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You awaken with a high-pitched ringing in your ears. Gradually, the sound becomes softer, like the humming from your refrigerator, and eventually, it stops completely. Even after a peaceful night’s rest, your eyes are not ready to open. Your instincts urge you to KEEP THEM CLOSED, but you find no reason not to open them.
The fluorescent lights blind you as your eyes are adjusting to the brightness. You are in a perfectly square, white room with one door. One door. There is nothing strange about the door, yet you find it strange how the door seems so ordinary.
You are now sitting up in your own bed, in an unfamiliar room. You are not surprised. You don’t know why. But you are not surprised. Your gut is telling you to go back to sleep, telling you not to be so curious, telling you not to… too late. You notice an elderly man, possibly in his late 70’s, sitting in the corner of the room.
He is wearing a cheap brown suit and a pair of sunglasses. There are several pieces of cardboard signs, resting on his lap. He opens his mouth and begins to speak… he makes no sound. After a few moments, his lips stop moving and he grins.
He grins. It reminds you of the smile of a mischievous little boy, stealing toys from his siblings. The man lifts up the first sign, it is written by hand. “Hello, my name is Michael, do not be afraid of me. I will not hurt you.” He continues to smile, showing his decaying teeth. He switches to the second sign. “I will grant you three wishes, if you want them. Any information I reveal will count as a wish. I will not hurt you.”
He waits. You nod your head. He switches to the third sign. “If you use up all three wishes, I will give you another three, but once you start to use the next set of wishes, you will have to give me something… valuable. I will not hurt you.” You immediately want to know, “Tell me why I’m in this room.” Before your lips begin to produce any sound, his mouth begins to move.
You notice his crooked yellow teeth. It keeps moving as though he is talking, yet he makes no sound. You feel somewhat frustrated and cheated by the mute man. You get up and walk towards the plain white door. The man gets up, slowly feeling for the corners of the bed, he crawls under it, it is obvious that he cannot see. You approach the door, turn the knob, and open it.
After opening the door, you find that the door is still closed, and you are holding a piece of cardboard with your own writing on it. You read it. “You have one wish left, don’t open the door” You check on the old man, he is still under the bed. He is grinning again, this time, the grin stretches across his face.
His decaying mouth begins to laugh. A soundless laugh. You start to realize that the situation is hopeless. You want to go home. You want to wake up and realize that it was all just a dream.
You say to the old man, “I wish this was all just a dream and I won’t remember it when I wake up.” How stupid, you notice it only now. You are deaf. You will never notice this, but you used four wishes.
You awaken with a stinging sensation in your eyes. Gradually, the pain becomes less intense, like a wound starting to scab, and eventually, it stops completely. Even after a peaceful night’s rest, your eyes are not ready to open. Your instincts urge you to KEEP THEM CLOSED, but you find no reason not to open them.
Your gut is telling you to go back to sleep, telling you not to be so curious, telling you not to notice the old man with the rotting smile, staring intently at you.