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The Panic Room

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He w​oke up and stayed in bed just to relax. He closed his eyes and thought about the day ahead. He then got up out of bed and felt around for the light switch but couldn't seem to find it. He noticed that the wall felt different, almost like concrete, and he couldn't see anything, not even his hand in front of his face. He started along the walls feeling for any break, for windows or doors, for anything, but he only felt cold, unforgiving granite. Christopher McCumby now knew with horrified realization, that he was no longer in his room.

He felt around for his bed and touched its warm, soft sheets and was instantly comforted. "At least the bed is still here," Chris thought with relief. He lied on it and sighed. "How the hell did I get here?" Chris thought, "and what the heck is happening?" He pondered these two questions for a long time.

The man was claustrophobic and had no idea how high the ceiling was, nor did he know exactly how large the room was, despite having felt around it. It felt like the room, this place, wherever it was, was closing in on him, and he started to panic.

He collapsed against the wall with raw, bloodied hands. He couldn't remember what he did, and he realized he was holding his breath and let it out. He took a deep breath to calm himself, and without warning, started to cry. He surprised himself as he continued weeping. He heard himself ask, "What did I ever do to deserve this? Why? Why?" he kept saying.

With now just the lingering feeling of heaviness around him, he focused on how to get out of here. Maybe he could beat out the wall with part of the bed frame. "Crap," he muttered, don't have a screwdriver. "Hell," he thought back with bitterness, "who keeps a screwdriver in their bedroom? Nobody." He sighed and continued looking for something useful. "Maybe there's something under the bed," he thought as he went to check. Nothing. Apparently all that was there was the bed itself. "How the hell do I get outta here?" he shouted angrily. "How?" He sat down on the edge of the bed and put his forehead in his hands, trying to find an answer. Giving up, he laid down on his bed and closed his eyes.

They shot open as he heard something in the distance outside of this concrete box or whatever it was. It sounded like the far off clanking of gears and cogs. He could hear each individual boom of the teeth interlocking, and it piqued his curiosity as he wondered what was outside. He jumped out of the bed and put his ear up to the wall to listen more closely.

He heard other things as well, the whistling of the wind, something clicking, the tinkling of chains off in the distance, and footsteps? That meant that there was someone out there, someone who could help him if they heard him. He didn't know how thick the walls were, so he hollered and shouted as loud as he could. He then abruptly heard screaming and stopped. It sounded like a woman screaming in agony; it almost sounded like the wail of a banshee. And as it rapidly died down to whimpering and moaning, he again heard the sound of footsteps, but they were gradually getting closer to wherever he was. They stopped at the other side of the wall, and Christopher held his breath. He heard something, it was bizarre, it was like muffled backwards whispering and whistling, and Chris could only guess that one of them was listening for him. Chris continued to hold his breath as the pair of footsteps started walking away. He decided whether he should scream out to get the two's attention so he could possibly save whoever the third person was or stay here and not risk his life.

But by the time he decided, it was too late. He no longer heard any footsteps, and the screaming had stopped, and he let out a big breath. He was alone again. All he could hear were the cogs moving and the chains rattling on in the distance.

He started freaking out again as he realized he had just ran out of air. He started to suffocate. He choked and sputtered, kicked and thrashed, holding onto his own neck while trying to get any breath that he could. His thrashing slowed, his grip on his neck loosened, and soon he passed out altogether.

He woke up to see his bedroom again. His wife had already gone to work, taking the only car with her, so he was left to take the bus. He bought a newspaper and decided to just skim it. Front page news was, "House Burns Down yadayadayada." He saw "Penguins Take Home Gold" among other articles. Then he saw Page B2, and it completely took him by surprise. A little article on the side said, "Man Missing, Christopher McCumby missing since Monday morning." He read through it and started wondering if what had happened to him was a dream or not.

He decided that he would wait until he got home to surprise her. He would be glad to be with her again, no matter what she thought of him. He continued reading his newspaper until he got off at his stop and looked at all the people around him. Chris was sure it was no dream, and he smiled knowing that no one would slow down to hear him out. Hell, no one would believe him. With that in mind, he went through the double-doors of big business and entered another world.

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