Waiting Room

He awoke to an intense, even blinding light. Through the open doorway he could see another room. “Hello?” he called nervously, his voice faltering slightly. He was met with silence. There was nothing at all. It was quiet, eerily quiet. A soft breeze blew through the open window beside the bed but there was no sound. No sound at all. He rose, the bed frame squeaking and groaning under his weight. Sticking his finger in his ear to test it, he could hear the soft scratching of skin on skin. It wasn’t his hearing that was the problem.

Swinging his legs out of bed, he placed his feet gingerly on the floor, expecting the laminate to be cold, only to find it pleasantly warm. His brow furrowed. He didn’t remember his bedroom floor being so clean… Maybe she’d cleaned it while he slept. Shrugging, he rose, rubbing his palms together and shivering. Despite the warm floor, the air was cool. Then it dawned on him; where was his shirt?

He looked to his right. The white chair was almost invisible in the white room, escaping his bleary-eyed notice. On it lay a slip of paper, tented in the seat. He picked it up.

“It’s nearly time.”

“What the hell does that mean?” he thought to himself, tossing the sheet aside and further rumpling his already messy hair. A shadow of annoyance passed his face.

A feeling of discomfort came over him. He realized that he was not at home. Where was this place? What day was it? Why was he here and how had he come to be here?

None of it mattered. He was consumed with a desire to be home. Searching for an exit, he found himself turning toward the window. Where had it gone? He did not recall when the breeze stopped blowing.

Remembering the other room, his stomach cramped. Turning, he faced the open door…or the door that had been open. When had it closed? Just what was this place?

He grabbed the doorknob and turned. Air sighed through the gap. He saw them then. Flinging the door open he took it all in. Keys, dangling, lying on the floor, falling through a vent in the ceiling. Keys everywhere. He entered the room. A key brushed his face. Lifting his arm to reach for it, he saw it then. A mark like a keyhole on his wrist. No…not like a keyhole at all. It WAS a keyhole.

He stared blankly up at the ceiling.

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