“There’s a place out there that I need to find; that, I’m sure of.”
“A place? What place?”
“I don’t know.”
“You’re not making much sense right now.”
“I guess not. But you should know better than most, I rarely ever am.”
At that, they fell silent. Justin nodded and tried to smile, then turned around, and left the room. It had been a month or so now, and things seemed to have entered a sort of frozen space, where they would barely talk or touch each other. Even stare felt icy, dead cold. Instead of the elevator, Justin took the stairs and ran down as fast as he could. It was a nice change of pace, quite literally, and he was not one to do that often. He felt lighter, unburdened even, as if days of silence and resentment of sorts had be weighing him down to the point of melting right into the ground. He jumped over the last remaining stairs, came across the old dog who had made a habit of sleeping in the hall, and left the very same place his father had left years before. Everything somehow seemed to run in the family it seemed, and Justin believed that now more than ever, he was to be careful where and with whom he would move. For him, more than for others perhaps, time was a luxury, something he could not really afford. Not on a long term perspective anyway.
She slept on the couch for three days waiting and wondering. What happened? We never truly get what happens. Even afterwards – days, months, years; hindsight is highly overrated. The only things that remains is the scene, looping over and over and over again. She flipped on the couch, amazed by her own body movement, and spent some time trying to find a comfortable position. It quickly occurred to her that there was no such thing in life – you never get a comfortable position; you might as well learn how to endure. Endure; that was the word she had been looking for, all these years. Endure. Oddly enough, not many people seem to remember that word. As if the whole idea behind were ungraspable, unapplicable. Another random concept, signified and signifiers, confusion with different letters on it. After all, words are words, nothing but words and boredom.
“I see colours. Black, white, blue. I’d say this is highlighting a strong shadow. An impression of depth, of …”
“… something untold?”
“This is a powerful piece. Worth 13,000 as of yesterday.”
“Look at that. See, there? The tiny lamp?”
“Seems like the light it’s producing is just like, you know, one of those tiny little flames you flick in the dark.”
“A gleam of hope?”
“I’d say a glimmer of hope.”
“How much, you said?”
“That’s not a lot of money for such an image. I don’t think any words could sum up the whole idea.”
“I think I could sum you up the whole idea. That’s part of my job.”
“I dare you to try. 13,000 that you can’t even begin to grasp a tenth of it.”
“I might as well try”.
They released the group in two separate rooms, all of them handcuffed to the wall. The first one, his other hand on the floor, felt around to see if he could find anything that would help. The other two were still out, silent but breathing heavily. In the other room, nobody moved; they waited for something to happen. After a while the first one found a way to free himself, and subsequently freed the others. The three of them moved into a bigger room, and managed to turn on a dim light. In the other room, nothing had happened yet. The second one examined the room carefully, looking at the wall and ceilings until he let out a shriek, dense, high-pitched, scary. Facing them, on the bigger wall, was a 666 drawn in what appeared to be blood. In the other room, nothing. The three of them came closer to the wall, touched the number. None of them had ever seen or touched dried blood before, not on a wall at least. They looked at each other and nodded – it was blood, most surely. But what did it mean? What did the number mean? The devil, someone said. That’s the devil’s number. No, another said, that’s just a random number put there to spook us, nothing more, nothing less. The first one grabbed the lamp with the dim light and tried to scan the rest of the room, to look for any exit, any hint and hope of a solution. There were no other room. They were all trapped – a new reality. With heavy silences and breaths, undecipherable numbers, screams and noises. New additions to an old way of communicating. There was no way to know how and where to go, no way to call for help, no way at all, until someone, somewhere, opened a door.