Saturday, August 02, 2003

the door story, revisited again...

jancie heard the harsh sound of a metal door slamming shut, and the door locking behind her. it sounded like a jail cell in the movies. she was alone in the room except for the locked door behind her, two other locked doors in front of her, and two rod-shaped fluorescent lightbulbs over her head.

a pair of keys dropped in front of her feet. jancie looked up to ascertain fron whence they came, but all she saw was the two fluorescent lightbulbs and the olive green plaster ceiling. she looked around to make sure there were no eyes peering at her from the walls, picked up the keys, and wondered which door she should try first.

she still had no idea why she was in this room, how she got there. the last thing she knew before she entered it, she had been writhing frantically on her too-small living room couch, trying to get comfortable. she was also in the middle of a heavy, solitary pondering session about where her life was headed. however unpleasant it was, however scary, she decided that she needed to finish this exercise. the desolate room with three doors and two keys was not helping her think at all. letting herself assume that this was the door from which she came into the room, she decided that her most logical choice would be to test the keys in the door behind her, the one that she had heard shut and lock only moments before.

jancie turned around and walked the three quick steps to the door. the linoleum floorm as ugly and olive green as everything else in the room, was freezing cold underfoot. she gripped the cold metal doorknob, jerked it around a bit, and pulled, testing the door in the small hope that it was unlocked, that she wouldn't need either of the mysterious keys. this effort was to no avail, and the door did not even budge.

looking down at her hands, jancie fumbled with the two keys she had picked up. they were both about the same size, but one of the keys had a rounded head, and the other had a square head. preferring rounder shapes in general, she picked up the round-headed key and slid it into the lock in the door. she attempted to turn the key, but the feeling was eerily similar to the one she got when she tested the doorknob. jancie jerked and jiggled the key, but never went more than a millimeter or two in either direction. frustrated, she pulled the key out of the door, planning to next test the square key.

she had hardly pulled the key out of the door when she saw the bulbous handle of the doorknob drop to the floor. it hit the linoleum with a definitive clack, and jancie instinctively bent over to pick up the doorknob. she looked down, bent over, and picked it up; the door was out of her field of vision for no longer than a second. when she looked up again, confused and frustrated with her presence in the room and her inability to get through the door and out, she beheld an expanse of olive green wall where the door had been only moments before.

"i wish you hadn't done that."

jancie looked around, finding her incomprehensible situation even less comprehensible. she had no idea where she was, and besides, she had just checked the room for company moments before and found none. she frantically looked for the source of this voice: a face, a speaker, a hole in the wall, anything. she still found the same olive green plaster ceiling, the same olive green plaster walls, the same off-white specked linoleum floor. she couldn't see any breaches in any of it, other than the two painted olive green metal doors directly across the room from her.

it was only then, when she realized that she couldn't see a source of the voice (do more with this, the inability to see as a cause for getting freaked out?), that her breath started to quicken in anticipation of a fight or flight situation. it did not even consciously occur to her that she had nowhere necessarily to flee, that she had two keys that may or may not open two doors that lead to unknown destinations.

"what? do what? who are you?" jancie stammered, a bit surprised that she could form coherent questions, however short they were. her eyes darted around the room, searching for the source of the voice, waiting for an answer, seeing nothing but emptiness to mirror the silence that filled her ears.

"i wish you hadn't done that."

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