The Panic Room
A human woke up and stayed in bed just to relax. The person closed their eyes and thought about the day ahead. Our protagonist then got up out of bed and felt around for the light switch but couldn't seem to find it. This person noticed that the wall felt different, it almost felt like concrete and he couldn't see anything, not even his hand in front of his face. His hands started along the walls feeling for any break, for windows or doors, for anything but all he felt was the cold, unforgiving granite.
At first the man tried to deny it. That this was simply just a dream and that he could wake up any moment he wanted to. The guy got back into bed, slid the blankets over himself, and shut his eyes tight. A few minutes passed by and he reopened them hoping to see his wife beside him and the sunlight illuminating him from the window, but it was not to be.
At this stage, Christopher McLaughlan started to panic as thoughts of terror raced through his mind. It started playing tricks on him, making him believe that the room was getting smaller. Going around again alleviated the feeling a little but in the darkness, Chris had no idea how high up the ceiling was.
Then a horrifying thought entered his psyche: what if there was something walking silently around on the ceiling, ready to drop down on him whenever it felt like? Or heaven forbid, maybe even they. Chris shuddered, and tried to push the idea away as he tried to reason with himself.
The man was claustrophobic and had no idea how high the ceiling was nor did he know exactly how large the room was despite having felt around it, twice. It felt like the room, this place, wherever... whatever it was, was closing in on him and his panic finally did so as well.
His breathing became shallow, his pupils dilated, the adrenaline running through him made him shake uncontrollably. Chris didn't care where this was, all he needed to know was that he wanted out by any means necessary.
This tall, thin man ran right into the wall with his shoulder, trying to break it down. Over and over, he slammed himself into the wall, repeating to himself in his frenzy "Need to get out! Need to get out!" Tiring himself out, he started scratching and punching the walls. Chris had hoped it had been weakened, but it was not to be.
After a while, he collapsed against the wall with raw, bloodied hands. Chris couldn't remember what he did and he realized he was holding his breath and as he let it out, tears welled up in his eyes, he started to cry. He surprised himself as he continued weeping. Christopher heard himself ask "What did I ever do to deserve this? Why? Goddamnit! Why?!" he kept saying.
With now just the lingering feeling of heaviness around him Mr. McLaughlan focused on calming himself down first. "Through the nose, out through the mouth. In... and out. In... and out." After a while, he felt serene, and was focused enough to try and come up with something.
Maybe there was a way to beat out the wall with part of the bed frame. "Crap" the guy muttered. "There's no screwdriver." "Hell," he thought bitterly to himself, "who would keep a screwdriver in their bedroom? Nobody, that's who." The 27-year old sighed and continued looking for something useful. "Maybe there's something under the bed" he thought as he went to check. Nothing. Apparently all that was there was the bed itself. "How the hell do I get outta here?" Chris shouted angrily. "How?" He sat down on the edge of the bed, and put his forehead in his hands trying to find an answer. Giving up, he sank back down onto his bed and feeling tired, started to doze off again.
His eyes shot open as he heard something in the distance. From inside of this concrete box or whatever this was, it sounded like the far off clanking of gears and cogs. His ears picked up on each individual boom of the teeth interlocking and it piqued his curiosity as he wondered what was outside. Christopher jumped out of the bed and put his ear up to the wall to listen more closely.
He began hearing other things as well, the sharp cry of the wind, clicking; probably from whatever was producing the clanking, the tinkling and possible dragging of chains off in the distance and... footsteps? That meant that there was someone out there, someone who could help get him out if they heard him! Though, there was no way to know just how thick the walls were, so he hollered and shouted as loud as he possibly could. Then the fellow heard it. It sounded like a woman screaming in agony. In fact, it almost sounded more like the wail of a banshee than that of a woman. By now, Christopher had stopped his yelling and hollering because he did not want to attract whatever was causing those noises. It had rapidly died down to a soft whimpering and moaning and again, he heard the sound of footsteps but now they were gradually getting closer to wherever he was. In the back of his mind, Chris thought "Well, shit."
They stopped at the other side of the wall and Christopher held his breath. He heard something, it was quite bizarre, it sounded like muffled backwards whispering and whistling and Chris could only guess that one of them was listening for him. He continued to hold his breath as the pair of footsteps started walking away. He decided whether he should scream out to get the two's attention so he could possibly save whoever the third person was, or stay here and not risk his life.
Unfortunately, by the time he decided, it was too late. The dismayed man no longer heard any footsteps and the screaming had stopped. A sullen sigh was let out. He was alone again. All McLaughlan could hear now, were the cogs moving and the chains rattling on in the distance.
Mr. M started to panic once again as he realized he was running out of air. He started to suffocate. He choked and sputtered, struggling to get in a breath of air as he fell to his knees. He started coughing and he collapsed onto his side. Christopher curled up into a fetal position as his vision blurred more and more and soon, he passed out altogether.
Chris woke up to see his bedroom again. At first he was confused, but as he started looking around, he breathed a big sigh of relief. "It was probably just a nightmare" Christopher thought to himself. He noticed that his wife was missing and was about to look for her when he saw the note partially hidden under the pillow.
She had actually already gone to work taking the only car with her, so he was left to take the bus. Chris bought a newspaper and decided to skim the first few pages. Front page news was "House Burns Down yadayadayada". He saw "Penguins Take Home Gold" among other articles. Then he saw Page B2 and it completely took him by surprise. A little article on the side said "Man Missing, Christopher McLaughlan missing since Monday morning". He read through it and started wondering if what had happened to him was a dream or not.
He decided that he would wait until he got home to surprise her. He would be glad to be with her again, no matter what she thought of him. He continued reading the newspaper until he got off at his stop and looked at all the people around him. Chris was pretty damn sure that it was no dream and he faintly smiled knowing that nobody would slow down to hear him, in fact, it was unlikely that anyone would believe him. With that in mind, he pushed through the double-doors of big business and entered an entirely different world.
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