Room 38

We know there’s someone in Room 38. We’ve seen papers slipped under the door. Sometimes. We’ve heard music. Soft whispers of soul. We’ve seen a tray. Outside. Food scraps and cutlery askew.

Dawn. Footsteps. Stop at Room 38. We hear mumbling. We don’t catch words. We peer through. Too late. Nothing. No sounds. No music. No voices. Nothing. All day.

Dawn. Footsteps. Stop at our room. We jump back. The door is opened. Slowly. We look surprised. We hope. We meet the inquisitorial glare with questioning innocence.

Afternoon. Voices. Again, no words can be caught. Music starts. Stops. The light fades. There are no further noises.

Dawn. Voices. Louder. “Dressed”. “Midday”. “Behaviour”. Our door is opened. Questioning innocence doesn’t succeed. Our door is locked. Evening. Our door remains locked. Voices. Muffled. Doors shut. Silence.

Dawn. Footsteps. Our door is unlocked. And opened. “Who’s in room 38?” We’re surprised by our own candour. “Your desire to know such things defeats you.” Our door is closed. But not locked.

Afternoon. No voices. No footsteps. No sounds. We open our door and sidle over to Room 38. Empty. No books. No pillow. No one.

Evening. Our door is locked. Voices. Again. Getting closer. We hear the door to Room 38 being closed. Faint muffled voices. We hear the door is opened. Then closed. Then locked.

Morning. Our door is opened. One of our names is called. We watch the departure in silence. Our door is closed. Locked. No more voices. No footsteps. No sounds.

Evening. Our door is opened. We watch the return. In silence. Weeping. We’re told to keep silent. We obey. Our door is closed. Locked. The weeping continues.

Morning. Muffled weeping. Voices. We hear Room 38 unlocked. Opened. A loud scream. Commanding voices. Stifled screams – from outside and inside our room. We stay silent. The weeping continues.

Afternoon. Our door is unlocked. Nervous glances. Nothing. Footsteps fade. We open our door. We rush to Room 38. Empty. No pillow. No bed. Nothing. We return to our room. Silent. Confused. Scared.

Evening. Our door opens. One of our names is called. Screaming. Commanding voices. A struggle. Muffled weeps. We dare not watch the departure. Our door is locked. Footsteps fade. Muffled screaming fades. Silence. No more voices. No footsteps. No sounds.

Room 38

SeanOlio

Hawthorn, Australia

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