening of the door as an escape method.

I ran like I never had before, I bounded down the stairs with a smile from ear to ear, that no one could be able to take it from me. I fled to the front yard, passing all the plants that my grandmother cares for, including the dry earth that permeated my body.

After a few minutes, I could begin to notice the physical changes that the forcible experiment had produced. My coat was silky and smelly, although with a hint of frizz that evolved as the breeze blew. Everything indicated that the kidnapping, or rather the bathroom, finally had its positive side. If I had been so dirty it was enough that they told me and I would have cleaned myself with my tongue. I hate that place in the house called bath.

Fernanda Poblete González is a senior English Literature- Creative writing student with a minor in History in Lindenwood University. She is an international student from Chile who came to the U.S thanks to a sports scholarship in tennis. Since she was little, she always had a big imagination, which led her to write stories all day, focusing on the mystery and suspense genre. However, she recently finished writing her first fantasy novel, inspired by the Covid pandemic. Some of her pieces were published for the first time in 2021 in Arrow Rock Literary Journal.

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