Joshua says “I got the idea for this story after noticing an area along a wall in my rented house where there had once been a door or window. Inevitably, I began to think about sealed doorways – both physical and mental – and what we might see if we were to reopen them.”
The Unfinished Room
by Joshua Rex
‘Do you hear that?’ Adele cut in.
‘That ticking sound.’
James glanced back at the bathroom. ‘Probably the tub dripping.’
‘No, it’s coming from in there…’ Adele stepped through the hole, zigzagged around the maze of unfinished walls and then stopped at one of the cross studs and picked something up. She stood there for a long time, staring down at the object in her palm, then slowly covered her mouth with her free hand.
No response. James stepped in, walked to one of the perimeter walls and looked through. The room seemed to float above the lawn without any visible support. Absently he brought the cigarette to his lips, took a pull but got no smoke. He looked at the lit end. The cherry now resembled fossilized bone. He tossed it through the wall and walked over to Adele, who was still staring at the thing in her hand. As he got closer he saw it was a pocket watch.
‘Where did you find that?’
‘Sitting on the wall.’
‘Looks antique. I bet it’s gold. Probably worth a nice chunk of change.’
Adele gave him a horrified look, then carefully set the watch back on the ledge. James went to grab it, but was distracted by something in his periphery. He turned and saw a beach ball, white with yellow stars, drift across the floor and settle gently into a far corner. Seeing it nearly brought him to his knees in terror. Without thinking, he took Adele’s hand and began leading her out of the room.
‘Let’s get the fuck out of here.’
Adele hesitated, looking back at the watch, then relented. James nailed a sheet of particle board over the hole and they didn’t speak of the room again for a month.