Estimated reading time — 13 minutes
Guy Thompson was the model for your ‘normal’ twenty something person: Five feet eleven inches tall, twelve and a half stone and a simple haircut. Not to mention a lack of any real fashion sense. He held a nine to five job with a twenty five grand salary; had a girlfriend, plain and unspectacular much like Guy himself and took his dog Milo for walks twice a day.
Guy was a typical person until 17:11 on Monday 29th August 2012. At 17:09 two men had broken in the door of his everyday normal house; by 17:10 they had stabbed and killed his everyday normal girlfriend and by 17:11, they had hit him on the head with a crowbar and destroyed his everyday normal life.
By some miracle Guy had survived the blow which doctors expected to end his life, but at a price. Guy’s memory had been affected. Not his long term memory, he could still remember the attack, he could still remember his dog, he could still remember his life; but that just made it worse.
He couldn’t make any new memories. Every day he would wake up as if he had just regained consciousness after his attack. Leaving himself notes to remind him of what had happened and an explanation of his condition allowed him to make it through the day. A digital clock and calendar was left next to these notes so he had some idea of time, and extra notes would be created for crucial events in his excuse for a life. Then every night he would go to sleep and wake up with no memory of what had just happened that previous day. The vicious cycle would begin again.
The attacker ran towards our unspectacular protagonist screaming. Guy reacted by tackling this assailant to the ground and beating him senseless for killing his girlfriend. The second criminal swung at Guy. There was a sickening thud as his crowbar struck the side of Guy’s head causing him to black out.
Our now spectacular protagonist awoke. The light was on revealing his room, which today was a little unusual. All things were in their normal places, the same places Guy had left them on 29/08/12, except there were four things amiss. Two pieces of paper accompanied by an electronic calendar and clock were left next to his bed. Most unusually the calendar said that it was 05/06/13. Also, there was a lock on the door of his room. One of the notes had the title ‘Important Must Read’, the other ‘New’. He began by reading the piece labelled as important. Written in his own handwriting it said:
Guy it’s me. Well you. As you can see from the calendar, it is not the 30th of August as you might expect. The last memory you had is the last you will ever have. Since the attack you have developed a form of short term memory loss. It’s not amnesia, as I’m sure you are aware, you can still remember just everything from before the attack but I’m afraid that you will not remember what you did yesterday. I suggest that you make notes on anything you may find important, and don’t trust anyone you don’t know.
Guy didn’t want to believe this, but he had no choice. The writing was unmistakably his; a single tear rolled down his cheek. Then he began to read the piece named ‘New’, this piece was not written, instead it was typed; this did not sit right with Guy, but the reason for its typing soon became evident.
Heeeeyyy r-r-r-retard, betcha can’t remember how you ended up here can ya. Well it doesn’t matter, just as long as you can remember how to get out. Ooops, doubt you can remember that either. Ah well, it’ll be fun to watch you squirm anyhow. See that door, yeah that’s right it’s locked and there’s a key somewhere, but you’ve got to find it. It should be pretty easy right; after all you saw where I put it. Ooops haha not again, I forgot, well I suppose you did really :P. Because I’m so nice I’ve left you a little water in the bottom drawer of your bed. Trust me it’s safe to drink; it wouldn’t do me much good just to poison you. In fact that demise would be too good for you. Anyway, tata, happy hunting.
A scream rose from Guy’s throat as he yanked at the door handle. Sure enough it was locked. The door was sturdy as well, it did not collapse under the barrage of strikes it received; in fact it barely even scratched. That made Guy furious, he began ripping out drawers and smashing cupboards. But there was no key. Then it occurred to him, what about the window? He slept on the first floor; he could quite easily jump out and walk away with minor injury. The key for the window was still in its lock, but it was what was behind the window which filled his heart once more with dismay. The window could quite easily be opened but it would do little good. Behind the glass resided a solid wooden barricade. Guy understood that he would have no way of breaking it. He really had to unlock that door. It was funny really, after he had got over the fact that he was trapped, his next thought was Shit, there’s no bathroom in here. Unfortunately, that was the truth. Looks like it’s the cupboard for me.
