Wednesday, September 21, 2011

150/365 -- Playlist Story -- inspired by "3:14 Every Night" by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross from The Social Network soundtrack

Mike stared at the bed, with his toothbrush hanging out of his mouth. He was still. The bedcovers were unwrinkled. The room was dark, but the bed, dressed in white, shone in the light from the bathroom, and taunted him.

He slowly resumed brushing. He turned his back on the bed, a chill rising up his vertebrae. He spat out into the bathroom sink and ran the water to rinse out his brush. When he was done, he placed it carefully in the brush holder, then mopped up errant drops of water around the sink with his embroidered hand towel. He replaced that carefully as well, and when it was set, hanging straight and folded evenly, he stroked it as if it were an obedient pet, a thing alive.

He turned off the bathroom light and let his eyes adjust to the complete dark. The bed was still visible, almost glowing. Muhammed let his hands hang by his sides, and he shook his fingers.

"Please not tonight," he whispered to the room.

The room expanded ever so slightly, expanding, then contracted again. The curtains shrouding the window fluttered.

"I beg you," said Mike in a louder voice. He balled up his toes.

The room expanded again, larger, and became suddenly cold.

"Get in," whispered the room in a deep voice that Mike didn't hear, but rather felt in the middle of his chest.

Mike didn't move. His flesh dimpled up.

"Obey," said the room.

Mike leapt to the bed, threw back the comforter, and slid inside the lofty white folds of fabric.

"Please let me sleep," said Mike.

"You are sleeping," said the room, sighing again.

"Am I?"


"This is not sleep then."

The room was silent. Mike listened, but there was nothing. After a minute his muscles began to relax again. His eyelids drooped. The fabric was warm. It moved about him like a tropical current. It caressed him with its heat. Mike felt the gentle heartbeat of the mattress, thrumming and thrumming against the small of his back. Darkness began to descend upon his mind.

Cold. Mike work, his breath hung above him, a little frozen cloud. Above that hovered the comforter. His lungs did not move, and his heart did not beat, but he felt. He moved his arms, touched his chest, and discovered he was naked. He moved his hands underneath himself, and discovered he was floating.

"Wake me up, please," said Mike.

"No," said the room.



Mike pivoted, and tried to right himself. He fought to move his chest upright, and force his feet down to the mattress. He brushed against his cloud of breath, and it shattered, exploding into dust that fell down onto his legs with icy little stabs. He stood with just his toes on the mattress, trying to balance.

"Please," he pleaded.


The sheet below him, on the mattress, began to tear in two, down the center, exposing the mattress's heart.

"Do you see this?" asked the room.

"Yes," said Mike.

"This is you."

"No, it's not me."

"It is. It breathes your breath. It pumps your blood. It is you."



Suddenly Mike slid upward towards the comforter. It wrapped around him, cocooning him. It heated up. Muhammed struggled, punching out his legs and arms, but the comforter wrapped tighter until he couldn't move at all.

"I am not it!" he moaned.

The room pressed inward, it's wooden infrastructure creaking, plaster falling, and paint peeling along rupture lines.

"Let me go!"


The warmth of the comforter started to burn into his skin and so he screamed. The comforter fused with large areas of his skin. It tugged at his muscles, pulling them apart from the bones.


Mike gasped, but the air refused to enter his lungs.

"No," he managed weakly.

The cocoon suddenly dropped to the mattress. The threads of the mattress top began bunching up and spreading apart, creating a threadbare space in the middle, where the heart lived. It was made of the same fabric as the top of the mattress but woven more densely. It throbbed rapidly with anticipation.

"Eat," said the room.

The edges of the mattress that surrounded the heart rippled up like puckered lips and sucked in the cocoon, folding it in two. It pulled it into the depths of it's matting, swallowing. When it was done the threads realigned themselves, and the mattress was smooth again, although bulging and beating. The mattress spent the next month digesting Mike.

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