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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Microstory 822: The Room

I’ve been in this room for years now. At least that’s what I assume. I’ve never seen the sun, so keep tracking of time is pretty difficult. I’m not sure where this light is coming from, but it’s always at the same dimness, so I’ve had to get used to sleeping with it. That wasn’t the hardest part, though, because I don’t have a blanket or pillow either. There’s a hole in the corner that no one told me was a toilet, but I’ve been using it as such for years now, and have experienced no consequences for it. Once a day, when I wake from sleep, there’s a crate of new supplies. Gruel, water, vitamins, my daily allotment of toilet paper, and hand sanitizer, if I’ve run out. At least they don’t want me getting some disease from a lack of hygiene. Still, I wouldn’t say no to a shower, or even a bath. I’ve tried staying awake long enough to see where each new crate comes from, but like children and Santa Claus, if I’m not asleep, I get nothing. There’s also no door, and no seams on the walls to hide one. I think they knocked me out...built it around me. All I do, day in, day out, is eat, make waste, and sleep. I have nothing to watch, nothing to read, nothing to draw with. No playing cards, no pull-up bar, no life. I just here and wait. I don’t know how I got here, but the most important question is why I’m here. I have no real memories of before the room. I know I’ve ridden in cars, trains, and airplanes. I know I’ve had real food, and read books, and met other people like me. I have fragments of these experiences, but couldn’t actually describe them to you. Perhaps it’s all just my semantic memory disguising itself as episodic memory. Then again, the fact that I know what the difference between those kinds of memories is must say something about what kind of life I led before the room.

One day, I wake up and there is not crate of supplies. Oh well, I still have enough hand sanitizer, and I always save a little bit of toilet paper, just in case something like this happens. I’m grateful for my forethought now. I see something weird out of the corner of my eye, but the room has never changed before, so I must be imagining it. I just turn back around and stare at the corner for the next several hours. I fall asleep at some point, and wake up the next day to find myself crateless yet again. That thing is still there, though; that thing I barely recognize, that was never there before, and I guess isn’t an hallucination. I start staring at it and realize I know exactly what it is: a door. Doors are meant to get in and out of places. Like with everything else, I recall having many times opened and closed doors, but I can’t point to a specific instance of it. I crawl over toward the new door, which is my only mode of transportation. Since they give me, maybe 800 calories a day, I can’t exactly sprint over there. I reach for the handle, knowing for sure that it’ll be locked, but before my fingers can touch it, it disappears, and reappears behind me. Maybe I am hallucinating, because I have no vague memories of doors that can move around on their own. I hoof it over to its new location, and try to open it once more, but it moves again. While it’s at its new place, I don’t touch it at all, but inspect it closely. I see nothing between the door itself, and the frame that surrounds it. I think it’s unlocked, but I still need to figure out how to keep it from jumping away from me. This goes on for three days, at which point one glass of water begins appearing every time I wake up for the day. It’s three more weeks before my food also returns, and the door disappears completely. What I imagine is another three years, the cycle starts over. And this pattern continues for decades, until my body can take it no longer, and I’m lying on my back, near death. It is only then that the door finally opens. A man walks in and kneels over me. “Now you know what it feels like,” he says. And then it’s all over.

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