There is meaning in even the word “nothing.”
Second Plane..? What is a second plane? My mind raced while waiting for the page to load. The screen, white with a flipping hour glass in the middle indicating that it is still loading. I glance around the room once more making sure Mekhi hadn’t heard the ordeal.
“Well, maybe I clicked it accidentally when I stood up from the table.” I told myself trying to calm down. I waited a few more minutes on an empty screen before concluding nothing was going to happen, and clicked the red “X” to close the browser.
“We are sor-r-r-ry you do not ha-a-a-ave permission to close the browser.” The computer chimed.
Jumping back and clutching my chest from the unexpected computer error, I slammed the laptop shut and pushed it to the far side of the bed, almost knocking it off. What do I do.. This isn’t mine.
A few moments pass before I take a deep breath, unplugging the laptop. I don’t need this right now. I thought dismissively, taking the cord by the plug and pulling. Grabbing the other end of the cord in one hand I pulled the now closed laptop back across the bed and unplugged the cord that was connected to the laptop. I wrap the cord up around my hand as I have always done and put it under the bed, reaching up for the laptop and putting it down gently next to the cord.
“I don’t need the laptop. I don’t want the laptop. I would like some coffee.” I say to myself half jokingly.
Just below my pillow on the right side of my bed are still the kettle and mug I hadn’t bothered to move. They sit as still as they had at my house, almost mockingly after the laptop incident. I should have moved these first. . . I pouted.
I grab the kettle and the mug and set them on the right nightstand. After setting them down I turned to the bed and felt an overwhelming wave of exhaustion. What time is it? He said he would show me the rest of the house in the morning.. is it night? I want to find a clock or a window, why doesn’t this room have any windows? I wondered.
Moving quietly, I crept towards the door and rested my hand on the doorknob. He didn’t say I could leave, but he didn’t say I had to stay here either. I justified my actions in my head. I turned the doorknob silently and slowly.
A soft brush of air wafted into the room as the door swung outward, carrying slightly different scents then what I have experienced so far. Garlic, fish, chicken? I wondered almost hoping as my stomach decided to scream in anguish. I need a clock! Don’t get sidetracked! I forced my attention back.
I stepped out of the room onto the cold floor as a chill crept up my back. These must be marble floors. Keeping the doorknob in hand, I turn around and crack the door just enough to see the the light seep through. Turning back I walk slowly down the hall. I don’t remember it being this dark before, it must really be night time.
I reach the end of the hall to the room that I do recognize. Dark and eerie, it was still familiar. I step into the room and run my hands along where the cot was, letting the cold metal bar sweep against my fingers. Stepping further in I realize there is a door on the other side, adjacent to the door I had come from. A small amount of light crept under the door and as I approached it I realized it wasn’t just light, it was also warmth.
I grabbed and twisted the doorknob, swinging the door wide. The air smelled like a restaurant, and the floor was warmer. A small corridor blocked the light source with a sharp right angle. Walking further, slower, I creep up the the corner and peer around.
“Miss Eloen, I am so glad you hadn’t gone to sleep yet.” Mekhi called calmly.
Nearly jumping out of my skin, I collapse to the floor.
“Eloen?!” Mekhi jumps up sitting and runs full sprint across the room. “Eloen are you okay?!”
“I’m fine, why would you go and scare me like that?!” I yell, my voice breaking.
Stunned, Mekhi looks away. Is he ashamed?
“I’m sorry, I thought you saw me.” Mekhi states flatly.
I feel tears well up in my eyes. Ohh gods NO! Reaching my hands up quickly I cover my face. I know my emotions should be exploding but why NOW?
“I-I’m so sorry.” I cry out. “I don’t know why I’m crying.”
Frozen, Mekhi stands looking. “Eloen. . It’s my fault. I am so sorry.”
Reaching out, Mekhi touches my hands. “Please put your hands down.” He pleads.
Ashamed, embarrassed, I shake my head. My hands and arms are warm with tears.
Mekhi takes hold of both of my hands in a firm grip and pulls them away from my face. “I knew it.”
