TITLE: The Outside
I noticed the silence first. My neighbor vacuumed every morning. Students chattered in the hallway. Feet stomped on the floor above me. But I heard not a sound. No sunshine caressed my skin. This windowless room could not be my studio apartment. I sat up, massaging my temples as pain coursed through my forehead. Slipping out of an empire sleigh bed, my bare feet touched a cold hardwood floor. A grandfather clock and dresser with a swivel mirror stood opposite me. Time had frozen at 3:05 a.m. All three pieces were crafted from a beautiful walnut and polished to a high sheen. A bronze chandelier with four candles provided light. Where a desk or other furniture could have been set, there was emptiness. Embossed wallpaper peeled off the walls. Last night I had fallen asleep in graduate student housing. Where was I now?
A door lay open in the north-east corner. Had it been there a minute ago? Jeans and a polo shirt had replaced my pajamas. Better not to dwell on how – or who – had changed my clothes. I saw no shoes or the socks I had worn to bed. Fear of the unknown halted my movements, but my choice was to either wait for my kidnappers to appear, or try to escape. I wandered out the door and into the hallway.
Gilt bronze frames hung on the walls. None contained paintings or photos.