I opened my eyes. How long had I been sleeping? Had I even been sleeping? I searched the depths of my memory and eventually was certain that there were no remnants of lying down to try to sleep the night previous. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light surrounding me, I began to realise that I was in a completely unfamiliar room, the walls painted a blood-red, a colour I had never seen adorning the inside of a building. I saw framed pictures lining the walls but they were hard to see, due to the single, dimly lit bulb that was hanging from the roof. It was swinging, causing shadows to dance across the red stained walls, despite the fact there was no breeze to speak of.
I began to desperately piece together the jigsaw puzzle of my situation. It seemed I was safe; there was no immediate threat present. I still maintained all four limbs; and it certainly felt like no orifice had been penetrated; a certain positive. But as my eyes slowly adjusted to the eerie orange glow of the small room, I came to an alarming realisation. Despite the beautiful artwork littering the walls, the massive queen sized bed I had arisen from, the room I was in did not have a door. No windows, air vent, nor a man-hole within the ceiling of the room. I instantly panicked, not in any physical way, but I felt as if my mind was imploding into itself, all logical thoughts ceasing as if I was mentally speechless. I began to study the room surrounding me with greater scrutiny, and an unsettling vague sense of familiarity washed over me. I have seen these paintings, somewhere in the past. One of those days, one of those rare occasions when I ventured outdoors into that world of… People.
Months ago, for the first time in many weeks, I had tasted the fresh air of mother nature and she had, for the first time in my life, filled my lungs with hope. I stared at the sky for hours on end, and admired the incredible blue, the amazing texture and movement of the clouds. I saw the branches of the trees swaying in the wind and I felt at one with nature. l walked through the public art gallery which was filled with the magnificent works of artists past, stimulating my soul like nothing previous.
The paintings in this room were not any I saw at that gallery – disturbingly they all seemed to be distorted versions of the beauty I saw that day. A beautiful, painstakingly rendered imaged of a forest with almost purple, snow-capped mountains in the background stared at me as if it had eyes. I then realised that the painting did indeed possess a pair of eyes, eyes that were watching my every movement. I jumped backwards and let out some type of yelp as I saw the eyes blink. I closed my own eyes and looked away. Next to this painting was one of a women’s face that would have been beautiful, had she possessed a pair of eyes that the painting to my left seemed to have stolen. Next I saw a framed squared of pure black, with nothing else except a single line of blood leaking down the entire painting, moving and creating a growing puddle on the floor.
Questions pounded my brain into submission. What is this? What am I here? How could I have even entered this fucking room!? Am I awake? Is this some sort of punishment for my behaviour, a sick simulation of some sort? As much as I hate them for it, I probably deserve it, though my memory isn’t being of much use to me as I have no idea what I have done. How else should a conspiring, manipulative bastard be treated? Their doctors had labeled me insane with delusions of grandeur, in addition to being in a state of ‘permanent psychosis’; a disgusting, amoral being; an example of a disease to our kind.
The Unseen, while privately announcing my insanity, were punishing me for it.
The ceiling fan in this inconceivable room was rotating as slow as imaginable, and I yearned to stop its movement as it created unbearable, dancing shadows, flickering thanks to the third world-like light bulb hanging by a thread from the dirty ceiling. I scoured the walls of the room as hard as I could, but a switch for the fan eluded me. It was permanently stuck on ‘one’, and the constantly slowly moving shadows were slowly eroding my sanity.
My ears suddenly picked up a faint sound in the distance, somewhere. The words had no meaning, they seemed to be in a language other than my own, but I was in no doubt, I could faintly hear something. No… not something. Someone. Many ones. Uncountable ones. Unseen ones. Their voices were faint, but I could hear them, and I knew instantly that they were conspiring against me, gut laughing at the absurd situation that I found myself in, and the utter confusion that I was experiencing. There was no way I could make out any intelligible words, not because of a differing language, but because their words now were firing at an unbearable rate. Jabbering and conspiring constantly, the amount of voices I could hear were having serious effects, sending waves of unbearable pain down my spine as if I had been struck by lightning multiple times. While having a seizure.
Now lying on the floor, I began studying these paintings from an upside-down perspective until suddenly the voices became louder and somehow even faster. There were so many of them talking so fast that I jammed my fingers in my ears to ward off the torture. But this somehow made it louder. Panic began to truly seep into my soul as the confusion rose to unimaginable levels. Were these voices in my head?? The volume knob was very slowly being inched up consistently as my sanity plunged further and further into the deepest of oceans. I was desperately searching my memory to point me to how I arrived here, to who was torturing me. But my efforts were fruitless, always fruitless. I was in a door-less room. The entire concept was incomprehensible, it was logically impossible yet it was my physical reality. This was no dream, my arm red from pinching myself. I was glued and handcuffed to this awful room. This was my new life, my new reality.
