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May 13, 2024

Neither Here Nor There

By Tyler Garant

Little Joseph went to bed one night, and never again came out from his room, not ever. In the morning when his mother called him down for breakfast and for school, and when Joseph neither came nor answered, the mother stamped her way to his room, rapped loudly on the door, entered and never came out. The father had already left for work. And he, upon arriving home at 5:30 and finding his house empty, and even emptier when the clock struck midnight, took it upon himself to search the house for any clues as to his family's whereabouts. The father was also never seen again.

Within a few days, people noticed the Johnson family's disappearance. It was, in fact, a matter of great gossip amongst all the little homes of the neighborhood. Naturally, the gossip rose in excitement each day in which it became increasingly clear that something was wrong; for example, when little Johnny failed to report to school, when the cars failed to leave their parking spots, when nobody saw either Mr. or Mrs. Johnson at work or at home or at anywhere. The gossip rose to such fervor, that one neighbor, a Mrs. Boyle, called the police and reported the family missing. It was much ado when the police arrived, and if the neighbors were not on their front lawn, grouped together watching, they were peeking out from their blinds with all conceits of being stealthy. This all occurred, as records indicate, at 7 pm, September 23rd in the year 2010.

After repeated knocking, the door went unanswered, which was to be expected, since every little boy and girl in the neighborhood had been coaxed, no bribed, no forced, into knocking on the Johnson's door under the pretext of asking whether Joey could come out to play -- and Joey couldn't, apparently, play, for their tiny knocks had brought forth no answer.

The police entered the house and it was very exciting at first. But after two hours passed, all of the even keenest surveyors retired to their homes, on account of the clock. The excitement didn't cease, but neither did work the next morning.

So the police cars sat, eerily empty in front of the house labeled 2020 Starling Circle, all night long. Some neighbors took notice of this, when ascending from their beds, to the light switches, after a thoroughly satisfying late night comedy, and subsequently found they could not sleep, but only fidget, and check the situation from their windows at compulsively frequent intervals. The cars were still there. The cars were still there. Honey, the cars are still there. Every time. One Mr. Petersen of 2022 reported spending the night carefully watching both the police cars and the safety of his family, the latter of which ... he instinctively felt at threat.

The next morning, the neighbors woke up to the empty police cars. Some of the fathers, on their way to work before the sun was fully up, decided to first congregate about the empty cars and gossip, as the women would do later that day and also -- but of course -- as the school kids would later do in the middle of English class or Math class or whatever class the kids had first period. As it turns out, the children's wild-stories-and-or-theories turned out more correct than any conjecture of even this time.

Needless to say, the police department was called and the oddity of the empty cars reported; but the police, doubtless, already knew as much, and, what's more, noticing the disturbing pattern of unreported disappearance -- even at this early point of time -- had already sent in another group, this one made of four and equipped with radios.

These people entered the house at ten am that very morning and haven't been seen still, to this day, twenty some years later.

Now, the question on everybody's mind was: what did those police say over the radio? Naturally, the police weren't keen on releasing that; in subsequent years, however, the tapes were released, by law, and I have listened to them, of course, as everybody else has, and I found them, as everybody else found them, quite uneventful -- no screams, or "Oh my God's," or "There's a killer clown under the bed!" -- but the information the tapes yielded was of the utmost importance and has probably saved many lives, in the subsequent years, if that is believable. (I am not looking to offend anyone's beliefs.) For from those radio communications, the problem within the house became evident, or, rather, as evident as it would ever be.

It was upon entering the little boy's room at the end of the hall to the left of the stairs that all communication would cease. It happened like this: One officer went into the room and radio communication died immediately; headquarters notified the remaining three that officer A was in trouble, so officer B went in and met the same fate as officer A, then another followed suit -- now the last officer, D, was given an order to hold his position. The police department, however, is a far cry from the military, and this man knew his partners were in danger, so he, accordingly, rushed into the room as well, in the hopes, one would guess, of saving his partners. But he is gone now too, though there's a handsome (and well deserved) plaque in honor of his bravery, now since relocated to the mailbox of 2020 Starling Circle. It is not, however, what people flock to Starling Circle in order to see.

It is of some ironic note, not that the presumed death of (at to this point in our timeline) up to nine people needs any irony -- but it is of some ironic note, that the door itself, into this child's room, was quite plain except for one little boy's blaring, yellow mock-police sticker that read: "Keep Out."

