Testing, Testing One TwoPosted: May 14, 2016
She opened her eyes to familiar surroundings: late afternoon in her own bedroom. The light was streaming in through the crack in the blinds; that must have been what woke her. She cocked her head as an unfamiliar sound tickled her eardrums. Some kind of soft whirring, like the air conditioner was on, but this early in the year, the air conditioner wasn’t on. Maybe it was a neighbor doing something weird in his garage.
She flipped the covers to the other side of the bed and swung her legs to the floor. That nap hadn’t been an entirely good idea, she thought. Her head felt logy and somehow swampy. Damp and confusing. She put her elbows on her knees and rested her forehead in her palms for just a moment. Then, taking a deep breath, she rolled her head around on her neck to get the kinks out of try to bring herself to some semblance of life. It worked well enough for her to stand up and walk around the bed.
She rested her hand on the doorknob for a second, feeling something strange. She couldn’t tell if it was in her head or if it was real life. The whirring had turned into a buzzing in the back of her head, and the doorknob seemed to vibrate like some small animal. She loosened her grip enough to pull her fingers away, but they were still cramped into the shape of the handle.
A quick massage brought her fingers back to life, and she tugged the dark and faded blazer from the end of her bed and pulled it on over the tank top she’d fallen asleep wearing. She’d worn the blazer to work for so many years it was a comfort when a day just wasn’t going well. Comfort would be a pretty good thing to have right now.
She thought she felt a presence lurking behind her and slowly turned her head to the left, but nothing unusual was in her field of vision. A shiver racked her body, and goosebumps followed. No; that nap had not been a good idea at all.
She rubbed her face with both hands, squinting her eyes and yawning afterwards. She felt a little more awake now, a little more herself. She shook off the odd sense of…was it doom? She shook her head in denial and reached for the doorknob again.
It wouldn’t turn, wouldn’t even wiggle. The buzzing in her head was louder now, more insistent. Her body felt more awake, but her brain was falling back asleep.
He peered into the monitor and blinked. She wasn’t supposed to be awake yet. He slapped the side of the machine twice, as if that could change the image. She shouldn’t be up and walking around. And yet, somehow, she was. He picked up the phone on the desk next to the computer and dialed his supervisor’s extension.
The doctor answered after half a ring.”What’s wrong?” he demanded.
“She’s awake,” Chuck answered. “Not just awake, but she’s out of bed. She knows she locked in. She’s already tried the door.”
Chuck heard the bang of the handset hitting the doctor’s desk and hung up his out phone gently. This was gonna be bad. The was gonna be real bad.
Thirty seconds later, he heard footsteps pounding out a quick rhythm in the hallway outside his office. He backed out of the way of the monitors just as the doctor slammed the door open and froze.
“She shouldn’t be up and walking around. There’s no way. There’s no way!” he yelled at the innocent monitor before turning to grab Chuck by the lapels of his rumpled lab coat. “What the fuck is going on here?”
Chuck knew better than to offer any kind of answer, knew that this temper tantrum would blow over soon enough, and the doctor would calm down and start taking notes and making phone calls, just as he always did.
She stepped back from the door, shaking her head in denial. The buzzing had mutated again; the humming purr inside her head was even more unsettling that the bees’ nest. She whipped around and something caught her attention. The corner of her Einstein poster was pulled up a bit from the wall. She took the four steps to it and tried to smooth it down, and as she did so, she felt something behind it. Her fingers snaked behind the poster and ripped it in half as she tore at it, only to discover a camera lens staring back at her.
“You bastards,” she whispered. “You dirty, dirty bastards.”