Wild animals never kill for sport.
Man is the only one to whom the torture and
death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.-James Anthony Froude
An old man in silver rimmed glasses sits in his reading chair and looks out a large frosty window. A fireplace is crackling a few feet away, warming the room from the freezing wasteland outside. The only other light is the one sitting next to a glass of 1939 Macallan, atop the side table accompanying his reading chair. The dimly lit room, the largest in the colossal house, is lined with bookshelves up to the ceiling, filled to the very top. Hundreds of books- most of them flipped all the way through at least once. A dark crimson coats the walls not covered by books, matching the silk upholstery wrapping the old man’s chair.
The man takes a sip of his whiskey as if his throat is lined with armor and looks over to the only shelf not filled with books. This shelf is almost empty in fact, except for seven neatly stacked composition notebooks. 100 sheets. College ruled. He starts to think about them. Number three was probably his favorite. “What a great writer,” he thought. “Beautiful handwriting.”
His attention turns to his lap and another composition book resting in his wrinkled, worn out hands, the writing “SUBJECT-8” on the front cover with “January 16, 2018” written below it. A slight smile creeps across his face. What a lovely thing. Peering into someone’s brain. Unfiltered by the environment, people… society. He gently opens the notebook, savoring the feeling of beginning a new one, and starts to read:
Day 1: I guess I’m supposed to write in this thing.
I don’t know what’s going on. The last thing I remember, I was sitting on the subway going to work and now I’ve woken up in an empty room. I screamed for a while when I first woke up, begging for help- an explanation- but there was no response. My breath was heavy and my senses seemed off. Had to have been drugged. Initial inspection of the room is gloomy. Its area is about 400 square feet- a 20x20 box. The walls are completely white and there is no trace of a door. The ceiling is strangely high and there is two florescent light fixtures illuminating the room. Dentist lights. The only thing inhabiting the room was a large cardboard box in the corner, which I already opened. It contained a ten-gallon jug of water, a sack of assorted snacks (granola, cheese crackers, nuts, etc.), the notebook that I’m am currently writing in, and a knife. Switchblade. Not sure what the knife is for. The food doesn’t need to be cut or anything.
I don’t know where I am, who put me here, or why they did…but I’m scared.
I’ve been pacing for a couple hours now. I tried screaming for help some more but I have a feeling it’s useless. I pounded on the walls. My fists were met with concrete. This is not an ordinary office building. It feels more like a bunker. I had one of the granola bars and slurped some water from the jug and now I’m just sitting against the back wall. I mean I guess it’s the back wall. There is no real direction in this place. All four walls are exactly the same. I can’t even remember what corner I found the box in. It’s very disorientating. Scenarios have been running through my head all day, trying to figure out why someone would do this. I can’t come up with anything. I’ve done things wrong of course, but I don’t owe anyone money. I have done nothing deserving of revenge. This has to be a mistake.
My name is Jason Drower. I’m 27 and I am a 9th grade social studies teacher in Athens, Ohio. I have a beautiful wife, Karen, and one baby girl, Emma. My god, I hope they’re okay. There’s nothing really interesting or important to write about myself. I can juggle, my left pinkie is slightly shorter than my right, and I got a 2120 on my SAT’s. Honestly the only things I can come up with right now. I don’t even know why I’m writing this stuff. What the hell does it matter? Possibly continue this bio later…
I fell asleep leaning against the wall. Shit. It didn’t occur to me that there is no concept of time in the room. I’m assuming the lights stay on. There are no clocks or windows. I have completely lost all sense of how long I’ve been here and I’m panicking again. Gonna get some water and try to calm down.
GET ME OUT OF HERE. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?
I think I’m losing my mind in here. I need to get organized.
I just wish I knew what I did or why I am here. I’ve been sleeping a lot lately. There’s not much else to do and it keeps my mind off things. If I had to guess, I would say it’s been 3 days but I really have no idea. It could have been a week already, or just a couple hours. It’s maddening.
I haven’t written in a while. Or it seems like it anyway. I’ve pretty much eaten all my snacks so I’m getting kind of hungry. I probably should have been careful about eating too much too quickly since I have no idea how long they are going to keep me in here. They. Who would do this to someone?
I got to find some way out of here.
I tried throwing my knife at the lights on the ceiling. I actually hit them a few times but the plastic covering didn’t break. I figure they have to change the bulbs sometime. Right? Or are they some of those lifetime bulbs? Probably.
I figure it’s probably wrong but keeping a date helps me stay sane.
I’m also staving. I haven’t had food in what feels like three days and I’m just about done my water. I’ve been rationing it for a while now, only drinking a couple cups a day. I remember when I was 12 my dad made me stay outside all day when it was nice and I’d get so thirsty I would just drink from the hose. I guess it’s not really similar. I’m just thinking about my life a lot in here. About my family. I love them so much and I just want to know they are okay.
There’s a fly in here. I have no idea how it got in here. There are no openings. Or are there? I know I had to have gotten in here someone I just cant figure out how, but there must been some opening because how else would a fly get in here? My first instinct was to take my shoe off and kill it but something stopped me. I guess I kind of like the company. I’ll name him (I’m guessing it’s a him) Winslow. Kind of like that rat in Rocco’s Modern Life. Or was that CatDog? I used to love those shows.
The food and water’s been replaced.