There has been much criticism from the public on how the matter was subsequently handled, from this point onwards. However, in defense of the investigators, absolutely nothing like this situation had ever before been encountered before. People were forced to ask, "How do you investigate a room in which none who enter ... leave? And what can you ascertain about that room when all firsthand investigators disappear upon investigation?" The public at the time was simply angry about two things: the loss of life (which always sparks high emotion), and the seeming lack of information reported. Most were reluctant to believe in the peculiarities, such as the existence of pure nothingness within the room, so much as they were inclined to shout aliens or, perhaps less insanely, cult murderers who have taken refuge in the house. In any event, the account of a mysterious blackness was viewed, for the most part, to be nothing more than a convenient lie. And now, of course, we know it to be the actual, the miserable, the terrible truth.

Excuse me. Please excuse me. I am a very biased man. I do not mean to offend anyone. That is very easy to do these days ... around this subject, that is. I am old. I wish merely to record some things before anything else happens. You have no business even being here. But you may follow. All may follow. They all follow. You can follow. But, I'll warn you ... I do not know how to delete. I know the button, of course. But I do not know how to delete. So let us only record.

It is true that I know, sadly, only little more than most on the matter, and what advantage I do possess is only in part to my extensive research, and the fascination I've held with the room over the past twenty years. However, duly note, that my membership as an ordinary citizen should not deter those looking for the full story, for it is my belief that all which the higher authority knows, the public also knows; in other words, there is no "Inner Starling Circle," no secrets withheld by the government. Then why the giant fences? The security? This you may ask, but we shall get to that.

So it begins and ends in that same New Jersey suburb, where, as I'm sure you could imagine, the populace was in a tremendous uproar, for what was once their unique hot gossip had suddenly spread, sending the entire area into similar uproar, followed by the entire country, and now, yes, the whole world -- unfortunately, the entire world is fascinated -- no, obsessed -- with this room and has been for nineteen plus years. I, myself shall try to remain as objective as possible while discussing the room's obscured history, though certain happenings prevent me from doing so wholeheartedly, for such would be most heartless ... considering the personal issues that I have experienced.

But, nevertheless, Starling Circle, NJ was on the map; which, thusly, prompted the inhabitants of Starling Circle to entirely desert the place. (Some say they were forced to leave, but it's true that they actually left before things went that far.) As investigations continued, the neighborhood sidewalks where kids once rode their big wheels, and the green lawns where fireflies were captured on summer nights, and the identical three bedroom, modest homes of Starling Circle, all became the center of the world. The human mind loves mystery -- and 2020 Starling Circle was most definitely a mystery; the stupidest kind of mystery, at that.

Here's what is undeniably known from the first batch of major investigations, when this was still a police matter. A total of twelve officers died, or disappeared, or whatever belief system you hold (I'm not wishing to offend anyone -- just the facts here, of course, but of course) before the government took control. During the police investigations, nothing much was, admittedly, determined; however, what was determined is almost all that was ever determined. First and foremost, they propped the door open and shone spotlights into the room. Quite obvious, no? The spotlights revealed nothing; the room was still dark and its inhabitants still missing within. This, of course, had the investigators positively baffled, and they had no desire to report such unnatural findings, so they didn't, and, naturally, (I'm sorry but naturally) they didn't want to enter the room either; instead they kept silent and continued investigations. They tested sound next, tossing loud beeping devices inside. All sounds were instantly quieted upon entering the darkness. (Note: Quite a few of these investigators later released statements, feeling the public should know more detail on the initial room encounters, and this is where I draw my information.) The investigators also reported the mental effects the room had upon them, the abject fear, the dread, the pull of metaphysical anxiety -- because never was the unknown so tangible.

Of particular terrifying note to one investigator (T.J. McQuillan) was not only the fact that twelve people (all who had entered) had failed to exit, but the glaringly obvious taunts involved in the investigation -- for example, it was doubtful that twelve people could even comfortably fit in the child's room let alone fail to make a sound or produce the smell of rotting corpse or, for God's sake, just walk out from the door they had entered. T.J. McQuillan became the first to propose that the room had teleporting power, which, for those of us looking back, may not seem like much of an accomplishment, but one must remember how extraordinary this all seemed back then -- Mr. McQuillain stuck his neck out considerably in claiming a room could actually change the location of its inhabitants. This theory is still the most persistent and widely accepted today, though theories on where the room teleports its inhabitants range all the way from heaven to hell and all sorts of alien places in between. And nothing can be proven. Of course, nothing can be proven. Not unless you yourself ... well ...

