The Place- Short Story
Music groaned from the walls, pounding repeatedly through my head. My thoughts were hazy as I grasped at loose air trying to discover my surroundings.
Get out now.
My vision cleared, leaving a long and seemingly empty corridor ahead of me. It was dark. The kind of dark that even the brightest candle couldn’t illuminate.
I felt unsteady on my feet, my body unsure of where it could be.
My hands clutched at the walls, suddenly propelling me forwards.
All along the walls stood doors painted different colours, each representing something I could not yet understand.
There was no door at the end of the corridor, only blackness, consuming darkness that made me want to hide my head under a blanket and wait for the monsters to leave, but all around me the beat droned on.
I pushed on the nearest door easing myself into the dim room. Alone in the centre sat a creature stripped to the bone, a mirror flat in her palm, she was gazing at it quietly, her bony hands trailing along the outer edge.
“Hello, my name is Ana, I’m here to make you beautiful,” her head snapped up scrutinizing my face, her eyes drinking in my body. My hands found their way to my stomach, protectively shielding it from view as her hands tightened around the mirror.
A loud crack whipped through the silence, the glass shattering beneath her fingertips.
“I don’t want to be like you,” I whispered, my words leaving my mouth in a cloud of smoke, dissipating in the air, as if my voice was not used to being used.
Her mouth curled into a tainted smile that sent my heart into overdrive.
I fumbled for the handle behind me releasing myself back into the corridor, I could not convince myself to breathe properly. My head whispered to move on. The next door was on my right, plain grey and far wider than the first. The hinges squealed when I touched the door as if the metal had been scraped raw. In the corner sat a girl, no larger than me, hunched over a toilet, retching. Tears rolled down her cheeks, as her body convulsed and removed whatever she had last eaten.
“Are you OK?” I asked stepping hesitantly towards her, something churned in my stomach.
This wasn’t right.
Gently pushing her hair behind her shoulder, she turned to face me.
“My names Mia, I can make you look like the others, if you do what I do, you’ll feel better.”
I shook my head, my throat constricting around my words.
“I don’t want to do what you do.”
Her smile was menacing.
I ran as fast as I could to the door, her laughter echoing in the room behind me. Three doors remained. The first was black, darker than the night sky, the second was silver, a single red slash bisecting the centre, the third was a white so pure it almost hurt to look. My feet carried me forward to the silver door, turning the knob with stiff fingers.
The walls all around me were splashed with red, words scrawled hastily across them.
In the corner sat a small girl, her head between her knees.
Her voice was so high it was almost operatic, tinkling around the room like bells swinging into motion.
“My names Cat. I’m here to take away all your pain,” she lifted her head to look at me. That’s when I noticed the red slashes adorning her wrists, my throat burned from holding back tears.
“I don’t want to do that to myself.”
She grinned wickedly at me, holding a silver blade between her fingertips.
“Didn’t your parents teach you not to lie?”
The door opened without protest, releasing me back into the empty corridor. I leaned over to catch my breath, two doors remained.
The black door opened without me needing to touch it, beyond the door was an empty abyss. My feet pushed me forward into the room. What I hadn’t seen before was the small bed tucked into the smallest corner of the room, a tiny figure hunched over on the covers, heart-wrenching sobs filling the room around me.
“My names Deb,” she whispered between sobs, “I’ll help you to forget what it’s like to feel, it will all be better if you’re numb.”
Her eyes remained tightly shut while she spoke.
“Maybe I don’t want to feel numb,” I whispered, hot tears starting to create tracks down my face.
Her smile was sad.
I gave her once last glance before I left the room. Fear trickled down the back of my neck as I approached the final door, there was no girl inside this room, instead a mirror sat in the very centre, standing on its handle, reflecting my bare pale feet. I hesitantly stepped inside, leaning down to pick it up. My own tired face gazed steadily back at me. At my shoulders the girls crawled, resting their hands on my throat.
“This is Sue’s room,” they whispered, their voices all moulding into one, sounding far too much like my own, “She’ll make it all go away, she’ll remove you completely, you’ll never be afraid again.”
The walls reverberated with the sounds of their voices.
That’s when I realised.
This wasn’t just any place.
This was the twisted landscape of my very own mind.
These were my demons, my fears and my desires.
I no longer felt the urge to fight as their weak bodies tightened their hold on my throat, dragging me to the floor.
The mirror fell beside me, as if in slow motion I saw my face flicker in its depths, the glass splintering and cracking under the pressure of the stone floor as it fell.
I wasn’t afraid anymore.
As the girls dragged me towards the end of the corridor, I no longer felt scared of what awaited me in its dark and dense depths.
I was too far gone anyway.