The Chair

in writing •  last year


Horizontal Rule2.png

A man entered in on an experiment.

He showed up for his appointment.

He entered reception and it was an empty room save one table directly in front of him.

He walked to the table and there was a card on the table. It read: PROCEED DOWN THE HALLWAY AND ENTER THE ROOM AT THE END.

The man followed the instructions and walked to the end of the hallway. Along his journey he noticed the hallway was rather long and there were no doors or entrances on either side. The only thing he could see was one door at the end.

He approached the door and there was a sign affixed to the door. It read: DISCOVER WHAT YOU CAN. YOU HAVE TWO HOURS.

With a bit of apprehension he opened the door and entered the room. The door closed behind him and locked. He rushed to open it but to no avail as there was no handle or knob. Unsettled, he turned to see what this room contained. With a cursory look around he found, to his surprise,it was bare save one item—a chair directly in the middle of the room. The room was a perfect cube. It was a little odd as the walls were, he estimated, ten feet high and ten feet wide. A perfect square. Each wall the same. which, needless to say, the ceiling and floor were ten by ten as well. The walls and ceiling were white and the floor was a white painted concrete. No windows nor vents nor anything to break the planes except corners. Even the door, which was directly behind the back of the chair, was flush with the wall. It then occurred to him that, with no windows and no visible lighting, the room should be pitch black. He looked closely at the ceiling and noticed the entire ceiling was a light! Why? What is the purpose? he thought.

He pondered and pondered the purpose of this experiment he endeavored upon. The only instructions were: DISCOVER WHAT YOU CAN. What's to discover? he thought as there was nothing here to discover!

He paced the room looking for any odd anomalies. There were none. Only a perfect cube with a chair in the middle. So he focused on the chair. It was an old, and quite worn, wooden chair. Nothing special. In fact it looked very much like any chair you would see in any home. Straight backed, no-armed chair. Simple yet effective—for sitting that is. Why a chair—here, directly in the middle of the floor? This makes no sense!

The man was a little aggravated and somewhat disappointed at this rather ridiculous experiment.

He collected his thoughts and calmed his emotions and decided to take the remainder of the two hours and do his best to: DISCOVER WHAT YOU CAN—as the instructions dictated; whatever that may be.

He stood calmly and looked at the chair, hands in his pockets. "Well, chairs are made for sitting. I guess I'll sit," he said aloud then sat in the chair.

Like any old chair it creaked a little when weight was settled on it and it had just a slight wobble from joint loosening over age and heavy use. The seat was contoured and rather comfortable for an old chair.

There the man sat, staring at a blank white wall. The experiment—staring at a white wall for two hours was possibly what this was all about. He decided to take particular note of the wall and see how many faults he could discover. It had a smooth, unblemished surface. Not a mark on it. It was perfect! He looked around at the other walls and discovered the same thing—perfection! As he turned in the chair he noticed the creaking echoed throughout the room. It was very noticeable as the room was otherwise dead silent. He could hear his clothes rustle; and a slight ringing in his ears which he never noticed before.

As the minutes passed the man became acutely aware of his surroundings and his bodies feelings and functions. He became hyper-aware of his breathing and felt his own heart beating. He began to become concerned with this as he knew putting too much attention on these things could, indeed, affect their operation. The more he tried to ignore it the more it intensified. His breathing soon became a little labored and a slight panic ensued. Perspiration began to seep from pores.

His mind began to race with thoughts of a negative and suspicious nature. What if this was not an experiment? What if this was something more like a test to see how long it would take to suffocate someone in a room? He remembered there were no vents—anywhere. How did fresh air enter the cube? It was warmer in the room now. Or at least he felt warmer. The man stood and began to search again for anomalies—mainly a source of airflow, any air flow. His first choice was the bottom of the door. There is usually a gap present to allow free movement of the door. He bent down to where the bottom of the door was at eye level. There was no gap! Nothing! The man scrambled to his feet and searched, in vain, along the walls for any air source. He then remembered the light. It was all but hidden as the ceiling. He grabbed the chair and placed it along a wall and stood on the chair allowing closer access to the ceiling. Upon close inspection he noticed a slight, very slight—maybe an eighth of an inch gap between the ceiling and the wall. Raising his hand to the corner he could feel a minor cool draft. His suspicions and anxiety lessened and he climbed from the chair and placed it in the very spot where he removed it. Why did I put it back exactly where I found it? he wondered to himself and was most perplexed by this action. But he figured that was what he would do normally—put things back where he found them.

