Flash Fiction, Shorts

The Room in a Vacuum

The room was sterile and still, preserved in an indefinite state. The single light bulb sitting in the overhead fan had long since burnt out. A twin mattress lay on the carpeted floor in the corner of the small room. Its sheets smooth and clean. Everything in the room should have collected inches of dust by now, but as if by an occult hand, the hardwood surfaces of both the desk and bookshelf remained clear of any buildup.

On the bookshelf was an assortment of random objects. A half-filled change jar, a deck of cards, several bottle caps, two family pictures, one with a broken frame, a watch that’s hands had stopped at 7:23, one black pen, one unsharpened pencil, and a journal that had never been written in.

The dresser was the same, and every scrap of clothing accounted for, from a pair of mismatched socks to the too-tight jeans that were never taken to the thrift store.

The walls were bare and white, as plain as plain gets. But on the far wall across from the bed there was a single, small hole where a picture or painting might have once been mounted.

They didn’t think about the room. The door was left closed. Although occasionally one of them would open the door and peak in at the room in a vacuum, and allow themselves a brief moment of nostalgia. A quick escape from the present to admire the unchanging piece of their lives.

It’s funny how memory works.

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