The Waiting Room

#time #clock #freewriting #shortstory #stories #fiction #absurd

If you would please take note of the clock at the corner of the room, it is ticking. Not simply the incessant tick of a second’s passing, it is the incandescent tock of life gone by. Waste not your moments, they go by quick, round the countenance of the clock. For life is like a candle wick burning from a fire’s frock. Slowly as the fire licks the wax on which it docks, the wick recedes till nothing’s left of the fire’s stalk. So goes the tick and tock and tock and tick of the tireless clock.

Now, the clock is not the only thing in the room. No, it is a nice room. A big room. A beautiful room. Such a beautiful room is this room, that it is full of only the best things. It has the most verdant grass, the biggest trees, and a beautiful sky overhead. It also has some chairs for guests, as all good rooms should have. In fact there are some now.

In total there are five guests. Each one has a chair to sit in and so they sit. As they sit sometimes they talk. Though they do not do this often, it is quite an enjoyable experience when they do. For example one might say “Good evening.” and another might say “Good evening, how is your day?” and the other will respond, “My day is fine, thank you for asking.” On other days they even talk about the weather. Those days are the most fun.

Today, a new guest is arriving. He is walking down the dirt path. It is a nice dirt path. Flowers grow along the side of the path. As he approaches he has an odd look on his face. It seems to be a look of confusion.

“Hello” one of the guests say, trying to lessen the tension.

“Um… hello, do you know where I am?” The new arrival responds.

“You are here.”

“I mean, where is here?”

“Here is here, where else can here be?”

The arrival looks at the other five guests. They are sitting in two parallel lines of chairs facing each other. At the end, on the other side, is a door.

“I just mean, that… I have arrived here with no clue where I am. While It may be true that I am here, all locations must be relative to other locations. So where am I in relation to other known locations?”

The guests seem to find this funny as they all began to laugh in unison. It is a dull laugh. As if every sound of joy had already been sucked out. It is a laugh so dead, the ground seems more alive.

The guest from before stood up. He seems to be the speaker for the group. A representative of some sort.

“Come, sit.” he says, offering his seat and moving to another.

“Thank you, but I think I will stand.”

“Alright.” The speaker says.

Then, they are silent.

“What is your name?” The arrival asks.

“Name? We have no name. There is no need for names.”

“What do you mean? How do you speak to each other if you don’t have names?”

“Well, we talk.”

The arrival was beginning to realize that asking questions was going to get him nowhere so he just sat down looking at the other guests and waiting for one to speak.

“You know what I think?” One of the guests said, this one was a different one, not the Speaker. “I think that having this new arrival here makes this a special day and perhaps it would be a good idea to have some fun. We can talk about the weather, that has some fun in it doesn’t it?”

The other guests all agreed.

“Why don’t we let the arrival begin?”

The guests all nodded their heads, muttering in agreement. They then turned to the Arrival and waited.

“Well, it is uh… sunny? I guess.”

“Yes, yes, good observation.” The guests all clap.

“Well, now you are good at talking about the weather, why don’t you say something.” The Speaker says, pointing to the guest who brought up the idea in the first place.

“Well, if you look at the sky, you can see that it is very blue today.”

“Yes, yes, good observation.” And the guests all clap.

The arrival could take no more. “What is this? Why are you all clapping? He didn’t say anything that couldn’t be seen with one’s own eyes. Why do we need him to tell us that the sky is blue?”

The guests are silent.

“I need to get out of here. What is that? That door? Where does it lead?” The Arrival gets up from his seat and walks to the door at the end of the room. It is an old wooden door and seems to be rotting. It looks as if it hadn’t been opened for ages.

“We don’t know.” The Speaker says. “It is locked.”

“Well, haven’t you tried to open it?”

“No, it is locked.”

“Okay, I understand that, but where is the key? There has to be a key or maybe we can pry it open.” The Arrival begins to look around furiously. Scanning the area for something to use.

“Why don’t you sit down and wait? Perhaps someone will come and open it for us.”

“Wait? That’s all you seem to do is wait. Why wait for someone else to do what you can do yourself?” He can’t find anything to use and instead begins to bang on the door. “Help! Somebody, open the door.” He grabs the door handle and pulls the door open. “Wait it.. It wasn’t locked.” He turns to the guests who are still sitting in their seats.

“Well, we never actually tried the door, we just assumed.” Beyond the door is a hallway, pitch black. “But now that it is open, where will you go? It does not look very safe. Perhaps you should stay here. Maybe someone will come and show us the way.”

The Arrival looks at the hallway and feels goosebumps creep up his arm. He can’t see where it ends and had no clue where it would go. He can’t stay. Not here with the guests. He doesn’t know what to do. But as he stands between the dark possibility ahead of him and the circumspect guests before him, a clock ticks by.