The White Room - Part I | Pushing the Wave

The White Room

Part I

Story, 16 August 2023
by L.A. Davenport

From the collection No Way Home

The White Room by LA Davenport
The White Room
There is only the billowing white emptiness of a bright and crisp morning. A distant calmness, constantly flowing through endlessly shifting shades of perfect white. An impenetrable bright, white mist; soft and enveloping. All is tranquil; all is clean and pure.

The shifting rush of a waterfall, or the rustling of sheets. A woman, half-awake, half-asleep, stirring in this half-world of luminescent perfection. Her skin, soft and pale, melts into the white, enveloping light.

She is there and not there, slowly sensing herself as the billowing emptiness coalesces around her.

“Were you asleep,” a male voice asks from somewhere beyond.

She feels her feet as they slide underneath the clean, pure, white sheets.

“No,” she says softly. Her arm glides and she places her hand on her soft, pale skin. “Yes,” she corrects herself, “I was. Did I talk?”

“No, not this time. But you were…agitated. I was a little worried.”

“Thank you.” She smiles to herself, relishing the sound of his words floating through the misty, enveloping whiteness.

Her fingers catch on the sheet and she slowly pulls it down, over her head and below her chin. The room is bright white, lost in the mist, just the hint of a picture frame somewhere in the distance.

She becomes aware of her body, twisted and thrown open across the bed. She straightens herself and slides her head back on the pillow.

“Are you awake,” he asks, his voice drifting away from her.

“Mmmm.” Her voice is echoless in the mist, faint, floating from nowhere.

“Did you dream?”

“No. Nothing.”


Everything fades to black.

In the darkness, light rain falls on a cobbled street. Footsteps run. A car drives slowly past. Café music strikes up. An accordion. Laughter and the tinkle of glasses.

A light breeze, and she moves, skipping lightly across the road towards the music. As she approaches, the music slows down, slower and slower, until it grinds to a sickening halt.

Now there is nothing, just emptiness.

“No,” a woman’s voice calls out. “No, no.”

“Are you okay?” The man’s voice, gentle, concerned, drifts across the blackness from somewhere beyond.

She falls silent.


The bright, white and enveloping light returns and her body moves once again under the sheets.

The room, filled with mist, more treacherous now, returns to her.

“Was I asleep?” Her eyes open a little.

“Yes, you were. I think you were having a nightmare.”

She closes her eyes. “What time is it?”


“Do you want to hear about my dream?”

“Don’t I always?”

She stares at an empty picture frame on the wall. The room is white, almost without end. Hard, bright white.

“I dreamt a lot, I think. I can’t remember most of it.”

“Do you remember anything?”


“Try and think. Anything at all.”

She shifts under the sheets and looks away. “There is one dream I can remember quite clearly. I’ve had it before, a long time ago. I think I might have already told you about it.”

“Go on.”

The rustle of sheets as she moves, trying to find a place of comfort, to recall the feeling of the enveloping bright, white mist.

She sighs. “It was a dream about dreaming. In it, I can feel myself, just before I wake up. I’m bathed in sweat and exhausted, lying asleep in my dreamworld. But just before I wake from this dream within a dream, I can see myself lying in a peaceful room. Not this one, but a room in an old house, a bit like the one I grew up in. It’s full of old furniture. There are knick-knacks lying all around and photos in frames on the walls. It’s full of things from someone’s life, but not mine.”

She pulls the sheet closer to her.

“There’s a soft light coming in from behind muslin curtains. And I’m lying there in the bed. Asleep. I’m so still, so calm. You know, I can even see a smile on my face.”

The man frowns and pushes his glasses back up his nose. He thinks for a moment and then makes some notes on a piece of paper.

“I can see that I’m asleep in this dream, but my eyes are open. And I look into my eyes, right inside, deep enough to see my dreams. There, I can see scene after scene of happy, beautiful people walking along cobbled streets that are dancing with light after the rain. It looks like Paris, near Le Marais, the way it was all those years ago when I first started going there. And I’m happy. I’m happy lying there asleep in my bed, dreaming. It’s the happiest time of my life.”

She stares at the ceiling and frowns.

“But then darkness starts to seep in from the corners of the room, like a black cloud pushing its way into this perfect moment. Slowly at first, and then quicker and quicker, the darkness fills everything, choking out the light. I reach out to hold on to this calm, perfect, happy me, but I’m torn away and I start screaming.”

A tear rolls down her cheek.

“I can feel myself choking, as if the darkness has reached around me and is squeezing my throat and filling my mouth. I know I’ll never see that perfect, happy me again. It’s so painful. It’s as if the dream is a child being ripped from my arms.”

She sobs quietly, staring at the ceiling.

She turns to the man. “What do you think it means?”
© L.A. Davenport 2017-2024.

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The White Room - Part I | Pushing the Wave