Princess Leia Organa slammed her eyes shut as the light came pouring into her cell. The clang of the metal tray against the duracrete floor had no affect on her anymore. She felt the wetness on her shins before the stench of sour blue milk assaulted her nostrils. Glancing at the putrid heap in the corner and back at the food just brought to her, she slung the tray and its contents over towards it – saving her body the trouble.
“Suit yourself,” the voice growled at her as she heard the heavy door slam shut, dousing the penetrating light and enveloping her in darkness once again.
Her head fell back against the wall and she clutched her stomach. She felt the familiar wrench and crawled her way to the corner as her body lurched and she spat and coughed. Resting back on her haunches she sat there for a little while, waiting to ensure that the urge had passed. Spinning back around towards the door she crawled until her palms felt the sticky, cool sensation of the blue milk. Resting her head against the floor, she began to sip.
Turning over on her back, she let the milk dribble down her cheek and into her hair. She strained to see the ceiling but only the darkness presented itself. Were her eyes even open? She spread her body against the floor, arms out, legs separated and concentrated on her breathing. In and out. In through her nose and out through her mouth and then vice versa. What a marvelous thing the body was. Why did hers continue to function? For how much longer and to what end?
She awoke, spread eagle on her back on the floor. How long had she slept? What was time anymore? Days, weeks, months had surely passed her by already. Why didn’t they just kill her? Was she worth anything to anyone anymore? How long ago had it been since the bottom fell out? Somewhere over Coruscant. Their victory had been reversed. The Empire had made a final stand. Endor was just another Yavin, a temporary win against an enemy that would never die.
Where were Han and Luke and Chewie? How many servings of rotten blue milk ago had she given up on them? Given up on turning her face up to the wretched, blinding light and hearing the words, “I’m Luke Skywalker and I’m here to rescue you.”? What kind of galaxy raged on beyond that heavy door that had prevented them from finding her? She had lost the desire to find that out.
The scraping, dragging sound of her cell door opening grated on her thoughts. As the flood of light washed over her she thought, my eyes are closed.
“Get up!” the raspy booming voice yelled at her.
“Get up, you heaping piece of rotten stench,” the voice spat out as Leia felt her head knock around to one side, spinning her body around like a compass in a Maw.
Rolling over to her side, she balled herself up, knees to her chest, hands over her head.
“You’re getting out, ya damn wench! Now get up!”
The jolt to her back knocked the wind out of her and brought back up whatever blue milk she had previously forced down. Pushing herself up to her knees, her hair hanging wet and heavy to the ground beneath her she coughed and spat and croaked out, “Wha..?” Her vocal cords burned at the unfamiliar burden of sound and Leia didn’t even recognize the unfamiliar voice that echoed through the cell block.
“Get up! And Get out! That’s what’s what!” the voice yelled as she felt a tightening around her arm and her feet dangling on the floor. Her ankles rolled over and her knees wobbled like her bones had been replaced with jelly.
The dull pain of her knees scraping against the duracrete battled with the stinging in her eyes as she was dragged out of her cell. Grey, drab walls with dusty lighting moved slowly overhead like a faulty holomovie, fading in and out with each heavy blink of her eyes. As her body turned over and her heels dragged behind her on the floor she filled her lungs with the unfamiliar treat of air not laced with mildew and the stench of human waste.
Dropping her down like a rag doll, Leia heard a faint beeping and then the hiss of a door sliding open. There was a blinding light and a stinging warmth that assaulted her body. The feel of what could only be real daylight pricked at the tiny recesses of her mind. Without a word and without prompt, she rolled over on her knees and quickly crawled towards the warm sensation.
Finding her burst of energy quickly exhausted, Leia fell down on her stomach as she heard the door hiss shut behind her. Breathing heavily, she inhaled dust and dirt, the welcome filth that felt like freedom clogging her lungs and causing her to sputter and cough. She felt a hand on her shoulder, not heavy or crushing; it turned her over and onto her back.
Her eyes glued shut, begging for tears that her body could not produce, Leia could still see the sunshine through her eyelids, hot and bright – it felt like salvation.
She coughed and turned her head, as she felt the owner of that voice crouch down beside her. Gently pushing the hair out of her face, Leia’s chest lurched at the tender, welcome touch.
“Leia,” she croaked out with her own unused voice. Confirming the question not only for the stranger, but for herself as well.
...to be continued...