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Subject: The Room
Author: LadyJenna   (Authenticated as LadyJenna)
Date: October 3, 2012 at 7:51:48 AM
it is complete......

She wakes with a start. Pulse hammering, eyes wide, muscles taut…Where is she? What woke her? Who is watching her? These questions and more flood her brain, seeming to ooze out of her very skin as puzzling perspiration.
The noise, the pain, the light, had it been real? Is she even alive? She looks down at herself. Everything is just as she remembers. Long red hair, pale translucent skin, strong yet slight frame, even her favorite jeans and most comfortable t-shirt, everything is as it should be…isn’t it? Something seems strange, the shirt, the jeans, even her skin seems so very normal, but normal is not the norm for Tressia. It never has been. Nothing fits her this well, not even her favorite jeans. Didn’t they rip several weeks ago? She always has scrapes and bruises. She never outgrew the clumsiness of adolescence, but she can’t see a single mark on herself now.
She stops examining herself and looks around the room. Her queen sized bed for one, her dresser with rounded corners from so many meetings with her hip bones, her clip on lamp precariously perched on the headboard due to its broken clamp, it all seems so…normal. The window with its black lace curtains shows Tressia it is still night, the door…the door? Where is her door? It should be to the left of the dresser but all she sees is more of her maroon painted wall.
How is that possible? Doors can’t just disappear. No matter how weird her life has been, she knows that this just isn’t possible. She strains her mind trying to grab onto the last thing she can remember…noise, pain, light, all jumbled together. That isn’t really any help. So she thinks back a bit further, as far as she can….
Memories flood her consciousness, her mother, jokingly calling her ugly causing Tressia to never consider herself beautiful… her father always smiling in the background until he was no longer there… her stepfather, gruff and tough but mostly harmless, uprooting her life over and over again…her cousins, always looking down their noses at her…various family members, always looking at her with pity overshadowing their love.
She sees herself turning into an adult at last…the freedom of moving out and being on her own…finishing college and actually landing the career she wanted…finding not one but two loves that fill in the holes in her heart…cutting out the people in her life, her family and friends, who don’t value her choices…that horrible day when all her happiness vanished…Wait. Better not to rehash that, Tressia thinks, trying to focus on more recent events. She works diligently all school year, liking her job but no longer loving it. But it is summer now, nothing to do for 2 months except remember. Tressia sees herself filling the hot days with meaningless Facebook trolling and cheap ramen noodles…rarely going out, always an excuse for her colleagues trying to force her back into society…this week she hasn’t left her home at all…no one has visited, which was common since she pushed everyone away…except…The doorbell. She remembers the doorbell ringing. Was that today? Was it this very night? What had happened after that?
This is crazy, she thinks, nothing is making any sense! No matter how hard she tries, Tressia just can’t focus on anything after the doorbell rang. Well, crazy or not, I’m not stupid, she thinks. Tressia gets up off of the bed and walks over to the window. It’s an apartment window and not easy to open, but not impossible she’s sure. As she nears the window she begins to notice how perfect it looks. Like the glass had been polished within the hour. The normally dusty window ledge is pristine…and there is absolutely no lip on the window. It’s as if the glass sinks straight into the wooden ledge. That can’t be right, was it like that before? Tressia isn’t sure, she’s never tried to open her window before. Well, there’s more than one way to open a window, she bristles with anger. If she can’t open it she’ll break it, deposit be damned. She looks around her room for an instant weapon: broken lamp? Not strong enough. Nick nacks? They would break before the window. Dresser drawer? Bingo!
Tressia walks over to her worn out dresser and pulls out the nearest drawer. At least, she tries to pull it out. It doesn’t even open. What the….she checks the rest of the drawers, but it’s like they are just adornments to a large useless wooden box. Tressia is no longer angry, she panics as she races around her room, checking nick nacks and anything else in reach. It’s as if her room has transformed into a giant sculpture of itself where nothing is mobile and everything is perfect yet fake. Only the things made of material will move at all, such as her bedding and the drapes. Real fear is settling into Tressia’s soul now…she gropes the walls around the entire perimeter of her strange yet familiar prison. Nothing. No doors hiding, no gaps, not even any electrical outlets or chips in the paint. Her room has transformed into her tomb. She was not so very long ago loathe to leave the comfort of its familiarity but now all Tressia can do is scream for help and beg to get out.
