By Dan Moren
July 31, 2019 2:24 PM PT
The Back Page: All that is
Deep within the bowels of Apple Park, there is a place where few ever set foot. There are those who will swear up and down that its location moves, never to be found behind the same door twice. That is as it must be, for this place has existed long before Apple Park was built, and will persist until long after it is dust.
For some, that constant unpredictably is a blessing, for they never wish to knowingly open a door and be dragged, endlessly screaming, into the void that awaits. They say this place changes people. Brings out something…essential in them.
The White Room.
No windows. No doors-not even the one from which you entered. No objects of any kind, except perhaps a stool. Accounts differ. Featureless, soundless, timeless. The White Room exists apart from a world concerned with the mundanity of weather and days of the week.
In the White Room, you are reduced. Stripped down to the very patchwork of your soul. Polished, buffed, chamfered, until all that is left is your basic, intrinsic nature—your essential form. The White Room may bestow great gifts upon you, tapping into something deep and fundamental, plucking a chord within you that resonates with the universe, bringing you into harmony with who you are and who you should be. But such blessings are doled out in equal measure with curses. You will never again be the same: Once you have touched the void, it begins to seep into every pore, becoming more a part of you than you are of yourself.
There are no questions to be asked in the White Room. The answers would not satisfy you anyway. The only words spoken are whispers from all around you, voices of what might be ghosts of those who have come to this place before you. “There is no up or down,” they hum. “Aluminium.”
Many have tried their luck in the White Room, stood before its overwhelming nothingness and somehow summoned the courage to voluntarily step inside. Some were merely feasted upon, ejected with souls stripped no less bare than a skeleton fished from piranha-infested waters, while others, shattered, fled to a life of producing Broadway musicals. The White Room is capricious.
To those who survive, however, the White Room means no less than your eyes opened on an infinite scale. To see each atom in the universe and know precisely where it belongs. To see all the colors that you retinas can perceive. To understand precisely how to construct a gold that is more perfect than even gold.
In all of recorded history, only one person is known to have ever entered the White Room and left again, sanity intact. And now the White Room has relinquished their hollow vessel, sucked dry of every last iota of inspiration, upon the world. Now, the White Room begins its long search for the next unfortunate soul to call its own.
Now, deep within the bowels of Apple Park, the White Room hungers.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at email@example.com. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]