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Room 112

The darkened hall stretches before me. This place smells weird, almost like medicine. Far from where I currently am I can hear a beeping. Slow and steady the beep pulsates, ringing throughout the hall. Every moment that my foot makes contact with the lime green tiles underfoot it rings out. Beep, silence, beep, then silence once more. Each step I take down this hall is punctuated by the constant beeping.

Off to my right I see a door, as I turn towards it, a number becomes clear, number 107. I stop to look through the glass reveling in the silence as the beeping stops with me, and I see something that is totally alien to me. Through the glass I see something I've only been able to imagine. A mountain of toys; big and small; action figures and games, dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of them all piled up in the center of the room! Shaking my head, I wish that they had been mine that I could stop and open this door and run in, but I can't. Something is drawing me forward. As hard as I struggle, I can't stop moving, as I take another step, the beeping resumes.

Farther down the hall, I see another doorway with the number 108 embossed upon it. Although I strain against the compulsion to move forward I fail, and slowly the door pulls into view. Through the glass I see hundreds of people everywhere all milling about, all smiling. Then they walk into view, it's the strangest thing. I'm watching myself. I see myself walking through what looks like an amusement park, and I know instantly when this was. In this scene, I'm seventeen, and this is my family's vacation from this past summer. But where is my family?

As I think about them, they come into the scene joining myself. My brothers Pat and Nick appear first, each exactly how they were when we last visited the Jersey Shore. My mother appears next, joining the family as we walk down the boardwalk. The last one to appear is my father…Why does he look out of place among the rest of us? He's the only person who is not exactly as he was on that day. It's odd, but still, the scene feels like home. As the force pulls me ever forward and my foot takes a step, the beeping resumes once again, and I feel a great sense of loss.

       Moving forward once more, the beeping maintains its constant beat, its eternal rhythm Beep, silence. Beep, and then silence again. Farther ahead, I can see light shining from an open door, the only light in the hall, and I know instinctively that this open room is the origin of this beeping which is driving me forward. But below that beeping, something else is audible. It sounds like crying, like somebody is in hysterics. It sounds like screaming, and a fight. I strain against the force which wants to take me there. I never want to arrive at that room far down the hall, I want to go back. I want to return to the door where we were together, when we were happy. I wish that I could fling the door open, and charge into that world of eternal bliss. But the force has other ideas, and as I begin to feel the first signs of panic, I continue forward.

As the force pulls me ever forward, I come to yet another door, this one marked 109. The light flooding out through the glass has a warm hue to it, and I hear rapid chatter in Italian. As I stop to peer through door 109, the sight of my family once again greets me. I watch as my father, sallow looking, passes a bowl of pasta around the table. First he passes the bowl to my mother, and she continues the bowls passage around the table by handing it to Pat. I can hear the idle dinnertime chatter almost as if I was standing in the room.

        "How was your day?" My Father asks my mother, who proceeds to answer, and then the question, like the bowl, is passed on. Each person answers in kind. They are simple things, the passing of a bowl, and the answering of a question. Yet I feel a strange longing within myself. I feel a sense of crippling loss, that below this happy exterior something is terribly wrong.

Before I can take the time to understand what it is that I'm feeling, the beeping resumes, and before I know it, the door slides out of view as I resume my inexorable march down the hallway. The distance between this door and the next is longer than the previous distances, and I hear the beeping slow, as does my progress forward. I'm grateful, whatever is inside of that open door I don't want to face it. Not now, not ever, I don't even understand why, it's just a feeling but it's clearer than anything I've felt in my life. The beeping picks up pace again, and I find the next door approaching very quickly.

As I approach the door with the number 110 on it, I can hear shouting emanating from it. Once again I look through the glass, but where the past rooms felt happy and warm, this room feels as if its bathed in anger and misunderstanding. I see myself, standing at one end of the room, a piece of paper in my hand. I see myself gesturing wildly at my father who has grown even thinner; he looks like he's shrunken in on himself. I can't believe that the once proud and strong veteran of World War Two has become this thin and...almost sickly. I see myself wave the paper at him, and I can hear myself shouting at the top of my lungs "Don't make me throw my future away!" I can see the pained look on his face as he tells me that I can't continue to run on the track team, that this scholarship is not important, that "School has to come first Julius, school must always come first." I don't understand, and I yell at him that he can't control my life, that this is my choice. He gets angry, but then collapses. My anger forgotten I run to his side calling for help.