After screaming herself hoarse, she decides to sit back on the bed and wait. Something is bound to happen, right? Tressia is surprised all the screaming hasn’t made her thirsty. Come to think of it, she hasn’t even thought about food or drink or even a restroom visit since she got up. Discovering you’ve woken up in The Twilight Zone will do that to a girl she guesses. Much to her surprise, however, Tressia doesn’t feel the need to drink, eat or even pee. Peeing when she wakes up is one of the few constants in her life, but her body has absolutely no desire for anything.
As she walks back to the bed, she bumps into the footboard. Despite her clumsiness this is not normal. Her room is actually spacious enough for even the clumsiest oaf to maneuver around the bed with ease, at least it was. She’s only take just a few steps from the wall and she’s already running into her bed. That can’t be right. Tressia’s never measured her room before and doesn’t exactly have the tools available to her now, but she does some heel to toe estimation and discovers her room is not nearly as roomy as she thought. 5 footsteps from the bed to the window, 3 from the bed to the dresser, 10 from one end of the room to the other. This just doesn’t seem right. Her body does seem to have one need right now, Tressia is unbelievably tired. Maybe, she thinks, if I go to sleep when I wake up everything will be back to normal.
In her dreams, memories that thrill and depress her ransack her mind. Ashley, her amazing wife. Flirting openly with her and battling those beautiful green eyes until she gives in to a date. Things progressing quickly from there, too quickly for her family’s tastes. Ashley and Tristan, her 4 year old son, worm their way deep into her heart making other relationships in her life unnecessary and invalid. Tristan loved having two mommies, and both mothers loved having that child and spoiling him senseless. Tressia is so very happy, so very complete with them. They are the perfect family for each other.
Tressia wakes with a start, reaching for Ashley in her bed with her heart even though her mind knows Ashley is no longer there. Tears seep out of her eyes. It was like losing them again every time she woke up. Woke up. Awake! Tressia sits bolt upright, looking around her room, her mind begging the door to be back, the dismal reality of her empty shell of a life, with every fiber of her being. No. She stares at the walls over and over, still no door. Tressia sighs deeply and stands up. As she does so she immediately bumps her hipbone on the dresser. A very familiar pain, but why is the dresser suddenly so close to the bed?
She carefully goes around the dresser and remeasures the room with her feet. 3 footsteps from the bed to the window, 1 from the bed to the dresser, and 6 footsteps from one end of the room to the other. Not only is she trapped in her room, but her room is definitely shrinking! This is absolutely insane, Tressia thinks. She walks back over to the window, it still shows the same night sky. She presses her face against the glass, everything outside looks as it normally does. A shadowy tree to the left, a rarely used road straight in front, other apartments to the right. Other apartments! She strains her eyes to thoroughly examine the building to her right…no lights, no movement. Tressia bangs on the window and screams as loud as she can, no change. It’s as if the world outside is just as fake as the world in her room.
Fake. That has something Tressia has never had any tolerance for. She knows how to maneuver school politics, she’s had over a decade to learn, and one thing you see a lot of in administration is fake people. Fake smiles, fake promises, fake support. She was lucky that her school’s current administration was made up of real people she could relate to at the moment. Fake people would have had little tolerance for her constant misery over the past year. Fake people only like you if you can act as fake as they are. Exasperating. The last year of Tressia’s life had been a study in how to be fake. How to fake a smile. How to fake enthusiasm. How to fake not falling apart every second of every day.
