The White Room

Posted: October 7, 2007 in Beauty, City, Dark, Death, Fantasy, Fiction, Imagery, Life, Love, Medical, Muses, Urban, Women

Jack wasn’t sure how he had gotten from his car to a white room, but it didn’t matter right now. It was so peaceful here.
He was laying on a soft carpet, a lush and bright expanse of wall-to-wall flooring beneath him, comfortable like nothing had ever been before in his life. The walls were just barely distinguishable from the center of the room where Jack reclined, being the same color as the carpet.
One would expect that this room, appearing almost endless, might disturb or confuse its inhabitant, yet Jack felt an inner peace that had been eluding him for a long time.
Now a man approaches him, a smudge of welcome darkness against the white room’s backdrop. Black jeans and a tight shirt cover a thin body, skin pale and hair spiky. His deep brown eyes, sad dog eyes, they rove around the room to settle on Jack’s relaxed form.
“Hi Jack.”
Jack smiles. He likes this man.
“Do you know where you are, Jack?”
A noiseless shake of his head and the man clad in dark clothing kneels to look Jack in the eye.
“My name is Cat, Jack. Can you speak?”
Jack hesitates. “Yes.”
“Good. Do you mind if we go for a walk?”
“OK.”
Cat holds out his hand and Jack grasps it. With the touch comes a feeling of hopelessness and a gasp as Jack shut his eyes.
When he opens them again, the white room is gone.
It is replaced with an urban jungle, a wide plain devoid of color, filled with fog and shuffling figures. Each figure is obscured until nothing more than a silhouette remains of each one. It’s a scene stolen from the twenties, a landscape of smoky bars and fast fading streetlights.
“This is where I live, Jack.”
The two stand beneath a lamp, light seeming to be a very nearly solid thing as it swirled around them.
One of the people creeping through the darkness suddenly stops and twirls towards Jack and Cat. Even before the person is brought into the bright circle, Jack knows who it is.
“Liz.”
Cat turns to him with bewilderment just as a woman breaks into their small enclave of light.
She dances with unparalleled grace and smooth form, clad in a simple white dress. Even as she moves quickly, dipping and moving to a silent beat coursing through the air, her bright blue gaze never leaves Jack.
Jack speaks, his voice almost inaudible amid the crushing stillness of the surrounding environment. “She had always wanted kids.”
“You know her.”
Jack stares at the ground, at his shadow. He traces a circle on the patch of darkness. “She was my wife.”
Cat doesn’t seem to register any surprise; moreover, he looks as if something wrong had been resolved.
Cat’s voice is quieter than usual. “You remember.”
Tears escape from Jack’s eyes, falling to meet the ground. The two men are silent for a long while as Liz dances and a bright moon hangs overhead.
“It’s not fair.”
Jack’s hoarse voice chokes on a sob and he looks at Cat, eyes still sparkling with emotion and tears.
“I know.” Cat sighs with the air of a person who has seen too much grief in life. “This is all that’s allowed. Just a short time.”
Jack’s gaze is empty as his wife pirouettes around with a nearly carefree elegance. He steps toward her and speaks.
“I’m sorry.” His voice catches in his throat and he opens his mouth to talk again, but Liz stops him with a finger to his lips. With a whirling of dark hair and a last glance filled with sapphire regret, she fades into the night.
Cat rests his hand on Jack’s shoulder. “It’s time.”
A quiet city is shattered, broken into pieces and re-formed. Jack finds himself in the white room again, Cat still gripping his shoulder.
“No. Wake fully.”
Shouting breaks the fantasy and Jack is plunged into oblivion, an oblivion contained in a tension-filled surgery room.
The surgeon and his assistants work with frantic fervor, green scrubs splashed with blood in a demon’s imagining of a masterpiece. Every now and then the surgeon will shout for a tool, strain evident in his voice and his clenched jaw.
Through all of the chaos raging directly above him, Jack feels the same parting peace that he did in the white room; his fear of death is gone, gone along with his spirit and his dead wife.
With that last feeling of tranquility his life ends with a long beep from the heart monitor. His pulse flatlines and the surrounding doctors cringe with the sound of failure.
The head surgeon sighs with grief and wipes the sweat from his brow.
“Pronounce him.”
An intern glances at the large clock on the wall. “Time of death is 7:43 PM, October 4th, 2007.”
Outside stands a thin man dressed in dark clothing, spiky hair tipped with light from the lamps hanging over the entrance to the hospital.
His eyes close in remembrance of the man who has just died.
The Muse of Dreams turns and disappears into the darkness beyond the hospital.

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Comments
  1. Tomy Wilkerson says:

    So wait, he’s dead but the man takes him on a trip down memory lane, and let’s him see his wife one more time and then let’s him see himself die? I’m lost! you have to finish this so I can know now that i’m intrigued!

    Your writing style really is amazing, I love how paint pictures with your words, I always have such a tough time doing that and you can really paint crystal clear images. Now, tell me what is going on!?! You can’t leave me in such suspense!

  2. Erin says:

    Great storytelling, Luke.

    As far as edits go:

    indent!

    “being the same color as the carpet” sounds awkward; revise

    you begin to mix tenses in the second paragraph; stick with one tense

    “…urban jungle, a wide plain…” should be changed to “urban jungle: a wide plane…”

    “twenties, a landscape” change , to :

    “eyes still sparkling” clarify whose eyes they are

    “oblivion, an oblivion contained” get rid of “an oblivion”

    “The surgeon and his assistants work with frantic fervor, green scrubs splashed with blood in a demon’s imagining of a masterpiece” Turn this into two complete sentences.

    “gone, gone” only need one

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