A subterranean dystopia about a world where one of our most basic human functions is forbidden. For generations the folk of the Tower have been oppressed by the Baron and his ilk. Now after a massacre of the Resistance, S comes out of the shadows believing she can make the difference. However she experiences that sometimes the difference between the Us and the Them is thin indeed.
Darkness projected an icy cold towards S's fingers. Not an overbearing cold -just a tingling. A tingling that was annoyingly exacerbated by a lack of visual stimuli. She'd been there long enough for the coloured spots in front of her eyes to go away. Just blackness. But that in itself was a comfort as it meant nothing had to be done yet. So S sat. And sat.
There are many ways to alleviate boredom and frustration. S tapped her fingers against her knees. Soon, she could feel a slight pulse in the fingertips - they were after all the only part of her body that moved. I wonder how nervous I am. S decided to measure her pulse. The time between the first and the second beat was about 50/57th of a second. Good. Pretty normal. The next one was 52/57th, then 53, then somewhere in between 51 and 52 - she couldn't decide which. Nothing drastic - guess I'm fine. Unless I've merely convinced myself of the fact.
S wondered if her sense improved by being still and in the dark. She was about to try and measure her heartbeat with a more adventurous unit (say, a 114th) when her train-going-to-nowhere of thoughts was upturned by the sound of at least one being entering the room. S silently dashed to the hole, almost grinding her ear into it with eagerness.
Two sets of footsteps were heard approaching, along with an infinitely-dim light coming from a slightly-open door. S thought she could just make out the planks of the inside of her box along with the straw. Alternatively, it could be her over-inflated imagination. A polished, confident male voice broke her sense of being in a capsule...
"...and then we have the folks who try to bring in questionable things: Baronial turkeys or ducks, shells, wool, you know the rest. So I've had to open up every box looking for things. Every shipment means a loss of sl--- uh, bloody work hauling ass around these boxes."
He was answered by a coarser voice, belonging to a man who (S was sure of it!) was past middle-age, middle-weight and middle-coordination. "Sure, contraband's always a problem. People do what's profitable as they have been since...immemorial...memory, and no number of Baronial generations will change that, bless him."
"You said it! Still, it's annoying."
"That's why you're the trade oversee.. Hey listen - have you ever had people try to smuggle things slightly more...illegal?" This was asked with the honest simplicity of the simpleton trying to be subtle.
"Umm...like..." (S mentally giggled at the idea of the man sweating in angst) "...clocks?"
"Mr. Director of Supplies!" bellowed the smooth voice with just the right level of indignation. "I get paid good money to uphold Baronial rule, and I don't appreciate blasphemous insinuations." "Of course, of course. Still, all kinds of people in this world."
"Just get the labourers, I wanna move something today. Say, those four boxes."
"Of course. Certainly. No, really, you're doing a great job," said the coarse voice whilst diminishing. It was a given the weasel was backing away respectfully while bobbing his head up and down in a placating manner. Still trying to smooth over his blunder.
She was left alone with the smooth-voiced man.
"How's it holding up, kid? I didn't make you wait too long?"
"Screw you! I'm not a kid. And you better show some respect -- or I might accidentally cough when they're moving my box and then it's you in the Room."
"Oh, I apologise, your Dozing Highness. Allow me to rephrase myself. Did I cause thee distress by my tactless and inexcusable delay?"
"Slightly better. I'm fine. You were only gone six hours." She could feel his eyes light up.
"I bet you can probably tell me the minutes, seconds, crowns and hilts as well. I'm really starting to believe in my plan."