The Other Room
You find yourself in a room. Something in this room reminds you of a staircase leading you underground, below street level. The presence of a certain scent in the room, perhaps, evoking this sensation. You remember how the compressed floor beneath you made your steps bounce around and multiply as you walked down the stairs. The warm scent of your skin in summer, linked to a heightened level of serotonins, the result of a vitamin D overdose. Gradually this mixture of olfactory sensations morph into a pleasurable intoxication of dampness. You feel the humid air reaching the back of your throat while you inhale and taste it as you try to capture the place. Steams of cool breezes reach out to your face, feeling almost as if being carried, enshrouded by a more substantial, warmer breeze. The miniature strands of cold breeze are clearly perceptible, however you sense that the warmth surrounding it is dominating. You don’t shiver. It is pleasant. It feels like a blanket someone put over your shoulders. Deep down the stairs you vaguely hear a sharp sound piercing through the space. A hum, slowly becoming louder, until only the deepest bass remains. You snap out of this memory, fully aware, back again in the room. For a moment you are unsure if your hands are still part of your body. You hold one of them in front of you, placing it against the wall. The wall feels like a magnet. An ice-cold magnet that does not seem to pull, but instead freezes your position. The blanket slowly starts to slip away from your shoulders. The wall reminds you how you were unable to open your eyes last night. The blanket suddenly falls and folds on the floor behind you. Dark, damp tones invade your senses. Now you shiver. The convulsions free you from your frozen state. You look at the wall. Into the wall. And Down. Inwards. You can now clearly see an entrance opening up before you. Where, exactly up until a moment ago, the wall used to be. You gaze into the darkness as the entranceway keeps stretching further inwards, deeper, up until the point where it is difficult to make out any detail. The only light-source emanates from the room in which you are still standing. The cold air curls around your fingers. You look at your hand. It is still in front of you, but there is nothing surrounding it. The dark gradient of the entranceway behind serves as a backdrop. White strands of fog move towards you. As you blink it seems as if the wall suddenly reappeared, only to vanish at the moment your eyes are fully open again. You already took a step forward and are now standing at the threshold, in the very position previously taken up by the wall. The silhouette of your body blocks the light-source in the room behind you and you can now see even less than before. It is a lot steeper than it seemed. Steep and silent. However there is something, faint, far away, and as you listen, straining your ears, it seems to fill up your eardrums. Sounding as if the floor is being beaten with a wooden stick, at an increasingly faster pace. The sound seems to move, making you feel as if it is coming from a gigantic space beneath you. It is a sharp echoing sound that slowly transforms as it moves, becoming thicker and deeper, changing into a saturated metallic roar . The algae engorged walls on both sides seem to rumble. Your eyes seem to palpitate as you try to pry deeper into the darkness. Part of you is descending down this path. Part of you is still in the room, standing in front of the wall. The concrete beneath your feet feels solid and spongy at the same time. You realise that, even though you are descending deeper and deeper, you can still see up to the length of an arm in front of you. The further you go, the more varied the colours of the algae become. Curious about how deep in you are, you try to look over your shoulder. However it is impossible to turn your head and look back in the direction from which you came. It does not feel as though the muscles in your neck are stiff, but rather as if the signal from your brain is not reaching your muscles. You keep walking. Downwards. Inwards. Unaware of how long you have been traveling along this narrow path. Slowly realising that you are approaching a much larger space, on the threshold the sound of your footsteps suddenly change. There is an echo to them, an echo that extends and slowly fades away. The roaring sound returns, accompanied by the scent of burned rubber penetrating your nostrils. Now closer, sounding like it is surrounding you. You squint your eyes but the archway in front of you is shrouded in darkness. As you take your first step through the arch, you sense that you are far away, as far away as can possibly be. Without realising, you are already further inside than you thought. Already in the much larger room, you swiftly turn around. But you can no longer see the arch. All that remains is an oily darkness surrounding you. The roar swells. Your panicked turn and the absence of any landmarks has made it impossible for you to remember the direction from which you came. You are not even sure if your eyes are open at all.
Ingmar König, april 2019