The metal key weighs cold against my skin. An air of mystery perfumes the darkroom, and I am inexplicably drawn to it.
A bulb flickers, and a glowing sheet spreads across the wall. I am surprised - not by the light, but the woman standing in front of me. She is all too familiar. I recognize the pain in her eyes like it’s mine, yet I don’t remember who she is.
The woman points towards the key. She moves as if to ask for it, but stops herself. Instead, she simply asks: “Do you want to stay?”
I think for a moment. My body yearns to be in this room, as if something is connecting the two, but my heart tells me otherwise. I shake my head reluctantly, and the woman looks sad. For a moment, she seems like she wants to protest, but she closes her mouth again.
“What about the key?” I ask. It’s so heavy I can barely move it.
She shrugs. “You’ll need it one day.”
I wake up suddenly to a harsh burst of light blinding my eyes. My hands feel around me, and I realize that I am on a bed, connected to machines pumping my blood through my veins. A child sits next to me and bursts into tears after I look at him. A man in a lab coat looks at me, equally astonished.
“You weren’t supposed to be alive!” he says with a start. “How did this happen?”
I look down at my empty hand. “Not for long,” I whisper, so quietly that only I can hear myself. One day, I will have to return to the room again.