They then tested the window; shining spotlights on the glass and eventually sending beeping devices through the glass. None of this revealed anything. Investigators then strapped cameras to wheels and thrust these contraptions through the doorway -- wisely fearing further human casualties. (Casualties.) These cameras would, of course, have direct feed to monitors and so the people watching the monitors would see the door, and see the door open, and then see, just blackness; the men and women on the other side of the door, the safe side, would stop talking and that would be the end of it. Just blackness. Silent blackness.

You can't imagine the horror such total dark produced for those of two decades past. Most encounters yielded explanations; and they liked that. But the room still has no explanation, and we, the people of this generation, don't seem to mind so much nowadays. We've accepted its impossibility, haven't we? Yes. But, at that earlier time, it must be mentioned, nobody was permitted to enter the room anyways; though, again, I highly doubt many were ambitious to do so -- which you may laugh at, some of you, or most of you, the ones who are part of the line -- you'd laugh that one so close to the door would not take advantage of such an undeniably golden opportunity to enter the room, but it was a different society back then -- just try, please, for a second, to suppose that the room was a totally foreign monstrosity and none of today's social context abounds -- how eager would you be to enter a room in which none who entered was ever seen, or heard, or smelled again? What terrible fate could you invent within? For God's sakes, what terrible fate could you invent now! Pick your head up and think with your own goddamned mind! We still have that. We still have that, don't we! Decide for yourself what this room holds! It may not be what they all promise you! Well ... there's my bias, my emotional investment manifest, my hidden agenda which I still deny, which I'm quite ready to delete and ... but, I won't for if I am to have a life message that shall be it; I cannot delete, as it were. I am old. I am a member of an extinct generation. Forgive me for imposing -- I don't wish to tell anyone what to do -- I just wish others, especially the youth, would think some more before they go and sign up ... to enter. Think. Just think. Not just of yourselves or for your fate, but, perhaps, for the ones you leave behind.

The police withdrew from the investigation, having avoided what could have been a far greater disaster. In all historical context, the situation could have easily evolved into a deadly cycle in which would-be-rescuer attempted to rescue would-be- rescuer until a far greater number of casualties than twelve would have been sacrificed in order to discover, simply, confoundedly, that the room was not a threat of ordinary nature (if a threat at all, of course, but, again, at that time, it was threat, it was bad, it was dying, believe it or not, it was). Therefore I have great admiration for police captain Gary Cooper and his wit. And the twelve dead should not be seen as incompetent in anyway but as the valiant martyrs they were.

During the investigation, the room was kept as secret as possible, but possible wasn't much of anything, for people had died and soon the answers, unbelievable as they were, flowed forth and spread rapidly until the whole country not only knew about the phenomenon but feasted upon every known and unknown informational scrap surrounding it. The media hasn't let up since, nor has the blatant mystery itself, which shook the nation permanently, taking hold of people's imaginations until superstition and theory spread rampant for twenty years hence. Yes, superstition, theory -- there is no fact, though some would have you believe there is.

When the government took over -- really took over -- the area was closed off for "in-depth investigation," and not even the snootiest of journalists nor the most powerful of media conglomerates could obtain any information. Various foreign nations protested the privacy; they desired inclusion into the little boy's room operation, which they considered a global affair, but the US resisted, at this time, and, apparently, the law, or the lack thereof depending on where you're from or what you believe, gave them the right to do so. To keep intruders away from the room, the US built the now famous (and now dismantled) Starling Wall and the accompanying facility which completely engulfed not only the room and the house, but the whole of Starling Circle. This is where things get admittedly muddled, and while we shall never know the exact nature of the government's investigations nor the extent to which they plunged (the number of animal sacrifices for example) -- through simple inferences and some insider reports, we can draw conclusions on the basic happenings of the US investigations.

Scientists of all natures were brought into the investigatory team and with them many neat tools which would, supposedly, end all peculiarity. First animals were sent in. The door was kept open while the animals entered, but nothing productive came of this other than measuring the distance one need enter the room before total darkness swallowed all up -- it was only a few steps. None of the animals wanted to enter, as if they sensed something rotten within, and they shook and whimpered, even the bats for Chrissake, yet they were forced onwards, in a sometimes cruel fashion, as one insider of dubious credit later reported -- but the world at the time had to agree that forcing animals inside was better than wasting human lives -- and not many people care much about animal rights nowadays anyhow ... it seems all political issues have become somewhat less important since the room permeated the consciousness of our society (just saying). Having lived a long while before the room came to be, I can say we as a societal whole have changed astoundingly.

