There were really hot clouds in the room. After a minute I got used to the clouds, and walked in. It was hard to see at first, but eventually I could look around the damp, hot room.
There were tiles everywhere. They were white, but most of them were really dirty. There was a bench made out of tiles that went all the way around the room.
There were also two sleeping men in this room.
One had a towel around him, but the other man’s towel had fallen off so he didn’t have anything covering him at all. I had never seen such a big man without any clothes on. A lot of their red water was all over the floor, and one of them was still clutching a small black thing. I thought I had seen a picture of this thing in one of my books, but in the picture, the person is hurting another person with it. I wondered if he had hurt the other men and Mr. White. But who hurt him? Who put him to sleep?
I moved to the next door and opened it slowly. It was not as hot and damp, but there were more men on the floor. Whatever had happened, a lot of people had hurt each other and I could see why they were all yelling.
This room had tiles everywhere as well, but there were big pools of water — deeper than me. They were hot with clouds coming up from them, each with red water from the men mixing in with the clear water in the pools. The tile floors were slippery, and even more slippery where the red water was. I was careful as I made my way around the men and the pools and to the next door. This one had a window on it, and I could see light coming in from outside.
I knew it was outside light because light from outside looks different than light from inside. I remembered that from my trips with Mr. White. I wondered if he would ever wake up and if we could go on any more trips. Or if he could give me more rules to live by.
When I came to the window in the door, I peered through and saw another room, but this one didn’t have tiles on it. There were white walls and cloth floors. And across the room were windows and I could see outside! On the cloth floors was one more sleeping man, but he had all of his clothes on. His red water was leaking out of him and getting into the cloth on the floor. He was lying on his side against a table with papers on it. He also had a small black object in his hand and it was pointed at the ground.
I opened the door and walked through.
It was cold in this room. I had become used to the hot, damp rooms and now a rush of cold air hit my body, especially my toe that stuck out the hole in my sock.
The room smelled sharp and smoky. I decided to just run out the glass doors to the outside. I pushed through the door and stepped out into the light. It was even brighter than I remembered.
As I stepped out into the warm, sunny day, I saw a lot of cars pulling up to the building. They had bright flashing lights on their cars that were blue and red, and one of the men got out of a car and ran to me. He bent down and asked me what had happened.
I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know if he would understand my description of the sleeping men and Mr. White and the green splotch. My brain felt like it was making the loud whirring noises like the machines in my room and all of a sudden I couldn’t think of anything.
So I started to cry.
The man in the black clothes put his hand on me and told me it would be okay. Then he asked me where my parents were. I couldn’t stop crying at that point, so I couldn’t tell him.
Next thing I knew I was wrapped up in a blanket and in the chair of one of the cars with the flashing lights. I was trying not to cry because Mr. White always told me not to cry, but now Mr. White was asleep and I don’t know if he’ll ever wake up.
When I stopped crying, I sat up and looked out the window. I didn’t see any more of those men in the black suits, but I started to hear more of those loud bangs coming from inside the building.
It was the first time I had ever seen the outside of the building. It had pictures of clouds on a sign, and words I couldn’t read, but they looked like this:
STEAM & SOAK
I don’t know what they meant, but apparently it was the name of my home. After a minute the loud bangs stopped and it was quiet again. I sat in the car with the flashing red and blue lights, and waited for the nice man to come back out. But he never did.
So I decided to get out of the car and go on a trip by myself.