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 CCW: The Room (working title)

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Shadowcrunch
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PostSubject: CCW: The Room (working title)   Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:08 am

Serious, religious/spiritual, psychological, philosophical

He awoke with a start, inhaling sharply, like one who had forgotten to breathe under the cover of sleep. Familiar pressures on chest and cheek explained he was laying face down, but there was no sensation of temperature to explain what he lay upon. Another quick, deep inhale, and exhaling slowly to a measured wakefulness. There was light through closed eyelids. Slowly let them open, squinting to avoid a glare, but there was only white. An almost imperceptible shadow just left of his vision showed how close he lay to a floor, or some other hard white surface. He turned his head slightly, and saw white. Everywhere, white.

He rearranged his limbs, which had a certain stiffness associated with sleep, to a balanced position from which he could push up from the surface. Thoughts were muddled, and he had to consciously tell each body part what he wanted it to do. Push. Slide. Lift. Extend. Twist. At last, he was standing, though waving slightly on uncertain footing. It seemed he remembered how to do this standing thing, but he wasn't sure how. In fact, he wasn't sure...wait, who was he? He blinked hard, trying to clear the never ending whiteness all around. With each blink, there came changes in light and color, but nothing that would last. Little cloudbursts of perceived vision, nothing more. There, a faint outline. There was a corner visible above him. A small blur of a shaded Y, showing the distinct shape of two walls and a ceiling.

Matthew. His name was Matthew. Recognizing the shape of the corner helped recall that little tidbit of information. How important it might be here...where was here? He kept blinking, opening his eyes to a little more definition of the corner. There was the floor, where he cast a dim shadow. He had been sitting down to dinner with his wife and two children. He remembered that, saw the image as a still photograph behind his eyes. Try as he might, he could not focus the photograph enough to see his family as more than blurred images. What were their names?

As more definition of the walls came into his peripheral vision, Matthew told his feet to move, turning his body as they went. As he spun completely away from the corner, he gasped in surprise and disbelief. He was not alone. There were eight other people laying on the floor around the white room. He didn't know any of them, or at least he couldn't remember if he knew any of them. They seemed to be from all walks of life, from plain ripped and dirty clothes, to three-piece suits. The eight were evenly split between men and women. Did that mean something? Why was he the first to wake? Did that also mean something?

Matthew tried to pull out that image of his family around the dinner table again, but the overpowering whiteness of the room was too much. Not that it was too bright, just too white. Sanitizing. Shadows were almost nonexistent in the even lighting cast across the entire room from apparently nowhere. With a slow spin, he estimated the room to be about thirty feet across both ways, and maybe twelve feet high. There was no sign of entry or exit. He swept his gaze across the people on the floor again. For the first time, he noticed the piece of wood sticking up from the floor. Then another, and another, and another. Amid the sleeping bodies, he could now plainly make out a plain wooden, rectangular table, resting upside down on the floor in the center of the room.

Matthew crossed between the sleepers quietly, eyes intent on the wooden legs in the middle of the room. Something about their position caused him great distress, and he had to fix it by righting the table. He reached the closest leg without incident, and tried to lift it. Nothing. Wrapping both hands around the stubborn piece of wood, he proceeded to try pushing, pulling, lifting, shaking, and twisting the table leg. All he gained for his labors was the first stages of mild perspiration. He glared at the table, fuming at it's unrighteousness upside-downedness. He braced himself, grabbed the table leg, leaned forward, and shoved with everything he had until the exertion forced a loud grunt from his throat.

The sound echoed slightly, startling Matthew into sudden silence. He paused, listening. A soft rustle behind him, and a quiet moan signaled that one of the others was awakening. He turned, watching a woman in her early thirties trying to shift her arms. Then he noticed, on the wall just beyond the woman, the light switch. It was at a normal height for a light switch, and the normal size. A white switch, with a white cover plate surrounding it, set into an evenly lit white wall. He turned around the room twice, now picking out every detail he could find. When he was done, he had registered eight people, an upside down table that could not be moved, and a light switch.

cont: Okay, who's next?

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PostSubject: Re: CCW: The Room (working title)   Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:20 am

Matthew gave pause... a light switch? An other glance about the room confirmed what he had seen, or lacked seeing, earlier; there was no light.

He looked at the floor, and saw a dim shadow about his feet, no direction to indicate a source, no depth to show strength. It appeared, if a shadow could be trusted to show such things, that the source of light was all around. The walls were rather white, after all; perhaps they themselves were the source?

