When he opened his eyes his head was hurting and his hands were throbbing with pain, they were red and painted with dry blood. He sat up and looked towards the hole in the wall. He crawled next to it and as he looked inside he saw something glitter. He put his hand in it, it wasn’t so deep, about twice as deep as the brick he had pulled out and roughly the same size, as if another brick was supposed to be in that spot. His fingers bumped in something hard with a small ‘clang’, Zachary grabbed it and took it out from the cavity. He opened his hand and inside his palm was a small metal key. He didn’t know what to think, what was that key for? He simply stood there looking at it for a few seconds before deciding to test it on his chains. It took him another few seconds to locate the keyhole on the steel ring around his ankle, then he inserted the key and turned. There was a click and then the ring opened itself and fell on the white floor, freeing his leg. Zachary almost started laughing in relief, thanks to that key he was free, now he just had to find a way to reach the air vent and he would be able to get out of here. But a thought stopped him from making any sound. Thanks to that key. Why was that key there anyways?
Then it occurred to him. Him being unconscious earlier, waking up in a closed room and the doll head on the TV earlier. He had seen enough movies and TV series to know that. But what did the person behind all this want? Did they want to watch him struggle against the chain, become crazy little by little as they realized they were going to die and eat some popcorn while life slowly left their body? No. He thought. Whoever was behind this had hidden that key and given him clues to find it, so why? It was all a game, all this was a game that someone was probably immensely enjoying watching at that moment, hidden behind another screen. Whoever was laughing behind the screen, watching him wonder what was happening to him, was somehow testing him? Just like in Saw, he thought. Now that he had succeeded in finding the key he could move around the room freely, but did that mean he had succeeded? Probably not, there is still no other way out than the air vent. If he had passed the test, wouldn’t he have been free? So that probably meant he still had to get out of here on his own. He looked at the air vent and a second thought occurred to him, sending a cold chill throughout his body. If he didn’t manage to get out then he would probably die in that room, of that he was almost certain, but if he managed to get out, what then? What awaited him outside this room? Indeed he had no food nor any water, he wouldn’t last more than a few days, but at least he was in no danger and it was warm. What if as soon as he got out he died ? What if that was the plan all along? Either die in here or get out and die out there… It was no good. He punched the wall in frustration. What was he supposed to do?!
He looked around and locked his eyes on the screen. Then, not really knowing why, he smiled. Maybe because he wanted to reassure himself or maybe because he wanted the owner of the puppet that he wouldn’t bow down to him and that he would fight and get out of there. He suddenly turned away and looked at the brick at the end of the chain. He smiled again and even laughed a bit at the idea of what he was about to do. He stood up, grabbed the end of the shackle where his ankle had been locked and violently turned around, as he did both the shackle and the brick attached to it shot in the air and he sent them both flying directly in the screen. It went right through and bounced on the wall behind it, leaving a large hole in the center and causing a few sparkles to fly. Zachary sat back down and looked up to the neon light, not knowing from where he was being watched but he smiled nonetheless, feeling satisfied. Now the ball is on your side of the court, he thought. Your choice mate. He closed his eyes and simply listened to the sound of silence reigning in the room. Nothing happened, his mysterious captor didn’t seem inclined in killing him quickly. But Zachary wasn’t inclined to rush things either, he knew what he had to do next if he wanted to get out of that place, but the question was if he wanted to actually get out.
When he opened his eyes again he knew what he was going to do. He had to get out of that room, he didn’t care if that was a trap or if he was facing almost certain death outside, he didn’t care that he didn’t know where he was. He needed to get out or he would become mad and waiting for help was not going to help him in any way. He grabbed the rope and pulled on it, taking down the TV from the wall with it. He cleared the rock out of the screen and walked right under the air vent. He didn’t even bother looking around him, if he was right about what was going on here there wouldn’t be any exit anywhere, and if there was he would never be able to open anyways. He weighed the rock and looked up to the large opening far over his head. The chain was about three meters long and he about a meter eighty tall, if he managed to throw it correctly then maybe could succeed. Zachary weighed the rock once more, its weight seemed to be around eight to ten kilograms, he would need to throw it hard if he wanted to reach that height but not too hard or it would go too far.
