Sci-Fi, horror etc., I hate "classifications".
It's a story. There will be "love" in it, toward the end. So, is it a "romance" now? And of course, there is "mystery" as well.
Check your preconceptions before reading. Then, any helpful, constructive critiques are welcome.
Enjoy. Or not.
The man winced as his bare feet touched the hard, frigid floor. He groaned and
shook his head, his hands gripping the coarse white sheet beneath him. His green,
bloodshot eyes blinked as they focused. In front of him were an opaque window, and an
almost featureless door. In a half-conscious stupor, the man raised himself off the bed and
shuffled toward the door.
The door was solid, white, and smooth. It was bordered with a black seal around
its edges, and a silver handle protruded on the right side He flexed his fingers, grasped
the handle, and turned.
He grasped more firmly, twisting the door handle hard. It did not budge.
"Oh, mother!" He moaned, pulling back his now sore hand. As he rubbed his
hand, the man glanced up above the door. A clear dome above the door flashed a red
light for a few seconds, then stopped. He reached for the door handle again, while fixing
his gaze upon the dome above the door. He gave the handle a gentle twist. The light
above the door flashed red again, then ceased.
He observed the dome for a few seconds after it stopped flashing. He then stood
still, and listened. There was a vague sensation of air moving, and he was aware of his
own, laboured breathing. Yet, there were no sounds.
"This is bloody queer," the man whispered to himself, "bloody queer indeed."
A splash of colour to his left caught the man’s attention. On the bare white wall
hung an olive coloured tweed coat on one hook, and matching trousers on a hook next to
the coat. Beneath them, on the floor, was a pair of black loafers. The man blinked as he
stared at the suit on the wall, then glanced down at his chest.
He grasped at the material on his torso. The shirt felt pliable, yet coarse and firm.
The material he wore was much like the sheet on the bed. The trousers he was wearing
were of the same white fabric.
The man stepped over to the coat, lifting it from the hook. He examined the
inside of the collar, and read the name stitched in the fabric,
"John W. Smith," he mumbled to himself, "you had one too many pints last
night." Smith threw the coat onto the bed, then placed the trousers and shoes next to the
coat. He spun around quickly, looking for his suit shirt and undergarments.
The word echoed dully in the bland, sterile room.
"Beggin’ your pardon, might I get a bit of help here?"
Smith spun slowly in place, surveying his surroundings. Farther to the left from
where his suit had hung was a waist high counter top. On the plain wall was the outline
of a small door, cupboard-sized, with no visible handle. Further along, the counter’s
surface dipped into the form of a basin. He placed a hand into the depression, and
water poured out from a small hole in the side.
Smith was taken aback by the unexpected stream of water, but instinctively
placed both hands in the basin, and proceeded to splash water on his face.
As he stepped away from the counter, he spotted a clean white towel next to the
basin. Smith proceeded to dry his face and hands, exhaling deeply while wiping away
the refreshing water.
He placed the crumpled, damp towel on the counter. He stared at it briefly. He
could not remember seeing it on the counter a moment ago…
"Too many pints."
At that moment, Smith felt a pressure in his lower abdomen. He noticed a closet-
sized cubby in the wall, on the other side of the bed. He walked to the tiny room, and
thankfully found what appeared to be a commode. It was oddly shaped, but it appeared
that it would work for what he needed.
Smith fumbled with his pajama / trousers, finding neither buttons nor a zipper.
There was a seam where the buttons should be, and he proceeded to pull on it. The
pressure built in his bladder as he pulled harder on the seam. The seam finally gave
way with a muffled ripping sound. With haste, Smith removed his member and relived
himself into the bowl below. He sighed deeply as the last of the stream emptied into the
bowl. He stepped back, contemplating the rip in his trousers, then looked above the toilet
for a chain to pull. When the toilet bowl flushed itself, Smith jumped reflexively.
Smith poked his head outside the water closet. He absent-mindedly fumbled with
the flaps of cloth covering his crotch. Somehow, the cloth flaps resealed themselves, and
Smith stepped back into the room.
