When he opened his eyes, a bright light hit him, though despite its brilliance, it did not make him flinch. He felt warmth from it, but it did not make him perspire. He turned around and saw behind him unfocussed blobs, like muted watercolor brush strokes. Their shapes looked familiar, like houses and buildings and maybe patches of green grass and trees, but he could only vaguely make them out. And they seemed to get fuzzier the more he tried looking at them. Instead, the bright light appeared focused and clean. He walked towards the light until it enveloped him. He had no hesitation about moving towards it. My time has come, he told himself.
Moments later, new surroundings took him by surprise.
“I must have blacked out,” he told himself.
That was the only way he could explain where he ended up. The brilliant light which totally surrounded every inch of his being had evaporated and left him walking down a long, door-less corridor. Slender, nickel-plated fluorescent light sconces lined the walls on both sides near the ceiling. The space was so closed in that it felt as though the corridor would shrink in on him as he progressed. But at no point did the ceiling lower, the floor rise, or the walls close in.
“This isn’t what I expected,” he muttered, as the corridor went on and on.
He looked behind him, but saw no trace of the light he passed through. He just saw more of the corridor, as if he had been walking its length forever.
That made him pause. He suddenly realized that he had no concept of time. He checked his wrist and confirmed that he did not wear a watch, though he did appear clothed. He wondered if he would ever get tired, but despite all the walking, he never experienced fatigue. His feet didn’t ache. His knees gave him no trouble. His hips remained silent. Indeed, his whole body felt relaxed, as if he were lounging in a recliner, not trudging down an endless corridor.
As monotonous as the corridor had become, he did finally settle his mind and relaxed. At that point he saw an end. A grey door appeared where none had been before. It got closer as he walked towards it, until finally it stood within touching distance. The door handle was curved in a retro sort of way and also nickel-plated, matching the sconces. He turned the handle and the door opened.
He walked into a waiting room so familiar looking that it creeped him out. He couldn’t recall where he had seen it all, which baffled him. Why would it look familiar? He had never been to this place. On the far wall he saw a sign instructing new arrivals to sit down and wait to be called on. Being the obedient sort, he sat on one of the leather sofas. And he waited.
No one else entered the room. He saw only the door he came through and a single door on the opposite side, just under the sign instructing new arrivals to sit down and wait. He still did not experience fatigue or the passage of time, per se, though he began wondering if this was it. Had he reached the end of the line? He couldn’t imagine such a fate.
“I’ve done nothing wrong,” he muttered, hoping no one would hear him and take offense.
Was he to spend an eternity in this little room that looked creepily familiar? Why must it be this way, he wondered. Though in time, once again, his mind began to relax.
“Ernest Charles Little!” a voice yelled out. “Come in!”
Having recognized his own name, and being the only one in the waiting room anyway, he got up and went to the door opposite the one he entered. Again, the space looked familiar, too familiar. It creeped him out. Furthermore, it certainly didn’t look very grand. Mismatched, used furniture? And the window looked out into a parking lot, though even that view was obscured by the other wing of the building. In other words, it wasn’t much of a view at all. Still, it creeped him out.
Why is this place so disconcerting, he wondered. The last thing he expected was to be creeped out.
All the elements of the room – the used desk, the beige filing cabinet, the wilting potted plant in the corner – had distracted his attention from the person behind the desk. But that was the biggest creep out of them all. He literally jerked his head back when he saw him.
To Be Continued. . .
© 2013, gar. All rights reserved.