He grabbed the chain at about an arm’s from the brick and spun it a few times, picking up speed, before letting it go. It sailed through the air up to the air vent but failed to enter it and fell back on the ground in a bell curve trajectory, it hit the ground right in front of his feet. He reevaluated the trajectory and threw it a second time, sending it right in the hole. But unfortunately it was a bit too far and the chain was out of reach for him to grab by a few centimeters even when he jumped. Shit! He thought, how am I supposed to catch it now you nitwit?! He looked around and smiled. His earlier outburst of anger might have had some positive side after all. He walked back to the place where the TV screen had fallen and picked it up, he put it down under the hole and climbed on it, standing only on his tiptoes. He jumped towards the chain and managed to catch it, he felt it move towards him felt himself falling, then it suddenly stopped and he was flattened against the wall but he held tight and managed not to fall. When he looked up again he saw the rock was holding his weight as an anchor point but that wouldn’t hold on for long, it was barely stable, holding only by a few centimeters. He had to try again and do it better or he would never be able to climb up without falling to his death first. But if I let go, will I manage to throw it this well once more? He didn’t want to take such risk, but he had to if he wanted to get out…
Then it came to him. My clothes! Of course! He almost hit himself for not thinking about it earlier. Almost, he was slow, not stupid, he didn’t want to fall down like an idiot again. He jerked the chain and the rock came falling down to the ground and he let himself follow. Once it was at his feet again he took of his T-shirt and tied one end to the chain, taking the other in his hand. This gave him almost one more meter of reach. It should be enough. Zachary then proceeded to throw the rock again and this time manage to lend it in the hole without having to let got of the chain. Indeed he had to stand on his toes but once he started to pull on it again only extending his arms was enough, he slowly pulled on it to bring the rock back to the border of the vent and once more placed it as an anchor. This time succeeding in putting as much of the surface of the brick on the bottom on the air vent as he could to stabilize the whole system. He tested the chain but it seemed safe, even his T-shirt seemed to hold his weight, so he started climbing. He remembered having done some rope climbing at some point but it eased in no way the pain in his hands caused by the chain. Still he climbed, centimeter by centimeter, meter by meter and soon he found himself at almost four meters above the ground, almost at the top. He looked up to see how much distance remained until he could grab hold of the opening and let the chain go and that was his big mistake.
First he noticed the brick trembling, it had moved during his climb and now was off the border by almost a centimeter and a half. This was bad because if it moved any more it would lose its balance and fall again. Then he noticed the cracks in the rock. There were a few, not so big, but clearly dangerous and which he could almost feel spreading along the surface. They mostly surrounded the spot where the metal ring sank in the concrete. Finally he heard a loud breaking noise, like a ‘crack’, and he saw the brick break in two around the chain ring. Zachary saw himself fall in slow motion, first gravity nullified itself, leaving him floating there, his mouth opened like a fish. Then he started moving towards the ground, which was the bad news. And he felt the chain rip his hands, tearing off some skin. Finally he felt himself hit the ground with another nasty ‘crack’ sound, but it couldn’t have come from the brick this time, then it went black.
The next thing that happened where in flashes. He heard his breathing, ragged and fast and saw the rock fall besides him. Then it was dark. Then it was light, bright white and he saw his arm extended towards the air vent, his hand bloody red. Then dark again. Then light again but everything was blurry and gradually getting blurrier. Then dark. Then another flash, he saw a hand. His hand? He couldn’t be sure anymore, but he thought it had to be since it was coming from him. It was moving towards the vent and strangely it reached the bottom of it. Then he was overcome by darkness and let himself drift off in that calm and somber place. The other place is too noisy, here is much better… Was all he thought before losing consciousness.
As he was unconscious he sometimes swore he could feel someone or something touching his body, dragging him and pulling him. But maybe that was all an illusion, how could he be sure f anything, he didn’t even know what was happening right now. Somehow he couldn’t know. But that didn’t bother him much, what did he care anyways, he felt good and calm in all this darkness, what was there to worry about?
When he woke up again he felt himself falling again, but luckily he reacted quickly. After the initial shock, it took him a few seconds to notice he was holding on the ledge of the air vent. Half his body was inside while his legs were still dangling in the air above the white room, he was barely holding on thanks to his upper half body which was helping greatly in balancing himself. With great effort he managed to haul himself up on the ledge, once he did he lay on his back a few seconds to calm himself down and to catch his breath. How he had managed to get up there was his first thought, he sat up and looked back to the room. The chain was still on the floor, his T-shirt still attached to one end and the rock to the other, but the brick was broken in two thereby freeing the metal ring. Did I let it fall once I got up here? But I remember falling back to the ground? Did I just pass out from the exhaustion?
Zachary couldn’t explain how he had managed to climb up to where he was, he didn’t remember anything except the sensation of falling. He touched the back of his head, where he had bumped it against the ground. There was no sign of any injury, it didn’t hurt. So if I didn’t fall down, why did I pass out? He thought. But he couldn’t find any valid explanation, he decided that it must have been from exhaustion though he wasn’t convinced. The air was not so warm anymore in the vent and Zachary felt cold, he had used his T-shirt to augment the length of the chain and now there was no way he could get it back without giving up on getting out of there. So he decided to leave it be and to crawl his way through the air vent, leaving that strange room behind him. What he didn’t know, though, was that this room was to be both the starting point and the end of his journey.