The Room


Lewis felt the need to run, though he hadn’t done anything wrong. He felt out of place moreso than regularly and the harsh lighting made him squirm. The questions being asked him were absurd at worst and annoying at best. The penalty for failing to answer was more time alone–unbearable to him at this point.

The room they sent him to was empty except for one chair and one of its walls was a mirror. He knew that this was a one-way mirror. They would provide choices for him. One day they brought in a child. Then they gave the child a meal when they hadn’t given Lewis a meal in three days–at least he imagined it was three days, but one couldn’t be sure in there. Lewis found himself taking the bread and a piece of chicken, while leaving the child the majority of the meal. The child wouldn’t speak. Lewis wondered how long they had kept the child without food for. He wondered if it could speak or was just too terrified to do so. The child would scratch at its face periodically and Lewis could see a rash forming on it. Was she allergic to something in the food? It was clear the child knew nothing more than Lewis did, she even seemed to be perplexed by the food, though she did eat some. She devoured the peaches quite quickly and licked her fingers. There was no camaraderie between them as one would expect between two people stuck in a situation together. They hardly acknowledged each other, both assuming the other had done something wrong to be put here. Lewis eventually realized he had been hogging the chair, and gently pushed it to the child’s side of the room near the knob-less door. The child ignored it. Lewis fell asleep watching the child scratch her face. When he awakened, the child had disappeared. Despite their relative lack of interaction, Lewis found himself missing the child. She was kind of cute with those pig tails.

Every once in a great while, they provided Lewis with a pen and paper. They looked dispassionate in their masks and gowns, like surgeons disinterested in the outcome of the surgery they were performing. But was this surgery, or was it something more obtuse, more crude? Was there a great mind engineering the experiments or a simple one? Lewis couldn’t decide. Again they released him to the interview room. They wanted to know why he hadn’t taken the entire meal for himself. They typed analyses of his responses furiously into their devices. Today there was a third one, an observer. Was this third person a supervisor or a student? They did not carry a device. The gowns obscured the features of the scientists such that Lewis couldn’t determine their sex. Not that it mattered, Lewis had lost his sex-drive long ago and the scientists could attest to that given some of the experiments they had performed. Lewis’ emotional numbness had come over him slowly after weeks of despair and futility eroded this capacity away. Lewis did still dream about the outside however. But the dreams were becoming more and more abstract. As though the mental picture was losing degrees of resolution each day.

He had come to expect the unexpected. He wondered if they would ever provide him a weapon, intentionally or not, with which he could put an end to their experimentation–at least with him as the subject. He knew he would never be able to escape the complex by other means. The chair could not break the mirror wall, he had tried. Little did he know that one of the scientists suddenly sympathized with him and decided to sneak him out, but was this yet another, be it unsanctioned, experiment?

Lewis was awakened. He could tell it was in the middle of his sleep cycle and thought to himself that this was the beginning of a particularly cruel experiment. But something was different. The door swung open and a flashlight shone into his eyes. A hand grabbed his and pulled him to his feet. The other hand ushered him into a wheeled bin full of soiled laundry. He let it happen. After long hallways and elevator rides and a seemingly endless series of turns, Lewis’ bin was pushed into a cold room. He arose out of the laundry. It was no room. He was out. He felt the wind and it scared him, he had forgotten it existed.

To Be Continued?

 

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