A room in lieu


FLASH FICTION:YOU WAKE up to find yourself on a bed in a room. The door is locked but you see the key in it, on the inside. The idea of turning the key does not even enter your mind, it all feels self-contained and you don’t want to exit, you just want to be there, in the room, for a while.

For some reason or other you don’t feel hungry, there is no reason to leave, to move even, so you stay there, you stay still. The outside exits, you know this, you know it well, sounds can be heard, they seem far off, far away, almost as if they don’t exist. But you can hear the wind in all its movement, gusting, thrusting dust into the cold air out there on the other side.

Looking around, you see something move. The fireplace, with ashes, embers and the end of the smouldering sticks from a chair that was going to give way any minute . . . You remember sitting on it the night before, full sure that it was just a dream. Remnants and the remaining smoke let you know that it was all so real. The chair is now released to join the air outside, at least part of it, the departed, deported particles.

It’s warm in the room, the radiator is on, you can tell from the cobwebs dancing just above it by the ceiling-wall coving, old cobwebs that quiver with the movement of excited atoms but quake the spider’s landscape when the radiator bleeds.

A newspaper clipping taped to the wall above shows the rising air’s consequence. Words dance, they come and go, remain on the page to be replaced by a fresh page of a past paper, days go by but words and sentences stick around as long as they can be seen, even if not wholly understood.

You hear a sigh, your own, or is it the outside? The room is bright with fresh sunlight seeping through the stained lace curtain. Closing your eyes, a ticking can be heard, a clock type ticking, ticking away time to pass it.

There’s no clock in the room, just a light, white circle on the wall where one once was, the nail in the wall being the only visible evidence that once was there to begin with, and the outline of a circle of an anti-shadow.

The ticking, however, remains, you are sure of it. Listen. Perhaps you are imagining it, you could be, who is to know? Time certainly won’t tell, how can it? It’s barely aware of its own instruments, much like you, and the spider, almost.

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