The Scream Room

“Welcome to your Scream Room. You have paid for a three-minute session. When the session is about to end, the lights will flicker, and the door will open. Before then, all your words and actions are sound proofed and completely anonymous. Once the door opens, we will be able to hear you. Your session begins now.”

The lights turned red, and Loretta began to scream. She pulled at her hair; she punched the cushioned walls. She kicked at the ground with her feet. She called out the names of everyone she wanted to call a motherfucker. Her conscious brain sank away, and a swell, a wave filled her. Her body disappeared; her words ceased to be words. The padding in the room ate up her sound, but she felt her vocal cords shredding against her cries, the foam gathering at the corners of her mouth, and the burns and abrasions building on her hands. Her arms and legs ached as they continued to thrash. She ceased being Loretta. She ceased being angry at a person. The screaming became for and about the room. It was prayer. The only way to speak to God was to curse It.

Then the red lights blinked Loretta ceased moving. She stopped screaming and sobbed silently on the floor for a few seconds before the door popped open.  General office bustle from the complex filled her ears. She got up; her head vibrated with a halo of adrenaline.

“Thank you for choosing the Scream Room. Please be sure to like and share your experience. Have a great and pleasant day.”

Loretta picked up her phone from the doorway. She began to check it as she stepped into the hallway. As she passed another of the complex’s open doors, and someone was walking out. A man—tall, balding, and heavy around the middle—paused mid-stride as he saw Loretta walking by. He was Kenny from accounting. They both looked away before their recognition was too obvious to not make conversation. Kenny waited in the hallway for Loretta to get out the door before heading toward the exit himself. She sped up to increase the distance between them. Loretta passed a closed door with a slight defect in the soundproofing, and she could hear faint screams from the other side. The light, soothing new age muzak drowned most of it out.

A smiling door woman at the front desk told Loretta to have a nice day. She smiled back and stepped outside. The Autumn chill brought a sting to her flushed cheeks. The pain of beginning bruises began to blossom over her hands. Hopefully, the traffic would be light enough to get her back to the office before her lunch break ended.

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