Short Story: The Changing Room: Final Scene

Time was meaningless as Harrison spun through each life the changing room gave him. The amount of time Harrison actually spent in the room is impossible to know, because the room kept dropping him at the exact same time and date every time just with alterations in his life, but to Harrison, it felt like years. In one life Harrison stepped out of the room to find himself as a great politician in the midst of a scandal. Another found Harrison, a famous artist and had locked himself inside the mansion with no food or water to, as he put it, become one with his art. In that life, Harrison particularly hated the person he was, thinking he was pretentious and idiotic.
None of the lives he found seemed to fit, one life was too chaotic, one was too dull, and another was just weird. The time he spent in each life became increasingly shorter as Harrison would tend to leave a life at the slightest inconvenience that presented itself. The longest time he spent in a life was one where he lived with his parents and a girlfriend in the mansion. Harrison enjoyed this life for its simple but relaxing atmosphere and thought he was going to stay there forever. An awful heat wave soon came, however, and Harrison, feeling the slightest discomfort, ran to the room again leaving that life far behind.
Harrison sat in that small closet, the spinning and flashing lights of the room no long bothering him, and hoped that the next stop would be exactly what he wanted. Deep down Harrison knew this wasn’t right, that abandoning everything wasn’t the way to live, but the draw of what could possibly be next the endless possibilities was too much of a temptation for him to ignore. The room suddenly came to a screeching halt. Something felt different about this stop. Harrison put his ear to the door but heard nothing except heavy silence from the other side.
Suddenly, and without any Harrison’s help, the door swung open. On the other side of the door was a very strange and haunting place. The sky around Harrison was covered with different large shapes, each showing people Harrison recognized from his past lives and that looking through the forms gave them an almost window like quality. The ground beneath his feet looked and felt like sand and would drain over the sides of the platform Harrison was standing on. The platform itself was circular shaped but with jagged edges as if the platform had been pulled out of the ground. Harrison walked to the center of the platform where the old Butler sat in an old leather chair.
“You’ve been busy.” Said the butler not look at Harrison.
“Is this one of my lives?” Harrison asked
“In a way. But before I explain all this to you I have to ask, how do you feel?”
Harrison thought about his question for a moment. Before now the thought of what new life he would have next entirely occupied his mind. Now in this calm and empty place Harrison had a chance to think, then answered the question.
“I just feel tried.” The Butler nodded and stood up from his chair.
“This is the end of your lives, Harrison. You didn’t choose any of the thousand of lives the changing room offered to you, so it brought you here.”
“So… what now?” Harrison asked
“Now, you watch.” The Butler said now staring directly at Harrison. Now that Harrison got a good look at the Butler’s eyes he could see that they were bloodshot and tired.
“Each one of these shapes are windows into the lives you gave up. Now you’ll sit and watch all of them continue on without you.” The Butler indicated Harrison to sit down and Harrison, too tired to argue, complied.
“Wait, who are you anyway?” asked Harrison as the Butler was walking towards the open door.
“Just another watcher.” The Butler said with a flat, emotionless voice of a defeated man. With that, the butler closed the door, and Harrison watched as the changing room faded away.
While Harrison was scared about being stuck there, he was also relieved that the temptation of the changing room was finally gone. Harrison looked up at the shapes in the sky, watching his children from one life grow, his family from another laugh, the press wondering where the eccentric artist had disappeared too, and his angry old grandfather working silently in his office. Harrison watched all of this and smiled, feeling for the first time in awhile that he was where he deserved to be.

– Matthew Brosche

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