|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Three
10 - The East Wing - Diana
His eyes traveled around the room, nervously taking in everything. Every corner, every blot of white. Every item, in it's place. Perfect order. He sign, in relief, and leaned back on his sterile white sheets, wincing whenever they wrinkled. He remembered something, and got up again, careful not to disturb a single fold of the sheets. He bent down to his plain white shoes and took them off. Lacing them, so that the shoelaces were tied, each a perfect match of the other, he placed them at the foot of his bed.
His breathing quickened. Everything seemed to be right. He lay down, and froze, not daring to move an eyelash for fear that this gained perfection would crack upon, like the shell of a raw egg. He shuddered at the thought, and slowly reached over to the lamp on his bedstead. Clicking it off, he lay in silence. It was so beautiful this way.
His breathing slowed down, as he fell asleep, counting immaculate white sheep jumping over perfectly straight, white picket fences. In his dreams, those followed him, fences morphing into his teeth. Now perfectly straight. Brushed six times a day, one before and after each meal, which consisted of water, filtered three times, off plates that were nothing more than flat, round orbs. No indentation. It ruined it, he thought bitterly. And egg whites, carefully sliced in two, the yellow yolk removed, so that no trace of it remained. Sprinkled with salt. And cubes of turnips, all proportioned perfectly. Two inches by two inches. He measured one first, to make sure, and then built them up, like blocks of white marble, to make sure each was identical to the other.
His dreams roamed from place to place. All of them was the same, empty bliss as the rest. Everything in order. Everything sterile and clean. Everything white. Everything perfect in his eyes. Then it happened.
It was blinding, as if the sun had settled into his room. Scorching the walls, turning them black and grey. Ash flew into the air, soiling the carpet. His breathing quickened, as colors seemingly soaked in from the outside.. Oh God, the outside. The germ infested outside. Where plague and chaos roamed freely. The dirt, the rain, the pain, the crime.. the outside. The very warmth and cold of it scared him now. This room was always set on 75 degrees. It never changed. Never. His hand went up to his head in horror, and as it felt the cropped locks, a fleeting image .. from what seemed like a lifetime ago. When he was from the outside. When he was...
Hair was plastered around his face, as he shivered inside the tiled room. Everything was clean here. Mostly at least. Mirrors reflected back his face. He winced as he looked. Imperfect it screamed It's not in order. He desperately opened the cabinet, as if expecting some sort of salvation in it. A pair of scissors glinted in the overhead light. Scissors. He could, he would, use them to fix it. He grabbed them, and carefully cut his hair. Thank God they were all out, as he scrutinized himself. Making sure every hair was right. Combing it over and over. A perfect part. Every hair an equal length...
Frustrated, he threw the scissors down. His eye caught an electric razor. There. If there was nothing, everything would be equal. His eyes mirrored his happiness, as strand by strand, lock by lock, hair showered down, and he was left kneeling on the oh so white floor, surrounded by a carpet of uneven blonde hair.
He awoke in deep sweat, breathing hard. His white shirt sticky with perspiration. Disgusted, he got up, carefully pulling the sheets away, to find another one. He opened a drawer, containing pairs of shirts. All identical. Nothing out of place. Everything clean. He gingerly took off his shirt, and placed it in a shoot in the wall. It would be disposed of accordingly. It had been infected. It could very well possibly carry disease. He couldn't risk it. His paranoid eyes scanned the room.
He walked into a ajoining bathroom. Turning on the water, he washed his hands, dried them with a white towel, which he then folded back neatly into place, and satisfied that he was clean, headed towards his room.
That's when they heard it. Footsteps. Coming closer. Coming from the outside. His breathing quickened yet again. It wasn't the right time. No, no, no. It was off schedule! They weren't supposed to come now! Only three times a day, to give him his meals. This was out of order... this shattered the perfection of the time tables that had been set, and followed, up until this point.
He had to stop it. He had to stop the advancing disease. Before it destroyed his utopian lifestyle. He fumbled with the stainless steel locks, and flung open the door. It collided with something, someone. An alien body in his domain. Carrying disorder, carrying germs. Dressed in shades that didn't register in his mind anymore. Only his eyes made any sense. He searched for a word to describe them, and settled on frightened.. and .. and .. brown. That was the word. They rested on his, with a now.. wondering look. A look of someone who sees a stranger, and is hit by a recognition.
Both of them looked at each other. It was the stranger that turned around slowly, and ran down the white hall, and through the doors, that silently swung shut. He stood there, watching in amazement, when he realized that he was nearing the outside. He cautiously stepped out of the room, and stared at the brown patch, quickly spreading through the white carpet. With a silent howl, he dove down, scrubbing furiously, half sobbing. This brought pain, death. This was the cause of infections, and sickness. Something from the outside, already dominating the beautiful white that he loved so much. He had to get rid of it, this puddle of liquid. He had to, but he pulled back, his eyes looking at his sleeve. It was on there. The brown was on there. It was spreading. He screamed.
Mrs. Hanson lifted her head towards the east wing of the house. She thought she heard something.. she heisitated, but shrugged it off as paranoia. Her nerves were still trying to settle ever since the.. incident.
Zac came in, looking slightly shooken up.
"Are you all right honey? Where's your chocolate milk?"
"Oh.. I'm fine. Uhhh, I left it upstairs." He grinned sheepishly, avoiding her eyes. "Sorry mom." He gave her a quick kiss and a hug.
"It's okay.." Her eyes searched him suspicously. "You didn't go into the East Wing, did you?"
He shook his head innocently. Throughout this, he was still her baby.
She nodded, satisfied. "That's good, Ike needs his sleep before his next shot."