Taking a days break from Sonata in Red and Blood and Lies, they’ll be back tomorrow.

I hear it again, that mechanical voice bears the unique timbre of an announcement delivered over a cheap school intercom system. It repeats the same message again and again every hour, the meaning indecipherable through the reverb and electrical distortion.
The sound follows me however far I go. Always I can hear it when it repeats. The elusive message torments me, hanging just beyond perception with every telling. Dancing subtly backwards with every step closer I take towards understanding.

I don’t know this place, or how I came to be here. There is nothing familiar about the room I find myself in, nor discernible landmarks to orientate myself by.  The lights in each room barely have the power to banish the shadows which lurk hungrily at the edges of my vision.
Whether I am truly moving or stuck in some kind of loop, I don’t know. Everything looks the same, but every step new room feels strange and different. I feel the chill air through my clothes. They aren’t my clothes. I was simply wearing them when I first realised I was. I pull them tighter to my skin, wringing every morsel of heat I can from them. Pressing ever forwards.

The message plays again. Clearer this time, like ever time. This time it’s so clear I can distinguish individual words, though I can attribute no specific meaning to them. Perhaps the message isn’t in English. I grind my teeth together in frustration.
My stomach gargles. It’s been so long since I’ve eaten. My throat is parched with thirst. I might die soon without any water. I have to keep going forward. There is nothing here but death if I stop.

What was that? A sound. Quieter than the garbled tormenting message, something hidden in the background.


I cry out to its source for salvation. I don’t want to die here alone. Anything would be better than being alone.

Only silence answer.

I want to cry. Collapse to my knees and sleep. I’m so tired. How long have I been walking now, without respite or company. Too long. The only measurement I can give in this place.

This place.

This hell.

I keep walking. There’s nothing if I stop but death. Perhaps there will be water in the next room. Food. A map with people to encourage me. At least some damned clarity in that cursed electrical mumble.

The message speaks again. It’s so grainy it’s like listening to a blizzard. Like the words have been torn apart by the wind and smashed back together in some cruel facsimile of meaning. I slam through door after door, every destination different but the same. The darkness always there, always waiting, always lurking just out of reach. Maybe if I broke the light, maybe the darkness would come and take me away.

I’m too afraid to try.

The message ends once more and the silence feels heavier this time. More final. Maybe that was the last time it would play. My last chance. My last warning. Maybe that means it’s over. That the next room will be the exit, the way outside.
Am I inside? I suppose I must be, there are no doors or lightbulbs outside. Yes. Inside. Inside an impossibly large hell.

How did I come to be here? I must have always been here. I don’t remember ever coming here. The thought is hard to carry. I’m so tired, perhaps I should just rest my eyes a moment and continue after I’ve slept.

But there’s nothing but death if I stop.

I don’t know how I know that, I’ve never died before. I’ve never stopped before, either. Is that true? Have I never stopped before? Surely I must have slept before, some time before this place.
I can’t remember what it was like before. It doesn’t matter now anyway, there’s nothing behind me, the only way forward. Is forward.

Doors open, I pass, they close. The message plays, it’s clearer this time.I almost believe I’ve understood it. Then it’s gone. Next time it will be clearer, next time I’m sure to understand it. If there is a next time.
That noise again, the sound of  movement or voices. So faint. So distant. I cry out into the void ahead of me, running faster, slamming through door after door. My voice disappears inches from my face. I am closer now, soon I will not have to wander alone. If I catch them I can be together instead.

The message plays. I understand it this time. I know I have to continue, I will find them and then we can be together. The darkness is hungry at the edge of the light. The only way to go is forwards.
My lungs burn and my muscles tear, but I can’t stop running. Not when I’m so close. The only thing left if I stop is death. The whispers are louder, they share message that repeats above. They’re calling to me, beckoning me to join them.

The room is dark. The light at the edge of everything is hungry. I am together now. There is nothing ahead but life. The message is clear, but I block it out. I want to be alone, I want to wake up.
I have always been here, with you. We are here together. We are one.

The doorway ahead is frightening, but with you by my side I can face it. Outside things will be different. I will understand then. Like you promised.

Author: Zairron

I'm writing to build a habit, practice, and be creative.

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