So why was there a switch?

Matthew gave the table one last look, then walked over to the switch, being careful not to wake or disturb the other subjects. Subjects? he thought to himself, Now where did that come from?

He flipped the switch, and seemed comforted by the fact that the room's lighting, where-ever it may be, hadn't been affected. Matthew nodded to himself.

At his feet, the woman had managed to lift her head in his direction. "Wha- where are we?"

Matthew ignored her, ignored the pleading eyes as he returned to the table. He could hear her shuffling upright, her coordination seemingly the same as his had been. "Who are you? Where are we?" he heard her repeat. I should answer... but first...

Matthew grabbed at the table leg with one hand, and was pleased to see that the table shifted in response to his touch. He hefted the leg sideways, and the rest of the table followed.

The woman's gasp drew his attention away; he turned to her, only to see her eyes were no longer focused on him, but at the table.

Taped to the table's surface was a black and white photograph of nine people standing next to each other, all apparently staring at the camera; all were wearing lab coats. Two of the people immediately popped into Matthew's mind, for in that picture he recognized himself and the woman...

"I think" Matthew began, "we should wake the others."

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PostSubject: Re: CCW: The Room (working title)   Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:46 am

The woman tried to stand, but apparently suffered the same post-sleep lethargy Matthew had escaped. She made it shakily to one knee, then sighed heavily from the exertion. There was almost a whimper of failure in the sound, and Matthew silently cursed himself for not thinking of her needs. He had to assume all the remaining sleepers would be in the same state as he. Forgetting the table, and its secrets, for a moment, he crossed the few feet to this weakened woman, and reached down a hand of assistance.

"I'm Matthew," he said, with a calm gentleness he hoped would ease her mind. She looked up, trying to put forth a kind smile, but only managed an exhausted pout under sad eyes on the verge of breaking down. She didn't reach for Matthew's hand, only sat back on one foot, eyes staring blankly past him. Matthew let the silence stretch for only a moment behind bending and grabbing her hands. Her pulled up with a slight pressure, and was relieved to see her body follow the force. She was dazed, but she was responding.

When she was standing, Matthew held her by the shoulders, keeping her steady while her limbs remembered what being vertical was all about. The woman tried to keep his face in focus, but her head was so very heavy and she let it fall one way, then the other. Matthew realized that perhaps she was a little worse off than he had been. Maybe she has been asleep longer, or been subjected to more of whatever drug had been used to knock them all out. Wait...drug? Now, where did that one come from? Just as Matthew's thoughts returned to the picture with the lab coats, she broke the silence.

"Thank you, Matthew." Her voice was tired, almost a whisper. "I'm Mary...um...Mary." Her eyes were straining, head tilting to the side as she began digging through her memory. "That's odd. Why can't I remember my name?" There was a sudden wetness to the eyes, and her voice had cracked softly.

Matthew gave her shoulders a gentle shake. "Hey, Mary, it's okay." With one hand he centered her chin, forcing their eyes to lock. "I can't remember my full name either, but crying won't get us anywhere. In fact, there's a lot of stuff I don't remember, but we need to focus. Right, Mary?" He hoped repeating her name would make a stronger connection, and it did seem to help. She reached up and squeezed his hand on her shoulder.

"Thank you, Matthew. I'll be okay." Her voice was still on the edge of tears, but her eyes showed returning strength and purpose. "Didn't you say we should try to wake the others?"

Matthew took everything in with one more quick glance around the room. Then a sigh and a slow head shake. "We should, but I don't think either of us is ready for all the questions, and I'm sure we're not ready to handle seven people in the tired state we were in. Maybe we should let them rest while we try to find something to tell them when we do wake them up?" He meant to end with a statement, but it came out as a question.

Mary gave a gentle smile. "You're right. That's a good idea." She was still almost whispering, but strength was returning, and her voice no longer held that faint quake of oncoming tears. "If you help me stand the table up, I could sit down so wouldn't have to stand her holding me up," she finished with a grin.

Matthew shook his head, clearing a returning fog. "HA!" he exclaimed, "Now, that's a good idea!" He squeezed her shoulders, focusing on her eyes again. "Okay, I'll get the table. Can you stand for just a second?" She nodded with false vigor, and Matthew turned as quick as he could to the table still resting on it's side. In one smooth motion, he lifted and rotated the table, which seemed to be even lighter now, and set it quietly down on the four wooden legs. Another turn and he was squeezing Mary's hand, pulling her gently to the table.

