Standing Room Only

A World of Short Stories

The Cage

I knew I was going to have a problem listening and obeying the rules when I saw where we would be living. There were no windows in the bedroom and I had to be able to see the sky. I needed to hear the birds. I needed the sun to shine through the clean glass. But here I was, a tiny bedroom in an apartment. The only apartment I could afford. My parents refused to pay for any of my schooling and I was sharing the apartment was the only thing I could afford between paying my tuition with my work study and waitressing jobs. 

I already knew I couldn’t spend much time here in this tiny bedroom, but April made sure there was a ironclad contract I would have to abide by if I was going to sublet the room. I immediately started to wonder what she would be hiding. Because otherwise why would there be so many rules?  Apparently, I needed to be awake by seven every morning and be home in the apartment by eight each night, among other things. I unfortunately hadn’t read the contract very clearly and was hoping I would be able to work with April as most of my shifts at the restaurant were not going to be done by then. Otherwise, I would be up the creek without a paddle. 

The first week, I obeyed her rules, but that’s when things started to get weird. Items in my bedroom were in different places when I got home from work. One night I woke up in the middle of the night and the door was closing. Closing like someone had just be in my room. My clothes started showing up in different areas of my closet and someone else was doing my laundry. The first night I broke the curfew was the first time I realized what was really going on. It was the first time I realized who April really was. The shit show came through strong and the mask came off. She reminded me exactly who I never wanted to be – just like my mother. 



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