An hour had passed and Guy was no closer to finding the key than when he had awoken. He had found his fair share of notes, again typed, saying such things as: ‘keep looking’ and ‘oooohhh not quite’. They bled arrogance. Now laid on his back, Guy was probing the deep chasm of his mind in search for answers. Much like the physical situation, within his mind there was a locked door and the key nowhere to be found. But it was there, wasn’t it? He thought to himself. What if there is no key, what if my captor just wants me to go crazy, what if this is how I will die? What if I’m already dead and this is some strange version of hell? And most of all. What is on the other side of the door? Or who is on the other side? Then it struck him.
Walking towards the door on his tiptoes so as not to alert any potential jailer, Guy placed his ear on the door in a vain attempt to decipher what may be going on behind it. He expected it to be quiet, but hoped for a stir. Maybe he could hear someone breathing or possibly even the shuffle of feet. Instead he was greeted by eerie silence… Nothing.
“Hey, anybody there?” he bellowed. “I’m fucking sick of this shit. I don’t know why you are doing this, but if it’s for money I can give you more than what you’re already being paid.” In truth he didn’t know if this was the case. He had surprisingly made quite a saving from his rather average job but he doubted it would still be there. After all he had lost seven months of his life overnight, sort of. “Not answering eh, well fuck you, you, you… fucking shit!” Still silence. Nothing, no stir no breath, the only heartbeat his own.
The façade of screaming at nothing went on a little longer then, tired and breathless, Guy relented and sat on his bed. The mattress tattered from the frantic search for a key. The floor was also a mess, clothes and their cupboard shelves strewn everywhere. Shit I could sell this as ‘art’ and make a killing. Scanning the floor, Guy found the water. Until now it had been untouched. He hadn’t trusted the note; he had decided that it would be safer not to drink the water. After all he would be out of here in no time. What false hope. He cracked open the top of the plastic ‘Highland Spring Water’ and began to drink. The water was warm but not unpleasant, he believed that it really must be safe and if not, did he really care anymore? Still, only a mouthful was drunk, he was rationing. Hope wasn’t lost yet you see. Once again he lay down on the bed and stared at the ceiling. He made a conscious attempt to stay awake, after all, it would make matters even worse if he fell asleep as when he awoke, he would remember nothing. He was about to take another look around the room to see if he could find the key, when he heard a noise from outside the room.
Before Guy realised exactly what was happening, his instincts had kicked in and his ear pressed against the wall. Though faint, Guy could make out what the sound was… music. More specifically, Stone Sour’s Through Glass.
“I’m looking at you through the glass; don’t know how much time has passed…”
“Hey, I can hear you motherfucker, don’t think I can’t hear!” Guy’s voice rasped as the anger filled his veins. He was sure someone was there now, they must be. “I know you there you son of a bitch, I can hear your music! Stop playing with me! Fuck!”
No voice, no motion, just the music. As the chorus faded into silence, there was a brief pause, and then a click and the song began again. Guy figured that whoever was on the other side of the door had it in mind to drive him insane through repetition, irritation and claustrophobia. The worst thing was, he knew that this noise was going to drive him to further frustration.
“Ha, well I like this song anyway.” Pathetic.
Guy had nothing else to say and it didn’t matter. His captor, if there even was one, wasn’t going to reply, no matter what he said. He could scream, laugh or cry and still his reply would be that of deadly silence. That is except the repetitive acoustic strum of Jim Root’s guitar, and the warm yet powerful voice of Cory Taylor.
At least with this song playing I won’t likely fall asleep he thought. Thank god for small mercies. Guy didn’t really believe that this was much of a relief, but it at least convinced him to have another look for the key. After all, what else was he going to do? The search went at a slower pace once again, spending a lot of time analysing every nook and cranny of each part of his room Guy amassed a total of two hours searching. The song, though still playing just as loud, had faded into the back of his mind. Finally, after hours of this enormous psychological strain, Guy’s mind finally relented. He gave up and went to sleep.