Next came all manner of scientific toys. The most sensitive of equipment was brought to the door and the most sensitive equipment left without results. No physical disturbances of any kind were reported. Heat sensors, and motion detectors, and a million other devices were used without any resultant insights other than the total consuming pervasiveness of the dark innards of what was once a little boy's room (note that this is not meant to be a technical examination of the investigations, as many credible reports of such kind already abound, some numbering thousands of pages in length, bloated with science beyond my understanding, but all converging on the same conclusion: we don't know). Speaking of the room once belonging to a child (which, actually, surprisingly, downright disgracefully, not many people know) the child's "Keep Out" sign was replaced with an authentic government issued "Keep Out" sign; and, for the first time, it's order was being willfully resisted, not by a cleaning mom, or an investigating officer, but by scientists so dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, their curiousness so entranced, that they wished to enter the room, knowing that they would not come out through the door, not knowing where they would go, or what fate they would meet, but wishing, more than anything, to know ... more than their own life.

The government did not permit such radical action at first, and, as a result, there are some reports of scientists jumping inside the room without warning (at which point further precaution was taken) but as investigations slowed to an absolute standstill, the order was eventually issued to open the door to all those investigators wishing to probe its infinite depths. And when a surprisingly large number of the nation's best and brightest decided to do so, to enter the room, and great mind after great mind was lost to this world forever (which is why authoritative information on this period is so hard to find -- they're all gone and their records kept rather private) the government grew nervous and rebuked its decision, postponing all further activity. For it seemed, disturbingly enough, the most brilliant men always wished to enter the room, despite all urges to the contrary, and despite all fear. And so they'd enter, and who knows if they ever found the answers they were looking for.

Of course not only did the greatest minds ponder the problem of "the room," but so did, seemingly, every other mind across the globe. Was there a greater mystery anywhere in history as this single room -- a small room, which one would enter and disappear completely, without any trace at all? For, it was generally accepted these days (three years after the initial Jefferson disappearance) that the people were physically disappearing or else being transported someplace -- for, again, how else would a giant pile of corpses not smell through a cookie cutter house's thin walls, how else would physical presence not give off any heat or any other kind of clue to existence that should be so painfully obvious, or how, even plainer still, would their screams or perhaps just voices not be heard -- how unless nothing that entered the room continued to exist in that room. Perhaps they were being shrunk to a molecular size? God, what good is conjecture? Nobody knew, and investigations were halted. But the philosophizing had only just begun.

For the next ten years, the dark room would sit in the comparatively bright darkness of its defunct facility, still heavily guarded; for the public did not forget about the place -- how could anyone ever forget about the place? -- and many people's mentality, as initiated by some very influential figures of both science and industry, had changed significantly, and protesters were now constantly burgeoning along Starling Wall, holding up signs and shouting, essentially: "Let us in!" (Although others just wanted some information, which they thought the US was withholding -- investigations, in fact, hadn't been going on for ten years).

Most notably amongst these protesters was the group organized and helmed by renowned scientist Eric Shostak, which called itself PROA (Public Room Opening Association) and which was dedicated to the publification of the room to all who wished to enter it. Of course, PROA is now a household name and at the helm of all such subsidiary "Roomie" groups, of which there are many. For amongst those who wish to enter the room, the beliefs are many and varied. While some are fueled by curiosity, others are members of the many strange cults, or religions (whatever term pleases you) which were formulated around the room. Others, well, others say that the world we live in is a boring place and the room represents a chance at something fantastic and only a fool would not leave this miserable planet for a chance at nirvana, or excitement, or something other than mundane misery. That's what some say. That's what my son said to me before he left.

That brings us to the loved ones of those first disappeared by the room. Many would beg for admittance simply in the belief that their dearly departed would be waiting for them on the other side, whatever that other side was, if there was an "other side." But these protestors were only a small percentage of the population demanding admittance, usually countered by the argument: if your loved ones passed away, would you kill yourself to join them in that afterlife?) And as this population steadily increased with each passing day (and as horrible living conditions, and rampant micro-wars, and general spirit of despair perpetuated in the real world, incidentally) the United States became wary of the unusual object in their possession, not just for scientific or intellectual purposes, but for the considerable effects it was having upon the world itself.

