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I didn’t know how much time had passed and I didn’t care much for trying to find out. I sat in that corner for what felt like an eternity. However, within that expanse of boredom and anxiety alike, the memory I was forced to watched remained on an endless loop. The whimpers became all too similar, blending together after a while. I was surprised I hadn’t gone completely insane because of it.
I knew I couldn’t sit there for much longer whether I wanted to or not. I stood, hearing my body crack at every joint. I brushed past Lily and stood before my entry point. Staring at it blankly, I was concerned about what I would face on the other side. My biggest fear being that Fiennes would be there.
If he was, I would be stuck in that room with him with no way out. I was not too excited at the prospect, but I could not wait any longer if I wanted to. I took in a deep breath, a jagged, terrified breath. My hands were shaking, my body paralyzed, and I couldn’t clear my mind. Even if Fiennes wasn’t there, there was a great chance I would be still be alone in utter darkness.
I knew nothing of what happened with Yukio and it pained me not to be able to see him in the intensity of the moment, but there was only so much I could do. One step at a time, I exited the painting, sparing one final glance to Lily. When I was out, my assumptions were correct. Total darkness, not a single shred of light. Even the door above me locked out every chance of granted sight.
Fiennes had a flashlight, didn’t he? I could have sworn he did, but then I had to find a way to get to it. I got down onto my hands and knees, accepting the search for what it was. I grabbed the painting, however, keeping it close to my person as to have a getaway if need be, and if the darkness became more insufferable than not. At least the painting had light inside of it, minimal as it was.
It took some time, I even managed to reach the opposite end of the room, smacking my face in the wall, but I was glad to know I reached something. With all the candles out, there was a collection of wax on the floor and I was bumping into tealight candles left and right. At least I was finding something, despite not being my preferred target.
Then, my hand grazed across something plastic and of cylinder shape. I grabbed it instantly and felt it over. I found a small bump and slid it upward. A light appeared. At last. I was relieved to find it and I was more relieved to see the damage, or lack thereof, that was around me.
The paintings still adorned the walls, some still covered in their sheets. The fire only devoured the stairs, going out once its fuel vanished. The smoke was only lingering at that point, but the air was suffocating enough. If need be, I would have to slip back into the painting just to catch a breath. At one point, I did. Even then, it was still stuffy and disgusting.
I pointed the flashlight up to the door. It was sealed shut, far too high to access myself, let alone swing open. There was no noise above it, not even light shuffling of animal life or a gentle breeze. I couldn’t hear a thing.
I wondered where Yukio was. Was he okay? With Fiennes not returning, did he beat him? Call the police? Or maybe Fiennes was forcing me into submission by leaving me alone in the dark. I didn’t allow myself to panic, not yet. With Yukio on the outside, I had hope something would happen, or someone would come save me. If another day passed, not that I would know, then I would worry.
There was the general issue of food, water, the air still stank of smoke, of course, and I had no way to get out. Moreover, no one except Yukio and Fiennes knew I was there. I was praying Yukio was the one victorious in our little squabble. I prayed further that he found his way to civilization and had someone to tell.
In my solitude, though, I had time to thing over a few things. First being what I would be doing once I got out. A hopeful thought, indeed, but it distracted me. What would I do when I got out? My options were many, but my mind settled on none.
If I was lucky and Fiennes was arrested, I would have no reason to return to the school. There was nothing waiting for me there, and Fiennes was once the only thing convincing me it was worth it. Even then, it was minimal at best, as that stupid maple tree in the park came to prove. With him gone, I had nothing.
I was an RA, I had my residents, but they could manage without me. They had for so long. Though I would take pleasure in telling Lily and Nicole what Yukio and I had discovered, I also knew my residents could do well enough on their own. Honestly, I was surprised the school hired me at all.
Moreover, I wasn’t a star student. I didn’t stand above my peers in any way. Finally with my thoughts, I could admit one thing to myself; I did have some talent. I never truly denied it, but I did always believe that it was never good enough. Talent alone meant nothing to me, and I was fearful of the outcome. Without passion, there was nothing. Without security, there was no future. I never allowed myself the freedom to be a true artist. I couldn’t even say I was quite ready to make that next step.
I wanted to be an artist, but I also wanted to be free and above my own doubts. Without that, I had next to nothing. Perhaps it was my fear still holding me back. I would assume so, there was only so much else it could be. Fears, doubts, concerns, all surrounding the unknown of my talent, potential, and likelihood of success. It was amazing how little I had to think about any of that when I was with Yukio.