Rubbing his sore temples, it occurred to Smith that the last thing he remembered
was drinking in a pub in Bromley. It was Sunday evening. That would make it now
He leapt for his coat on the bed, and deftly yanked out a gold pocket watch. The
watch chain pulled the attached coat across the bed as Smith opened the watch cover, and
stared at the time. He blinked as he continued to look at the watch face. He knew that a
good winding would keep it running for over two days. Yet, the watch had stopped.
It read twelve oh one.
Smith scanned the room again, looking for a wall clock.
"HELLO!" His yell reverberated in the small room. "Can someone assist me?"
Along the wall across from the bed, Smith saw a small, odd-looking table and
chair. He walked up to the table, and noticed two very familiar items. There sat a bright
yellow pencil and a pad of lined white paper. He picked-up the pencil, and stared at it.
For that one moment, the stress that had been building in him evaporated. A smile,
almost formed on his lips.
Out of the corner of his eye, Smith looked to his side, to the space on the wall
next to the intransigent door. He had noticed it when he had first got out of bed, yet it
was the last thing in the room he examined.
He set the pencil down carefully as he stepped hesitantly toward the window.
As he approached, the diffuse light from the room caused a glare on the glass that made it
impossible to see what was on the other side. The window, about a yard square, reflected
his image as his bare feet shuffled across the cold, sterile floor.
Smith brought his hands up to his face, and cupped them around his eyes to
reduce the glare. His pupils slowly dilated, as the image outside the window crept into
A bright light flashed on the other side of the glass, temporarily blinding Smith
and forcing him to back from the window. Seconds later, a low rumble gently shook the
window. He looked around the room once again, a scowl formed on his lips.
"Those worthless buggars at the Weather Bureau didn’t predict a storm," he said
to no one in particular.
Undaunted, Smith once again placed his cupped hands and face next to the
window. He took a deep breath and tried to focus on the images outside as they gradually
formed in front of him. The blackness outside morphed into a mosaic of greys. Jagged
shapes, unrecognizable, coalesced into familiar forms. A glow in the distance, radiated
like fire, but crept along a barren landscape.
He pushed his face closer to the glass, sweeping his brown hair away from his
forehead. He looked from side to side through the window. Minute followed minute.
The only motion outside was a wind that blew grey dust over grey rocks. The red ribbon
in the distance crept down the side of a craggy, barren mountain. Grey rocks. Light
grey, dark grey, large and small, scattered over a otherwise featureless landscape.
There was nothing manmade. There were no plants. There were no animals.
Smith opened his mouth, trying to form a word. He failed.
There were no people.
He violently threw himself toward the basin in the counter and began to retch.
The smell of sour bile rose out of the sink as the water automatically flowed, washing it
clean. Smith brought his dripping, shaking hands to his face. It wasn’t until that moment
that he noticed the redness on them, and the stinging on the skin from its contact with the
window. He stared at his singed hands, then timidly glanced back at the window.
Through the glare, he could just make out another lightning flash.
His whole body involuntarily quivered. Smith cupped some water from the basin
and splashed it on his face, noting now his forehead was burned as well. Water dripped
from his hands and face as he reached for the towel on the counter.
The towel he used earlier was clean, dry and neatly folded.
Smith inhaled deeply. The air tasted stale, lifeless. Yet, as the oxygen filled his
lungs, it was carried through his blood to his head. Stale or not, he knew that he needed
it. He began pacing the room, along side of the disheveled bed with the strange sheets.
He mumbled to himself, alternately shaking his head and closing his eyes.
"I must be dreaming, I must be dreaming, I must be dreaming…"
Spontaneously, he stopped pacing and flung himself onto the bed. The crumpled
sheet bunched-up under him as he squirmed, trying to make himself comfortable. Smith
slammed his eyes shut, and grit his teeth while paradoxically trying to relax.
"Wake up, wake now, old boy."
He remained motionless for an indeterminate amount of time. Eventually, his
eyes cracked ever so slightly, allowing a sterile white light to enter him. Through half-
open eyes, Smith saw his chest heave up and down rapidly. He made a conscious effort
to slow his breathing as he opened his eyes further. He lifted a hand to his chest, noting
the hairs standing up on it’s back. He was cold....