An interesting fact (horrifying to some): Because not even the most complex of methods resulted in any decidedly concrete information about the room, demolition, at one point, was debated -- just blow the cheap walls down and take the house apart, was the sentiment -- but, naturally, scientists across the world (along with many others) lobbied to the point where destroying the house would have caused a major upheaval. This was years, even, before the public protests started. The government, later, became most thankful that they did not destroy the room, not only for the potential danger such action held (for God knows what would happen if the darkness ever left the room) but for the room's current status as the world's grandest asset.

Desire for the room still grew. Some called it unhealthy growth. The passion which these protesters showed for the room was immediately contrasted to their resultant lack of passion for all practical matters of the world. They yearned for the room, for many, many reasons (again, there's whole psychological books written on this matter -- of which I've read all, rabidly) but, in some cases, they yearned almost frantically, like if they didn't get into the room, they would suffocate, as if the world were water and the room air. Every now and then a cult would attempt a siege of the house, and the military would batter them off, sometimes even kill a person or two, thus, igniting great social condemnation. It was after many small attacks of such nature, that progress was eventually made in the form of better leadership, organization, and cooperation between the many factions of the "Roomies" (as many people call them).

So over the last decade and a half, fueled by the fiery rhetoric of Eric Shostak, support for PROA grew to staggering proportions as smaller groups fused under the general masthead of Room Admittance. Recognizing the obstacle it represented and putting aside all matters of ego, the other massive group, PPP (Perhaps Perfect Paradise) also joined into PROA. This finalized fragmentation, as all smaller groups of varying beliefs would eventually follow suit, thus fusing into the gigantic PROA of today -- uniting so drastically for a common cause, like the world had never seen uniting, until cultist and scientist and everybody, from one country to the next, was shoulder to shoulder demanding admittance to the greatest show on earth, a black room. Today, of course, PROA is the largest organized group in the history of man, in which roughly sixty five percent of the population is a member.

Nothing can resist such an overwhelming force. No government can withstand sixty-five percent of the world's uniting. The United States held steadfast for a while, but soon their right to do so was challenged, not only from the rest of the world, but more significantly from their own population who claimed fundamental Constitutional rights to the pursuit of happiness, their own freedom of choice which they revered above all, was being downright trodden upon. No political debate, over the entire course of history, with all the strife we've overcome, ever possessed the mad fervor inspired by the room and a desire to simply leave the world forever. People were enraged that they couldn't enter the room. And, of course, there were riots and discussions and everywhere on TV people talking, yelling, philosophizing about the room and their rights as people to enter it.

Still, that now-infamous president refused to open the door to the public. The public tried to get bills passed, but both the Congress and Senate of the time would never pass such ridiculous bills, for it was in governmental interest that the room should remain closed (as surely as it was warped individual interest from which one wished to enter) for if the room was opened, wouldn't the whole world go to shambles? Economists conjectured ... that the population would eventually be cut by more than half. What would happen after such a climactic event? The job market, the dollar, the stabilization of family life. First and foremost, without people to rule over, the government would have no purpose at all. The supposed purposes of two hundred some years, personal freedom, which the US government had always ostensibly represented, was shown to be nothing more than an ideal.

But, the Constitution was faceted in a very intelligent manner, for its framers were not organizations, but passionate individuals who made sure this country would never fall into the hazards inherent within organizations -- that is to say, personal rights would always conquer. At least, so it seems if you are in the majority. And if you are not, then what is there but injustice?

When election time rolled around as it always does, the candidate supporting the opening of the room won -- all other political issues were completely insignificant, so much so that the winning candidate was able to take whatever position he wished on any matter and still win so long as he promised to open the room. Which is why the country is in such a mess right now, regardless of how many people are leaving a second or what the Associated Press will decide to text you.

But, it is my belief, that our forefathers will eventually conquer -- for, surely, as all those who voted for the past two debacles of a leader eventually disappear into the room, the rational shall be the majority once again -- and then we shall set things right. I only hope, of course, that the current president doesn't eliminate the next election all together -- there exists enough people not giving a damn but to leave this country (and perhaps this universe) to accept such an action so long as they are permitted to leave (and the hell, apparently, with everyone else).

