Jesse Jarnow

looper in the dark, no. 11

(Short fiction, shorter increments.)

Looper in the Dark: no. 1, no. 2, no. 3, no. 4, no. 5, no. 6, no. 7, no. 8, no. 9, no. 10, no. 11, no. 12

Looper lost count of the floors. They bore no correlation to the windows. He reached the top of the stairs. There, he found a space that opened across the span of the entire building. The streetlamp outside cast a familiar, buttery glow on the rows of machines. Looper turned off the flashlight.

Strolling cautiously down the aisle, he felt their humming. Their arrangement was methodical, if irregular. Looper felt as if he were in a garden. Each machine, he saw, had a glass tube emerging from it. The tubes shot straight out, before turning 90 degrees, and disappearing into the floor. Each tube had a copper canister at its bottom.

Near the room’s center, there was a plain metal desk. Next to the desk, there was a large open area. And, next to the open area, there was a machine that did not hum as the others did. Looper approached it. The machine cried quietly, wounded. Looper could hear a whirr coming from its back.