The Glass House

Before the human-sized hole, everything operated properly and correctly. The man working it felt relaxed and followed the commands, which chimed like small clocks helping him work. The commands were printed in large black letters above the hole if he felt uncertain of anything. ‘1. Take an armful and place it into the hole.’ The man did as it said. Digging his arms into the plastic carriages that appeared from the left side of the transparent hole. ‘2. Drop the load into the hole.’

This part was the most pleasant. The armfuls fell into the hole and flew down through the clear tube. As he released each armful another arrived, seeming to react to his tempo. Hours passed as he released armful after another, letting it jettison down through the tube. The pyramid roofing of the small glass room allowed the man to work as fast as he wished. He perspired accordingly, but felt the peace of the sunlight that lit the room. ‘3. Place yourself in the hole.’ The third instruction said.

The man had ignored the third step up until now, but stared at it as he released another armful. ‘Myself?’ he thought. He had the keys to the exit of the glass room and opened the door in the opposite wall. He stepped outside and ran down the stairs lining the rectangular shaped lighthouse. It didn’t take the man long to reach the bottom, it was a tall building, it had been placed in the middle of a flat lawn, surrounded by higher unkept grass, but agreeable all the same.

At the base of the transparent building he stepped back, and tried to work out the mechanics of the thing, wondering where he would go if he obeyed the last instruction. The hole he’d been dropping his armfuls into dropped down into a long cylindrical tube, also made of glass, like the entire building. It went down, like a long curved trunk into the ground – where the man walked closer to so he could peer in – it disappeared beyond where he could see, giving him no discernible signs of where it went. He stepped back and observed how the large clear pipe resurfaced from the ground a few meters on, curving upwards and back out, creating a large ‘U’ shape that began from the top of the building and ended after it resurfaced and faced out, opposite the tower, and opening out to the field, unconnected; but strangely, without any remains below it, where he expected his armfuls to be piled.

This puzzled him and caused him to retrace his steps. He ran back up the stairs ready to try something. A fresh crate had appeared from the hatch beside the hole, and he read the black letters written above it again. ‘Ok’ the man thought, picking up a smaller amount from the crate, the kind of size he could mould a little more easily, as he’d learnt that the substance was pliable.

Due to his knowledge of the building’s architectural angles and height, he knew that if he shaped a small amount in his hands, and angled it on the edge of the pipe leading down, he might have just enough time to place it there, run down the stairs, jump the last few, and watch what happened to it. Which he did. No sooner had he placed the small ball on the edge of the hole, teetering, had he exited the room and followed this idea. He raced around the building and waited. He could see his small ball sitting there, and beginning to roll down. He grinned as it began to fly down the pipe as he’d planned, and near the bottom it sped up, free falling into the large hole in the ground.

After only enough time for the trimmed lawn to twitch, a little, the man witnessed the ball he’d made shoot up and out through the second part of the ‘U’ at a terrific speed. He watched it become a tiny dot in the clear sky. He asked himself if he’d seen it, and kept staring to see if he could see anything in the distance. Peace came back to the lawn as he looked back at the transparent building again, unsatisfied. He climbed back up the stairs as the sun stayed in place, re-entered the room and stared at the commands again. And did as they said, placing a full armful down the chute. He read the last command again, and stepped back, ‘Well you can fuck right off with that idea!’ he said out loud, finding a place to sit in the corner of the room, as the sun patiently shone in. Moments later, he died.


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