I don’t know how. I fell asleep and when I woke up there was a new jug of water and a new bag of snacks. FUUCKKKKK!! I don’t know what I expected. I guess I thought I would just run out of food and water and then slowly wither away. Die of thirst or starvation. Hoping I guess.
I’ve figured out how to keep some kind of timetable. I just about know how long my beard gets in a week so I took some water, rubbed it on my face, and then shaved with the switchblade. It’s rough going without shaving cream or a mirror and I’ve cut myself a bunch of times but its better then nothing. I can kind of feel when it gets to “week long” beard, thus my clock. Thank god. I also have an idea.
If they replace the food and water when it runs out and replace it when I’m asleep, they must be able to see in here somehow and be able to get it here as well. And if there’s a way to get in, there must be a way to get out. I’m going to finish my food and water, slowly, as not to tip them off that I have a plan. Then I’m going to “sleep.” I’m going to pretend to sleep. Switchblade in pocket. When they come in to replace the food and water I’m going to attack, hold one hostage maybe, I really don’t know how it’s going to go down but I need to try something.
Here we go. Goodnight. Wish me luck.
It drops from the ceiling. The jug, the food. It drops from the ceiling. I heard something shift as my eyes were closed. I jumped up and opened them to see a rope lowering in fresh supplies from a panel behind the light fixture. I ran over a grabbed it. It tugged back and burned my hands. I screamed, “LET ME OUT OF HERE YOU SICK BASTARDS!” and the rest of the rope dropped and the panel shut replacing the bright fluorescent light. That’s the first time I cried in here. I’m actually surprised I haven’t sooner. Being away from my wife and daughter. My life. But that was the first time. The realization that I’m probably never getting out of here. That they’re probably never going to let me out.
Fuck this journal and fuck whoever is reading it. I’m not writing in this thing anymore.
Day 61: I think.
I read this thing once about mice being born into a completely closed off, neutral environment. A diabolical experiment. They’re behavior was sporadic. Completely immobile at some points, and extremely aggressive at others- -their natural instincts voided and eventually lost over time. At one point, they introduced another mouse that had been caught in the wild. The first mouse killed and ate the newly added mouse. What does that mean? That, keeping all variables constant, life is naturally destructive and malignant? Or that keeping life from its instinctual environment does awful…evil things to its behavior.
I kind of wish they would just kill me already. I mean its inevitable, right?
I killed Winslow. He kept flying around me today. Biting me. I kind of enjoyed it to be honest. But this is no place for a fly of his stature, of his dignity! He spoke to me. Sounds crazy but I heard him. Begging me to kill him. Flying around my ear buzzing, “Kill meee.” I told him no- that I couldn’t do it. But then I started to feel an obligation to him. He’s stuck in here just like me. Both of us are prisoners. Only he can’t kill himself. I can. He rested on my shoulder and told me to do it quickly. That he wanted to die painlessly. How could I deny him of that? How could I tell him, “No, you need to die as slowly and painfully as I am. You’re not better than I am. You are a fly.” How could I say that to him after all we’ve been through?
I tried to think of the best way to do it. I didn’t want to smush him. Smear his entrails all over the wall leaving nothing left of him but a smear of red and black. I couldn’t do that to him. I thought about suffocating him in one of my empty jugs or drowning him in my new one. I thought about eating him. Swallowing him whole, but that seems like the most degrading of all ways to go. I decided to decapitate him. He didn’t fight or try and fly away. He just landed on the floor and waited for me. I pulled out my switchblade and got down close to him to where I could see his big black eyes and his hairy little feelers. I said a prayer for him. An “Our Father”. It was the only one I could remember. I don’t go to church anymore. Hadn’t been since I was a kid. I kind of wish I went more. After I said my goodbyes, I slowly put my knife to the back of his head and hit the back of the blade with my hand, creating a swift clean chop. His body buzzed for a little while, which made me feel uncomfortable but I knew he was gone and that made me feel thankful. Sad…but thankful that he didn’t have to suffer anymore. Like me.
Day: who the fuck cares
I’ve been thinking. Maybe I’m already dead. Maybe this is hell. Who knows- it’s possible I guess. Stuck in this dungeon for all eternity. The living above me. Above the fluorescent lights. Maybe that’s heaven. Maybe heaven and hell aren’t as far apart as we’ve all thought. Only a thin ceiling separating the condemned and the saved.
Maybe hell isn’t where you go when you die but just a place to finish this first life- this place. Who knows? I guess you do. Whoever you are. Whatever the case, I don’t think I can do this anymore. The switchblade looks sharper every day and my veins look juicier than ever. I’m sorry Karen. I’m sorry Emma. I love you.
Day ∞: … I wrote a poem. Enjoy.
Keep on breathing and don’t give in
It only stops where the start begins
Like a tuna’s tail in a great white’s jaws
Like the song that follows the fans’
Maybe you’ll sleep in the darkness tonight
Even under those fluorescent lights
The old man flips the page revealing only blanks for the rest of the notebook. The last page. He closes the back cover and sits up in his chair. The fire has begun to die out when an older woman walks into the crimson room, her nightgown glowing in the fading light.
“How long did he last?”
“That’s the longest so far.”
“Yep. You want to read it?”
“I’ll read it tomorrow. You want eggs for breakfast in the morning?”
“Yeah, eggs sound great.”