art by Shothot Designs
One Year Later
by KJ Kabza
Terrance Smythe hesitated in the doorway. The space the Institute assigned to him for the call had the impersonal air of a hotel room in claustrophobic miniature: beige walls, brown carpet, and two potted ivy plants in 630 cubic feet of space. The wall opposite the door bore a single window that couldn't open. Beyond the sealed pane, a segment of parking lot glittered in the sun.
Terry's eyes moved to the center of the tiny room. To that damned pedestal. The prescribed telephone was the glossy black of a beetle carapace.
He came back to himself with a start. "Thank you," he said to the attendant, whose name he had already forgotten. Terry entered the room. He would've locked the door behind himself, but it had no lock. Possibly for the same reason the window wouldn't open. If this were supposed to be a healing experience, then why was the room set up as though--?
Terry sat down in the single chair. His heartbeat felt so strong, it was uncomfortable. A flush of heat crept up from his collar.