Jan 28th – As they chatted away, he needed to find a way out

January 28th – As they chatted away, he needed to find a way out.


The walls were closing in on them.

Not in a claustrophobic way: he was sure that the walls were actually closing in on him. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the white walls were edging across the white floor, shrinking the white space.

She seemed oblivious.

She talked on, about nothing and everything, about this wonderful installation, and how clever the use of white space was, and how people didn’t ‘get’ modern art because they were afraid to open their minds.

The walls were closing in on them.

If this was modern art, it was terrifying.

How could she not notice? His replies were short, distant, disengaged. Where had they come from? He tried to look behind him, to see if there was a way of retracing their steps, but everything behind was just as white as everything in front, and to the sides. They had been shown in through a door, a heavy door, he was sure of that, that swung inwards into the room, but everything was seamless. If there was a door out, he couldn’t see it, in the same way as he couldn’t see the door in.

She was still talking about white, as a colour, as all colours, of how clever it was to be everything and nothing at the same time.

Yes, he said, for want of anything else to say.

The walls were closing in on them.

Panic was building inside him like a river against a dam. For now he was holding it in, staying rational, aware that they’d got in here and so they could get out of here, and that this was a gallery, of sorts, built inside a disused warehouse, that they’d paid to come in here, to see the art that enthused her so much.

He thought of asking her if she’d noticed anything, if the room felt smaller, if they could leave. She was still talking, though, lost in appreciation nothing while he needed something to hold on to. He reached for her hand. She smiled.

The walls were closing in on them.


Outside, the artist was holding a glass of champagne, talking to a small group who were watching events in the white room on a huge monitor.

The people’s response is my art, he was saying, I merely facilitate.

There were nods, knowing smiles, a raising of glasses. The screen changed to a mosaic of faces, expressions of panic, fear, distress spread across the wall. It changed again to a shot of the room. Wide-eyed terror, and on her face, a creeping uncertainty.


The walls were closing in on them.


Inspired by a prompt from here

2 thoughts on “Jan 28th – As they chatted away, he needed to find a way out

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