Red Room (1)

I’m sitting alone in a room. The room is warm, and red. My legs are up and against my chest, and my arms are wrapped tightly around my legs. My knees cover my mouth, so that nothing can come out. The minuscule light opposite me on the other side of the room is red. I stare out at the wall, which is actually white, but in this light turns out to be red too.

It’s warm.

It’s a whole world in here, and it pulses. A regular throb, like a heartbeat, but deeper. Franz told me that the room is soundproofed but I can still hear a fan turned on outside, droning. It’s alright though– there’s another pulse. To my side, pieces of plasticky film emulse in tubs of dark liquid. Something is emerging from them and it isn’t terrible, but it is dark and very very red.

The chair is plastic and metallic, and the part I’m sitting on is made of this very cheap-feeling leather. I reach out and touch the metal underneath it with my hand, and then I quickly draw it back because it’s cold. It’s very unpleasant. Most things are. I wonder what Franz is doing right now. Is he sleeping, like he was yesterday? And the night before? Or has he actually started to work?

The fan is droning through a door that I clearly remember Franz telling me was soundproofed. It’s maddening, when someone promises something and doesn’t follow through. People should do what they say, and say what they mean. Otherwise everything turns to dirt.

I haven’t been given anything particularly interesting to occupy myself with, except for the marble that Franz stole for me and a copy of a book with no cover. The former is much more interesting–the dull red light reflects off it and through it, if that makes any sense–like the cover for Dark Side of the Moon, except it’s a sphere, not a pyramid. I haven’t been able to look closely at the material yet–Franz shoved it down my pants pocket and told me not to look at it until we were safe. I suppose we’re safe now, but all the red light is keeping me from being able to really see anything. As for the book, I hadn’t bothered. I don’t think there’s really much of a point into books.

Books are weird. They’re scary. And they’re unfair. Why should I put so much effort into them, when all they ever do is make me sad? Textbooks, classics, plays, all of them are terrible. Nobody really gets anything out of them, and I don’t understand why they’re so popular. Besides, they kill trees. I hate books. But short stories. Those are great. I especially love the ones that are done in about six pages; those are the ones that really get you. And it’s even better because you don’t have to invest anything into them. They just give themselves over.

I realize that there’s been a soft knocking at the door for a while now. I look over towards the source of the noise, and then I undo my arms, and legs, and then I move my knees from my mouth and I say:

“Come in.”

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