272. Days. That was how long I have been trapped in this room. I don’t even know what this room is. All I know is that I have been stuck here for a very long time.
The room is white. White walls. White tiles on the floor. A white bed with bleached white sheets. White light. So much white that it’s sickening to even look around. The only things that are not white are the marks I have written on the wall. I don’t even know how I wrote those since I have no pen, but somehow the marks are there.
I find myself studying them when I am bored. And counting them. A lot. I am always bored when I am in this white room, but I can’t seem to do anything. I can’t speak. I can’t eat. I can’t move. All I can do is stare at the marks I have made on the walls.
Sometimes I wonder how I am alive still. But then I go back to staring at the tally marks on the wall and forget. I think I am going crazy, but I am not sure. I wish there was someone else in this room, then I could ask them. But I guess I couldn’t since I can’t speak.
273. I add another mark on the wall. I don’t know how I know when the days are over since I have no watch and there are no windows, but somehow, I know. 273 days. I wonder how long I will be here. No one tells me anything. I don’t even know if anyone is here. I tried calling out once before, but it feels like my mouth is covered with tape. And my hands can’t remove the tape. So, I don’t bother trying to call out anymore.
300 days. I look over at my wall with tally marks, but they are all gone. I look at all the other walls, but there is nothing on them, save the sickly white paint. Where are my marks? I try to ask out loud, but I can’t. I want to scream. All the tally marks that I have written are gone. The one thing I had in the empty room, gone. I try to cry, but I can’t. I can’t do anything, but silently mourn the one thing I had.
*** From the doctor’s perspective
Doctor Todd watched the patient closely. She appeared to be in distress. Sweat beaded on her forehead and they writhed around a bit of the hospital bed. Her lips moved, but from where the doctor stood, he could not here anything. He pressed his ear close to the patient’s mouth and listened.
“They’re gone. Oh no, they’re gone. Where are they? Where are they?” Again and again the patient whispered the words.
His nurse came up behind him. “Has the patient changed?”
Doctor Todd nodded. His eyes focused on the patient. “Patient appears to be distress. She keeps talking about something being gone. I don’t know if she is reliving a past experience or if she is stuck in a bad dream.”
The nurse shook the patient’s arm, but she didn’t stir. “What do we do, Doctor?”
The doctor was at a lose. He had no idea what he was meant to do next. “I don’t know. I have pored over medical books looking for cause of this illness. I have checked into mental illnesses and physical ones, but nothing like this is ever described. I have even talked with some of my colleagues, but they too are at a lost.”
He scratched his head, now sporting a few more grays because of this patient. “I suppose the only thing we can do is keep monitoring the patient, get her to drink water, and hope for the best.” Never as a doctor had he felt so hopeless. But there was truly nothing he could do.
The nurse nodded. “I will watch her for now. You can step out. Perhaps you could update the parents.”
Doctor Todd nodded. He stepped outside and walked out to the parents waiting in the waiting room. They wanted to be with their daughter, but Todd had thought it best for the patient to have quiet. Plus, it won’t help the parents to see their daughter so still.
Both of the patient’s parents stood when he entered. “Please, sit down.” He waited for them to take seats and took one for himself so he wouldn’t be talking over them. “Your daughter has showed signs of life, but she still hasn’t woken up. We will continue to monitor her. But I believe your daughter is trapped in her mind. It’s not certain, but it is a strong possibility.”
“Can we see her?”
Doctor Todd shook his head. “Not yet. I think it would be best if we waited until she awoke.”
*** Back to the patient’s perspective
I hear something. I don’t know what it is, nor do I know where it came from. I can’t really care much though. I am trapped. With nothing to look at but blank white walls.
I wonder if I am dead? But death would not be like this, would it? No, I don’t believe it would. I am alive, but somehow, this room, this consciousness does not feel like real life.
With my tally marks gone, I don’t know what to do. I try to move and somehow, it seems to almost work. I try again. Nothing this time. But perhaps, the first time was just a dream. Or what if this white room is a dream? But what would that mean? That the days marked by tally marks were fake? That this room does not exist? But if this is all a dream, then why can’t I wake up?
Again, I hear a sound. It sounds vaguely like talking. I try to turn towards the sound but I can’t. I look down. I am not strapped to the bed, yet I feel like I am. The sound starts to fade away and I try to stop them, to keep them from leaving me in this white abyss, but the sounds disappears and once again I am back to staring at the wall This time though, my precious tally marks are gone. And all I can do is wonder if I will ever be free from this white room.