Wednesday, December 13, 2006

White Rooms, Part 7 (Serial Fiction, Thriller)

(Just joining us? Go back to Part 1)

(Reminder: MT1023=Sky, JT1023=Rock, MT1024=Flame, JT1024=Sea)

Day 11, 4:45 P.M.

      Flame banged on the wall. His fingers scratched the smoothness and searched for a seam. "No! No! No!"
      "I don't believe it," Rock said.
      "We still had food in there!"
      "We saved a little too," Sky said, pointing to the other blank wall where his room used to be. "But it was in there."
      "What did they mean by designations?" Flame asked.
      Rock stood over the sink where 'MT1023' was still scrawled. He wiped away the ink with his sleeve, but a shadowy stain remained. "Names. We have new names."
      "Names? What did they say mine was?"
      "I only heard mine," Sky said.
      "Good God! Listen!" Rock said. He pointed to one after the other. "Sky, Flame, Sea. I'm Rock. I don't think you want to screw them up." He dropped his arm down to where the implant hung between their legs.
      They nodded. Flame repeated his name silently.
      "These people must think they're pretty fucking funny."
      "Don't you get it? The four ancient elements. Air, earth, fire, and water."
      "What am I again?"
      "Sea! Now remember it!"
      "Stop shouting," Flame said. "Leave him alone."
      "Shut up."
      "I can't think."
      "Shut up!"
      Flame squared himself up against Rock at the sink.
      "You don't talk to me like that."
      "I just did."
      "You won't again."
      Sky lurched forward. "Stop it!"
      Flame breathed into Rock's face. Rock shoved him backward.
      Sky headed off Flame as he recovered. "Stop. Don't."
      "Or what?" Rock taunted.
      Sky leveled a rigid finger between Rock's eyes. "Back off."
      "Are you threatening me?"
      "How are we going to get off the freezing floor?" Sea asked, still confused. His arms were wrapped around himself.
      "Are you both going to jump me?" Rock said. "That's your style, isn't it?"
      "What do you mean by that?" Flame growled.
      "You figure it out."
      "No, I want to hear it from you. But you won't say it, because you're a coward. That's your style, isn't it?"
      "Both of you! Back off!" Sky said.
      "Yo! Lost at Sea! How about some help over here?"
      Nine columns of water made no sound as they piled down from the unseen heights. They hit the floor and detonated in all directions. One hit Rock in the back and knocked him to his knees. Sky and Flame were walloped with spray.
      Sea jumped back from the smashing flood and slipped. Fountains of water showered over him.
      "Oh my God!"
      "What is it?"
      The torrent clattered into the wash already spreading across the floor.
      "They're going to drown us!"
      "We have to stop it!"
      "Get me out of here! Let me out!"
      Sky splashed over and helped Sea back onto his feet. Flame steadied Rock who tore himself from the rush. His hair streamed water down his face.
      They shouted over the noise.
      "What can we do?"
      "I can't even see where it's coming from."
      They pressed along the walls away from the roar.
      Rock stared down. The level already rippled around his ankles.
      "At least we won't suffer long. It's rising fast."

4:57 P.M.

      The gushing ended with one last slap on the water. Torrents feathered to trickles.
      The four men gaped with panicked and panting faces.
      The surface calmed. A perfect sheet of waving glass rocked along the sharp corners of the room.
      Reflections of half men painted the water.

8:03 P.M.

      Rock frowned. "Do you feel that?"
      "I wasn't sure for a while, but I definitely notice it now. The water is warm up here, but cold around my feet. Really cold."
      "Yeah, I feel it too."
      "My skin is so wrinkled it feels like I'm a thousand years old."
      Rock swished his foot along the bottom. "Those bastards."
      Sky frowned. "What's wrong?"
      "The Goddamn floor. That's what they're doing."
      "What? The cold?"
      "Hell yes, the cold! You know what's going to happen to us as this water gets cold?"
      "You got it. Water is way different than air. It doesn't have to be very cold to kill you. And something tells me this is going to get mighty cold."
      "Look," Rock said. "We have to get away from the floor. The cold water will stay down. It'll take time to reach the top if we don't disturb it."
      "And how are we going to do that?"
      Rock searched. Everything was submerged.
      "We only have two options. One person can use the sink. The rest have to the use bed."
      "The bed is a foot underwater."
      "It's better than nothing. At least it's easy to stand on."
      "We can't stand on the sink."
      "Sure you can. Not very comfortably, but you can," Rock said. "I'll take it. For now, I'll just sit on the edge."
      Sea's posture sank. His voice sounded hollow. "Maybe we should just lay down in the water and drown."
      "That's an option."
      "I'm so tired."
      "Come on, quit the crap. Let's get to it. My feet are already getting numb."

Day 12, 3:32 A.M.

