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The Scream

by Julie Eberhart Painter

Comfortable in my frame, I press close to the wall. It’s humid, oppressively hot for this busy museum in Oslo, but I’m adjusting. Then two hooded men smash through the door on an ill wind. They approach, their eyes searching. Everyone is looking at me.

I scream.

“Get people out!” A guard yells. “One has a gun. Hurry!”

The crowd scatters.

I’m jerked from my place and stuffed in a black bag. I can’t breathe! I scream. I can’t breathe. But no one hears. Blackness snuffs my senses.

Where am I? In a car, in a truck, a train? Going where?

They rip at my frame and roll me into a tunnel. My scream is muted.

I wake in a huge attic, curled in a fetal pose. A man in a smoking jacket sits watching me while he puffs on his pipe. He swings his feet onto the hardwood floor and walks toward me, squinting. His cold hands press me flat. Is he going to hurt me? Burn me?

The smoke. The smoke! I try to cough, but it comes out a silent scream.

A prisoner, my scream has turned to a whimper.

Much later, I feel myself bouncing along a rough gravel road. The vehicle stops. I lie there waiting.

Circling lights play across my face. Too bright. But I can’t close my eyes. I drift in a green haze. A flashlight awakens me.

“Over here! I found her,” a man calls. He’s wearing a smock and holding a magnifying glass.

Everyone is looking at me.

Now I can scream again.

The Scream

Copyright © 2007 by Julie Eberhart Painter

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