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Stockholm Shadow

Robert Paul Blumenstein | Izzy Wingham

My captor from time to time reaches down and strokes my forehead, my cheek, with what seems to be a loving touch, filled with compassion, as though he cares; he all too quickly withdraws that same hand and calls an assistant over to tend to a perfunctory duty: my bathing, my feeding, my excrement needs. I suppose he’s above performing such tasks himself. After all, it is he who holds me captive; he is the one who orders others to minister to my needs. They obey his commands to the letter.

I know he hears me, not my words, but through my eyes, surely he hears me begging, “Please, free me, let me go!” I must reach that special place in his heart that touches him; for he has reached mine. Without a doubt, I look forward to his daily visits, even though he seems detached from any emotion concerning my plight, a chilly, decorous professionalism that merely states, “I am respectful of you because it is my job. Please do not misconstrue my behavior as personal attachment. For now, you are my ward until other arrangements can be made.” But do you not understand me? That I am falling in love with you, although my lips will never speak of such things, (and absurdly so that I should love you in any capacity whatsoever since you keep me here against my will), my heart in its silence cries out to you, “Embrace me, hold me for a while, just say ‘I love you.’” And I will forgive all; that you have kept me here against my will, captive.

Surely you know how I feel, even though my lips can express no smile, and no sound can I utter; I can’t even follow you with my eyes! Yet, the sensation of the warm cloth, the warm water, and yes, I can smell the soap. A gentle hand towels me dry. The balm that is rubbed upon my sores, yes, it feels so good, a soothing touch. Although a rough hand is applied from time to time, I could not tell you of its owner, yet there is only one touch that I recognize, that I know has come to see if I am still here, or to see if I have managed to escape. No, I will not escape; I will not be free, until by your own hand you release me. Just tell me that you love me, acknowledge that I was once beautiful and that I was desired, and I will forgive all the days of this inordinate captivity I have suffered at your hands. Please, may your hands perform a final act of mercy and disconnect all the tubes, the breathing device that you have attached to me when you brought me to this place of captivity, this machinery that keeps me alive indifferently. I have tried to tell you through my blank wide-open comatose eyes that I have come to love you, my captor, and I am ready to leave with this concordance. Now, I have only one request of you: Do the humane thing, say, “I love you,” and unplug me.

About Robert Paul Blumenstein

Robert Paul Blumenstein has published three stories with Story Shack. "I have enjoyed the creative collaboration working with the very talented illustrators that Martin has assigned to my stories. It's been a most exciting highlight of my writing career." Robert makes his home in Midlothian, Virginia.

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