Everything was dark and cold. He didn’t know how long it had been like that, he didn’t know where he was or why, the only thing that he was sure of was the cold and harsh reality. The darkness he had been plunged in. And then there was light and warmth and sounds. Everything came rushing back to him at once as he opened his eyes, all the feelings and sensations. Intense brightness, boiling warmth and deafening sound. He didn’t remember how long it had taken him to get used to this new environment but it had been almost as long as the darkness, or at least that was the impression he had had.
He blinked like a madman trying to get used to the light, clenching his jaw as the deep rumble was making his whole body shake. He felt on the brink of madness as he was oppressed and confined between the loud rumbling inside him and the surrounding silence. As it resided he understood that those booms he was hearing were the beats of his heart. As it came to him a single thought crossed his mind, I’m alive. He felt so alive it didn’t seem real but he could feel his heart beating in his chest, his ears still ringing and the pain slowly leaving his dilated pupils. At least I’m alive, he thought again.
He tried to focus on his surroundings and felt something pressing against his left cheek. It took him another few seconds to understand that is wasn’t something pressing against his cheek but him lying on the floor on his right left cheek. He opened his eyes once more and tried to get up a bit, but he was still dizzy and he almost fell down again, only barely managing to sit straight up thanks to the wall behind him. He blinked, trying to focus his sight. Everything around him was white. he searched for the sky a moment but everything around him was white. Of course you idiot! You’re in a room!.
As he paid closer attention to it, it seemed the room was like a psychiatric hospital’s isolation room with walls covered in foam so that the patient wouldn’t hurt himself by hitting himself on the walls. Each and every wall was white and covered in foam, almost all identical except for the one in front of him. Fixed on it at about three meters and a half high, the room was very high, about five meters in total, was a tv screen which seemed to be turned off. He struggled once more to stand up and went around the room. There were no doors, neither visible nor hidden, nothing except white foam-covered walls. As he tried to reach the opposite corner of the room he found himself falling face first again on the floor with the sound of clinging metal. As he got back up on his feet again he looked behind him. Something had pulled at his left ankle when he had tried to walk to the opposite corner. That is when he realized he was chained to on of the four walls. He pulled on the chains but it seemed solid and well fixed into the wall. What the hell is going on here? he thought.
He didn’t understand anything. How had he gotten here? What was this room? Where was it? Why was he chained to the wall? But more importantly why couldn’t he remember anything before waking up? He looked around him and as he looked towards the ceiling he noticed the room was lit by a single neon light. He also noticed that there was a wide ventilation gap near the top on the opposite wall where the TV was, the wall where he has sat first after awakening. He sighed and sat down again, trying to understand what was going on. He tugged at the chain but it was tightly fixed to his ankle and he couldn’t seem to find a key. What would I do if there was one anyways? He thought. There’s no door to get out of here…
He was trying once more to tear off the chains or to pass his foot through the small ring but it was too tight. he would have to cut off his foot if he ever wanted to get out like this, just like in that horror movie… But he had no wish to do that. He sat back against the wall opposite to the television and sighed deeply, massaging his eyes and temples to make the sharp headache he had since waking up go away. As he did the screen suddenly turned on and displayed snow and white noise. He quickly stood up to get closer, surprised by that sudden activity. He must have been too quick to move because he almost fell over a second time, his head was spinning and if it was not for the wall behind him he would’ve fallen again. As the temporary dizziness faded away he looked up at the TV and saw that the snow had disappeared and in its place was the smiling face of a clown doll looking directly at him. What the hell?!
Then the clown started speaking, its mouth didn’t move accordingly with what he said but it seemed only more alive with the strange deformed voice coming out of the speakers.
“Hello Zachary. Don’t worry, the dizziness is completely normal, it’s one of the aftereffects of transportation. Anyways, how are you?” it asked.
“I hope you do feel ready and in shape because your first test is about to begin. You have been chosen Zachary. And this choice is not to be taken lightly, it has deemed you worthy, now you will have to prove yourself. But first, you must break the chains that hold you back. Spread your wings Zachary and take off. This is your first test, but it does not mean it will be easy. Do hurry, or it will be too late. If you do not get out of here, your fate will be sealed…” As quickly as it had appeared the doll face disappeared.
“Wait! What do you mean? Who the fuck are you? Where am I? What’s going on?!” Yelled the young man and he witnessed the screen turning off and becoming black once again.
What the hell is going on?! He thought. What had the doll meant by saying his fate would be sealed? The young man had no idea what that meant but he knew one thing, it couldn’t be good. Come on Zach, you have to figure out how to get out of here! As he thought that he noticed something. Zach! My name is Zachary! I didn’t’ even remember my name a few seconds ago before the doll said it but now I’m sure of it. My name is Zachary! He looked around but there was still no sign of an exit. He had to get out before it was too late! What would happen if he didn’t? He would die? He preferred not thinking about it and looked at the chain going from his ankle to the wall. Then for the first time since he had regained consciousness he studied his appearance.
