he wasn't allowed to touch anything-- nothing except the sheets on his bed and the tiny pillow he was allowed, and really, it would have been awful hard because honestly there wasn't a damn thing in that little(more) box.
there were no lamps. every socket in the room was capped with something hard and plastic, breaking a handful of tommy's nails after he attempted to pry them off. the nail-beds would bleed and, undoubtedly, the sheets would become an open canvas for pollock replicas rather than the thin veil of comfort they had been intended for.
he received food-- like clockwork --every four hours, whether it was a snack or a sizable meal, except tommy would usually refused. they didn't force. never forced, just left it there in case he bothered to change his mind.
he didn't understand.
people came by, knocked on his door, let words drip out of their mouths, and then hurried on back to wherever they came from. sometimes his head would hurt. they would ask questions. time progressed in odd, jagged intervals.
one day, he spoke.
the lady-- whoever she was --went quiet. she gaped at him, mouth a little trembling thing that seemed to quake in a combination of alarm and pleasant surprise, and nodded slowly as if this information could still hurt him.
"i know that," tommy found himself staring at the patchy, rug burned edges of his knees. "i've always known that."
the lady's head drooped to one side-- sympathy, his mind provided --and her mouth formed a little "o." she vocalized it then, and: "but tommy, why didn't you say anything?"
tommy pressed a thumb to a bruise in the soft part of his knee.