She shuffled along behind the force of Matthew's hand, her eyes glued to the waiting tabletop. With a little assistance, she turned slowly, and sat on the edge of the table. As Matthew let her hand go, she squinted and squeezed the bridge of her nose. "Oh my," she exhaled. "I'm so tired. It almost feels like I've been drugged." Matthew froze, waiting as she slowly looked up to his eyes again. There was a hint of unknowing and fear in her's as she whispered,"How would I know what that feels like?"

Matthew squeezed her hand again, a reassuring pressure, and grinned. "There are a lot of things we don't know right now. There's a lot we need to figure out, right?" Mary pursed her lips and nodded. Matthew returned the nod, and continued, "Okay, I want you to concentrate on remembering anything you can from before, and study that picture of all of us. I'm going to get on my hands and knees by the wall, and starting under the light switch, I'm going to feel the wall-floor edge all the way around the room. There has to be a door or some kind of crack or something, right?"

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PostSubject: Re: CCW: The Room (working title)   Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:25 am

Matthew gave the photograph a passing glance as he walked towards the nearest wall, acknowledging the fact that he neither recognized the people nor the setting.

“Maybe you’ll have a better go at it than I, Mary,” Matthew stated, tapping the picture. “All I know is, we had to have been brought in here somehow.”

“I’ll try, if you think it’ll help. Truth be told, I really can’t remember much of anything.”

“Heh, you and me both.”

Matthew crouched down by the wall, examining where wall met floor, and was immediately puzzled. The seam wasn’t the normal 90 degree joining, but rather a smooth gentle curve of wall melding to floor. Matthew placed his fingertips along the curved surface and began a meticulous process of scooting slowly across the floor in the hopes of finding something, anything, which may indicate a door.

Much to his dismay, there wasn’t.

“Maybe we should wake the others after all. Someone has to know something,” Mary said as she tossed the picture on the table.

“I… I don’t know. If we start waking them, there might be panic. That’s probably the last thing we need.”

Matthew slid down the wall into a sitting position, knees pulled up. “Hand me the photo real quick?”

“Sure.”

Mary grabbed the photo and held it towards Matthew. Matthew cocked his head to the side, and instead of grabbing the photo, he turned Mary’s hand to the side, exposing the photograph’s back side.

“Hey!”

“Oh, sorry,” Matthew responded. “It’s just that there’s writing on the back!”

Mary snatched her arm away from Matthew, flipping the picture over. Scrawled on its back was one word: JOB.

“Job?” Mary questioned. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Matthew shrugged his shoulders. “It is a group picture… judging by our appearances, I’d say it’s just a picture of us at work.”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Why not? It makes sense.”

“That’s the point, it makes sense. Why the hell should this make any more sense than anything else in this room?”

“Something has to,” Matthew replied.

Mary stood in front of Matthew. “Something has to? We wake up in a doorless room while seven others lie asleep. Why haven’t they woken like us? You find this picture taped to a wooden table that was upside down in the middle of this room. A wooden table, mind you, that was stuck to the floor until you pressed that light switch. And you say something has to make sense?”

“Wooden? A wooden table?”

“Yes, wooden!”

Matthew stood up and braced himself against the table, feeling the natural warmth of wood and not the cold of metal like he had expected. “That doesn’t make sense.”

“And why not?”

“Because,” Matthew began, “that switch deactivated whatever it was that was holding the table down.”

“So?”

“So,” Matthew continued, “wood isn’t magnetic. Wood can’t be held down electronically. Only something magnetic could have been held down that tightly, and be so easily moved when the power is turned off!”

Mary leaned forward. “And what made you so damned sure that that switch would turn something off?” she asked in a harsh whisper.

“Because it had to do something!”

“But how did you know it would do that?! Why was your first waking thought to right a damn table?!”

Matthew sighed, and in as calm a voice as possible, he said “Mary, listen to me… you need to calm down…”

“I am calm!”

“No, you’re not. I understand the fear you’re feeling; I really do. But this is not the time to fall into panic. We need to think things through.”

Matthew turned away from Mary, moving towards the switch.

“I don’t know why I needed the table up. Why do people do half the things they do when they first wake up?

“I also noted that we aren’t casting any shadows, that the walls and floor and ceiling must be casting a soft light.”

Matthew reached out to the switch.

“For all I knew, this switch could have just as easily turned off the lights, but it didn’t. I pressed it…”

Matthew physical actions matched his words. He pressed the switch.

