Days become weeks, the visits to the basement continue, the treatment-experiment-conditioning, whatever it is, each time washing over you in a stream of detached disinterest; each time, returning to your room and recovering in bed after another steady shuffle around the green garden with your fellow patients-subjects-inmates where, trapped on this endless treadmill, no-one speaks or makes eye-contact.
Food arrives on a tray – greyish porridge, brownish soup – delivered by the blank-faced orderly; later, a shot-glass of something sweet and very orange; later still, the lights dim and you sleep: is the orange liquid drugged you wonder, as you drift away again.
You request a newspaper for some distraction, but the request’s denied; instead, the orderly brings you a mindless magazine filled with photos of people you don’t recognise; you consider the art of paper-folding, but your fingers won’t cooperate. You study those fingers; your fingernails never seem to grow, still short and neat, just as when you arrived; your hair, as far as you can tell without a mirror, is the same; are you groomed in your sleep?
Another day, and when you return to your room, a TV screen has been installed, high up in the corner, just below the dull red camera eye; the orderly switches it on and just as the picture flickers into life, there’s a commotion in the corridor outside; a siren wails, there are shouts, running feet; the orderly spins around and rushes from your room.
In his haste, he leaves the door unlocked.
Confused? You might be! Read previous episodes of The Facility here.
Written in response to two challenges:
Photo credit: Scott Webb on Unsplash
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