The Price of Comfort

She huddled against the wall and squatted on the floor allowing the boards to cool her warm legs. There were crude markings on the wall like those of Robinson Crusoe and the tally had now reached twelve. Under the strain of the heat, she looked around futilely for some air. From the door crack open, a few inches wide, yellow light streamed in from the staircase. If memory served her right, ‘sunlight’ she said aloud as she observed the light illuminating the small particles of dust in the air.

This was the first time he had been careless. She could leave, she thought, knowing he would be back only an hour later. But she had grown to like it here. Sure, they were his rules but she had learnt to adjust. It’s ‘Give and take’, he always said.

The initial days were the hardest- when he always kept her in shackles or bound tightly. Her stuffed unicorn reminded her of home and brought about acts of defiance and resistance. So he got rid of the only connection she retained with home. But as she wiped away her tears and complied with him, he had rewarded her with new toys.

She knew what would bring on punishment and learnt to do all the right things. Slowly, her home in the basement, windows boarded up had a collection of stuffed toys from childhood and her recent desires of books.

She knew she should escape but what would she do out there in the world- without anything to live for and with no one to care for her. Memories of home had faded and this was her home now. Maybe she even loved him. She pictured herself watching TV in the room upstairs, where she had never been in all these years. He had promised her that for her eighteenth birthday, which was in a couple of days.

As she heard the car honk announcing his arrival, she started disrobing, knowing he would have missed her.

–333 words

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abusefrom their captors for an act of kindness.

Written for Trifecta Writing Challenge


  b : a sudden sharp noise 2: a sharp witty remark : quip 3a : a narrow break : fissure      b : a narrow opening —used figuratively in phrases like fall through the cracks to describe one that has been improperly or inadvertently ignored or left out – See more at:

15 thoughts on “The Price of Comfort

  1. This is perfect. Creepy. Disheartening. Yucky because of what’s happening to this child. But perfect in its unfortunate plausibility and for the fact that it’s tackling such a taboo subject unflinchingly. Perfect.

  2. This is amazing. I tried to get through all 100 entries this week, but failed miserably. I would’ve missed yours if the judges hadn’t (rightfully) awarded it first place. Such a powerful, sad piece. You presented a heart wrenching topic with grace. Excellent job!

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