But, the sadly ironic aspect is that none of the government actually believes in this political matter (the room) which got them elected -- otherwise they'd be headed for the room themselves, in front of the line no less. They only supported the cause in order to obtain power. One could say they simply believe in man's personal freedom, as the politicians themselves say, but these men of power, in fact, don't, as is clearly seen not by their words, but by their current policies, which are a wart to this country's legacy. So many freedoms were sacrificed for just one: the room. Resultantly, if our population isn't leaving to the room, they're leaving to Canada. I can only hope that not too many of my political fellows, who before would not enter the room, decide to enter simply because the real world situation has gotten so foul. The wars, the poverty, the decay, the economy, the ... corruption ... but we need to clean the place up, not run away into the dark. Who understands that?

I have debated time and again deleting parts of this paper, the personal parts, for which there should be no place, most noticeably this very paragraph. But, I find that I cannot remove them, at least I cannot do so permanently because I've just now reinserted them. I told you I cannot delete. I can delete. But never permanently. Anybody can forget. But not forever. I began this little paper desiring it to be a studious account, but by now, I think you and I both know ... that such was nothing more than a pretext -- I wrote this paper for myself. But now that it is written, I want more. I want it to be for others as well.

Not just for myself, but for the public with whom I plead, not as another armchair philosopher, but as a father and a husband. This room is a terrible thing. Parents, I pray, teach your kids when they are young -- this room is a terrible thing. It destroys lives. It is my personal belief that anyone who wishes to enter the room be given the option to do so -- I only ask that you are absolutely certain before you do leave, and if you do leave, at least be courteous to those people who will continue in the here and now. Separate curiosity from veiled depression, passion from pure apathy. Don't let your imagination blind your instincts. And for God's sake -- parents don't take your little children in with you, leave them here with the scores of other orphans -- they should have a longer life, though, I fear, it's all too paradoxical indeed; take them and they'll be gone, leave them as orphans and they'll just leave when they've grown; and, of course, I'm forgetting that you think you'll be with them somewhere else, and can't bear to leave them behind -- but what's so wrong with here and now -- what's so wrong with it? This is not political spin -- this is a plea, a plea for the welfare of our world, nothing more. I am old and will be gone soon, along with the rest of a generation that was alive before the room.

With the new president in position, Starling Wall was blown to pieces in a raucous celebration; I'm sure many of the students have read as much in their history books, but do your books tell of the mad trampling, savage race to the room in which thousands were killed?

The world today is not a good place. An estimated seventy five percent of the world population aspire to enter the room, of that only forty percent are permitted to do so (some governments still restrict it), but in the United States the ratio is far more astounding, especially among the youth.

Of course, when billions of people are trying to get into the same tiny place, complications ensue. So that is how the line came about. The longest line ever formed. And only two percent of those on the waiting list actually stand in the line. The rest will be called a week prior to their estimated entering time, at which point, they will take a place in the many-miled, snaking formation that ends within a stripped naked house, up a flight of weary steps, in front of a "holy" door. Only about a hundred fifty can rush in per minute after all. And, again, there are billions waiting.

So you buy your ticket -- which usually costs nearly everything you have depending on who you're leaving behind -- and then you wait to be summoned. If you were to buy a ticket today, you will have to, regrettably, wait an estimated ten years to enter the room -- and that's with people entering at all times around the clock, just a steady stream of souls flowing through the doorway, gone. There are many people in our world. Those with the most money, of course, take precedent. There are no refunds for missed appointments, but few ever miss their time slot, as it is the most highly coveted chance of a lifetime.

The problem, naturally, is with all of these people set to leave in any given number of years, they are stuck here on earth in the meanwhile, and they simply don't give a damn about anything. They are all around us, these people -- at work, at the supermarket, in the public bathroom -- they're just waiting for the chance to leave forever, and their actions show as much: the lack of enthusiasm or passion or any life at all, the corrosive boredom they exude, the indecency of their ethics -- make no mistake they are only biding time, killing time rather, killing their life rather, the most valuable thing any of us has got, they kill it, they kill it! -- and for what! For what? An empty room. No. Not an empty room. The chance for something more: "perfect paradise perhaps."

Nobody tries to make their lives better anymore -- they just buy a ticket. The youth has been corrupted. Teenagers flock to the room, their minds prejudiced since youth. Though some will parents beg them not to, they go anyway -- after all, their friends are going, and their friends' parents have already gone, and this celebrity's gone, and that celebrity's gone, and everybody's going or gone, and I'm stuck here in the real world trying to make it a better place with every breath I've got, but Jesus, it seems like all the people left in this country are only here because they're too afraid of the room and would enter the place in a second if they weren't so scared of the possible outcomes.