While his anxiety had lessened he was still agitated and uncomfortable. This recent bout of unsettled emotions bothered him and he found it difficult to concentrate. Which was also odd as he was in a barren room save one chair yet he was feeling rushed to find an answer to what he did not know. He had no frame of reference for time as he had no time piece with him. It was a requirement of the experiment. His best estimation was around forty five minutes of time had elapsed and he was no closer to an answer to the nature of this experiment.

Then, a rush of recognition swept through his mind. This was a test to see what solitude would do to a human. He then thought further and realized this couldn't be as solitary confinement data has been extant for decades—or longer! But that is just what was going on, he was in solitary confinement. So what is it all about? he thought.

The man stood and took another look around the room hoping for something to trigger an answer or at least a slight inspiration. He looked down at the chair. "This must be the key," he said aloud. A completely perfect white room—a cube nonetheless—all new. Then there was this old, common, worn chair that was brown. Why?

He sat. Moments passed before he moved. His mind was a blank. He was at a loss for thoughts pertaining to this experiment. He began to consider this all a waste of time as there were no instructions but one and there was nothing to discover—nothing!

Anger began to creep into his mind. This was not what he expected. He didn't know what to expect, really, but this was far from anything he would consider an experiment.

The man sat brooding. He was not one to give way to his temper but for some reason he felt trapped and indeed, he was. There was no option for exit or cessation of the experiment. Even just sitting and doing nothing wouldn't stop it as, for all he knew, that was the experiment.

The more he sat the more he became agitated and angry. This was not him. He never gave in to unjustified anger yet, here he was doing just that. He fidgeted then stood then paced. His patience was at an end and his nerves frayed as he didn't know what was expected of him. There was nothing here, physically, to agitate him. Yet, he was agitated.

He paced and glanced at the chair with each pass. He knew that was the key but couldn't figure it out. As he passed once more he kicked the chair causing it to topple. This was unexpected and he lashed out emotionally without thought. This was out of character for him and this seemed to fuel more emotional outbursts. He stopped and stood still—he simmered in contemplation. He realized his fists were clenched as well as his jaw and he strained to release. His abdomen was tight and fatigued. He kicked at the chair yet again. It scooted a few feet. This angered him more. An avalanche of uncontrolled emotion grew with each movement. The man was losing control fast. He targeted the chair but was frustrated by the unknownness of his situation. In one swift move he picked the chair off the floor and lifted it over his head and prepared to send it crashing. In a moment of clarity he realized he was out of control and collected his emotions and gently set the chair down. Oddly, he placed it exactly in its original spot. Emotionally drained and physically fatigued, he sat.

Only moments later, as a minimal amount of relief began to return, the room went dark. The cube was pitch black and the stark change of environment startled him. The door opened and the light from the hall streamed into the room. The experiment was over. The man experienced a sense of relief as he rose from the chair and it spoke with one last creak. The hall was inviting as he exited the room and walked toward reception somewhat dismayed and embarrassed for losing control the way he did. He was greeted by the same table as when he entered but with an addition of a chair in front of it. As he approached he noticed a note pad with accompanying pen upon the table. Above the pad a card that presented one question: WHAT DID YOU DISCOVER?

The man, without much thought to his actions as they were, strangely, somewhat robotic, sat and lifted the pen off the pad. He spent a brief moment in thought then began to write.

Horizontal Rule2.png

The End

art source: pic

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!