Sunday, April 04, 2010

In the Solution

The room was silent, totally silent, as he waited. The vent above his head didn't rattle; the hardwood chair didn't creak as he shifted in it; there were no voices from down the hall that passed his way. He could almost hear his own heartbeat.
In short, it was unnerving.
He stood, not for the first time, pacing back and forth as he waited for the other door to open. There was no clock, but he was sure they were late. Agent Sampson was supposed to be here fifteen minutes ago. And the man was not known for tardiness.
Tin sat again, forcing himself into the placid complacency that had once come so naturally to him. Agent Sampson would be here. There was a reason, he didn't need it. There was always a reason.
The room was small, gray and featureless. On one side there was a mirror, behind which he knew was another room that watched over him, but nobody was in it-the door that lead into it had been open when he passed coming into this one. There was a table scarred with long use, and two hardwood chairs, one on either side of the table. On the opposite side of the table from him was a cardboard shoe box, slightly battered and with a lid that didn't quite fit. He hadn't opened it.
Another five minutes ticked by. He shifted again, annoyed. Though he had very little better to do, he still detested wasting time like this. He glanced at the shoe box again.
Why would Agent Sampson bring a shoe box? He must have left it here—nobody else used this room, after all. Was there something important in it? Tin fought back the urge to look for a few moments longer, then finally gave in, pulling the box cautiously across the table. He removed the lid cautiously, half expecting something to jump out at him. Nothing did. He set the thing aside.
Inside lay two black wristbands, bearing the names of bands he didn't recognize, and a hat with a couple buttons pinned to one side. He examined it, then set it aside, rapidly losing interest.
The last object caught his attention, though. A multicolored cube, with nine different-colored squares on each side, their arrangement seemingly random. He picked it up, and turned it over. Every side was the same way. The sides looked like they could rotate-he tried it. They could. He twisted it around for a moment, more for something to do than in any actual goal, before he quite suddenly remembered.
The colors were all supposed to be on the same side. He didn't know how he knew that, and he sat for a moment staring at the thing, fighting back the shock and an overwhelming feeling he didn't recognize. He started twisting it again, experimenting.
The rapid clicking of the cube soon filled the room as he twisted it this way and that, trying to make sense of the pattens. Every so often, a flash of something would hit him, sometimes little things, and others so much to make him stop, staring wildly at the cube. It was a rubix cube. There'd been a party. There was a brick house, a school, a chain link fence in front of an abandoned factory. The door wouldn't latch. A black cat that hated him. He didn't know what was happening, but he couldn't bear for it to stop.
The sides of the cube spun faster and faster as he focused all of his attention on it and the patterns gradually worked themselves out in his head. A math class, a girl, a beat-up red locker. A small room at the top of a long staircase, painted blue. Posters, pictures, something that looked like a kid had drawn it. An old computer, a set of beat up speakers, a blue guitar.
Bits and pieces were beginning to fall into place now. Recognizable patterns began to form on the sides of the cube, and he bit his lip, trying to focus on that only as every part of his mind screamed for attention. Voices he recognized, but didn't remember, someone telling him to do the dishes, his own voice speaking back. The feel of a spiral bound notebook pressed up against his palm. A teacher, telling him to focus.
He paused for a moment, and the room fell back into that blank, empty silence that had been there before, what felt like hours ago as he let the memories—they were memories—fall into place. A wall in his head was crumbling, it felt like, and everything behind it was rushing in all at once. He started to feel lightheaded. The house was his, the locker was his, the room and guitar and posters and... and everything. That was his past.
He forced it back, ripping his attention back to the cube in his hands. He was almost there. He started twisting again, fighting against every new revelation as he did. A mother, a father, his own hands, so much younger. He forced himself to only see the cube.
The last piece fell into place, and suddenly the noise in his head died away, falling back in the place of one word, which he uttered aloud.
The empty room didn't respond. He stood, holding the solved cube in shaking hands.
“My name is Peter.” He looked up. “My name is Peter!”

I wrote this in like, December, but I liked it enough to post. It happens towards the end of Tin's story, and is a bit of a spoiler, really. Wish it had something more to do with Easter, though if you squint and read my mind, you could kinda get that, I guess.. Ah well. Happy Easter to you all!

1 comment:

ivy said...

Well, I wouldn't mind a lot more of this kind of thing! Not just well-written, but actually expositional (which isn't a word, but it should be)! I feel bad for Tin, but it's good that he does get some of that memory back, in the end. Also, love the direct use of the Rubik's Cube and the way it sparks his memories.

Also, your description is getting rather good. There's virtually no dialogue in this, but it's still quite gripping. Well done.