“Hi, splot — ” I started to talk to the green splotch but then caught myself. Mr. White had told me not to talk to anyone today and I always followed his rules. I got up from my bed of towels and took a few steps to my book pile.
I decided to look at the one with the trees and the dog on the cover, I liked that one. I liked to look at the pictures, but don’t know how to understand the letters around them. I carried it back to my bed and put two of the white towels over my legs, then the book on top of the towels, then opened a bag of Pop-Tarts to eat while I read.
I liked this book because the dog goes through a bunch of different places, and it reminds me of when Mr. White takes me out to go to different places. I ask him a lot of questions when we are out, but then he tells me not to ask questions.
The lightbulb flickered and made it hard to concentrate on my pictures. I normally can concentrate just fine, but today my mind kept wandering upstairs and I wondered what was happening today that was so special.
Mr. White said today is a special day. Soon I began to hear more voices upstairs. I also heard the machines in the ceiling start to run more than usual. They turned on, making their loud solid noises, and didn’t stop like they normally do.
I stood up to finish my Pop-Tart, pacing around my room and eating it. I was thinking in my head all of the things I wanted to say out loud to the things in my room. There are some pipes on the ceiling that make a lot of noise. There is also a dead plant in a pot in the corner. I think Mr. White was trying to make me feel like I was in the forest with the plant, but it died after a few days. There are no windows down here, and that’s why I like to go outside with Mr. White so much.
I wait until Mr. White comes back with my lunch. My brain just won’t sit still today, so I paced around my room for a long time. I listened to the hum of my fluorescent lightbulb and the voices of men upstairs and the booming and clicking of the machines.
But then, when I expected Mr. White to come back with my lunch, he didn’t come. Instead, I heard the voices yelling louder than they usually do and then I heard even louder clicks and booms. They didn’t sound like the normal machine sounds, so I began to get scared.
The yelling went on for several minutes and didn’t stop. I ran to my bed of towels and pulled several over me. I didn’t take the time to cover myself neatly either, I just plopped them on top of me and I’m sure some of my toes were sticking out.
Finally, as the yelling continued, I heard footsteps coming down the stairs. And just in time! My stomach was gurgling again. I saw the shadows of Mr. White’s legs beneath the door, but then there was a bang louder than any bang I had heard before. Then two more quick bangs, and I heard something slam into the door.
More footsteps on the stairs, and soon after, the voices stopped yelling.
Then it was just the machine sounds and no voices.
Then the machines finally clicked off, the mechanical whoosh fell silent, and all I heard was the flickering of the lightbulb and the dripping from the green splotch.
When it was silent, I realized I had been staring at the ceiling for a long time and I finally “snapped out of it,” as Mr. White always said. I looked down from the ceiling and scanned the room. There was a lot of light from the door, and not just the bottom of it.
Then I realized the door was open.