I took a quick inventory of my surroundings and realized I was surrounded by other cages. All of them were empty, but as I took in the scene around me I noticed just how much dried blood had caked around a drain in the middle of the floor. By this point I was shouting and banging against the cage as hard as I could. I heard the door at the top of the stairs open. I saw black tennis shoes and pink scrub pants descend the stairs. When the face came into view I realized that Candice was standing there holding a plastic bag and wearing nurse’s scrubs.
Her auburn hair had been resting around her shoulders the night before but at that point it was pulled up into a neat bun. She sat at the bottom of the stairs and said, “If you behave, I’ll give you a blanket. If you misbehave I’ll press the button. Your choice.”
I looked up at her. “Button?”
She reached up and pressed a red button on the wall. This electrified the cage and left me violently convulsing until she moved her finger. She moved over and crouched down in front of my cage.
“Behave or Button. Understand?”
I nodded. “Why are you doing this?”
She laughed. “Because you deserve it. No move to the back of your cage and stay there. I’m going to open this door in just a moment.”