The Unseen, while privately announcing my insanity, were punishing me for it. I had now lost all perception of time, as if I had consumed vast amounts of LSD. I was sure that I had been here for hours on end, contemplating, looking and listening to the voices that I couldn’t possibly interpret. I walked towards the bed that I had originally risen from and sat down, my hands almost pulling my hair out in utter paranoia, disbelief, shock; a spitting cauldron of fierce emotions. Suddenly, finally, I was able to interpret something. It was only one word, but it was enough to remove the use of my legs.
I toppled off the bed like a rock, hitting the ground in a shattered heap of a human being, a pathetic excuse for a man. Painful bolts of electricity shot down my spine, continuing down my legs and to the soles of my feet. I could barely move. After endless, uncountable hours, or minutes, of rapid fire conversation that I was now convinced was English, this solitary word was enough to psychically affect me. But this was the least of my worries.
I groaned like an elderly man to force myself back to my feet, and despite the physical and mental pain, I was successful. I began to bang on the walls as hard as I was physically able. My hands and fists began to bleed as I began to realise the painfully obvious for a second time; I was trapped, with no possible way out. I began to hear uncontrollable laughter when my legs gave out from under me again, as I once again collapsed against my own will.
I had always laughed at the Christians, the Catholics; their wild imaginations and concepts of eternal Hell… yet here I was. There simply was no other way to describe it. The laughter was becoming louder and faster; it was becoming intolerable. I was being ridiculed by these individuals that I couldn’t see, that I didn’t know… hell, I didn’t even know if they were of the human species.
The confusion was overwhelming and began to create a piercing ache in the right side of my head, my temple, as if a nail had been hammered into the side of my skull by an extremely unskilled tradesmen. The pain was now washing over my rational thought process, and I now couldn’t think normally: I couldn’t feel. All I could hear was the constant laughter, coming from all directions, drowning out everything. I tried my best to pinpoint where the noise was coming from. What part of these disgusting, blood red walls was housing these torturous howls of laughter?
I attempted to find the exact point, but my legs were no longer functioning. I attempted to walk and even as I leaned against the wall, holding myself upright, my legs gave out yet again and I collapsed into another pathetic heap of desperate humanity. I decided to crawl in circles around the room, determined to locate the source of this laughter, determined to destroy it with all the power I could muster, albeit without a pair of legs to help.
I crawled towards the black painting. As I did the noise became deafening, transforming from mere laughter into a piercing, shrill shriek that felt like it could split my brain in two.
Despite this, despite now being unable to hear or feel anything but the laughter, I cupped my ears to the wall beneath the jet black painting. I knew instantly that I had found them, I had outsmarted them despite their attempts to destroy my mind, my body, my sanity. I summoned all the strength within me and stood up, and as my legs wobbled I managed to rip the black painting off the wall. For what seemed like a brief moment, but what could have been an eternity, I stared into the black hole of the framed piece I was holding in my hand. The laughter was fading away, finally.
After staring at the painting, I began tearing it apart violently, shredding it to pieces and hurling the delicately designed frame towards the wall. The blood from the painting sprayed over me, and the sickly smell of it was human. Upon doing this though, the laughter returned in volume.
For a fourth time I hit the ground, stretched out on the floor, unable to move, sapped of all remaining strength. I could hear more of them laughing at me; I closed my eyes and I could see them pointing at me, falling over and clutching their stomachs in disbelief.
Lying on the floor, the panic began to truly seep into my soul as the confusion rose to unimaginable levels. Were these voices in my head?? The volume knob was very slowly being inched up. I crawled over to the spot just below where the painting had been hanging, and began to head-butt the wall with all the force I could muster, desperately trying to ignore the laughter that was still increasing in volume, in speed and in numbers.
All I wished for now was a stop to the eternal noise, so I again drove my skull into the wall with the force of a battering ram. The irony of acting like this was seemingly lost on me as all I had managed to do was create yet more noise. My own blood began to trickle down the already blood red walls as wide lacerations formed across my forehead and the top of my bald head. The laughter had become deafening, as if I was attending a live music show and desperately needed earplugs.
Black began to seep into my eyesight, creeping closer and closer towards the centre of my vision, and despite the willpower I was exerting to fight the black, to ward it off, it won as it enveloped all of my vision. Blind, stripped of the sense most vital to me, it became clear that the fight was over. I was still unable to move but I could feel the stickiness of my own blood surrounding me; I could smell it and could taste it as it covered half of my face. Curiously, the laughter had begun to fade the moment I lost my sight. I’d have thought that the hilarity of seeing their subject struck blind by his own actions was cause for a party. But something else was happening, and suddenly the laughter became irrelevant.
For a brief moment, I thought I heard the faint sound of wood creaking, as if someone was walking down an old and worn staircase. I then felt the floor I was sprawled across begin to bend under my weight; it was clear now what the creaking sound was.
The floorboards beneath me gave way and disappeared, leaving behind only black. I was thrown into a blind free-fall, the destination unknown.
written by jordan dodd ©
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