A Serial: Episode 11
It was only a day or two later when K. found himself in a room adjacent to the safe. He had noticed a very faint light creeping out from under its door. Many of the storage units had windows, so light under a door was not itself unusual. What was surprising is this light emerged from a tiny spot in the gap under the door, which seemed to have otherwise been blocked or sealed off with some kind of material. And it wasn’t sunlight.
K. sensed no recent activity from the outside of the room. Indeed, it bore all the hallmarks of a thoroughly disused unit. It was no wonder K. had never considered opening it before; he saved that for spaces that felt occupied inside, and this one gave K. no such feeling.
But the faint light from under the door was evidence he couldn’t otherwise explain. And for once, K. allowed curiosity to guide him rather than reason. He cut the lock.
Inside, K. found nothing at all. No objects, and no light.
K. closed the door, and saw the same faint light projected from the tiny hole in the material sealing the gap beneath the door.
K. went inside again, and this time closed the door behind him. Once his eyes adjusted to the dark, he could see the hallway from the hole under the door – not through the hole, but, incredibly, projected on a portion of the wall opposite, in full color. This image of the hallway was small, and upside down. K. looked for his own figure in the image, head to the floor and feet to the ceiling, but saw only the space he usually occupied, now empty. He swung the door open and reentered the hall, no doubt also projecting his image inside the unit, thus occupying both spaces at once.
K. bent down low to inspect the hole in the material under the door. It did not seem deliberately made by whoever had carefully sealed the room in this manner. If anything, it looked like it might have been chewed by a mouse.
There was no mouse inside this unit now, K. felt sure, because he still sensed no life inside. That was why he had never considered opening the room before. But the unexplained light continued to beckon. He swung the door open a third time, and sealed himself inside.
This time, from the inside, K. closed the small mouse hole by pressing against it with his foot. The room was now entirely dark. Truly lifeless.
What happened next frightened K. As his eyes stared into the dark, a very faint, ghostly image of the safe began to appear – almost hovering in the air itself.
K. knew the safe tied with rope was next door. Was he projecting an image of it from his memory, like a lantern slide shining out from his eyes?
The image of the safe grew brighter and sharper as he stared deeper into the dark. Was he now projecting more and more detail from his thoughts, like more and more information taken from a filing cabinet?
All at once, K. was blinded by light as the door to the dark unit swung open from the outside. His confusion was total.