Melanie sat at the small, grey table with her arms resting comfortably on the cool surface. A metal slatted chair-back comfortably supported her posture and she felt wonderfully relaxed. Taking a deep and gentle breath, she regarded the vibrant red, cotton jacket she was wearing with a tremor of curiosity; this was not a jacket she remembered buying or choosing to wear. She became vaguely aware of wearing light, loose fitting fabric trousers and wiggled her toes experimentally to reassure herself that her legs existed under the table-top.
She took another deep breath and slowly lifted her hands to brush her spiralled, auburn hair behind her ears. Her movements felt slow and deliberate, like trying to wave in a vat of treacle as her relaxed body responded with a complete lack of urgency. Turning her head to the left, she woozily regarded hundreds of other tables in serried ranks and occupied by a bewildering array of seated people- old and young, a whole spectrum of skin colours and all similarly inspecting their surroundings with slow and deliberate movements. In the distance, floor to ceiling windows let in a soft, cold glow of light that enveloped and obscured the furthest away table-sitters. Turning to her right, Melanie regarded a similar scene meaning she was sat in vast construction, painted in ivory, light greys and white. Everything moved with a dreamlike quality, woozy and slightly out of focus – like she had accidentally rubbed Vaseline on her glasses after drinking five pints. She absent-mindedly felt touched the bridge of her nose, her had appearing as fuzzy pink smudge briefly in her line of sight- no glasses. Ah, that explains the vision.
Melanie turned her attention to the other side of her table and the grey, metal-slatted chair that sat there without an occupant. The chair seemed to be lurking attentively, promising an occupant would arrive soon. Behind it, Melanie regarded the back of someone else sat at a table- a man, perhaps, with short greying hair. Another tremor of curiosity rippled through her mind as she realised that he too was wearing a vivid, red jacket. She took a deep breath and tried to focus on the other jacket wearer and ascertain more accurate information but her vision was still blurry; it actually felt like her eyes refused to focus on the person and kept slipping to their body. She took started to screw her eyes up to focus, laser-like, and force her eyes to obey her when her gaze was interrupted abruptly by two shock-slate grey eyes set in an impeccable, marble-white face. These features were accentuated by the deep black jacket and shirt worn by the person now regarding her intently; raven-black swirled round the starkly white face like eddies from a black-hole. She took a-
“Have you noticed how you only breathe in?” The question came from the person opposite but emerged, like clipped thunderclaps in her head whilst completely bypassing her ears. Melanie was transfixed by the overpowering presence of the – person- in front of her. Her mouth moved but no sound came. A slight smile chipped at her new companions solid white visage, amplifying her previous tremors of curiosity and translating them into an over-riding need to scream.
“So tell me, Melanie – what do you actually see?”