Short story: The Room by James Nunns

Extract from One Curtain, Between Us by Nic McPhee on Flickr
9 Jul 2013 @ 11.48 am
| News

Extract from One Curtain, Between Us by Nic McPhee on Flickr
Extract from One Curtain, Between Us by Nic McPhee on Flickr

The Room
by James Nunns


I feel safe here. Only here, in this one room, nowhere else. It’s my room, so I think that’s natural. Everyone feels safe in their rooms, right? Right, yeah…

It isn’t a normal room, either. It changes. Everything about it changes, even if you’re sitting directly in the centre, watching it all happen around you. The size, the colour, lighting, the air, all of it. Well, I guess the air doesn’t really change any more than usual. It’s the way you breathe that does, I guess.

If you walk in with a mind full of ideas and unrivalled optimism, why you could potentially float up to the ceiling, as if whatever pitiful force it was that tethered you to the ground realised it was foolish to even try to do so, and just gave up. If you walk in the room with thoughts heavier than the air, however, good luck trying to get off the ground. You’ll just be inhaling iron. Exhaling lead.

It’s not particularly fast, most of the time. It depends, really. When you leave the curtains open, just wide enough to let that single straw of light race in from the dark world, a world it’s forever trying to escape, you might just be able to spin it into a pure gold thought. One that will change the room like endless fields of perpetually black thoughts never could.

It’s great, seeing the room twist round you like that. The plain walls suddenly become splattered with paint that mixes together. Forms different colours and shades you never even knew existed. The hard, boring wood beneath you softens and feels good beneath your feet. Everything that usually lays lifeless around the room is filled with all the energy of a child. You feel like everything confined within these four walls is the true meaning of life and you know you’re gonna be alive forever. At least, that’s how I feel, anyway…

But you can’t just ignore those fields. Sometimes it’s pretty hard to find that gold thought, too. You try to let the light in, but it just gets devoured by the all the black and you instantly regret giving it something upon which it can feed. It seeps down the walls and taints the floor and everything in its greedy, narcissistic path. Nothing inside feels like it did yesterday. You know that it changed while you were away. Now it all just seems to rise above your head and look down at you, as if the teddy bears you had when you were a kid are disappointed you still exist. The old chair you keep in the corner is sick of hearing the lead drop from your pathetic little mouth.

It’s unsettling, but it’s not unsafe. Never have I felt unsafe in this room. I don’t know how I could ever feel unsafe here. The walls are too strong and the ground too sturdy, even when it feels like it’s not even there. They’ll never get to me here.


  • A number of talented Huntington School year 10 students took part in a one-day writing workshop – and YorkMix is delighted to be the first to publish their work
  • To find out more about the creative writing workshop, and to read the other students’ work, click here