The room went black.
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PostSubject: Re: CCW: The Room (working title)   Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:27 am

Matthew's eyes went wide in shock and fear. He felt his eyes widen, but the darkness grew no brighter. He felt the fear, a quake in his stomach and a knot rising in his throat. He felt his breath caught in his lungs and his fingers begin to tremble on the switch.

"Mary?" His voiced shook at the one word. Complete silence. He flipped the switch.

The room returned to the same sterile white glow as before, with no sign as to the light source. Mary lay on the floor facing away from him next to the wooden table, upside down with its four legs jutting into the air amidst the eight bodies sprawled around it.

"Mary!" Matthew took a step and tripped his way towards the inert form of the woman he had just met. Several feet from her he finally lost his footing and fell to his knees. He bent forward, stretching a hand out to grab her shoulder and rolled Mary onto her back. Her skin was pale, but she showed signs of breathing and Matthew then realized he had been holding his own breath, expecting the worst. He exhaled and breathed deep, noticing for the first time a certain sharpness in the total absence of smell or taste in the air. This room was too clean.

He let his hand slide from Mary's shoulder, dropping it into his lap as he slumped back to sit on his feet. He turned his attention to the table. It appeared exactly as it had when he had first awakened. He turned to the light switch, which also hadn't changed in any way that he could discern. Then from the corner of his eye, he spied the window...

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PostSubject: Re: CCW: The Room (working title)   Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:57 pm

Matthew stared at the window, held by it.

He couldn't recall seeing the window before. No, he realized, the window wasn't there before, he was sure of it.

"Just what the hell is going on?" he questioned aloud. With everything that has happened, that hasn't happened, Matthew was surprised to find that this simple window caused him the most fear. It wasn't there.

It wasn't there until I flipped the switch.

I flipped the switch to turn back on whatever it was that was holding down the table, but instead the lights went off. (what lights?) Panic gripped him, sure, he wasn't expecting that to happen, not with him having pressed the switch before.

Mary tried to stop him from activating the switch again, was questioning him why he flipped it in the first place. At that moment, trapped within a room with no entrance (there's a window), nameless bodies lying across the floor, pressing a button seemed like (a stupid) the right thing to do. I pressed it to release the table, he reasoned... or he thought he did.

An itch crept into his mind, giving thought.

I pressed the switch to move the table, and it did; Mary and I were talking about how it could have turned off the lights just before I hit it again... and it did. The switch turned off the lights, we were afraid, pressed the button again, and the lights came back. Along with this window.

Matthew stood, taking slow and careful steps towards the window, mindful not to disturb these people, people he now recognized as being from the photograph. Matthew staggered, his feet uncertain, almost tripping over Thomas.

Where did that come from? Matthew's brow gathered above his eyes, looking at the man, at Thomas, below him. No memories came to mind, no images save from the picture on the table, and yet he knew that this was Thomas.

Enough of this. Matthew stepped over Thomas, purpose behind every step, as he approached the window.

Matthew knelt before it, judging its size to be roughly two feet wide, maybe a foot tall, and about two feet above the floor. Putting out a hand, it seemed cold to the touch, and yet it seemed to pulse with an energy behind it. Matthew laughed then, realizing it was his own fear he felt; the pulse he felt was his own, from the very fingertips he held against its surface.

"Matthew, don't."

Mary's voice brought his mind to the present. Taking his hand away from the window, but never turning away from it, Matthew replied. "Why not?"

"It isn't what you think it is."

Matthew cocked his head. "Oh really? What what do you think I think it is?"

"You think it's a window. But it's not."

"No? What is it then?"

"Please, Matthew, please come back over here. Don't look through it, just come back here by me. We can work on figuring out this picture... just don't look through it," Mary pleaded, care and concern filling the room.

"Of course it's a window! I wanted the table to move, and the switch let me move it. I wanted the lights off, and they turned off. I... we... wanted to know what is happening here, and this will show us."

Matthew scooted onto his hands and knees, becoming level with the window, which now began to glow from the other side.

"Matthew..."

He inched closer, resting now on his belly, propped up on his elbows like some little kid watching television...

"don't..."

like some small kid watching television, hoping not to be caught by his parents for being up so late (or up so early depending on what day it was, he reminded himself)...

"Matthew..."

Images flooded through his eyes, all the while some far away voice called to him. I warned you that voice was saying.

I warned you.
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