Friday, 27 August 2010


I need some help. I have a scene, several in fact, in my head and I’m buggered if I can remember where they came from. Now, I’m not planning to use it in my fiction, but as someone who draws on, among other things, memory, it’s a concern that I can’t place it at all.

Now there are a few possibilities. It could have been a TV drama I watched one night after frequenting the pub; it could have been from one of the 1,200 or so short stories I’ve read / appraised in the last two years*; it could all have been a dream.

So here it is:

It begins in a windowless room with a group of hapless ‘prisoners’, apparently, as in some Kafkaesque existential nightmare, unaware of why they are there. On inspecting the room they discover a number of doors or hatches, some of which are high up the walls and in the ceiling. Each room, if I remember, contained various accoutrements to assist the reaching and opening of the doors as well as their survival. Continuing the existential theme, some doors led to a ‘good’ room, others to a ‘bad’ one, the latter often resulting in fewer of the group remaining alive. The series of challenges gets harder, gruesome deaths occur, but they have little choice other than to try to find a way out. Days, weeks, months later and the last few people left open a hatch in a wall, believing their escape to be complete, only for the camera / narrator / my dream to slowly pan out to reveal a giant wall, infinite in size, with millions of such doors as far as they can see. They can now throw themselves into oblivion or turn around and try another door.

Ring any bells?

* I apologise if by some ridiculous coincidence you are reading this and this is a scene from a story you submitted, but take some comfort in the impression it clearly left on me.


Skinner said...

I've already posted my thoughts on facebook, but why not use twice the characters just to repeat myself?

I believe you may be talking about a film called Cube.

TOM J VOWLER said...

Brilliant. Thanks, Jnr. Strange, though, as I've absolutely no recollection of seeing it.

Skinner said...

I myself first saw it in a late-night cable haze, so I can relate.

Rachel Fenton said...

Brilliant - answered in just one comment! Don't you just love the internet?!