Sally woke to find herself in a long curving corridor where large grey-stoned walls rose up on either side of her, right up to a high wooden-beamed ceiling that looked as though it could be the floor for a higher storey.
The floor was cold and hard, flagstones. She was naked, she realised, propelling her out of her feeling that this was some odd dream. She looked around, feeling her dread growing. The cold stone floor was bare, as were the walls, except for flaming torches in brackets every few yards which made the shadows twitch and tremble. There was a window not too far away, shuttered with heavy wooden shutters, fastened with a bar across them.
Sally got to her feet, noticing that her body was dirty, cold and stiff where she had lain on the floor. She was covered with a thick, dark, dust which was probably mostly ash from the smoky torches up on the walls. She searched around again, but there were no clothes and nothing that could be used as clothing. The corridor was quiet and still, something about it suggested night time, but she didn’t know what.
Sally shivered, feeling a chill that also suggested night. She made her way carefully on her bare feet across the cold hard stone to the window.
‘Someone,’ she whispered to herself, mainly just so she could hear the sound of her own voice. ‘…must have lit these torches and closed the window shutters.’ She wondered if whoever it was had seen her lying there, asleep and naked on the floor, and yet done nothing about her. She shivered again, this time not from the cold.
The bar over the shutters was too heavy for Sally to lift, but, by putting her eye to the slight gap between the shutters, she could see that it was night outside; a clearer cool night with stars above the distant vague shadowed outline of trees. She turned from the window, still no wiser. Hugging her arms around herself as she shivered, Sally, slowly and cautiously, made her way along the corridor and around its long slow curve… then stopped.
There - a few yards in front of Sally - was another young woman, also naked and asleep on the floor.
As Sally watched, the other woman began to stir, to wake.