The man woke up with a start, panting and sweating, the hellish nightmare still freshly carved in his mind. He tried to open his eyes but to no avail. Then he realized that they were opened but he was still in that dark room. The first thing that he noticed was that he didn’t know how much time had passed since he went to sleep, it must have been hours because he was starting to feel hunger. Secondly the room was much hotter than before; he was having trouble breathing because of the heat. Finally, after a few minutes where he tried to calm down and clear his mind, he noticed something about the wall in front of him. It seemed different from before, darker and colder. As he stood up to get closer to the stone he felt a slight pain to the right hip, he reflexively put his hand to his side to massage it and felt something small and hard.
He didn’t have time to finish his question. As soon as he put his hand in his pocket and took out the small object he realized he hadn’t thought of checking them earlier. What a moron he was, there might have been something important in his pockets. He checked all of them but only the front right one contained something. He examined the object as well as his senses allowed him, being deprived of sight was an ordeal few people were really able to imagine. For all he could feel the mysterious object in his hand was a small pocket knife, only one cutting blade unlike a Swiss knife but very similar in the design. As he found no immediate use for it he put the knife back in his pocket and focused on the strange wall once more.
Walking slowly, his arms stretched out before him to be sure not to hit the wall with his head, he approached it. Trying to find the place where he thought he had seen the strange difference in darkness he strained his eyes, but it wasn’t of much use. The darkness in front of him was absolute. Still he continued to search for the source of his unease, the thing that was bugging him. He soon arrived at less than an arm’s distance of it and started touching the smooth metal surface to find any bump or hole that would help him. But as he thought, and even though he went around the room while examining the walls, he found nothing more than the first time he had searched.
As he did that he realized something else though: not only was the room totally deprived of light but there was no sound either. His footsteps and his breathing sounded as loud as a plane to his ears as he circled around. He sat on the floor, facing the same portion of the wall as earlier and tried to find out where he could be. It was somewhere dark and silent, no one had come in or out of the room where he was trapped and that was only due to one thing: there was no way out. Not even a window. He didn’t remember ever hearing of such a place in the world. He didn’t remember anything anyways so that wasn’t of great help… A vault? No, there would be light. A prison? No, the room wouldn’t “look” like that. Hell? He laughed at the prospect of being held captive by the devil himself, in a dark, silent and much too hot room. When he stopped laughing at his stupid idea he was feeling so depressed he was on the verge of tears. Was he going to finish his life in a place like this?
He started reciting the Name again, as a mantra. It had pulled him out of his blues the last time, it might work again. As he did he thought he had heard a whisper. A voice trying to reach to him from a faraway place… He listened more carefully but nothing came to his ears. Was his sanity already deteriorating? Was he already becoming crazy? He sighed. A long and deep sigh. Full of sorrow. It lasted a long time. Drops of sweat were falling from the hair on the sides of his head. A very long time. How long could he go on like that ? He thought. But…
Impossible. He was sure he had stopped ejecting the air from his lungs and even had breathed in the next volume of oxygen he needed, but still the sound of his sigh went on.
“What the hell…?”
Incomprehension was growing in his mind. Then it hit him. Of course ! The sound ! It wasn’t coming from him but from around him ! I was not his sigh but a deep rumbling coming from everywhere around him, filling the room, making the ground tremble. He stood up. Why hadn’t he noticed it before ?! It was so obvious, no man could ever make that sound. But his hearing, feeling like it was impaired to the lack of sound, hadn’t immediately made the difference between him and the room. The rumbling was getting louder and louder, like metal rubbing against metal, as if a gigantic machine and its engine which encompassing his room, and maybe more, was starting, waking up from a deep and silent sleep. Then it happened for the first time. The ground shook; making him stumble, almost lose his balance. The only thing he could do not to fall was to advance a few steps forward. He extended his arms again to stop his body from hitting the wall but instead was welcomed with void. The emptiness before him surprised him so much that he fell face first on the hard ground, knocking air out of his lungs. He rolled on the floor sideways and was stopped by a wall. As he was seeing stars, trying to collect his senses he saw what he had been searching for. The strange darkness. It was lighter, even if just a bit, than the rest of it, that is what had attracted his attention earlier but that he hadn’t been able to put a finger on.
With difficulty he stood up, stumbling again though not falling this time. He looked around him. Darkness was still everywhere but somehow he was not in the room anymore, he was sure of it. He went back a few steps and confirmed his feeling. He had stumbled in a passage leading somewhere out of it. But how? That question he couldn’t answer. He was sure to have verified every corner of the room, every inch of the wall, and he and missed something so big? Impossible. Yet it was there, about two meters in height and fifty centimeters wide, in the middle of the wall he had been facing all this time, just as if it had been teasing him this whole time. He went back to the place where he had been sleeping to make sure he was not dreaming and slowly but surely to the opening again, fearing it would be gone when he came back. But fortunately it had no moved. How could it have ? He thought. Wall don’t move… Or do they…? Ignoring that strange feeling of unease growing in his chest he examined the passage more carefully. From what he could touch and the echo he received when he shouted it seemed to be a deep tunnel going straight ahead. He couldn’t be sure of whether it would lead out of this place but he was restless, he couldn’t stay here any longer or he felt he would really go crazy this time. What’s more he was sure the tunnel was getting brighter as it went on and it seemed to be cooler than the room where he had been suffocating for some time already.
Acting on his instinct and not sure it was the right decision started walking through the small passage, away from that hellish place and, at least he hoped, towards the person to whom belonged the only name he remembered.
As he left the room he didn’t notice the passage closing behind him, the wall soundlessly swallowed its entrance, becoming once more the simple wall that the man who had gone through it had examined more than once. The room then was flooded with light. As the light died down a little, a man was standing there. Tall, slender, with white skin and wearing a black suit. His hair was as dark as the night, contrasting with the light grey color of his eyes. A slight smile appeared on his face as he watched attentively the part of the wall where the opening had been earlier.
“Well, this is going to be quite interesting… Wouldn’t you agree Simon ?”
He had said that in a smooth and almost playful voice but with eyes full of malice and ruthless intelligence. The room was once again flooded with light, and as it died once more, slowly leaving its place to a total darkness, the man was nowhere to be seen; only the small mattress and the smooth stone remained. The hot and blood-colored stone…