The Long Room

I would have betrayed anybody and anything for a hallucination.

I had already remembered every moment from my life in every possible permutation of action and result. I had reconstructed for my mind's eye every movie and TV show I had ever seen. I had looked at every square millimetre of the room from every angle and under every light, and it had no longer anything to hold an interest I was desperate to give. Weary beyond words, I could feel every second with absolute clarity, my inner tempo quickening as the terror of decades became the incomprehensibility of days.

The door opened as it had done, I felt, millions of times, and a man I knew so well I was sick of seeing turned off the magnetic induction device that was overstimulating the boredom circuits of my brain. I started crying without knowing why.

"That was two minutes of the device," said the man I had only seen once before. "Are you ready to talk?"

Yes. Yes I was. More than anything, about anything, if that meant hearing his voice, any voice, anything new. That I tried to say. But in the subjective decades I had forgotten how to.

"Two minutes more," said the man. "Please hurry up, I'm getting bored." Chuckling at his joke, he turned on the device and left the room in an act so familiar I failed to notice it.