What I am going to write here is a story with no dialogue, quite a challenge I know, however when the last full stop is dotted I will have hopefully achieved it or not. Whether anybody has done it before I have no idea, as yet I have not read it, perhaps I will be the first, so let the story commence.
The white room contained three things of importance. The room itself was basic; it had no windows and no sign of a door as such. One of the things of significance was a naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling by the one white wire, the second was a plastic litre bottle of water, unopened and ignored. The third entity in the room was neglecting the bottle and the light bulb. In that the third item was not inanimate, although from what could be seen of it, it could only construed as lifeless. For the third thing was a man in a foetal position on the bare floor. He was huddled into one of the corners of this room. He was naked; he felt his emotions were exposed to a fear that not only surrounded his external physical self, but also his mind.
How long he had been in that position, no one knew, not even him. Was he of humanity? Only he could answer that and he was ambivalent about anything. From what we can see of the man physically, there are no visible scars, but as only his back and buttocks are discernible we cannot be one hundred percent certain. Why is he here? No one knows, not even the man is aware of that. Are there any sounds perceptible to the man or us? No, and there will not be any until we can examine the mind of the man.
So how are we going to enter the mind of this man? We will have to use our imagination. Let us assume he is trying to escape this room, what a sort of picture is he envisaging. I see a lark ascending into a cloudless sky. If you are standing on a hill by yourself, you may see it for some time, before it vanishes. Is that a picture he sees, I’m not sure, however it must be a comfort to him. Yet we know now that he is afraid, so perhaps he is amongst the flames inside a house looking for loved ones. Or standing on the edge of a riverbank of where a fast moving river has swept away his loved ones. Searching his mind is an obscure task and is in need of relief, which is not possible so far.
In fact all the images we have captured are his, just as his body is imprisoned in this room. They are his dreams and his nightmares; they will stay with him until he is rescued or till he escapes. Nevertheless he is naked in mind and body, and will remain there for some time. Is there any sign of his captors, for presumably there must be somebody? Were they responsible for the nightmarish images of the fire or water? Did they kill his relatives and is he the only survivor, trapped in this room, or is it a cell. Is he all alone in the world, does anyone know he is here, or is he the only one left in a world of destruction.
Let us go back to those images of the ascending lark, for his mind has returned to that scene, a sign of freedom for him. Shall we take a closer look of the man on the hill? Is it the man in the cell? Obviously the man on the hill is clothed, and as yet we have not seen the face of the man in the room. Anyway we will look at the man’s face on the hill. He is a young man probably in his forties; he has a beard, which is greying from black, just like his hair. His eyes are an unusual colour; they are a silvery hue. His skin is slightly tanned with no visible scars on his face. His hair is cut in a short back and sides’ fashion. He is of average build and just six foot in height.
The man is hatless, and wears an old green grey parka; it is buttoned up so you cannot see what type shirt or jersey he is wearing. He is wearing a pair of blue denims and a good pair of ankle length rugged black boots. Although he wears a knitted blue scarf, his hands remain gloveless. In his right hand he holds a pair of black coloured binoculars, which he occasionally raises to his eyes. He is not only looking at the ascending lark, but other birds on the wing, flying to their freedom in the skies.
The man is alone on the hill with only nature as his companion. There is a backpack on the ground beside him. It probably contains a packed lunch, a bottle of water, a notebook and pen or pencil. Is what he is doing breaking any laws, I don’t think so. Yet what he is doing was it possible that he was arrested, interrogated, and then put into the room. In all probability the bottle of water that was in that backpack is now in the room with him.
As we enter back into the room with the man in a foetal position, we can take a closer look at his back. There appears to be a number of bruises becoming visible. Had he been out of the room while we have been perusing his imagination? It looks like it; and yes, if we glance at the bottle of water, it has been opened and some mouthfuls have been taken from it, and then closed again. The bruising is on several areas of his back. What kind of interrogation has he been through? There are as yet no signs of blood on him or the floor.
We will enter his mind once more; it has changed now to the inside of a house that appears to be on fire. The man is frantically searching through the smoke and intense heat. He seems to be searching a bedroom, for there is a bed visible. Taking a closer look we see that there is a charred body on the bed. From what remains you can make out that it is a woman, apparently the same age as the man, perhaps it is his wife. In fact we soon discover it is, for he takes hold of a blackened hand and weeps bitterly. He doesn’t linger to long as the smoke and heat soon moves him onwards, coughing and spluttering. He quickly finds another room, this one holds two small single beds and a crib, and all three are empty.
The scene shifts to him running away from the fire. From the way he wanders there is some purpose to his destination. Was he the one that started the fire? Not from the way he held the woman’s charred hand. So another is responsible. Is he running from them? No he is alone, and there are no signs of any pursuers. So where is he going?
Once again the picture changes, he is sitting out in an open area reading a note. His eyes reveal that it contains something very emotional, for there are tears in them. Let us look at the note and see what is written in it.
WE HAVE YOUR KIDS AND WE WILL KILL THEM IF YOU DO NOT PAY THE RANSOM OF ONE MILLION POUNDS. WE KILLED YOUR WIFE TO GIVE YOU PROOF OF OUR DESIRES. DO NOT GO TO THE AUTHORITIES OR WE WILL KILL THEM. WE ARE WATCHING YOU AT ALL TIMES, AND EVEN IF YOU FAIL TO PAY US, WE WILL KILL THEM. WE WILL CONTACT YOU WITH ANOTHER NOTE WITH WHERE YOU SHOULD LEAVE THE MONEY.
The man crumples up the note pushing it into his pocket; he noticed it was unsigned giving it a callous feeling of threat with it. He is weeping bitterly, anger surging through him. Who are these kidnappers? Does he know them? There are no clues in the note. So where can he start? The obvious thing to do is pay the ransom; however he is bankrupt, with no way of obtaining that kind of money.