Based on past experience, this should have been the worst thing our unfortunate victim could have done. You and I may have thought that this incident may have made Guy forget all of what had just happened, and we would be right. When Guy awoke he had no memory of what had just happened. But his dream had been more than fruitful.
Apparently, you only consciously remember dreams if you wake up during them. If you let the dream finish and then wake up, only fragments will remain in your consciousness, the rest will reside in your subconscious. Neither would be any use for Guy. If he woke up after the dream had finished like everybody else he would not remember it. If he woke up during it his condition wouldn’t allow him to remember it anyway. But what if he didn’t properly wake up? What if he awoke into semi-consciousness? Still dreaming, but capable of interacting with the real world.
The dream itself was oddly affected by the song still playing in the other room. But now Guy realised that its purpose was not to drive him to insanity. It was in fact there to help him; a cryptic clue.
“Looking at you through the glass.”
In Guy’s mind he was looking through the window of his room, but from the outside looking in. Inside the room he saw a man. At least he thought it was a man for he couldn’t see his face. The figure wore a long dark coat and a ten gallon hat, immersing his face in shadow. Watching, he saw this mysterious figure leaving notes around his room. Underneath the bed, inside the cupboards and then he walked towards the window. Guy wanted to move, he didn’t want this eerie spectre to see him. Instead he froze. He wanted to hide but the dream wouldn’t let him. Guy tried to wake himself but to no avail. The dark man lifted his final piece of paper and placed it on the window, yet he did not see Guy. Even more peculiarly, as soon as the paper hit the window, the glass was replaced by the wooden board which covered his window within his real physical world.
Rising from his bed, the zombie once known as Guy, stumbled towards his bedroom window. Turning the key slowly in the lock, there was a quiet click and then the door swung open. He reached forward and scratched the wooden board. But it wasn’t wood, not all of it anyway. There was also a piece of paper, painted the same colour as the wood, stuck face down onto it. Guy peeled of the note and as he did, returned to consciousness. It read:
Well done Guy. It was quite simple really; all you had to do was… look through the glass. But this isn’t the end of course, you still haven’t found the key yet, well you have I suppose, you just don’t realise it yet. The answer is right in front to you. Tata ;).
The note enigmatic as always, but now Guy was faced with another problem. He couldn’t remember why he was reading a note; he didn’t even know what the note was. He turned around and saw his original memos along the floor of his tattered room, the smell of piss thick in the air. What the hell is going on? What does that paper say?
In spite of his condition, it didn’t take long for Guy to work out what was happening (in essence leastways). In truth Guy had only been trapped for eleven hours, his sleep had not been long, but he believed that he had been trapped at least a full day. It was his only explanation of why he had fallen asleep during his search. He was soon to re-realise that the mix of being in a confined space along with the constant music soon drives a man to exhaustion.
The answer is right in front of you. The irritating thing was, the answer really was in front of him and Guy knew it. But he didn’t know exactly what that answer was. I’m thinking too deep, Guy thought. Maybe it’s not cryptic, maybe it’s literal. Maybe the answer really is in front of me… or was.
Guy rushed back towards the window and slid his hand over the wooden board; nothing. He then opened the other window, looking behind wooden edges; still nothing.
What could it be, what could it be? Damn. Think goddamn you. The answer is in front of me. Then he stopped dead still. A ridiculous smile grew on his face, he had truly been elated. No shit Sherlock. Guy thought as he reached towards the window and pulled out the very key he used to open it. It had been there all along, so obvious now, but it really was in the last place he would think to look; right in front of him the whole time. He wasn’t totally sure yet that it would work but neither did he want to think of what would happen if it didn’t work.
Rushing towards the door he slotted the key into the aperture. It fits! Slowly he turned the key. At first it stuck and Guy’s heart sank, but with a little more effort it moved. There was a delightful click and Guy’s heart rose once again. The door swung open.
