Now, my dear prisoner, I have good news and bad news. Which would you like to hear first?
The bad news? Yes, I suppose that’s a good idea. Hear that first, to get it over with.
Well, the bad news is that the rest of your life is going to be spent down here, and it is going to be utterly miserable. Your hands will stay cuffed behind your back like that forever, and the hobble chain between your ankles isn’t going away either. You won’t be able to stand up, or even crawl, but you should be able slowly to wriggle around, like a maggot, to get across this cold stone floor. You can scream and shout if you like. No one will hear you. Not even me, and there’s no one else for miles around.
There’s more bad news too. In a moment I’ll be leaving, and I’m going to switch off the light and close the door. So it’ll be pitch dark down here – you’re now in the last few moments of light that you’ll ever experience.
That’s right – look at me. This is the last time you’ll ever see anything. Remember me.
More bad news, I’m afraid. You’re going to die down here. But not immediately. There’s plenty of water and I’ve left some piles of food around. Some of the food’s fresh, so if you can find it, as you inch around in the dark, I’d eat that first, as otherwise it’s going to start rotting. But there’s quite a lot of dry food that should be edible for a few months.
But then that’s it. One day, you’ll be painfully wriggling across the floor in the dark; sniffing and licking wherever you go to try to find more food, and there just won’t be any left. But of course, you’ll never be sure that you’ve found it all, so you’ll probably keep trying, as you get weaker, hopelessly dragging yourself back and forth trying everywhere in this pitch black cellar, until you starve to death – alone, in the dark, with no one to care.
So that’s the bad news.
The good news? Oh – erm, yes, now there was some good news. What was it? Goodness, it’s completely slipped my mind. Oh I don’t suppose it matters. Whatever it was, I’m sure it didn’t really concern you anyway.