One day, Brenda woke up in a tiny cage.
“Good morning Brenda, you are in a tiny cage” explained a disembodied voice.
“But why?” Brenda asked as she rubbed her bleary eyes.
“You are trapped,” the voice continued, ignoring Brenda’s question “and if there is any way of escaping, we’re not going to tell you about it.”
Brenda started to panic, her breathing quickened and she began to hurl her body against the walls of the cage.
“Let me out!” she screamed “LET ME OUT!”
The cage grew smaller.
“The cage is growing smaller,” offered the voice in a helpful tone “and it will continue to do so any time that you struggle.”
Brenda forced herself to slow her breathing. “Okay,” she thought “this isn’t so bad, I just have to keep still and accept my fate. I can live like this, there is still so much beauty in this new little world of mine” and she quietly admired a ray of sunlight that was illuminating some specks of dust as they gently danced in the cool spring air, just outside of her little cage.
For a few months, Brenda was content.
Sometimes, she even felt an incredible joy that made her feel grateful for her life. Just as often, she felt a boredom so excruciating that she wondered how she might bear it but because she knew there was no escape, she would simply bite down on her own tongue or the inside of her cheeks so that they were always covered in bloodied ulcers.
But it wasn’t such a bad life, really.
Autumn came and the cage started to shrink again.
“Why?” Brenda cried in despair as the walls pushed in so close that her organs started to squash and her spine started to snap “I played by the rules!”
The voice chuckled indulgently.
“Oh, how cute, you thought you had some control over this.”