The Hall And The Window


“Ten thousand” is a punchy, raw number. Ten thousand of a thing is a staggeringly large amount. The mind tricks itself into believing it is countable.

If I wanted to, I could recall the years I walked this hall, same as they are, day in and day out. But I do not want to, and so I simply say—to myself because there is no one else—that I have walked this hall for ten thousand years.

My mind could not handle “a million years” without admitting that it is equivalent to eternity. Therefore it could not possibly be a million.

And there was no one to say otherwise. There were the two clocks, one over the table in the hall, and one by the bed, always offset from each other by one minute. I could not tell which was correct, if either were, or if it mattered.

There was a time once, which seemed legendary, when I recalled the shape of things other than these halls. The discrepancy in the clocks ground in my mind, and I attempted to set one to keep with the other. Every time, when I returned to either room from the last, the clocks read the same as they ever did.

Carrying the clocks between the rooms accomplished nothing, nor any other implement I could carry or drag along with myself. As long as I kept it in sight, the chair, eternally askew from the table under the clock, could be moved. I moved it to the stairs, into the bedroom, the bathroom, or into the basement. Looking back to the hall, it was indeed still in my possession and gone from behind the table, but the moment I left it anywhere out of sight and returned, it was again behind the table and not where I left it.

Even if I had taken the chair and tossed it against the wall, leaving it in a pile of broken lathe-carved poles and planks, it was whole again upon return.

I had tried this at least once with everything I could move. But not everything could be moved; the walls refused to dent, as did the bathtub. The tub drew water from somewhere; the pipes would rumble and it would spill forth water were I in earshot, but descending to the basement instantly reset it like everything else.

And there was the door.

Not in the hall. The hall never gave way to an entry point. They instead wrapped back around themselves even as I walked away, back to the table and the clock and the chair slightly askew.

The door was in the bedroom, just across from the entry into the bathroom, with glass in its frame. The handle was the only piece of this door that gave a little; the glass would not even scratch at repeated pounding. But it was always locked. No matter the time on the clocks, it was dark outside, noticeable when all the lights were off. Just beyond the door was a small balcony, beyond that a dark unchanging plain of grass, and beyond that, points of light in the distance that may have been stars, or something else.

And there was also the window.