The Eternity Room
Jessica Lopez sipped from her beer while admiring the wild landscape outside the window. Looming in the distance she could see an epic mountain peak capped with snow like something out of a postcard. The morning sun lit up the fresh white snow into a nearly blinding light that illuminated every gust of wind. In the sunlight Jessica watched and witnessed in satisfaction as snow devils swirled, evaporated, and reformed in a meditative dance. Beneath her feet Jessica could feel the rumble of the tracks as the locomotive pulled the car up the side of the mountain. Matt Sparks was sitting across from Jessica sipping the third beer in his flight. They’d met the day before boarding the train and sparked a friendship when they found that they shared a passion for exploring Europe.
“There is a strong taste of almond in this beer,” said Jessica.
“I really like the hint of peat in the beer,” replied Matt.
“What do you think of the second beer?” asked Jessica.
“It’s too sweet for me,” said Matt.
“I liked it and I’d do it again.The last beer is cool, like a blueberry soda.”
“I’m out, do you want to get some more?” Matt asked excitedly.
“Waiter! Waiter!” said Jessica to the indifferent noisy crowd.
“Where is the waiter?….Do you want to find the bar?” Matt asked, annoyed.
“In a minute!” said Jessica admiring the creamy blue texture of the fluid in her glass before consuming the last of it and smelling the residue.
Jessica casually placed down the last glass turned blue like stained glass and stood up.
“Do you know where the bar is?” asked Matt trying to obscure his intoxication from the beer and three shots.
“It can’t be that far”
Jessica stood up gracefully from the table and headed for the bar while Matt shuffled behind her. They dodged around the other passengers crowding around the tables and headed for the door.
Then with only minor resistance, the steel doors opened to the next train and the roar of cold air.
In the next train they found only more passengers partying over crowded tables.
“Maybe it’s on the train on the other side?,” said Jessica with mild annoyance.
They proceeded back through the roaring chilly air and the crowded passenger cabin. Jessica stopped for a brief second and waved, “Waiter!”
“Back in High School I played sports in weather this cold!”
Still only the indifferent chatter of the train.
In the next train they only found more crowded tables.
“Maybe the waiter took a break?” asked Jessica to everyone and no one. “I think that I’m heading back to the train to take in the view.”
“Hey Jessica, could this be the bar?” asked Matt pointing to an unmarked red steel door.
“Worth a shot!” replied Jessica.
Inside the room they found a comfortable vivid green sofa sitting in front of a vintage blank television set lit only by a faint old light on the ceiling.
“Could this be the break room for the staff?” asked Jessica curiously.
“I don’t know. This place could be a museum!” replied Matt.
“Did you ever see Chernobyl?” asked Jessica excitedly.
“No, I’ve never been there!”
“It’s like you’re in a real life post-apocalypse movie. I felt like an astronaut exploring the Earth after people are extinct. Pretty awesome!”
They walked further into the room to further explore its textures. Then with an angry thud the steel door slammed shut.
“Fuck!” replied Jessica. They ran over to the door and tried to pull it open but it didn’t move at all.
“Open the door! Let us out!” they screamed in a repetitive chorus.
Matt ran a painful sprint to the door like he wanted to tackle it.
“Shit Matt, read that!”
The sign printed in worn out steel letters on the door read “Escape Room”.
Damnit!” shouted Matt kicking the door again then screaming in pain. Matt then walked over to the sofa like a defeated player while Jessica kicked the door a few more times.
“No one is coming for us!” said Jessica, exhausted.
“Then we have to play the game!” replied Matt excitedly like every time he mentioned his football team in college, the Roadrunners.
“Hey Matt, why is there a painting in the corner?”
In the corner next to the door sat a small painting of a lighthouse set against a pitch black sky that seemed to consume the light itself. Inside the lighthouse a brilliant gold orb cast a white beam onto a strange loop.
“Is there anything behind the painting?” asked Matt, trying to pry it from the wall to no effect.
“Did you push on it?” asked Jessica curious.
“It won’t move!”
“Did you rotate it?”
Jessica tried to turn it, then got angry and pushed against its side with all her strength. The painting popped free with a snap and fell to the floor to expose a vintage locked switchbox.
“Damnit, it’s locked!”
“Where is the key?”
Jessica pounded on the painting but nothing fell out while Matt pounded on the wall. Then they moved onto the other objects in the room and continued until they got tired.