My eyes meet his first, locked on the gold flecks that seem to be reflecting light, shimmering. My hands were held tightly in his. I’m so sorry. . Mekh-
“You are something else Miss Eloen.” Mekhi said. Not breaking gaze, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief and wiped my face, hands, and arms as well as his. Making sure we were both tear free, he broke his gaze and stood, holding out a hand for me.
“I know you are hungry, I was hoping you would find me here. I do need to ask though, what made you want to leave your room?” Mekhi asked.
Reaching out, I took his hand and stood unsteadily. “I don’t understand. Why didn’t you just tell me-”
“I wanted to see what choices you’d make” He cut me off.
“I woke up in the room during daylight, I walked down the hall during night time, and now a whole day has passed and I’m not sure if I’m crazy or if I’m dreaming.” I stated bluntly.
Mekhi nodded. “Did you do anything in your room? Look for cameras, wire taps, chains, or anything like that?”
“NO!” I half yelled fearfully. “Was I suppose to?!”
Pulling me towards the light source that turned out to be a fireplace, Mekhi stopped midstride and laughed.
“You can not have believed that!” Mekhi laughed, motioning me towards a small table with cushioned chairs.
I watched him move towards the fireplace that I could now see had a pot suspended within. Of course I believed it! I pouted to myself silently.
Grabbing two bowls from the mantle, Mekhi removed the lid with his right hand. Setting the lid on the far side of the mantle, he grabbed a ladle hidden in the pot and scooped some substance into the two bowls held in his left hand.
“I heard you scream.” Mekhi said. “What did you find?”
How did he know? Was I really that loud? I wondered. “No.”
Placing the ladle in the pot, he replaced the lid with a metallic clink. “No isn’t an answer to anything I said.” He said flatly, walking to bowls over to the table. “No answers what question?” Mekhi asked, sliding a bowl to me and sitting across from me.
How can I tell him I answered my own question? “My laptop isn’t my laptop.” I answered finally.
Pulling two spoons out of his pocket, Mekhi hands me one and looks at me. “What do you mean?”
You know what I mean. Wait. What? “What?” I answer, squinting my eyes.
Instead of answering, he takes a spoonful of what looks like chicken soup and blows on it before taking a bite. My eyes scan him for some indication of what I should say, and fall flatly on the now golden handkerchief barely visible, sticking out of his pocket. As if noticing my eyes, Mekhi blocks view of his pocket with his arms. Resting his elbows on the table and his chin in his hand.
“Let me start over.” Mekhi stated. “You left your room, what were you looking for? Why did you scream?”
Averting my eyes back to my soup, I dip my spoon just below the surface, watching it fill with broth. Once filled, I lift it to my lips and blow on it to cool it down and take a bite, then slowly lower my spoon back to the bowl.
“I wanted to know what time it is, for your first question. Second, my laptop isn’t my laptop.” I already said that.
“Oh, I didn’t give you a clock did I? I do apologize.” Mekhi said, his eyes almost saddening. “Your laptop isn’t your laptop?”
“The password changed but I knew it anyway, and there was a tab open that I don’t remember opening, but it wouldn’t close.” I answer between bites.
“Password?” Mekhi asked.
“ELOENMEKHI” I said.
“Hmm. Second tab, tell me about that if you don’t mind.” He implored.
“It said Second Plane, I clicked to close it and I didn’t have permission to do that.” I thought back to how it said aloud I had no permission.
“Do you normally talk to yourself?” Mekhi asked bluntly.
“I- well- no.” Ashamed I stared blankly at the almost empty soup bowl. “Do you have any answers?”
Leaning back, Mekhi lifted his right arm and set it on the table, palm up. “Here, you can take this.” He said, unbuckling the leather strip with a box.
“What is this?” I asked as he motioned for my left arm.
“This is a clock, of sorts.” Mekhi answered, buckling the leather.
“A clock?” I retort, turning my arm over and studying the little box. A perfect fit.
“It won’t feel very comfortable for a while, but you will get use to it.” Mekhi states, pulling another one out of his pocket. “It allows entrance back into the First Plane.”