The force pulls me away from the door, and the beeping continues. My sense of dread increases exponentially as I realize that only one more door stands between me and whatever lies in the room that the beeping emanates from. I've figured out that within these doors lie memories, but if I'm right shouldn't I know what's inside? Why can't I remember? Why does it feel like I'm discovering these…memories as I see them? They are memories. My memories, but I haven't known what's been behind any of the previous doors until I reached them. I have a feeling that I'll know the contents of this last door, and then the room all too soon, and all I want to do is run back. However fighting is futile, and the beeping continues, pulling me ever closer toward the final open door.

From where I am now, the next door jumps forward speeding across the hallway and coming to rest three short steps away. Even as the door becomes closer, the beeping slows, becoming less frenetic in its pace. As the pace of the constant beeping slows, my forward motion slows as well. I reach the last closed door soon after the beeping slows, and cringing I sheepishly look through the glass and into the room.

As I look inside the room, a scream escapes from my lips. My father lies in bed, and I'm at his side, holding his hand. I know this, this only happened two days ago. My eyes widen in fear as I realize what is about to happen, but for once the force wants me to stay, it's not willing to let me move forward, not yet, it wants me to see this.
I hear myself asking my father "Dad I know everything that's going on...but would it be okay if I went to the beach with Larry and Louie? I'd love to see them." I see my father's face redden, and I flinch back trying to dodge the words which are about to slam into me, knocking the wind from my lungs like a verbal fist slamming into my guts. "You think you have any right to ask for that?!? We have no money for that! Get out of here Julius I'm sick of your selfishness. Get out! I don't want to talk to you. Go away." I see myself recoil inside the room, and then I see myself get up and begin to walk toward the door. I see a silent tear fall from my father's cheek as I'm walking away, and I see him turn onto his side, and away from the door. At that moment I want nothing more than to break through the door, to talk to my dad, but I don't have the chance to try, the force returns and I'm pulled slowly along toward the final open door.

As the force drags me closer toward the final door, the beeping grows slower and slower, but at the same time building to an almost unbearable volume. Step, and beep, step and beep, each repetition slower than the last, but then as the beeping fades to a constant unchanging drone in the back ground I look into the room. I see my mother crying, and my brother Pat standing beside her, his arm around her, comforting her. I see my brother Nick walk over and the three of them engaging in a hug in the center of the room. I see my father, lying motionless on the bed, his heart monitor making a single unceasing beep as his heart ceases to pump.

As I watch, a wave of sorrow erupts through my heart, sorrow that I'll never see him again. That I'll never hear his sure confidant voice again, and sorrow that my life as it was is over. The petty dreams of a mountain of toys have passed me by, so have the family vacations on the Jersey Shore, and the dinners that we all used to share. Now, a hole exists, a hole in the shape of the man who had been my father. The darkened hall of the hospital falls away behind me as I walk out of the door way, and into my family's embrace, and the door to room 112 closes shut.
Each step brings you farther down the hallway, father down is an open door from which emanates a nearly blinding light. What is in the door? You don't know, but you know that what lies inside of Room 112 will change your life forever.

Constructive Criticism is most definitely welcome, and will be appreciated especially on my general style and use of grammar.
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:iconezradeacon:
ezradeacon Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Fantastic story. Really well written. Good pace to it.

The ending wasn't what I expected (in a good way! :))
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:iconliam-nace:
Liam-Nace Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2012  Professional Writer
Yo 4-eyes! I can't comment on punctuation and grammar as mine is atrocious (I am a product of the Philadelphia School System), but the story is moving, indeed amazing. For me metaphorically the "door" represents what we all must face, the dread, the fear of the unknown, for some the door is a joyful expectation. Your story is vivid. I walked that walk with you, and I face the "door" alone. It reads to me like a good television script (Twilight Zone). Ah the twists, turns, and emotional force that life can bring. A good read!!!
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:iconthatguywith4eyes:
ThatGuyWith4Eyes Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2012
Thanks man, its much appreciated :)
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:iconthatguywith4eyes:
ThatGuyWith4Eyes Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2012
For written Revolution, I wrote a critique for Cliostrom's short story The Cartographers Daughter

[link]
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:iconthatguywith4eyes:
ThatGuyWith4Eyes Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2012
For some reason the spacing is off sorry everyone. anyways first posting :)
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:iconthatguywith4eyes:
ThatGuyWith4Eyes Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2012
Fixed
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