A rectangular prism, twenty two feet in length, six feet in width, and seven feet in height with no practical entrance or exit. A box, save for a cutout, foot by foot square at the very front with a perfectly fit, inch thick piece of glass shoved into place. Rays come in at an angle, diffused light scattering through the room, reflecting off the walls’ oils with a gloss that I can only describe as “intriguingly disgusting”.
The walls’ oils? Had I not been hyper-fixed on seeing through the glass panel, not ten feet ahead of me, and my vision not in a steady up and down shift, I may have noticed them sooner. The peeling wallpaper, shedding from the calloused, scarred, and, yes, acne-covered skin that surrounded me wasn’t wallpaper, but flakes of dead tissue. Thin, palm-sized chunks of rotten flesh, coming off through the hairs which coated the skin, swaying back and forth, twisting together and releasing one another as time passed. All at once, my blood boils and I must get out of this horrid box, but the realization of what causes the steady, vertical shift came immediately after my pointless thrashing ceased.
A rocking chair. Not much wider than myself, its lacquer chipped and joints creaking, crying out for its pain to cease, much like I’m now senselessly doing. It is, however, only mocking me. Hours pass, days, months even. Upon further inspection, the chair, my guard and warden had been dismembered, the right arm disconnected from the body and the back membrane splintered. It unwelcomingly accompanies me through my time here, hardly ever allowing me to sleep and even less often allowing me to focus on what’s ahead of me.
Over time the walls have become paler, ghostly even, it decides to break out in cold sweats spontaneously through the nights and very nearly drowns me. There are few days I can stand the torment, the whims of my box and chair. My only companion is the panel ahead of me, letting me know how the days pass. If only I could touch the glass. At least another six months pass.
Curtains have appeared on either side of it. The light fails to illuminate them and I cannot make out the folds of drawn curtains, only a cool, welcoming black. They must be here for a reason, an exit, maybe. They must mean something. I am weak, I am vulnerable, I am the epitome of pitiful but with my degraded body the structure of the chair has succumbed to constant stress as well. Among the following days, staring at the curtains, my will renews, I must get to the curtains.
It is only after a forced subtlety that could be described as formlessness in the break of rhythm from the rocking, then a snap that makes the chair shriek that I am able to break free from it. Shuffling through what is now a putrid sludge rather than the layer of oil I once knew, the ten feet were more like miles, each step harder than the last but nevertheless possible. Approaching the curtains it is more and more apparent that the folds were never there, twisting gaps of existence on either side of a window.
The window, the beautiful, clear window, I’d forgotten about it. I always wanted to see through it, I always wanted to know. Coming to the edge, I finally know what’s outside my window. People I knew, people I wanted to know, memories and experiences, the smile of someone special. I want to join them, though in my state the window is more akin to steel. I slip into the left curtain, instead, twilight and shadowed limbs envelop me. Caught in a void, I will never be stuck in a box, again.