“Would they blame me if I murdered you for food?” asked Jessica, smiling.
Matt shot her back with an evil eye.
“Hey Matt, where is the lighthouse beam pointed?”
“Is it pointed at the table?”
On the table a golden key was waiting for them. Matt practically tackled the key, nearly breaking the table. Then he inserted the key into the switchbox and twisted it. The panel fell off revealing a series of twisted red, blue, and black wires leading to an empty slot.
“Where is the god damn switch?”
They went back to the wooden table where an old lamp, pen, and paper waited for them. Matt grabbed the lamp and violently shook it like he wanted to murder it. Then he completely dismantled the pen.
“Damn!” cursed Matt before going on a verbal rant of curse words about sex with woodland creatures that impressed Jessica with all its details.
While Matt ranted, Jessica continued to investigate the brown wooden coffee table to find nothing. Then she tipped over the couch. Still nothing.
“Did you look at the lamp?” demanded Jessica.
“There is nothing in the lamp Jess!”
Jessica curiously unscrewed the light bulb to still find nothing.
“We don’t have time for this Jess!” barked Matt aggressively grabbing the lamp from Jess and throwing it at the wall with all his might. The glass lamp splintered into thousands of glittering pieces that fell to the floor like an exploding firework. Jess went to the lamp that now decorated the floor like glitter to find a steel cylinder. Then she twisted it open to find a single switch. Matt took the switch from Jess and plugged it into the slot. The room came alive in a dazzling light. Then the vintage television quietly switched on to play a noisy screen to the quiet room.
Matt fiddled with the old dial on the television box and the television snapped through a series of images beginning with a mountain. Next came a shiny blue crystal, the Moon, the Sun, and then finally the Earth.
“Is there a volume on the television?” asked Jess.
Matt fiddled with the other worn out dial and a faint noise entered the room. The muffled roar of a busy city filled the room. Or maybe the noise was that of a windstorm.
“Change the channel!” suggested Jess.
Matt changed the channel to show a shiny blue crystal floating in a dark abyss and total silence.
Next came an image of the Full Moon at night in a sky full of stars. The moon lit up the living room like a lamp in total silence.
Matt changed the channel again to arrive at the brilliance of the sun that flooded the room with silvery white light and a dull roar like that of a distant volcano.
Then Matt returned to the snow capped mountain bathed in sun and the rustling of wind.
“Damn, only a few pretty pictures,” said Matt frustrated.
“Are there any other dials?”
“No, at least I don’t think so.”
“Can you take it apart?”
“See what I can do!”
“Hey, you pose as a can-do athlete. Figure it out!”
Jessica kneeled down and continued to feel the television box for clues. Still she found no secret compartments or hidden switches. The old television box was seamless white steel discolored with age. Even the old cord refused to yield when pulled.
“Hey Matt, is the volume turned up all the way?”
“What if you turn it up?”
Matt turned it up and repeated the channels. The roar of the mountain wind became unbearable with the sun still louder. The Earth roared like the collective deafening scream of all of civilization.
“Turn it all the way!”
All of the sounds evolved into an unbearable scream.
“This isn’t working. We’re trapped here,” replied Mat with thinly hidden fear. He pounded on the steel door again.
“Did you turn it off?”
Jessica turned the volume all the way up to a deafening roar. Then she turned it off. Nothing. She turned to the next channel. Click, nothing. Then the next channel. Click, nothing. Then another click and nothing.
“We’re struck! We are going to need a Hail Mary Pass to get out of here!”
Then there was a mechanical click and the square screen swung open. Jessica kneeled over and pushed the screen open all the way. Inside she could see a distant light in the dark tunnel.
“What’s inside?” demanded Matt.
“I can’t see!”
Jessica squeezed into the tunnel but stopped at a tearing sound.
“Fuck, my new….”
Jessica withdrew and stared at offense at her torn jet black dress.
While totally ignoring Matt, Jessica casually dropped her black punk dress to the floor. Then she studied her bra and with a mild annoyance unclipped her bra and let her breasts bounce free. Then she dropped her underpants and crawled bare into the television while Matt watched in awe.
Then with a click a hidden door swung open and with it the television. Jessica was standing inside casually holding her breasts. The room shined bright with the golden light of a brightly lit cage enclosing a floating crystal orb.
Beside the globe sat a box containing a dozen interlocking gears of all sizes. The box sat on a mount of steel rods.
