(Originally Posted February 27th, 2016.)
Oh yeah, this is going to be weird. Strap in folks.
I call it:
Let’s Picture A Room
Let’s paint a picture shall we? Let’s go with a living room. It’s a tad hazy at first, though. Since I didn’t give you any specifics. Or you just subbed in a living room like the one you have, or what a friend has. But you can see a living room now. You should see it clearly.
Now, I’ll refine. And some of the features you went with will contradict the status of the room I am now telling you about. The room has a red lounge chair, extended outward, but no one’s sitting in it. It moves back and forth, groaning like a wounded animal.
You see it now? Hear the slow eked out cries of what is probably a dying creature? The corpse you didn’t smell?
But still like your room, right? Otherwise? Besides the chair? Or did the whole room go white when I started to give you something to imagine?
Well, I’ll go one further. Let’s make the fan shut off, okay? If your room doesn’t have a fan on the ceiling, it does now, and it was merrily spinning, leaving a cool mist. But now it stopped.
And the room grows warm. The paint—as the walls are a light brown color as soon as I say they are—is melting off the wall. Dripping into globs. Not unlike a scabbing cut.
And in the middle of the room is a stone. You didn’t know there was a stone there. But there is now. It’s yellow and the size of your dog. Or cat. Just about that size. It vibrates and writhes, even though a rock is not typically capable of such motions underneath its own power.
You. You as you are, now notice the adjoining kitchen, connected to your living room, and that the sound of popcorn popping is coming from around that area. The fridge hangs open wasting money and making the heat bearable. Because it is warm. It is sweltering. It is an inferno. And the rock hums.
You look towards the door, but there is no door. You suspect there never was a door. What are doors anyway? What could a door even be?
And the stone is no longer a stone, and you lift your shoes, which are coated in leather and not tied well. They are two different brands. You are not good at picking shoes out. And the carpet matches your shoes, and you flex your feet and the ripples spread throughout the furry floor, and the air hums, but there is no rock in the center of the room anymore.
You look behind you at the hallway you’re sure is there, but instead there is only the bathroom. And it is the length of the hallway, but it holds no divergence. It is only the line of linoleum and an open toilet.
Something churns in that water, and a murky sludge drips over the edge, and you hear more humming. You wonder if the rock itself found its way into the bowl, or if some more sinister and malevolent thing is moving its way into the house through the plumbing.
Because there is no door. What is a door anyway? What is a window anyway?
You recoil in horror at the bathroom, as it’s closer now than it was before, and the sloshing is not the kind you associate with water. It is thicker than that.
And you turn back to the center of the room, and flames you did not light are burning in pyres, and a bird squirms in the heat and caws with the pain, and flaps its melting tar wings in a pale imitation of what you did to your cat all those years ago.
It flaps and pieces of ash flutter to the ground. You stumble anywhere backward that is not a bathroom. You go towards the kitchen, and it smells of gasoline, and burning chicken meat.
You open the microwave and there is no popcorn, there is only a corncob–glowing red–and stretching its growing green stalks into the vents and wrapping them around the knobs and turns up the heat even higher. It beats like a heart.
You close the microwave. You’re not even sure why you had it open in the first place. There is a hole in what you know, and what you are sure of, and this includes your life.
There is no door. There never was a door out. There never was a way out. You never even came in.
It’s all a lie, you know. And the fridge opens by itself, and a blackness oozes forth, shouting at the ceiling. You look up in the same way and the sky is the iris of an eye. The colorful ring and then nothing but red pit. It’s the same color as the chair.
You run to that chair because it was there when this began and you punch and you shriek and you climb atop it and try to un-recline the thing as best you can. The wooden handle bites into the webbing of your hand, and you shriek.
And the stone is back into the center of the room, and it melts into a decapitated head of a childhood friend you don’t think about much anymore, and it all goes away.
You can open your eyes now. You can stop imagining now.
Oh, you thought your eyes were open?
Imagination’s funny that way.