From the outside cackling can be heard. The door is warm to the hand. The handle distressingly so. The wood is cracked and blackened. A quote adorns the door:
“seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space”
The room appears to be unsafe. Yet…yet the danger excites you, drawing you near. Thrill, adrenaline – something dictates you must open this door. You know it will be a mistake. The handle singes your hand but you turn it anyway. The lock clicks and the door opens.
A blast of heat overwhelms you, throwing you back across the corridor. Your eyes struggle to cope, squinting behind a raised arm. Rising to your feet, you compose yourself and advance to the open door, the heat a constant obstacle. Looking inside the room there is nothing but fire, a raging torrent of fire spinning as a tornado. A gap appears in the cycle but for a few seconds. What you see astounds you. For in the centre of the inferno lies a cluster of flowers, brilliant in their colours untouched by the fire storm. The rest of the room has been consumed yet the flowers somehow remain pure, untainted by the fire.
You take another look at the quote inscribed on the door and suddenly everything becomes clear to you. Somethings in this world, no matter what surrounds them cannot be spoiled, brought down. They retain something special, something magical, something that cannot be destroyed. No matter the context and circumstance they continue, blossoming in spite of everything.
The thought pleases you and you dwell on it as you sit by the door, the heat no longer bothering you looking at the flowers through the fractures in the fire, marvelling at them, watching them grow within the inferno, resisting its advances.
The door opens, red dust billowing through, your jeans layered in crimson.
You step onto a plain, backed by a scarlet mesa, in its shadow a wooden house surrounded by sage bush and withered trees. Dust swirls all around cradled by a gentle breeze. Two figures stand near the house, draped in dusters, faces covered by cowboy hats.
Sage bushes twist in the wind, red dust wraps in invisible coils as the two figures, wizened wraith bone outlaws remain still in a landscape shrouded in silence.
Movement. A shot echoes. One figure turns before slumping to the ground. Moments later it gets up, dusting itself off.
“Right that makes it 74 – 76”
“Wanna go again?”
You decide to leave. You’ve already been attacked by dinosaurs, you don’t want to be shot at.
“There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition.”
It’s a small room. Its more like a cupboard. It contains a solitary table. On the table is a model of the mansion, divided by lines. It seems like a regular model. But in this building, what seems regular hardly ever is. A baffled look takes over your face. A wandering skeleton takes notice of your confusion.
“The book club was boring me. Fantasy fiction isn’t what I enjoy. So I took
the opportunity to stretch my legs. And I was going to say something. Ummm…
oh yes. The room and your confused look. The model breaks into pieces, each
piece one of the rooms. You can break it apart and reassemble it anyway you
like. But when you do that, the change occurs in this reality as well.”
Thats hard to believe.
“Let me show you. Look out of the window. You see the hedge maze? As do I. We
are at the front of the mansion. Now let me remove this room from the model
and switch it with the…symbol room from the back.”
The gaunt hands switch the pieces. At first nothing seems to have changed.
Then you look out of the window. It is now a view of the back of the mansion,
a garden encased in glass. The hedge maze is nowhere to be seen.
“Can’t say I didn’t tell you so. And as you can see, we remain in the same
room. I’ll switch them back now. If we ever get bored with the layout we
simply come here and fidget about. Anyway, I shall get back to the book club
now. Perhaps it is more exciting now.”
How such a model holds so much power befuddles you. Your equilibrium is thrown all out of whack and you have to sit down. You focus on the model. And you wonder, is the mansion real or is the model the true reality? And then your head hurts.
The Italo Calvino quote is from his masterful book Invisible Cities. The Western room is heavily influenced by Sergio Leone’s incredible film Once Upon A Time In The West. And the lego room is influenced by lego really.
Again, all are rough and feedback is welcomed.