      "Whoa! Catch him!"
      Sea swayed, then splashed to his knee. Sky grabbed for him.
      "Get up! Get up!"
      He pulled, but instead of hauling him, Sea's drooping weight pitched off the side of the bed. Water curled up to the man's neck.
      Sky jumped down through the frigid layers.
      "Get him out of there!" Rock shouted from the sink, high above the worst cold.
      Sky's muscles strained, but he couldn't move the man. Sea stared upward, his complexion becoming strangely clear.
      Rock jumped down. Flame followed.
      Chattering, they all managed to heave Sea onto the bed and prop him on his knees.
      "Put him in the middle," Rock said. "Come on, everyone lean in. Huddle. We need to share our heat."
      Sea coughed, but not hard enough clear his lungs. His chest wheezed.
      Rock moved his hand from the group embrace and cracked him hard on the check.
      "Wake up man! Stay with us!"
      Sea blinked.
      The infrared monitors no longer registered red or yellow in the four men. Their bodies blossomed cold, cold tones.

11:01 A.M.

      No movement other than thin breaths registered. The bodies propped each other up like a house of cards.
      High overhead in the blinding light, a rumbling noise descended. The Auditor peered through the metal lattice under his feet. The lift eased down into White Room G2.
      The machinery clanked. Gates opened, and the recovery team jumped the remaining distance into the water. Light glared off their wetsuits as they pried the unconscious men apart.
      Harnesses clicked tight, and the team remained behind to drain the water and reset the room. The Auditor signaled, and the lift hummed upward.
      Four dangling men ascended into the light.

On to Part 8.
Go back to Part 6.


Tawcan said...

Stumbled onto this site, just thought I'd say hi. :)

anne said...

Well well well... Resetting the room - does that mean they're going to put them back in?!
There's one thing I'm not sure I get: Rock and Flame are the Muslim ones, but they have a go at each other as if they were one Jewish, one Muslim...?

Anonymous said...

Tawcan, thanks for stopping by!

Anne, oh man, I apologize. I mixed up two names. Geez, I can't even keep them straight. I've gone back to Part 6 and changed it to fit this part. Here is the correct list:


You are quite right, the original JT character is fighting with the newly introduced MT character.

mermaid said...

This gives me hope. Despite self-inflicted human suffering, there is still a potential for change.

I liked how each element lives his name, and works with rather than against the other.

Anonymous said...

I finally got a chance to catch up. Getting interesting, Jason.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,
I kept trying to post a comment and just kept on losing it.
Wanted to say that the names using nature elements instantly created a warmer tone/feel for your story and softened the coldness that had layered your plot in the earlier chapters.
Which is great as that accounts for an even balance.
It was an observation I picked up right away.
Water to me, seemed to add on a chilling effect.
And I wondered if you couldn't use these words like Sky, Rock, Flame, Water etc to manouvere and instensify the story's build and direction in any way you chose.
Powerful tools/weapons for you, I think.

angel said...

oh no- i thought they were finally sorted- now i'm going to have to wait yet again!

Wilf said...

The Auditor? What a strange title. This is feeling a little bit like a British series called, 'The Prisoner' - his mantra was, "I am not a number! I am a free man!"
Interesting, Jason.

Anonymous said...

I remember The Prisoner, Addy (Wilf). It was such an exciting telly story.

Jason, it was a place of the bizarre where the imagination ran riot to keep audiences spellbound. The storyline seemed very fresh for its time in the late 60s.
If you like to write stories like these and someday find yourself in England, do pick up a dvd. Well-worth it.

Or check out my link for you.
(Or I'm such a busybody, aren't I. *grin*)

Anonymous said...

Mermaid, yes, this piece is about hope, but in a way some might find a bit brutal and uncomfortable.

Steve, great to see you back!

Susan, thanks for sticking it out with blogger! I know it's been very hard lately to comment. ** This story could be much, much longer and recast to increase the involvement with the characters. Nevertheless, I would like to play a bit with the names in the next and final part.

Angel, I promise to wrap up in the next part, no matter how long it might be. :)

Addy and Susan, thanks so much for that reference!! I'd like to see that series! It sounds very well done. BTW, I'm using "Auditor" in its core, Latin sense of audire, to listen. However, the more modern meaning will also be important.

LiVEwiRe said...

So the idea of hypothermia (read: death) was a test of sorts to see if they could put their feelings aside to basically save themselves? In this case they found safety in numbers by pooling their resources. To an extent... then there's this Auditor and the resetting of the room. Is the resetting for another group or for a new place for them? The last line conjured up a great image for me!

anna said...

curioser and curioser. I too thought of 'the prisoner' (loved emma peel)
but had this strange thought perhaps they are all in training
for something - terrorists? anti terrorists?
Love the new names - can't wait to see where this goes!! Hurry please

now tell me Jason do you know where this is going or does the story just drag you along?

me too such trouble with Blogger the past couple of days!

klgilbert said...

So interesting - the four men given the names of the elements that collectively control the physical world, being manipulated by man. (Instead of the other way around)

I like the way the four tangle and embroil, and then work together for the good of all. There is a message there.

looking forward......

Anonymous said...

Well you're just not playing fair now, Jason... I was fully expecting some sort of closure and instead I get gripped in for even more mystery. This is like 'Lost' only, y'know, more interesting ;)