We return once more to the room, he has been away again for his back is even blacker from bruising. There are even a few spots of blood on the floor. The bottle has also been used, for the water level is a little lower. Why are his interrogators torturing in such a barbaric way? Hasn’t he suffered already with his loss and the kidnapping of his children? Or are the interrogators and the kidnappers the same people. Perhaps we will soon find out, as yet though there is little chance.
We go once more into his mind and see what is going on there; perhaps some of the riddles will be answered. The location this time is a public convenience; he is looking at the reflection of himself in a mirror. His appearance is slightly different from what we saw of him on the hill, which must be a later actual event. His face is covered in stubble with bleary and red eyes as though he had been crying. Yet there is a discernment of determination there as though he has made up his mind. He then washes his face, and leaves the public convenience.
The scene changes yet again to a riverbank, he stands there reading another note.
YOU FAILED TO GIVE US THE RANSOM, SO YOUR CONSEQUENCES HAVE BROUGHT ABOUT THE DEATH OF YOUR KIDS. YOU WILL GET ONE CHANCE TO RECOVER ONE OF THEIR BODIES. GO TO THE RIVER AND WAIT. IN THAT ONE CHANCE YOU WILL ALSO GET ONE CHANCE TO PULL AT LEAST ONE OF THEM OUT. NEXT WE WILL BE AFTER YOU, AND WHICHEVER KID YOU PULL FROM THE RIVER YOU WILL GET A CHANCE TO BURY IT. ONCE YOU HAVE BURIED IT WE WILL BE AFTER YOU. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, FOR WE ARE WATCHING YOU, REMEMBER.
He crumples up the note shoving it into his pocket, and then picks up a branch that he recently dislocated from a nearby tree. He then waits, looking up river for the arrival of the bodies. Of course he knows this could be a trap, for the killers have killed four people already without remorse. They could just as easily kill him as well. Surely they would allow him to bury his children. In all probability he would only be able to recover one body as the river is quite fast moving.
Eventually three bodies come into view, at first his nerve goes as he suddenly realizes that they are his children. He steps into the flow putting the branch out in front of him. The bodies are travelling very fast and only the smallest one is apprehended by the branch. He grabs an arm and pulls it to the shore; by the time he looks back the other bodies are swept away in the torrent. He climbs ashore himself and looks tenderly upon his baby son. He gently holds the hand and weeps, remembering that he recently held the hand of the maternal parent. His mind is soon made up where this little one will be buried, in an unmarked grave that only he will know about.
The scene drifts to yet another; this is easily recognizable for he is on his hilltop. The man is watching the lark ascending into the blue yonder through his binoculars. It appears we have now gone whole circle and are back at the beginning. Yet we are no nearer to the identity of his interrogators and as to whether they are in any way connected to the murder of his wife and children. We look once more upon his face, his beard is full grown and there is the inscrutable look of determination on his face.
The view changes yet again, he is entering a large town, unlike the other images there an unreal element to this one, something dreamlike. The streets are busy and the pavements are full of people. As our man looks at the faces of strangers a ghostlike appearance of his wife’s and children’s images come into view. He starts to run from this nightmare, sweat pouring from him as though it is real. The determination that was set on his face a moment ago is now replaced by fear. His fear makes him lose concentration and he starts veering closer to the road, and then the inevitable happens and his mind goes blank.
We return to the room, only to find it empty. Where has he gone? Have his captor’s still not returned him to here. We will have to look elsewhere for this riddle to be solved. Where shall we begin? Let us take a look at the world beyond these four walls.
We enter another room now; unlike the other one this is well furnished. It has an office table near a window with Venetian blinds opened, with a swivel office chair. On the table is a computer, with keyboard, also there is a telephone. Next to the table are two filing cabinets, there is another table next to a door, and on this table is a kettle with several mugs. In a corner is a reclining chair facing a wall on which a picture of man wearing a deerstalker.
Also in front of the policeman, for he is of the police force, is a pile of paperwork, some of it is to do with three bodies found in strange circumstances. One was discovered in a burnt house, actually a woman’s body, the other two were children’s bodies discovered in a river. In fact the woman’s body and the two children were related, as from a charred photograph found in the house. Amongst the paperwork is information about a third child that as of yet has not been found, another missing person is the husband of the wife found in the fire.
Although the policeman is quite senior in rank, his superiors are onto him to get some important leads to this case. The trouble is there is no place for him to start his investigations, and is at moments like this that wished he was the man with the deerstalker for he always had a solution. Of course he could look around the burnt out house or he could look for clues near the river where the bodies were found. Perhaps the real solution will be found elsewhere, so where should he start, at the house or the river, both were accessible to him with his warrant card.
There was a third set of papers detailing something about a disturbance at a warehouse near the centre of the town. Of course it might not be connected with the bodies, however when they had entered something was not quite right about the décor of the place. Apparently a room was painted white with no windows and the door was almost nonexistent. Outside the room rope was found and two notes, as yet he had no idea what was written in them as he had not received them as yet, and there was no indication what they contained in the paperwork. So he could go to either place, in the end he chose the burned out house as there had been a definite crime committed there.
On arriving at the house, two fire tenders were in situ, as well as a police car and police van, and few unmarked cars belonging to the forensic team. Of course the press were there as well, but nothing could be done about that, freedom of the people and all that. Before entering the house he put on the blue overalls to stop contamination of evidence, at the same time he spoke briefly with a fire officer. Apparently it was safe enough to enter the house, and the stairs were reasonably intact for climbing to the upper floor where the body was still in situ. The fire officer also informed him that accelerants had been used to start the fire.