Sunday, 8 July 2012

69: Red Button

Richard woke up to find a red button on the wall in his bedroom. It was in the top right corner of the room, in just the right place to be barely noticeable unless you looked directly at it. The button was about the size of a side plate made of plastic with a dull sheen. There was no indication where it was from or what it was for.

Richard found more buttons in his bathroom, his kitchen and his lounge, each identical to the one in the bedroom, each located in the top right corner of the wall. He counted seven in all in his flat but still had no idea what they were for.

In the kitchen, Richard made a pot of coffee then poured a mug and sat looking at the button. Maybe he'd just never noticed them all before but they had always been there. No unlikely, especially as he'd painted the bedroom a few months before and it definitely wasn't there then. Maybe he was imagining them so he tried to imagine them away. He tried blinking and squinting and turning his head quickly, as if to catch it by surprise.

Nothing made any difference. The button was still there. So if it really was there, why was it there, wondered Richard. And what did it do? That, of course, brought out the ten-year-old boy in Richard, and he knew he had to press it.

Richard listed to himself the things the button might do. It might blow up his flat. It might start something. It might end something. A message might play. Someone might appear. He might win something.

He decided that more of the list was safe than unsafe, or at least not unsafe. He decided to push the button.

Richard fetched a stool, placed it in the corner of the kitchen and stood on it. The button was just close enough if he stretched. He reached out and pressed and the story ended.

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