Stifling darkness, futile wriggling against bound hands and feet; her muffled screams exhausting.
Kidnapped sleeping, now trundling to…
She stops, and is tipped slowly to the icy floor. Hands gently free hers. Footsteps dull away so she tugs her blindfold down.
Before her a magnificent gold chandelier with swirled branches offers up scores of proud white candles. It appears to float, its anchor chain hidden in the surrounding gloom despite the first embrace of sunrise through a dramatic stone window above.
You can tell this once was an opulent room. But the intricate and centuries-old plaster is charred and brooding.
She fumbles at her feet, but they’re too firmly tied. Bollocks, she’ll need something sharp to slit this tape. Glancing around – hang on, what the…?
As the sun’s rays creep across the room, the surfaces transform blackened to colour. Inch by inch, moment by moment, the room returns to the brilliance it was before.
Ruby cherubs appear on one wall, poised to play between blue orchids and green viburnum. On another, monkeys want to scamper along canopy branches while tigers prowl in the lush rainforest below.
But look at the chandelier. Every single candle is lit and dazzling. It’s like it’s alive.
“I’m so, so, sorry, but you wouldn’t have come. You wouldn’t have believed.”
She knows that voice. She cranes her neck but still immobile on the floor she cannot see him.
“Where are you? What the fuck’s going on?”
“Don’t move,” his voice now drifting away down unseen hallways.
“You only get one show…”