Guy was now standing on the landing of his house, in front of him was an MP3 player and docking station, out of it came ‘Through Glass’. Deliberately he walked over and turned it off. Before he had enjoyed that song; now he believed he would never want to hear it again. How wrong he was.
Behind him was a clock, on which the numbers 12:47:19 were presented. Looking to the left Guy saw a T.V and a DVD player. The tray was open and a DVD with ‘Play me’ written upon it. Sure enough he played it. There was the signature clunk of a disc spinning and then the video played.
Surprised was not a strong enough word. Astonished, astounded, amazed; stunned, shocked, startled. No words can truly describe how Guy felt when the man who appeared on the screen was none other than himself.
“The date is the first of January twenty thirteen” Said the Guy on screen. “And my new year’s resolution is to… get my memory back. These last few of months have been hell. My physical recovery has been quick but, my mental state is no better. I’m sick of waking up every day not understanding why a week; or a month has passed. I’ve been researching and found out about this thing called conditioning. It basically means that if I repeat the same actions over and over again, I can essentially create new memories, through habit. I don’t really know the science behind it but physically, the part of the brain which controls my short term memory is completely different to the part which controls my instincts. In essence I’m trying to live by habit.” This television Guy was now welling up with tears. “The only problem is, the way I’m going to condition myself to remember. I’ve made my room into – a prison – sort of. I’m going to lock myself in, with a key, and make myself remember where I put it. I’ve written some notes which I have been read repeatedly which I will leave around the room. Also I have constantly played the song ‘Through Glass’ whilst opening and closing the lock. I don’t know if this will make any difference, like I said I don’t really know what I’m doing. This may kill me. But I figure it’s better to die than live like this. If you – well I – am watching this it means it is working. Or it could mean I just got lucky. Either way I figure the only way to get myself sorted is through doing this over and over again. So if you… I got out, keep this up. It may be helpful. Oh and I have left paper below the player for me, you, whatever, to jot down times and details; Just in case this plan works.”
Guy stood with a slack jawed gaze upon his face speechless. People often say “I’m speechless!” but they are clearly not. After all, they had just spoken. Guy really was speechless. There was a short lapse of time and then another video started playing. Once again, Guy was on screen but this time he was smiling.
“The date is the 14th of April 2013 and I’m feeling much better, thank you for asking. My plan, though not perfect has certainly taken effect. As you can probably see from the papers, I have improved my time of escaping every single time I tried it. I’ve been putting everything in the same place and my time has improved by at least ten minutes every time I have completed my… course I suppose. Anyways I’ll keep this short. Detailed plans are where they always are, under the player, as well as a list of accomplished times. Anyway I better keep it up eh?” Then the DVD stopped for good.
It had been two days since Guy had escaped the room. In those two days he had studied, and made further notes on his escape. Each day he would have to re-watch the DVD, but he still made progress. Much as the T.V version of him had said; each time he entered the room he had escaped in progressively shorter times. His final time: twelve hours, forty seven minutes and nineteen seconds (from when he had awoken). Looking back on his records he realised that his original time had been just shy of twenty four hours. Sometimes he had improved by as much as an hour, at other times as little as ten minutes. Yet at all times he had improved.
On the third day after his escape, Guy cleaned his room and replaced the notes. He set the clock to begin its count after motion had been detected in the room and had set the music to play after the clock reached four hours. Next, he repainted the final clue onto the wooden boards behind the window and locked it, keeping the key inside the lock. Finally he shut the door behind him, letting it lock, and began his journey to revival once again.
from my eyes I see your lies
from my ears I hear your screams
from my chest I feel your pain
as you’re trapped within the flames
my eyes they tell no lies
and my ears they miss no screams
you can never hide your pain
if you’re trapped within the flames
now I have seen through your lies
I choose to ignore your screams
you are left alone with pain
find your own way out the flames
I could not see my own lies
I chose not to hear myself
now all I have is my pain
I am lost inside my flames
Credit To – James Turner
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