If guards were posted at his door, he can never tell. If a rat had been scuttling around in the ventilation pipes, he would never know.
All he could hear was his nervous shifting in his seat — cotton against synthetic wood. If he sat still long enough, his own breathing became too loud; longer still, and he could swear he can make out the sound of his stale lunch being squeezed through his intestines.
“Write, or die,” his captors said. They gave him pointers on what to write, who to write about. They told him what he wrote came true — came to life; but what they wanted entailed millions of lives lost. It was unthinkable and unacceptable to him.
He was no hero and he knew that all too well. Merely writing a sentence, the sound of the pen scratching against paper and wood, the throb of blood circulating through his heart, all became so loud that it was maddening.
He was dead, either way. If he did not write, he will just be a bloated corpse floating down some river. If he wrote, his mind dies along with his soul, never to write again.
This drabble was written for FutureLearn‘s Start Writing Fiction course, in which we were to describe our ideal and our worst writing spaces. The worst, in my opinion, is maddening silence.
Also: can you guess the literary inspiration behind this drabble 😉 ?