The Grey Man

The Grey Man

A Story by Daniel Winters

Darkness. Darkness. Darkness. Dim light. Light getting brighter. Four green walls, approximately three meters high, and five meters wide. Poster on the far wall; pinned to the right of a white door. Four chairs; painted silver pointing at the centre of the room. Three motionless bodies lying on the floor. Sense's coming back.

' Hello? What's going on? Where the hell am I?'. The voice came from the body closest to me, a mid-thirties year old male, wearing a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Faded blue jeans.

'Hey, man. I'm here. I ain't a f*****g clue why were here though'. The speaker is a middle-aged black man. He slowly brings himself up into a sitting position on one of the chairs arranged in a circle.Both men seemed distressed in someway.

The third and final body moves into a kneeling position. A woman in her late twenties, wearing glasses and with short brown hair falling on either side of her head, obscuring her ears. Dressed in a green coat, over a red cardigan, and a black skirt that goes down to knee level. She rubs her forehead and eyes; a side effect of the shock of the bright lights and present situation. She doesn’t say anything. She looks around the room: to the walls, to the chairs, the white man, the black man and to me. Whilst looking at me, she asks to the room in general:

'What’s going on?’, says in an unexpected calm manner. The two men stop looking around the room to look at the woman. Their facial expressions seem accusing and questioning at the same time. They look at her, at each other, to me, and back to scanning the room. It seems neither of them have an answer for the woman's question.

The white man stands up, rubbing his back and thighs, suggesting stress and discomfort. He looks around the room, walking towards the poster, scratching the back of his head. The woman and the other male follow. I sit down in the closest chair, and wait for their reaction. From over the black man's shoulder, I read the poster: 'Do not panic. You will be let out of this room in ten minutes'. The black man places his left arm perpendicular to his body, cupping his right elbow, his right hand stroking his unshaven chin and philtrum.

'Please stay calm, eh? What a nice way to say 'good morning', the white man says, obviously sarcastically, looking towards to the man to his left, and woman to his right.

'Or, 'good night'. I don’t have my watch, or my mobile phone', the woman says, pointing to her right wrist, presumably where her watch used to be. The two men instantly check their own wrists, and then their pockets. Neither of them find a phone, or any indication of the time. The black man looks across the room towards me.

'Hey, man. Do you have a watch, or a mobile phone on you? Anything that can help us try to figure any of this out?’ I check my wrists and pockets.

'I have my wallet, and my keys', I say going through the contents of my wallet. 'A driver’s license with my face and name on it, a small amount of money, and a groceries list'. The woman walked across the room and stood next to me, as if expecting me to find something else. I show her my wallet, and she takes it with her left hand, then cradles it with both hands, taking out the contents.

'I guess you were going grocery shopping, Mr...Tony Belmont', replacing the contents of my wallet, and giving it me back, smiling. I smile back, keen to be seen comforting in such a stressful situation. I take her outstretched hand of introduction.

'Susan. Susan Calvin'. Upon hearing Ms Calvin introduce herself, the men introduce themselves to each other. The white man spoke to the black man:

'I'm Peter. Peter Bogart'. The black man spoke to the white man:

'Alfred Lanning, and it's a shame we had to meet after waking up in a room like this'. They shake hands, and smile.

Mr Bogart turns back to the poster and says, 'Isn't Roblox the company that makes Robots? Why is their name on here?' He points to their name at the bottom right of the poster.

'Maybe this is an experiment or something', Mr Lanning says, moving his shoulders up and then down.

'Why would they test people though?' Ms Calvin asked, swiveling her upper body from facing me, to facing Mr Bogart and Mr Lanning behind her, and back to me.

Maybe their branching out into making humans too’, Mr Bogart says. Ms Calvin raises her eyebrows to me; inviting me to speak.

'It could be an experiment yes. I think we should just sit down, and wait. The ten minutes will nearly be up soon.' They sit down in the other three chairs.

'So...what does everyone do?’ Mr Bogart says, breaking the silence.

'I'm a mechanic, but I'm sure it was my day off today', Mr Lanning says, looking up at the ceiling, his hand rubbing his chin again.

'I'm a teacher, and I know that today was my day off', Ms Calvin says, laughing slightly. They look towards me. I try to remember, what my job is. I can’t.

'I can't remember anything apart from my grocery list', I say. They look towards me, their faces amused, and concerned.

'Maybe it was the shock, or how they knocked us out. Sometimes memory can be lost temporarily in stressful situations. I'm a psychologist, by the way.'

The door opens. A man in a long white coat, and dark trousers walks in. He is wearing glasses, has receding brown hair, and carries a clipboard with the name 'Roblox’ on the back.

'Thank you for your co-operation. The experiment is now complete, so please step through this door, and you are free to leave', says the man white the coat coat. He points to the now open door. Ms Calvin, Mr Lanning and Mr Bogart walk quickly out of the room. I stay seated. The man with the white coat stands in front of me. I ask:

'Are the experiments complete now?'

The man with the white coat smiles.

'Oh no, we've got lots more to run on you'.

The man with the white coat takes a silver control box out of his pocket.

Darkness. Darkness. Darkness. Dim light. Light getting brighter.

© 2011 Daniel Winters

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Added on January 6, 2011
Last Updated on January 6, 2011
Tags: science fiction, robots


Daniel Winters
Daniel Winters

Manchester, United Kingdom

Just a quiet guy, who likes loud stuff. Im proud to be Out of Step more..