The walls were closing in on her. Long spikes, their sharpened edges glinting, were growing out of the wall. They hit her, blunt at first, then growing sharper and sharper, making her writhe in pain. "Let me out!" she screamed, her brown hair a mess. "Let me out of this damn cage!"
She finally lay still, limp and bruised, in the room that had once marked her freedom, as the walls closed in, ready for the kill. She mouthed one word to an unseen person.
I sat up, panting from the dream. I looked around. It's okay, I thought. You're okay. There are no spikes.
I looked at the clock.
Eleven minutes after I was supposed to meet up with my friend. I sank back onto my bed, unfeeling.
Then I opened my mouth in a soundless yell. Anger raced over me, blotting out everything that I was doing and putting a reddish haze across my eyes. I whipped around, destroying my room. After my bed was stripped bare, I sank down, sobbing now from sadness. They took it from me, I thought. I've failed. I'm no longer free. This isn't me. I'm trapped.
I curled up in the middle of the bed, sobs racking my body. I felt empty, unfeeling, as if something had been ripped out of inside of me. I was hearless without my friends, cold, a monster.
Gradually I calmed down some. Closing my eyes, I thought about what had happened.
They took away all means of talking. I'm completely cut off.
I started to cry again, tears racing each other down my cheeks as I drifted into sleep. The words of my dream ate up my thoughts. "Let me out."
I woke up at 8 the next morning, puffy-eyed and bipolar as usual. I sat on the sofa, waiting for my computer and phone back.
Later, when my parents asked me why I was sneaking around at 12 in the morning, I didn't even bother to ask how they found out. Instead, I said,
"When I'm looking for my computer and phone, I'm not looking for the items themselves. I'm looking for my friends, my creativity, my life. There's a part of my mind that doesn't come from the things around me. It comes from the internet, where the impossible is true, where forgotten friends reunite, and where pandas are pink. There's a part of me within those keys that will always be there. Without them, I'm a friendless nobody, a frozen shell.
"The keys bring magic to my fingers. The screen gives me ideas that were never imagined before. The technology gives me a new life devoid of lineliness. People tell me to get a life. I have one outside of your reality. Your reality is a cold world with no warmth for a poor little dreamer like me.
"At night, though, I have another life that nobody knows about. I talk to and see friends that I never thought I'd see again, and there's none of the depression and loneliness that haunts me in the daylight hours.
"When I ask for my computer, I'm not asking for computer games and such. I'm asking for a part of me back, a part that you stole from me. I'm asking for my friends, for my actual life.
"I'm asking for you to let me go."
They stare at me blankly, then turn back to their dinners. "Your spaghetti's getting cold," my dad matter-of-factly points out.
I angrily push my chair back and grab my phone, heading for the outside world, the only other place I truly feel at home at.