Why did she have to be so fake? Because being real hurt too damn much. Real was the fact that Ashley and Tristan were gone. Real was the fact that she had no idea where they were, alive or dead. Real was Ashley taking Tristan to school and disappearing from her life. Real was the certainty that something awful must have happened to them, but that nagging doubt that Tressia wasn’t what they wanted after all. Real was the fact that she doesn’t even want to be with her family through this pain because she doesn’t want to see their pity, or worse, their I told you so faces. Real was very overrated. Fake was safe. Safe from the hurt, the pain, the uncertainty. Safe from reality. Of course, Tressia had withdrawn so far into herself that she literally had nowhere to go, trapped in her own comfort zone. A prison designed for one.
Tressia dissolves into tears of regret. She should have searched harder for them, should have forced the police to do more, should have found a way to find them. Now it was too late.
We’ll find you again, sweetheart.
Tressia freezes. Who said that? Why did it sound so much like Ashley? She whirls around until she’s dizzy but nothing has changed, no one is there. Great, not only is she trapped in an impossible place but she’s hearing things, too. That can’t be good. Was she losing her mind? Is this what a psychotic break felt like?
You’re not crazy Tressia, at least you’re not any crazier than you’ve ever been.
“ASHLEY??!!! Ashley where are you? Ashley? ASHLEY!!” Tressia screams, pounding on every surface she can find. Where was she? How could she hear her but not find her? What the hell was going on?
Relax, it will all be over soon. We will find each other again, and we will make our own Tristan this time. It’s ok, Tressia. We will always find each other.
NO! Tressia throws herself onto her bed, screaming wordlessly into her pillow. NO!!!! Why is the universe teasing me this way? How can any creator or non creator for the matter be so very cruel? What does she mean find each other? Is Ashley alive? Make another Tristan? What is going on?!
The room shudders. Tressia bolts up to find the dresser is right next to the bed as are the walls themselves. She can now move no further than the bed she’s sought solace in alone for the last year. Tressia has never been claustrophobic but this is ridiculous. Her pulse is pounding in her head, its’ all she can hear and suddenly a small crack appears in the wall in front of her.
Freedom! A chance to get out! Tressia swears in her mind she’ll do everything right this time, she’ll find Ashley and Tristan, she’ll mend fences with her family, she’ll stand on her head for a week if she can only get out of this God forsaken room! The crack seems to get bigger, light shining through. Tressia hurriedly starts clawing at it, willing it to grow bigger and bigger.
Easy Tressia. Remember, do no harm. That woman loves you very much already you don’t want to hurt her.
What? What woman? If Tressia’s missing or dead wife is going to speak to her the least she can do is make sense! Tressia feels the wall start to give, she is so desperate for freedom she tries to push through the opening with her head.
I’ll see you someday, Tressia. I love you. Your mind may forget but our hearts never will, we will find each other. I promise you.
Tressia forces her way through the opening, the light is blinding, and so much noise, Where is she? What is going on?...Who is she? She blinks her eyes and sees large smiling but blurry faces beaming down at her, she is wrapped in a blanket, where did her clothes go? Why is everyone so much bigger than her? What is…arms grab onto her, holding her close.
“Welcome to the world little one. We’ve been waiting for you. We are going to make your life the most wonderful thing you can imagine, our little miracle, our little Teresa.”

Epilogue 23 Years Later…
Late! How can Teresa be late for her own college graduation? Ugh! She runs through the door, grabbing her keys and races down the hallway of her new apartment. She’d gone ahead and moved closer to her new job as soon as she got it, even though she hadn’t quite graduated yet and it would be quite a drive to her few remaining classes. Teresa was running through the hallway and she didn’t even see the man until she’d plowed him over and they were a heap of arms and legs and giggles on the floor.
“Ouch! Are you ok? I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you running at me until it was too late to dodge.” The man smiled sheepishly.
“It’s fine, I’m the one who needs to be sorry, I just…do I know you?” Teresa stammered, staring into the most beautiful green eyes she’d ever seen.
“Not yet, but I just moved in. My name is Ashe. And yours?”

This message was edited by the author on October 3, 2012 at 7:52:25 AM

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