Matt stood and stared at Jessica for a moment.
“There has got to be a key hidden somewhere,” said Jessica, feeling the mechanism that refused to yield to her pulls.
Jessica found a switch panel mounted on the wall next to the gearbox and began flipping the thirty switches. Still nothing happened.
Exasperated, Matt punched the switch panel and with a clank a box fell out.
“Fuck! Fuck!” Matt screamed while his fist turned red with blood.
Jessica opened the box to find a tiny slim golden rod of metal.
Matt grabbed the key from Jessica sparking her rage. Then he went back to the switch box and tried inserting it into a hole but there was no hole to be found. When he could find no hole, Jessica pulled the key from his hand.
“Give it back!” demanded Matt reach for the key with his bloody hands. She expertly dodged each of his swings like a dancer. This enraged Jack further and he grabbed her by the arms trying to get her to drop the key.
“Let me the fuck go!” demanded Jessica suddenly feeling acutely vulnerable with her nudity.
“Give it to me!”
Matt grabbed again at her hands but instead squeezed a breast. Jessica slapped him in rage and then ran off to get dressed. She returned perfectly dressed except for the tear on her shoulder. She shot him with the evil eye.
“Do you want to solve this or not?”
“Okay, I’m sorry!” replied Matt concealing his frustration.
“We need to find a tiny round slot to finish this!”
Matt returned to the switch box where he had originally discovered the key while Jessica explored the gearbox.
“Get the fuck over here and don’t even look at my breasts!” ordered Jessica concealing her clothed breasts beneath her hands.
“Okay,” replied Matt.
“Look closely, there are five holes inside the gears.”
Jessica took the rod and carefully inserted it in the first hole. Nothing, it didn’t fit. The same for the second and third. Then when she inserted it into the fourth, the rod fell into the hole. The gears turned all by themselves, then accelerated at a dizzying pace. The lights flickered before turning blinding, then went black. The lights continued to flash like lightning while the gears spun back and forth.
Then the lights totally died and relight the room a few seconds later in a brilliant gold. Outside they heard the metallic clank of the escape room door swinging open.
Matt and Jessica slowly approached the golden orb that flowed like quicksilver.
“We did it!” yelled Matt excitedly grabbing the orb and dancing around the room wildly. Annoyed, Jessica tried to reach for the orb while Matt dodged her. Jessica soon became frustrated and strived even harder to touch the orb that she’d helped unlock.
“It’s amazing, like holding a living creature made of metal!”
“Let me touch it!!” demanded Jessica, still trying to reach for it.
“Hold on Jess, I’m not finished!” said Matt casually while Jessica’s frustration hit a boil.
Matt swagged out of the room in a dance while continuing to dodge Jessica.
Then turning red with fury, Jess jumped up and grabbed the orb.
“Let go Jess!” demanded Matt.
No! My turn!”
Then in a struggle that could be mistaken for a dance, Jess tore the orb away from Matt and ran for the door. Matt ran after him in an angry rush.
“Jess, the sign says that the orb can’t leave the room!”, barked Matt as Jess escaped his grasp out the steel door.
Then the entire train rattled like it had been punched by a giant, tossing Matt and Jess off their feet while the passengers screamed in a chorus. The wheels shrieked in an unbearable steel cry as the train ground to a halt. Matt and Jess quickly stood up to see a turbulent black cloud roll across the clear sky. Flashes of blinding lightning lit up the darkness in terrifying strobes. Then the ground itself began to shake. In the strobing flashes of lightning they could see and then feel the rumble of an avalanche collapse around them on the mountainside before everything was consumed by the white dusty snow.
In a minute the snow cleared and the lightning died down. With a sigh of relief Jess and Matt could feel the fear and cries subside on the train. The dark skies began to clear to hint at the return of the bright morning sky that they had shortly lost.
In another minute the sun returned. But it wasn’t the sun. This sun didn’t twist and turn like a swirling rainbow. The spinning object grew until it spanned the entire sky like a colorful hurricane.
Then Jess and Matt felt the forces of gravity leave them as they began to float towards the window. They were soon joined by the rest of the objects in the train as all of the furniture and dust floated away to condense into lively inanimate objects. Soon the train itself floated away into the swirling rainbow. In shock Jess and Matt could see the Earth fade away beneath their feet until it was lost to the swirling vortex. The vortex itself soon began to fade away into the quietness of the night sky.