He was wearing a simple white T-shirt and black shorts. That wasn’t much and not very warm but strangely, despite the coolness of the walls he didn’t feel cold at all. He understood why as he thought about it. The hole near the ceiling, it’s an air vent! He concentrated a bit and felt the slight shift in the air around him betraying the movements of hot air coming from the top of the room. That’s why I can breathe normally even if there are no doors or windows. But that means it’s coming from outside! He thought with a smile. If I could somehow reach it, I might be able to get out from here… He examined the chain carefully, trying to see if it could be broken, but to his great deception it seemed brand new and not likely to break near his ankle anyways. He approached the spot where it was harnessed to the wall, it was solidly attached to a thick ring built directly in the wall. If he managed to somehow detach it he might be able to reach air vent with it. Hadn’t the doll mentioned something about it? I think it said I had to break free of my chains to spread my wings. It didn’t mean break my chains literally did it? He thought with a slight chuckle. He looked around once more, gazing upon the whole room, but he saw nothing except the white cold walls.
Zachary sat down by the metal ring on the wall and sighed again. How long had he been unconscious? And most importantly why? He couldn’t understand anything. Was this some kind of elaborate prank? But then, if it was, who would ever pull this off? Was he dreaming? He pinched his arm to check but the pain and the reality of his situation hit him in the face. He was trapped in this room with no way out except an air vent too high to reach and a TV that was turned off. Great! He thought. This is just great! He sat back against the cool wall and closed his eyes, almost immediately falling in a deep slumber. He dreamt about clowns, deep voids and angels. When he woke up again he couldn’t tell how much time had passed, only that the room was still there and had not changed at all.
Zachary looked up at the TV screen expectantly but it remained ever black. He stood up and walked towards it, careful not move to quickly so as not to fall because of the chain again. He almost made it to the other end of the room, barely touching the opposite wall with his arm stretched. He tried to reach the TV screen but with no avail.
He extended his legs, gaining a few centimeters and pulled as hard as he could without really injuring himself. This allowed him to get closer to the wall and to jump towards the screen, but he missed it. He landed back on the ground with ease, having anticipated the pullback from the chain on his ankle and got in position again. But this time as he pulled on the chain he heard a strange sound and felt it vibrate. He looked around, trying to understand where the sound could have come from but saw nothing. Once more he tried to jump but with no more luck. He tried again and again, until he was almost breathless and his legs were hurting. Then he went back to his sitting spot and breathed deeply, trying to calm down, as he did he felt his heart slowing down. As he moved back against the wall once more, determined to try again later, he felt something strange pushing on his back. He turned around and noticed the wall was not even around the metal ring that held the chain. As he looked closer he noticed a piece of the wall shaped in a brick had started to slide out and stuck out of the wall by a few centimeters, creating a square bulge.
Could I pull it out? He thought. At least if he managed to dislodge the piece of concrete he would be able to move around more freely, maybe even get out of there. He stood up slowly, still feeling a bit dizzy and started to pull on the chain, with all his might. At first it didn’t seem to give any sign of movement but as he kept pulling he felt the brick slip a bit, this encouraged him to continue and he pulled as hard as he could, feeling the pain in his hand. His arms started burning, they shook heavily under the effort but he kept pulling, the brick was now out by three centimeters. After what had seemed like ages he stopped to recover and catch his break. He sat down and looked at the brick, now it was out by about five centimeters. How much more? How long can it be? He wondered as he breathed heavily. He counted his heart beats and after what must have been at least five hundred he stood up again, feeling a bit rested.
Zachary resumed the arduous task and pulled on the chain, this time he managed to take it out by another eight centimeters before collapsing again on the ground, with not enough strength in his arms to sit up straight. He had no idea how long thick the wall was but he hoped he had only a few centimeters left because he couldn’t be able to pull it out more than that. He stayed like this, lying on the floor, arms and legs spread like a starfish, for a few long minutes. Then, having once more calmed his heartbeat and not feeling his arms burning up he stood up again and grabbed the chain. As the time passed he could see the rock sliding out from the wall, little by little, too slowly for his taste and he could feel the tension building inside him. Zachary felt that if he went on like this for too long something in him would snap and he would never be able to get out of here. Out of frustration, believing it would never end, he gave three big pulls and on the last one fell backwards on the floor, something hard fell on the ground. When he managed to lift his head he saw a gap in the wall where the brick should have been, instead it was lying at his feet on the floor. He smiled and laughed, though it was hard as he was completely out of breath, happy to have finally managed to take it out. Then everything went dark.