Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Silent Room: Part 30

Dr. Adelheide

Somehow, the last door let her through.

She had been twenty feet from the door that lead to her final destination when the security locks slid into place, the sound reverberating in the still air up and down the hall.  Momentum kept her moving forward even with the heavy sound in her ears. Even as she knew what she was going to find- a locked door; no escape; no salvation for herself or the stranger beyond the doors. 

By then she had been in front of the final door. And as she stopped, waiting for an impossible miracle, it happened.  The locks on the door in front of her began to reverse. The cool gray door of Ward 1 began to slide open. It was... but she did not have time to squander on the right or wrong of impossibilities.

Inside, soft shadows darkened the room, punctuated only by the occasional small light and the hum of machines.

Carefully she walked between the tubs, looking for the right one. Faces lost to chemically induced slumber glinted back at her like small half moons in the dimness. She closed her mind to the worry about surveillance detectors activating defense protocols or the coming guards or the fact that she would be able to take only one of so many with her if, when she escaped.  Just kept moving, kept focused. Tried not to think about time ticking by too fast, the sand of the hourglass running out. 

First she had to find him. Then, she could worry about the next thing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


WNP:  As he stepped out of the plane, he felt like his whole life had changed.

One moment, airplane.  Scuffed, utilitarian aisle carpet.  Blue covered seats in rows of three on each side of the aisle.  Low murmurs of conversation as everyone shifted and moved around him, collecting bags and books.  The stale aroma of whatever attempt at chicken basil dinner they had eaten still hanging in the air. Shirt still sticking to his back in places from the humidity of July heat before getting on this plane, hours ago now.

Then. Cold. Bitter cold. And the overwhelming stench...scent of fish. Through a gap in the walkway sides he could see workers wearing heavy coats with fur-lined hoods shifting luggage and boxes down on the tarmac.  He wrapped his arms around himself and moved quicker.  A few more steps and he reached the terminal gate.

"Welcome to Reykjavik," the stewardess said as he stepped on by.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Silent Room: Part 29


She woke slowly, as if from a deep sleep after a bad dream. Her body felt weighted. When she opened her eyes, the room where she found herself was airy and gently lit with sunshine. Around her, long pale curtains billowed in a slow swirl of movement. The bedding curled up enveloping her in a white cocoon of softness. It was disorienting in its cleansing lightness.

She closed her eyes again, groaning as she stretched her arms, and tried to remember where she was, how she had got here. She remembered… a ginger-striped kitten, an empty living room. Then nothing. She let her mind drift. Snuggled more deeply into her comforter.

Another thought, an important thought, niggled at the edges of her awareness. Through the cotton wool tangle of her thoughts, she tried to fix her mind’s eye on that brush of memory. A face scrubbed in shadow. Almost.

It slipped a little further away, just beyond her consciousness. Maybe she would sleep just a little longer. She turned her face into her pillow, burrowing in. Then a name slipped into her mind with the soft weight of a pebble dropping into water. Kerr. Sitting up in one swoop of motion, she opened her mouth and began to scream.

Even before her scream reached its full crescendo, she felt a strange sweep of emotions begin to surge through her body in a rushing chemical wave of fatigue and forgetfulness. Her scream thinned, dissipated. She tried to fight it. No, she needed to scream. She needed to… She sank back onto the bed, her eyes fluttering.

As her eyes fought to stay open, she felt a gentle hand stroke the side of her head, brushing her hair back behind her ear. She turned toward the motion. The form of Grandma Nan flickered in and out with the form of a gaunt man in a black suit and a crisp white collar. Grandma Nan stroked her cheek this time, a soft, regretful expression on her face.

“I’m sorry,” she said. He said.

Sora tried to separate them into two.

“I’m sorry,” they said. “It’s better if you sleep now.” The world faded away in soft dreams of wandering clouds drifting above a flock of sheep as they grazed under a lavender sky.

In the background, the cortex manipulation continued to run its diagnostic on her implant chip. When it found the glitch, it reinstalled the program and added on a few patches. Once it had completed its repair work, it restarted the program and inducted her back into the virtual main frame, this time in her own fully functional simulated world. She did not wander again into another’s dreams.