Here is another excerpt from this book.
As Nonna went in, Naoki said, “I’ll be back to fetch you when it’s your turn.” The woman pulled the door shut behind her, and Nonna looked around the room. The room was small, and the only furniture in the room was a single chair. A sole light in the center of the ceiling provided an orange glow, making the room feel even smaller than it really was. Nonna moved to the seat and sat down, not knowing what else to do.
She looked at each wall and every corner of the room. It couldn’t have been more opposite of innocuous than if it had been pitch dark. She heard her own internal dialogue, “What if I don’t win? I die then, and I am no more. Would that be a bad thing? Who would miss me? Would Pol miss me? If I win, can I make the killing blow? How badly do I want to live?” Tears dripped into her lap. Aloud into the empty room,, “Damn me! Why was I even born?” A sob escaped her lips, and she stood abruptly. She wiped hard at the tears and stomped her foot. “I must be strong! I will be free someday! Fighting is my only choice!” She took several deep breaths and exhaled slowly with each one.
She had tensed up and stiffened sitting in the chair. She twisted and swung her arms out laterally, swinging to the left and then back to the right. She worked her upper torso in a circular fashion. Nonna bent each leg and foot up toward her waist till all her tension had ebbed. She sank to the floor, faced the door, and she cleared her mind. She metered her breathing and listened to her heart. Nonna practiced in her head all the moves that Danica had taught her. She remembered the feeling of her muscles with each swing, slash, and jab. She breathed with each maneuver, controlling her body and limbs, supplying oxygen to each of her muscles.
Nonna wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but the lock on the door clicked loudly, and it opened to reveal the dark woman, Naoki. The woman stood for a moment without speaking, watching her sitting on the floor. Nonna opened her eyes and looked at her. The woman raised an eyebrow at her. Nonna stood up in one fluid motion, wasting nothing.
The woman commented, “You seem very calm.”
“I am ready for what will be.”
Without another word the tall, dark skinned woman led her back down the hall, then left and deeper into the building. Nonna became aware that the floor was stained red, and the air had a scent of urine and feces. The sound of a crowd could be heard through a set of double doors. Naoki pushed them open, and the full volume filled the hallway.
By John Sanders
copyright November 2015
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