The World Behind the Walls

Peter has been in the room ever since he can remember, with the sentient walls for companionship. But now, he wants to venture outside

“What's outside?” I asked the walls.

It was the first time I had asked the question aloud, and not suppressed it in my thoughts.

The walls must have taken pity on me, because the voice that answered was the middle aged lady who came around when I was hurt. I don't know who she was supposed to be, a nurse? She was a motherly figure, and she sometimes sang lullabies when I couldn't sleep.

“It's dangerous outside, Peter,” she said. “You shouldn't worry about that, you're safe here, and you get all you want, so you never have to face what's out there.”

It was also the voice that stopped me from asking what I wasn't supposed to know. But not this time.

I took a deep breath, and not caring about the disappointment in the voice that was sure to come and said, “I want to go outside.”

“It's not safe, Peter. Here, have some sandwiches, it's been a while since you ate.” The panel in front of the table opened, and a plate of sandwiches slid out, and the panel closed again.

“You can't distract me with food!” I got up from my bed, and started pacing about the room. I was angry now, angry and frustrated with not being given answers. I would go out there and look for them on my own.

“Please, don't think about going outside. I want you to stay,” It was her voice, she was the one who said sweet things to me when I was feeling particularly lonely.

“No, I have to go outside.”

“Please, stay, and we can spend some more time together.”

“No.” I said, though her voice made my resolve weaken a little. I had everything I could want, why would I go outside? “But I need to go. I have to see for myself.”

“Please?” she asked again. “Get in bed and we can watch a movie. Whatever you'd like, I'll let you pick this time.”

Maybe I could go after the movie.

But I also knew, that the more I gave in, the more I would forget about the outside, and the desire would fade, and I'd never know. I had to resist, I had to, for myself.

“I need to go. I... I'll come back.” I said. That was good, I could leave and see what was outside and then I would come back. I would finally know what there was, with my curiosity satisfied, I'd be able to stay here again.

“But Peter, I love you,” she said.

I had imagined her saying that she loved me, after watching the countless romantic movies, she liked to watch, and my immediate response was to say "I love you too." She had said she loved me, and that filled me with warmth. But I didn't know if I loved her back. I wasn't sure if I knew what love was. I could always ask, but I knew that would make me want to stay. I curled my left hand into a fist with my nails digging into my palm. I wouldn't break.

"But I'll come back for you," I whispered, looking down. 

If she truly loved me, she would wait. Wasn't that a thing? If you love someone let them go and they'll come back? 

"Stay, Peter." Her voice trembled, almost sobbing now.

"You don't understand, I have to go. I promise I'll come back."

I heard a soft buzz, barely audible, the sound of the voice changing. 

"You're not going to leave," It was a male voice, reprimanding me and I flinched, just like the first time I had when I had heard it.

"But I-" 

"You are not going to leave," it became louder. 

I put my hands over my ears and bent over. I hated this voice, I hated it, it scared me, and it was the worst feeling ever.

"You are not going to leave" 

My heart was beating faster. I was overwhelmed. I remembered having a choice, but the willingness to make it was becoming fainter. What was outside? Was it worth this? 

It had to be. 

"Open the door!" I screamed, with all that was left of me. "Open the door." 

The walls went quiet, and the door slid open. I straightened, and walked into the light. 

The End

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