A serialised novel
How did I get here? A good question. A very good question. Me? Don’t ask me. I’m asking the same thing. (And while we’re on the subject, just where is here? This…room.)…As a friend of mine put it, “No-one’s normal. Not one.” And he’d shake his head in that sad way he had, like the shadows were cobwebs clinging to his skin…Locked. The door’s locked shut and the windows too…The small chest of drawers over there. I see it…I have no idea what’s in there. No picture. No memory list. Nothing…I’m going to see what’s in the chest of drawers…
You still there? How do I know? How could I know? I go away fom this table and you…where do you go? Yeah, it’s all your way round right? You can come back to me whenever you want right, but me? Me I just don’t know. I mean I don’t have a clue – no way of knowing what you’re doing – where’ve you been, are you still there – nothing. Nada. So you hold all the cards. Who knows, maybe it’s you that’s put me in here?
Shit. Sorry. I mean…well sorry. It’s not you really. Probably, anyways. I just got a bit freaked out about what I just found in the drawer over there. Freaked me right out. Not in a big ‘run around the room with your tongue hanging out yelling “we’re all gonna die”‘ kinda way – no, more slow burn subtle kind of thing. So I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have taken it out on you.
I think. At the moment I think it’s not you, at least. Anyways.
See, what I found was a…well, I found a few things. First off, in the top drawer, first one I went to, being an orderly sort of a guy, was the pad and the pencils. Just like this one I’m writing on. A whole stack of them, squeezed in tight they were, as many as would fit, with a whole bundle of newly sharpened pencils laid alongside in the space. I took a few of them out, flicked through them but they’re all the same as this.
Weird huh? Who would keep a whole stack of pads and pencils like that? I mean, most people would have one or two I guess, but a whole big block of them? All rammed in there as tight as could be? Sheesh. I half expected to find the whole dammed chest stuffed with these white pads and rolls of pencils. Like some weird kind of school cupboard?
The second drawer was empty. Which was equally weird, right? I mean, if you’ve got no room in the top drawer what are you going to do? Put the stuff in the drawer below right? But no, not this…what..guy? Girl? Man? Woman? Who knows! I sure as hell don’t. Not yet. But someone put me in here alright. That I’m sure of. You know how? You know how I know?
Because as I’m going through all this stuff I’m thinking ‘this is real!’ This is real shit. Not made-up crap. None of that. This isn’t me dreaming. I’m not going to wake up in a moment and think, ‘ah well, that was a weird dream.’ No way. This is real.
I heard the pages flap and felt the little breeze they made on my face when I fanned through the notebooks. I smelt the rubber on the elastic band wrapping up the pencils. And then, when I opened the second draw I smelt it. You don’t smell anything in a dream. Big, multicouloured weird kinda shit but no smell. Ever noticed that? No smell, no matter how bad the thing is. And believe me my nightmares should have given me plenty, too. You know, to smell.
But when I pulled open the second drawer, there it was, wafting right up…ha…yeah…right under my nose, if you’ll forgive the figure of speech. Perfume. Woman’s perfume. Now I’m no expert on that sort of thing – I didn’t recognise it – but it was kind of familiar. The sort that I’ve smelt on a few people as they’ve been stood nearby.
Don’t go all prissy on me. We all smell other people, right? When someone passes you buy and you get a waft of hairspray or aftershave or even smoke – you’re smelling them right? Don’t think so? How about the time someone sat right next to you on the train or bus and they didn’t smell too good? You sure noticed their smell then didn’t you? And just because you didn’t notice the hundred other times someone went past or sat too close is just because they never smelt as bad as this one did!
So I smelt the perfume but there was no bottle or anything else in the drawer. The only thing in there was a fine layer of sand along the bottom. I sifted some of that with my hand – even brought some of it on my fingers up to my nose – but it wasn’t that that had the perfume scent. It was something else. Something that was now missing from the drawer. It was gone. Whatever it was, it had either been full of the stuff, or covered in it. But now it was gone and the scent was still there. How long had it been gone?
I don’t know that kind of stuff. Not anymore. How long does perfume last when the woman has gone? Not long enough is my answer.
I moved to the third drawer. The one without the knob. I thought it might budge with just a pull from my fingers but it wouldn’t. So I went back to the second drawer and pulled it right out and put it on the floor next to me. That scent was still there but I was trying to see into the third drawer. I tried sticking my head into the gap but it was too small – or my head was too big – and in the end I decided to just put my arm in and push the drawer out with my hand.
I pushed it right out – nothing. Not a thing. Then, I saw it. (I know, but I mean I really saw it. You know? As I pulled it out I’d already decided it was empty before I got half of it out. Then I actually looked at what was really there – and that’s when I saw it. We all miss the little things like that, right? Until we look very very carefully.)
It was a piece of paper. Not very big but definitely ripped from one of those pads. Definitely. I’m holding it up, see, to this one. Identical. See? Same paper, same margin, colour, everything. I went back then and looked at the pads. It took a fair bit of looking before I was happy that it hadn’t been ripped from one of them. Why did I bother? Because of what was written on the piece of paper that had survived intact.
“…ever you do, don’t let her in! Never ever le…”
You got me? Wouldn’t you want to know the rest of that little bombshell? Hey, especially if you’re in a room that is locked. A room that is locked and you don’t have the key but someone else just might and you don’t even know how you got there or what is going to happen to you!
Who was that? Who was here before me? You? Is that why you’re so interested in all this? You’ve come back to see how I get on? Ah, I’m sorry. Just getting agitated again. But who was it? And where is the rest of the note? Is the ‘her’ the same one who wore the perfume, or the one who was locked here before me? Or were they? Maybe they got out. Maybe they locked up but I was already here somehow.
This is getting to me. I’m going to search the rest of the room. Maybe the note’s here still. Or at least part of it. Yeah, the wastepaper basket over there. I’ll start there. Maybe I’ll find a key while I’m at it. Yeah, a key, right. Why do I think that just won’t happen?
Back in a little while…I hope.
Dear reader – do you have a suggestion for the next chapter? A suggestion for what might be found in the room? Will anyone come to the character’s aid? Perhaps a plot idea? Or maybe you just want to tell me to stop! Whatever, drop me a comment! You may find it used in the next chapter!
‘Til next time,
- The Room (rattledrum.wordpress.com)