Darkness all around. Freezing air seeps from a small crack near her feet. Not much, but enough to revive her, and Alex stretches out her arms. Her hands touch the smooth surface of a door, the notch where a shelf should be. She tries to shift but realizes that she can’t turn her body in the cramped space. Oh God, it’s a refrigerator.
She’s inside a refrigerator.
Alex doesn’t know how she got here. The last thing she does remember is walking to the library on campus. Now she’s trapped in this box. She knows she’s in her underwear, and she’s freezing.
She tries to access. The refrigerator is dark and lifeless. Her knees are pushed up against her chest, and her body aches. The back of her head feels sticky, and she wonders if whoever put her in this box thought she was already dead or wanted to prolong her agony.
How long has she been here? Her mouth feels dry, and her breath comes in small gasps. She tells herself to get a grip. Take a deep breath and find the air source. When she strains to look between her feet, she sees a tiny shaft of pale light.
Early morning or evening?
Where is she? She’s so cold she wants to curl into a ball and sleep, but she knows she can’t.
She has to escape, but she doesn’t have the strength to push open the door, even when she puts her shoulder into it. Her head throbs, and a round face smiles at her. His eyes are colorless and his thick red lips curve into a cruel smile.
“I follow you home every night, Alex.”
Please, she thinks, someone help me.
She tries to stand, but there isn’t enough room. Still it gives her an idea. She braces herself against the sides and tries to push back and forth. Despite the cold, sweat runs down her back, and she grunts from the pain when she realizes one of her arms is probably broken. It doesn’t matter.
“Help me!” She screams with all the desperation she can muster and throws herself backwards. The refrigerator rocks, then slides, then tumbles down an embankment, the door catching on a piece of steel.
Sunlight floods the interior along with cold air and the putrid smell of rotting garbage. Sea gulls fly overhead. Alex crawls out of her coffin, shivering in the cold. It is early afternoon. Down below garbage trucks are bringing their hauls. She drags herself to her feet, and is about to make her way down the hill when she sees the note taped to the door.
It reads: “Congratulations, Alex. You win Round One.”