Two in a Room

Something done in a meeting which I forgot to publish. The prompt was:

“You wake up in an unfamiliar white room with a stranger who’s in the same situation as you. There is one button with a sign over it, reading ‘Do Not Press’. What do both of you do? (Write 2 perspectives, one from each person in the room, make sure dialogue and events match up. Spend about 15-20 minutes on each)”

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Subject #6377

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I wake up in a sweat, with a pounding headache. Shock and pain cause me to raise my hands to hold my head. Some monster had made its way into my head, and was now beating the inside of my forehead with something hard and blunt. Trying to clutch my hair didn’t help the pain. I feel as if I had just been dreaming, but I can’t remember what I was dreaming about. Maybe I’m still dreaming. I don’t know anymore. I raise my head for the first time, realising I was in a sort of sitting fetal position. The first thing that surprises me is how bright the room was. My eyes have to adjust to the light, like coming out of a dark movie theatre into a well lit hallway. Strange, I don’t remember ever hearing that phrase, nor ever saying it before. I don’t really remember anything from before the moment I woke up. As my eyes get used to the brightness, I recognise something across the room from me. A figure of some sort. A person. I squint to make the figure out. He was wearing a thin, white shirt, with a pair of white pants. I see something black on him, something I can’t quite make out. I try to get up, but my muscles are too stiff. If I will myself to move, I can, but it hurts. Why does it hurt? A surge of fear rocked me. Why am I suddenly feeling so scared? I didn’t feel anything besides pain when I woke up, and now I feel terrified. I shuffle up against the back wall, my body racked with pain as I force myself to move. What’s happening? Why the hell am I in a white room with another person? Wait, I completely forgot, there’s a person across from me. I pick myself up slowly from my crude fetal position again and trudge towards the figure opposite me. As I get closer, the black on his shirt gets clearer, though it is pretty hard to see with such blinding light. I have about a meter away from him before I see what is on him, and when I do, I recoil in fright. On his forehead, what seemed like black spots I am now able to make out as very dark red lettering. The lettering is uniform, as if it was done on a grid. It was engraved into his skin, unlike if someone wrote on his forehead. I don’t know why they did this, but it takes me a second to make out the writing. It says “subject #2”. I backtrack, almost tripping on my own feet in my haste to get away from this man. Why the hell is there writing engraved into his forehead? Why the hell does it say subject #2? What is happening? Wait, is there something on my forehead? I feel my forehead, and sure enough, I felt the text. I would have collapsed had something else not caught my attention. Above the figure, there was a bright red button. Above it, in large, black, polished text, it read, “Press the button, he dies. Don’t press the button, you die”. With what I’ve experienced and felt in the past few minutes, this didn’t phase me as much, if you compare my jaw dropping reaction to almost vomiting when seeing the blood red lettering on the man’s forehead. Looking down at the man, I realised his eyes were open, but his irises weren’t. They were fixed, staring straight ahead, though I bet if he was awake, he could see me. I feel an immense wave of sadness go through me. I don’t want to hurt this man. I don’t want to kill him. Then I think, this could be a quick death. Maybe he’ll die fast, and if I keep on going, i’ll incur a more severe pain for betraying my kind. I don’t know who is controlling this situation, but someone must be. So with all sadness gone, I take a step and lean forward and I press the-

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Subject #6378

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I fee; dazed. That’s it. No emotions. Just dazed. Nothing about this seems remotely phasing to me, I just feel light headed, as if I had been drugged. I feel abnormally calm. Trying to remember any sort of event which occurred before this was fruitless. I don’t remember what I look like. I don’t remember my family. I don’t remember my own name. I wish I knew what was happening. I can barely move. I can breath, I can blink, but my limbs were worthless, pathetic lumps of skin attached to me. I sat limp, looking at the person across from me. He looked so much more panicked about the situation. I hadn’t noticed him when I woke up, but now I had no choice but to stare at him. He was whispering and mumbling softly like a madman. I want to ask him what was wrong with him. I want to ask him what the panic felt like, because I can’t remember what emotion feels like. I want to ask him whether he knows anything of his past. I want to move my lips, make some noise, communicate with the man in front of me, but I can’t. So I sit, and watch emotionless as the man carefully approached me. I watch as he bends over to look at something on my forehead. I watch as he steps back a little, feels his forehead, glances above me then looks back at me, a sad look on his face. And I watch as he steps towards me, leaning over me, and-

 

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Entry

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Subject #6377 failed the test. Both subjects eliminated. New test will be performed tomorrow.

 

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2 thoughts on “Two in a Room”

  1. An intriguingly grim contemplation of the human survival instinct and a piece with precious few faults. The pace in particular is very well-handled as there is virtually no point at which the piece begins to drawl or skim past the complex issues you have introduced here. The lack of descriptive imagery is perhaps the only prominent flaw, but given the amount of introspection the characters engage in, this might well be a strength of the piece. Would be great to see another entry.

    Liked by 1 person

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