The white room was one Trkasu rarely had to go in, though he didn’t mind the room. It was the brightest of his wing. He’d be sent there when there were important visitors. Then his father and brothers would herd him into the tiny room at the end of the hall, the door hidden beneath paint and plaster. Trkasu knew how quiet to be when they locked him inside. He’d been warned to close his mouth and sit perfectly still.
Trkasu hadn’t moved the first time he’d been locked in. His father had told him to go to sleep and he’d obeyed. It’s been a few hours of extra sleep, curled in a sunbeam and trying not to make a sound. He’s only been four years old, knees tucked under his chin. The room was the warmest in the house, even in the middle of the night.
The second time he’d been older. 8 years old and terrified, as lonely as he’d ever been. There’d been no tutor assigned to him for a while. His family had left him alone in the wing, with tiny toys and a few old books. When another guest had come to visit, his brothers had come for him. They’d thrown him into the room before Trkasu even had an idea of what was going on.
Trkasu had fallen asleep fairly quickly, curled in a ball on the warmed floor. His dreams woke him before even an hour had passed. He gasped as his fingers scrabbled on the ground, not quite aware of where he was. The room blurred for a moment, the white walls and white floors mixing into nothing.
It took a moment for everything to clear. Trkasu sat up slowly, looking around the room. He barely remembered the first time he’d seen the white walls and hidden door. Everything seemed newer than the rest of his wing, bright and shimmering with sunlight from the windows. He couldn’t reach the windows if he tried, the shining glass almost 10 feet off the ground.
Slowly, carefully, Trkasu pulled himself up on the wall. His brace was still lying in his room. He swayed, keeping his balance as he took a limping step towards a corner. The sun seemed brighter there, the air and dust shimmering as he approached. Something caught his eyes, a tiny change in the wall.
His fingers ran along the smooth paint and plaster, searching for the glint he’d seen. He found on scratch, then another. Trkasu knelt carefully, trying to study the lines and circles he’d felt. A picture seemed to form before his eyes, a young boy sitting at a desk. Trkasu pressed his fingers harder against the wall.
There were other pictures, other boys, other carvings. Covering the corner and reaching towards the ceiling. Dogs and cats and horses, with tutors and tiny toys. Trkasu saw ones he knew and others he’d never have imagined. One boy was playing with a tiny truck that Trkasu knew was sitting in his room. Another was flipping a coin that could have been the one under the bed’s right leg. Every boy seemed to look at Trkasu, eyes wide and blank.
His fingers traced the lines, trying to see what else he knew. A boy sat in his room, tucked under his blanket. That was Trkasu’s, the corners just a little less frayed. The pictures seemed to cluster together towards the ground, boys blurring together and toys shared by the carving. Trkasu could see the differences though, younger and older boys locked in paint forever.
There was a tiny arrow at the bottom, pointing to the ground. Trkasu ran his finger along the arrow, almost missing the tiny gap between wall and floor. Only a quick glance caught a silver of silver and a line of wood tucked inside. He tugged on the wooden handle for a moment, almost falling as a tiny knife pulling free.
His hand trembled as he set to work. Each line was carefully carved, a young boy on a crutches unfolded slowly. Trkasu didn’t try to copy details, simply carving what he knew of himself into the white walls. He hair was a bit too short, the crutch not touching the floor and his brace bent at the wrong angle. He shook his head and cut another line, finishing with a tilting floor.
The knife tucked back under the wall. The fit was perfect, only enough silver and wood showing to guide the next boy thrown in the room. Trkasu pushed away from the wall, crawling to the center of the room and curling back up. His eyes closed on their own. Sleep came quickly, nerves and quiet warmth lulling him.