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Your Point of View In My Perspective As The Ghost Of Sisyphus

Updated: Jan 24, 2022


Artwork by Isabelle Lu, staff artist

By Wei Dewdney

You are making a key.

There’s a small window on the wall to your left, barely big enough for your hand to fit through. Sitting in the middle of the room, the window shoves a handful of sunlight at your face— effectively blinding you—so you sit with your back against the wall parallel to the door. Your current position gives you the second-best view of the room’s most divine attribute: the large, oak door. The best view is on the other side of the door, but it’s locked. You spend most of your days and nights in the room working to get out of it; being stuck in there is awfully boring. You don’t remember life before that room; you don’t even remember how you got there in the first place.

Inside the room, there are materials: wood, carving tools, silicon molds, gold, silver, steel, and a furnace. There’s also a telephone attached to the wall on your right. The first key you remember making was made of steel. You used the door’s key hole as a mold, as that made the most logical sense to you. After smelting the steel in the furnace, you poured the hot liquid into the hole and used one of the silicon molds to make a handle for turning the key. After waiting for what felt like a year—but was really only a minute—you twisted the makeshift handle.

The door did not open.

You recall the other methods you used in your previous attempts to open the door. You sparked a fire to burn the door down. The door would not succumb to the flames, but your flesh did. You tried to break the door down. That idea failed. You tried to escape via the minute window, which obviously failed. You tried to knock the walls down. Failed. You tried tearing up the floorboards, hoping to dig your way out, but under the wooden planks was a concrete-like substance. Yet another failed attempt. Failed. Failed. Failed. Nothing you did seemed to work. The only attempt with any sort of success was the first: creating a key. It didn’t seem to unlock the door, as you were unable to open it, but it did turn. That must’ve meant something, right?

Since then, most, if not all, of your waking hours have been dedicated to making keys. Keys of gold, silver, wood, and steel lay scattered across the floor. You’ve yet to have any success with escaping, the littered keys being a callous reminder of that. Even so, you continue your craft. On your skin is an extensive collection of cuts, burns, and splinters: common souvenirs. Now, you’re working on a wooden key, whittling away at the wood with the carving tools that were in the room. One by one, the chipped wood falls onto the floor in front of you. The wood shavings accumulate in a pile. Occasionally, a lone woodchip would stray away from the rest, but you’d push it back into the pile not long after its escape attempt. Beads of sweat scurry down your face, wanting to get as far away from you as possible.

Finally, the task is done. You struggle to stand–as you’ve been sitting hunched over for at least a few hours–then wobble your way over to the all-too-familiar oak door. Your hand trembles a bit when you insert the key. You turn it, but the door wouldn’t budge. Yet another failure. You toss the key aimlessly and collapse onto the floor, hitting your head on the floorboard that was sticking out as a result of a previous escape attempt. You lie there for a while, poking and prodding at the concrete hiding beneath the loose floorboard. Your stomach wails.

Without getting off the floor, you inch your way over to the wall on your right, pausing just a few feet away from it. Heaving a sigh, you roll your body two full rotations until you meet the plaster wall with a thud. You grunt with frustration, knowing that a bruise would form on your boney body because of that careless mistake. Your pale, slender arm reaches for the telephone on the wall. Luckily for you, it’s only about half a yard away from the floor, so you have no problem dialing the only phone number you know of from your current position.

1-800-950-6264.

The phone rings sixteen times before someone finally picks up.

“Sorry!” a cheerful voice says, “I was asleep so it took me a while to fully wake up and answer your call. So, what is it this time? Do you need more wood? I haven’t gotten wood for you in a while.”

“No thanks, I have enough wood to last for a while,” you lie, not wanting to be too much of a bother, “I just called to ask for food.”

“Alright! I’ll be over in a minute with some extra canned food I have in my kitchen. I can’t buy anything fresh right now for ya since nothing around here opens until seven in the morning.”

“That’s fine, thanks for helping me out again.”

“No problem!”

You hang up.

You don’t remember how you found that number. It has existed in your mind for as long as you can recall, but you don’t know much of anything about the number except for, well, its digits. You once entertained the idea that it was a passcode, but you never found any sort of keypad for one to be entered. Thus you concluded that it wasn’t a passcode, but a phone number, which probably should’ve been evident by the telephone on the wall. A different person answers every time you call, but they always seem to know about you and your situation. You’re a burden for always asking for things without ever paying back, but you have to do it to survive and, hopefully, escape.

You take a break while you wait for the food to arrive. Still in your lying position, you turn your head to look out the singular, miniscule window–your only light source–to see absolutely nothing. It was either late at night or early in the morning. You make a mental note to ask for a flashlight along with more wood the next time you call, which probably won’t be for another week or so. You started keeping track of your days in the room a little while after you decided to focus on making keys, which was eighty days ago. You use your carving knife to tally the sunrises onto the wooden floor directly under the telephone, feeling satisfied when all the tallies were crossed. You look forward to days where you can make that crossed carve into the floor, it’s exciting to be able to do something different. It’s especially satisfying if the slash is a multiple of ten, that means you can make a phone call. Sometimes, you skip phone call days, not wanting to bother anyone, and other times no one picks up. Probably because you call so often to ask for free resources.

The sun is up, leaking into the room, when you hear a long-awaited knock on the door. It sure took them a long time to get here, you think to yourself. You sit up, abandoning the comfortable lying-position that you were in for so long.

The door opens.

You inhale an entire can of ravioli shortly after it’s delivered. The bag has just five cans left. Once you’ve licked the can clean, you wander around your head, trying to look for that bit of guilt you tend to acquire whenever you ask for things. You find it and nourish it with the help of past memories and inferential thinking. Distracted by your thoughts, you nearly forgot to add today’s tally. Snapping out of your trance, you grab your carving knife, and etch a small line into the floor, marking the start of day eighty-one.

Carrying on with your tedious job, you finish a grand total of three keys, testing each one as soon as it’s finished. One after the other, your keys prove useless. With a satisfied appetite and a bit of motivation left, you make one more key. As always, the journey from the ground to the door is tiresome. You reach your destination with a sigh of accomplishment, inserting the freshly-made key and turning it.

The door doesn’t open.


 

Contributor's Note: Wei Dewdney is a 14 year old, agender, mixed Asian-American who loves to write despite having the grammatical capacity of a preschooler. They mainly focus on poetry, and they're learning to write decent prose. Wei specializes in metaphorical pieces, allegories, and planning (but never finishing) young adult novels. They love to over-analyze every type of media they consume, from Thai soap operas to grotesque horror manga to kpop music videos.


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