How did I ever expect this to be a purely historical account? I am no academic, and, plainer still, the history is recorded a dozen times over in a far more comprehensive manner that, I'm afraid, sends my jumbled, confused, skipping ramblings into the pits of incredibility. And I'm sure there are hundreds of blogs that do a better job of discussing the room situation. Oh, God there are. I don't know why I'm writing this -- why I even started it! I am nothing more than a lonely ghost on this lonely ghost of an earth tapping away at his computer trying to burn the time away or burn my thoughts into inactivity, to find some refuge, or decision, or something, maybe -- I don't know! Truth be told, this paper is really neither here nor there.

But look at this waste my mind exudes. Is this worth anything to anybody? Will people read this? Will they listen? Is anyone left who would care to read this or much anything at all? But there -- I've repeated myself again. I won't revise. I'm afraid "genuine" is all I've got.

I am sure you know, if you are reading this, (if I do ever distribute) that there are social taboos about those who choose to stay -- that we're either dumb, or scared, or in some way inferior because we don't leave. And, furthermore, if you're reading this, then you haven't left yet -- then there's still a chance not to leave. I don't care if you believe the room is the gateway to heaven, a portal to another galaxy, or dimension -- I really don't care, I just ask that you think long and hard, think, think, think before -- am I preaching? Look, how this thing's dissolved.

Those of us left. Everyone misses their loved ones. Every day, we think about what's happened to them. To all of them. We think about what's in that room, all of us do ... then some of us decide to leave. Then we spend the next wave of years waiting in desolation, our life fortunes ready at hand, for the time when it, at last, becomes our turn.

And the cities ... they feel so empty twenty years after the darkness first appeared in the tiny room of a tiny suburban house of a tiny suburban boy. Everything is emptier. There aren't enough people to do the jobs necessary in running a large city. The people who do the jobs do not know what they're doing and they do a poor job and the people who want to leave don't care about their job and do a poor job and everything spills from there. The place grows uglier with each passing day. The life has been sucked out of everything. If the population isn't bored, they're bitter. The youth "stuck" here, are out of control. Only the threat of taking away their ticket keeps them from destroying our civilization.

Our civilization ... our society has been thoroughly corrupted. I wonder if anyone will inhabit this earth in the future. The power of social preconception is incredible -- it can make anyone believe anything if it's unanimous and pervasive enough.

As an analyst of this situation, I'll never forget ... my best friend told me before entering or leaving or what have you -- and once again, not for a day have I forgotten this -- he said, "The feeling that you're missing out is just too much for me to take. Like everyone's at some great party and you've got to go to bed early."

Which, for me, has brought several thoughts over the years, none of them too happy: Is it really all about curiosity? Are we that dissatisfied with just accepting what is that we'd enter a dark room to disappear forever? Or, worse, I'm afraid, much worse: Is it only man's natural and perpetually latent depression? Is it only man's inevitable, age-old dislike for being alive?

Though most of us are depressed, there are still some good families -- people rooted in reality who don't think about the room constantly; some parents who don't tell their young kids about the room although they know, plainly, that their kids will find out about the room soon enough, be it at school, or on TV -- and they, the good parents, will talk to them then, once they start getting asked questions, and they'll tell their kids all there is to tell them, and pray to God that the kids don't decide to acquire a ticket once they turn eighteen like most of our youth decides to do, as if it's a kind of graduation. And once they do buy a ticket, or if they do, the parents, in their perceived elderly ignorance, will beg their sons and try to convince their daughters, during the excruciating years before departure or entering or whatever the hell you want to call it, just as I did, years ago, but, will their children listen?

Or will they listen to something else instead? Something deep within humanity ...

I acquired my ticket three years, seven months, and two days ago on the eighth death anniversary of my son. My wife left about four years ago. She was hiding the ticket from me. My daughter lives in Texas and never talks to me. I think she's married. I think I'm a grandfather. I know I'm a failure. I don't know what to do. But, I have the next decade to decide. To decide whether or not I'll use my ticket when the time comes; whether I'll enter the room or whether I'll stay.


Article © Tyler Garant. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-03-07
1 Reader Comments
04:45:12 PM
Wow, one heck of a tale with so many layers I just want to read more. The idea rocks at the basic foundations of a society and a world view in the single location of the room. A singular event with untold endings.
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