Chapter Twenty-One

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The small cupboard was plunged into darkness as the realisation that I was locked in finally started to set in.

I turned as much as possible in the confined space, knocking the basket of linen over and spilling it across the floor. My back pressed into one of the shelves as I grabbed hold of the door handle and twisted it towards me, pulling the door as hard as I could. It remained shut. Panic overtook me, and I tugged on the door handle several more times, hoping there had been some sort of mistake, but the door remained shut. Around my feet lay the discarded pillowcases and blankets, the small floor of the cupboard becoming nothing more than where I stood. I couldn't turn around, couldn't move, couldn't see.

Banging my fist as hard as I could on the door, I continued to tug at the door handle, to no avail. My heart pounded against my ribcage, threatening to burst out of my chest. The side of the hand ached the longer I banged it against the wood of the door, hoping that someone would hear me trapped inside. Panic gripped my entire body. My breathing started to shake and come out ragged and almost uncontrolled. I felt trapped. Isolated in the darkness of the cupboard with no way out, no matter how long or hard I wrapped my fist against the door.

After several minutes of hitting the door, I slumped back against the shelves, the wood digging in my back. I placed a hand on my chest and felt my heart beating rapidly, my breathing was still fast and ragged and nothing I could do could stop it. Beads of sweat dribbled down my forehead, the room feeling as though there was a roaring fire in the corner.

It felt like the walls were closing in.

I pushed my back off the shelves and leant my forehead against the cold wood of the door and continued knocking. The confined space swam and moved around me as sweat continued to dribble down my face. My breathing was coming out harder, my chest burned, my hand ached. After what felt like an eternity knocking my fist against the door, I slapped the palm of my hand against the wood, ignoring the pain that spread through my arm. The slap echoed through the small room and I felt any hope that someone would find me dissolve. Esther and Miss Jenkins were in the kitchen and the rest of the Ealing family were entertaining Mr Warrington and his son.

To relieve the heat, I removed my bonnet, running my fingers across the top of my head, collecting all of the loose hair as I went. I dropped the bonnet onto the floor and took a deep, shaky breath. My hands were shaking, and the room felt like it was swaying under my feet. Raising my hand for a second time, I slammed it against the door, ignoring the pain completely as I repeated the motion twice more, the sound echoing through the small space. As I lifted my hand to do it again, the echo of footsteps travelled towards me. The sound filled the room, slipping in through the small crack at the bottom of the door.

"Hello? Open the door!" I yelled, banging my fist.

"Rosie?" Esther's voice asked.

"Someone locked me in!" The panic was growing in my voice.

"Wait a second."

I took my forehead off the door, pressing my back into the shelves behind me as I listened to Esther fiddle around with the key until the click sounded and the door swung open. The moment the door was opened, the room was basked in the afternoon sun. I brushed passed Esther and into the hallway, collapsing back against the wall. Even though I had escaped the room, my breathing was still ragged, my hands were still shaking and sweat was still dribbling down the side of my face. Esther stood beside me, her lips were moving but I couldn't hear any sound. All I could hear was my own breathing and my heart hammering away inside of my chest, threatening to escape even though the threat had passed.

Sliding down the wall, I pulled my legs into my chest and placed my head against my knees, breathing into my dress. I ran my hands up and down my legs, hoping the movement would somewhat calm me down. It was a routine I had gotten myself into back at the factory, making myself as small as I possibly could and ignoring everything that was going on around me to focus entirely on my breathing and heart rate.

The Factory Girl // Book 1 in the Rosie Grey seriesWhere stories live. Discover now