I add another tally to the wall. There were so many I lost count or was too lazy to count them anymore. I’m trapped in this room and I have no idea why. It’s like this medieval jail cell but with a few upgrades. There is no dirt floor, instead a cold stone one, I have a window but it’s so small I can just see the few sun rays that peek through when the sun is setting or rising I have no idea but I know I’m not underground. I just add a tally for when it happens. Stone walls, A wooden door that is locked, nobody comes in and it has never opened. A wooden plank with a thin mattress, pillow, and blanket held to the wall with a few chains. Wondering if it is ever going to fall under my weight. I’m not hungry or thirsty all I have is so few emotions and my thoughts in this cold empty room.
I’ve been locked in here for more than 500 days or what I think is days. There was this piece of chalk left here, it never seems to run out. I began to count how many times I see those sun rays. Maybe it is meaning days are ending or beginning or it’s not even the sun and it’s my brain trying to cope, trying to find something that brought me comfort. Whatever it is another tally on the wall.
In here I get so bored I begin to count the marks that cover the wall. There are just so many I lost count and get bored. I never get past 500. It’s the only thing to do. It keeps me distracted for a bit. A nice thing to keep me grounded. Living in your head can get so tiresome.
Fantasies of me getting out of this place and seeing my daughter Ruby. I do miss her terribly. She was ten the last time I saw her. I’ve been here for at least over a year so she has grown. I wonder how much. I wish I was a better father to her; I just was so busy with work. I imagine hugging her again and holding her, going to the ice cream shop with her. I imagine all the things I would need to teach her when she is older. Her first driving lesson, taxes, jobs, maybe how to do hair and makeup. I’m thinking of all the things I’m missing. Her first job, prom, graduation, car. I imagine begin there with her and doing all of this. Those bring me some hope.
When it’s not happy moments it’s me living my biggest regrets. Every time I see Ruby’s disappointment when I tell her I need to work. Constantly asking her to be quiet so I can focus on my work. Her mom and I divorce. I wish I put more effort into our marriage. I wish I put more effort into anything I did. Not much I can do now. It’s the regret or the deep wondering. Why am I here? What is this place? What did I do to be put here? How did I get here? I don’t remember anything. I went to sleep In my bed after I put Ruby to bed. I wake up I’m in here and there is no way out. I sleep here and I wake up and I’m here still. Sometimes it's bitterness. I can go and on about what I think in this dammed place but we would be here longer than I am.
Every day, Wake up, Mark the wall, attempt to count give up, and think, maybe try to count a second time, think, sleep, repeat over and over again. Until something new happened. I wake up and see the marks, the tally’s all gone. The piece of chalk? Gone to. Where did they all go? The sun rays begin to peek through and I can’t mark the wall. Did someone come in here and wash them off? I would have woken up to it if they had. Where did they go? A new thought for the day. Just like the long painstaking day is over and I’m back to bed.
I wake up again and get hit with intense brightness. Once my eyes adjusted I saw my window. It was so small here it is so big. The sun rays were so bright and once they left it just a white empty space. Was that all there was? Days spent wondering what was outside these dam walls and it was nothing? It made no sense. I saw a message on the wall.
“Come into the light”
Come into the light? It made no sense. I wanted to be here seem better than nothing. Maybe this was hell and there was no escape. I wasn’t ready to leave so I didn’t. I thought and went to bed.
I wake up again. This time on the floor. My bed was gone too. The message on the wall said, “Hurry you can’t be here any longer”. What does that mean? I mean everything was slowly disappearing was this the only choice I had? Leave since everything was begins destroyed or become nothing? Well, that was shitty.
Begin the only choice I had I stepped outside the window. I was welcomed with white nothing. The room I had spent so long in disappeared like that. I didn’t know what to do. It's nothing for miles on end. I didn’t know where to go. I mean where could I?
I feel something poke my shoulder. I turn around and see a woman? She had short black hair, deathly pale skin, cold black eyes. She wore a leather jacket with a white shirt, Black jeans, and combat boots. She had a rainbow pin on her jacket..how interesting.
“Hello, Chase.” She speaks.
“How do you know my name? Who are you?” I ask.
“Your death? You mean I'm still alive?”
“Well in some sense you are. You are in a coma at the hospital. You are stuck inside your own head Chase.”
“That doesn’t make sense. I was healthy I was fine!”
“The human body works in strange mysterious ways. You are still alive but you’ve been in one for two years. You're in the hospital room right this moment.”
“You are in my head...does that mean if I come with you my fantasy is over? I can go see my family again?” I ask
“I'm afraid not Chase. I’m Death for real. You don’t escape with your life.”
“Then why is this all happening?”
“It seems that your brain made you have a fantasy. You made your hell and place where you were trapped in your mind. It’s how you felt. Trapped in one place nowhere to go, nothing you could do.”
“Why would I do that?”
“Like I said the Human mind is truly the strangest place of all.”
“Well can I see them at least? Can I see Ruby?” I plead and tears fall down my face.
Death looks at her watch. “We don’t have much time. Take my hand.”
I take her hand. I see a flash of white light finally I get out of the hell. Once it disappears we’re in a hospital room. My room I realized. I see my body lifeless on the bed. Ruby, Her mother, and a doctor all stand near it. Ruby was crying. She grew so much. She was taller, her blonde hair was longer, she was beginning to grow into her mother’s jawline. Her soft blue eyes had tears rolling down her cheeks. She was wearing black. I realize they were pulling the plug. I don’t blame them it’s been two years. I look at Ruby's face I so wished to see. I was crying I was so happy but I knew it wasn’t for long.
Death looks somberly. I know she has seen this so many times before but she looks likes she is about to cry.
“Is there anything I can do just to speak to them?” I plead.
“I'm afraid not. They can’t see or hear the dead.”
“Is there at least something?” I plead.
It seemed Death pitted me. She had me a piece of paper and a pen. “Write something down be quick and put it in Ruby's pocket”.
“Thank you so much,” I say. I write down what I needed to. I walked over and put it in Ruby’s pocket. I walk back to Death.
“Made your peace?” She asks me.
“Then it’s time.” I hear a flatline noise and a cry. The hospital room goes white and we are back into the white nothing.
“Take my hand.” Death says. I do and we float away. I begin the journey into the unknown.
Ruby and her mom walked out of the hospital. She was crying hard for she still had hope that her father, the stubborn man would pull through and make it. Make it back to her. He had not and she wondered if she should feel betrayed. She didn’t know how to feel. She walked back to the car just wanting to go back home and sleep. After what seemed like forever her mom pulled into the driveway. Ruby went to her room. She wanted to get the dress she was wearing off of her. She took it off and something fell to the floor. A piece of paper such a thing was not there before. She grabbed it and read.
“I love you, Ruby. I wish I could have stayed longer. -Dad”
At first, Ruby did not believe her dad wrote this and it was a ploy by her mom but upon closer expectation, it was her Dad’s handwriting. The stubborn man had indeed found a way. She smiled as more tears began to roll down her face.