He was in that room again. The white one. It was always white, every time he was there. He had been to that room so many times before. Over and over he had stood at the doorway of that room through which he could see so many things. He glanced down to the bottom and out towards the horizon. It was now or never. He had to get out of that room or he would be there again. He hesitated, as always for the ground was far below. He jumped anyway, expecting to fall hard onto the rocky ground, but he floated briefly before finally falling and slipping through the ground, as though it was a membrane and he was some molecule. Now there was utter blackness. He was surrounded by it, suspended in it, and surprisingly, it was warm and soft.
"Has he woken up yet?"
"Not yet. Just stirred a little."
They stood silently for a moment.
"I almost feel sorry for the guy. He looks kind of blissful..."
"Don't. He's dangerous. So I'm told."
"Has he been assessed?"
They gazed through the wall into the dimly lit, grey interior of the cube that was his cell. His eyes closed as though he were asleep but there was no way of really knowing; he could just as well be in a world of his own.
"He'll be thoroughly assessed when he's moved on but I would like to ask him a few questions."
"I thought we weren't authorized?"
"We're not. But I won't tell if you won't."
"But if we're not authorized?"
"Look, when I said this guy was dangerous, I meant... intellectually."
"Shhh! He's waking up."
They watched him wake up and the white-jacketed doctor made for the cell, eagerly followed by his equally white-jacketed young assistant.
He rubbed his eyes, but it didn't make any difference. Everything was still grey, even the thin, papery romper suit he'd been made to wear had a hint of grey. He sat on the edge of the bunk and looked at his watch, but it wasn't there. He remembered his watch had been taken away from him, along with everything else, but he estimated he'd been here for approximately twenty-four hours, though of course, there was no outward sign of the time. He had to rely on his own sleep pattern, which he thought was pretty reliable. He always slept the same number of hours. He would go to bed at exactly the same time every night and automatically wake up at exactly the same time in the morning. He smiled to himself, remembering Plum having called him her special clock many times. He liked routine and all this disruption was very jarring.
The edges of the door flashed and the white jackets silently entered the cell.
"Good morning, Mr. Smith. We see you're awake," the doctor said politely, carrying a chair into the cell near to the center of the room and sitting on it; the assistant nervously hovering behind him.
"I expect you saw me sleeping too," Smith replied sarcastically.
"Now, now Mr. Smith."
"And why, for God sake, am I being referred to as Mr. Smith?"
"Think of it as merely a label; a temporary name we've given you to avoid using the code number.