Her challenge was to shift the sound from one side of the window to the other without opening the door. It was of the utmost importance that none of the air from the outside penetrated the inside and vise versa. When she had entered the room she found it strange that the air inside the room could not, under any circumstances, penetrate the outside air. Wouldn’t that make the air inside suspect, she thought, as she breathed in and out. She didn’t yet realize that this detail was inconsequential. The noise that the sound produced was that of a far-off siren. Like an air raid siren, she thought.
The window itself didn’t open, was sealed shut, but it was essential that the sound be shifted somehow. This was the puzzle. The outcome would determine her fate. She would either be exterminated or set free. Before being put in the room, she had not believed in fate.
The sound had been bouncing from one wall to the other since she had entered the room and the rippling effect it produced was starting to make her head dizzy and her stomach queasy. She was also starting to pick out rhythms created by the sound. Each time it reached one wall and reversed its course to return to the opposite wall, the sound produced a type of toggle effect which she didn’t initially perceive but that was now starting to drive her mad. She wondered if her brain was in fact creating this sound as a type of tracking devise. We must keep track of the things that we know are there but cannot see.
Of course she first thought of magic, how she wished that she could bring it into being. Then she thought of construction and geometry, the physics of placement and structure. But how could she displace the window or wall? How could she get it out without an opening? It seemed impossible. She began to prepare herself for death.
Fifteen hours in, she began to panic and remembered the time her sister had tried to teach her to meditate. At the time she didn’t buy in to all that nonsense and had only humored her sister by closing her eyes and pretending to participate. Now she recalled the simplicity of meditation. The way her sister had explained it seemed so rudimentary. She sat in the middle of the room and began to attempt a meditative state, the sound bouncing back and forth like a hammer on the tip of her brain.
She had no idea how long she was in deep trance when she opened her eyes. First, the room seemed bigger, airier. She then noticed that the sound continued to track back and forth from wall to wall, but the noise it produced was now that of a distant choir, a collective human voice trying to resemble the tragedy of beauty. Beside the sound was her heartbeat streaming back and forth across the room and creating a singular pulse at each wall. She started to reach for her chest to check for a heartbeat inside her, but stopped and remained in the lotus position. She knew that it was gone.