Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Endless School

The hallways extend in all directions, connected by stairways and ramps. Each hallway is lined with doors that lead to classrooms. There is a constant noise that swarms through the place, bouncing off the walls, seeping through little holes, taking sharp turns around corners. The walls are of different colors, some white, some blue, some bright red. The stairways are all metallic silver. No area is the same as another. The colors and turns intersect in unpredictable ways and form new structures in every direction. Most of the doors are closed, each with a number and a bulletin board to the right, most of them empty. There is a sense of a crowd but no sign of it, loose words and laughter flash through the noise here and there but nobody can be seen walking through the halls, up the stairways or into the rooms.
The building complex sits on top of a large grassy hill and continues inside of it. The structure extends under the earth and pokes out from gaps here and there, along the slopes of grass and between little patches of tall ancient trees. A wide concrete stairway cuts the hill in two and leads to a center plaza, a round space covered in concrete with a tall single sculpture at its center. The sculpture is a very abstract representation of a man with arms extended upwards. It towers over the plaza impressively, at least 30 feet tall. At its base there is a large bronze metal plaque that says "above" in a vast number of languages and alphabets. From afar the surface of the sculpture seems to be light gray, up close, it has a slightly green color.
The large central stairway leads to a secondary building complex at the bottom. Its first level is lined with glass doors, all of them closed and dark. Its second level is twice the height of the first one and it is made of a single large window that acts as a huge mirror, reflecting the buildings above it. There are further stairways on either side that continue moving downward. Inside the main building there is large lobby, with couches and tables. There are newspapers still open and scribbled post it notes scattered over the tables. Wooden doors to the south lead to a small movie theater. The main screen is blank but the projector is on, spilling pure light onto the white surface. There is a book open on the podium and a stack of papers on a small table to the right.
To the left of the screen, there is a small doorway. It leads to a dark staircase going downward. It ends in an even darker hallway, where the walls are painted black and the only light comes from small lights that are over 50 feet apart from each other. Beside each light is a door, unmarked and locked. The hallways extends back into the depths of the hill. As it reaches deeper, the air becomes more oppressive and the walls are covered in moisture. The sound of the crowd above is deafening, almost making the ceiling shake, and it is contrasted with tiny drops of water that echo with a bright crystalline clarity.
At the very bottom of the hill, the hallway opens up into a circular room. There are three other long hallways extending away from this room. In the very center, there is small pool. Above the pool, the ceiling is open and it extends upwards as a smooth concrete cylinder. In the center of the pool, there is a small concrete pedestal and on top of it, a golden chalice full of blood. On its side there is a large bronze metal plaque that says "below" in a vast number of languages and alphabets. The noise that extends through the whole underground seems to be loudest in this place, resonating through the cement cylinder that extends up towards the plaza and the tall sculpture above.

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