The Extra Room


An extra room has magically been added to your home overnight. The catch: if you add more than three items to it, it disappears. How do you use it?

The dreadful sound of the alarm was not what woke me, and the true culprit was not immediately clear. My silent analysis of the surroundings told me nothing was truly amiss; I could hear my parents snoring a room away, after all, and that of my nearer sibs, of course. I decided it was just one of those things, when you awaken before your alarm for no real reason. I looked at the clock, saw my alarm would get another ninety minutes of sleep, unlike me, and groaned deeply. It’s just 5:00am – on a Saturday!

“What do I do now?” I quietly asked no one in particular.

My sister stirred slightly at my side and resumed her snoring shortly. I sighed and got up from my side of the bed. I shoved my feet into my slippers hitting my brother in the ribs in the process. He and my other brother were sleeping on the mat on the floor. I took my pajama top from one of the wooden poles attached to the foot of the bed, used for hanging the mosquito net.

On autopilot, I headed down the hallway to fetch a drink of water. There seemed to be a slight draft blowing from the direction of the kitchen, raising the temperature a few degrees. As I walked on, a door opened off the left of the hallway—a door that had never been there before! And of course, it opened to a room that had never been there before! Two thoughts crossed my mind: This, whatever “this” is, is what woke me; and I’m actually still asleep. It didn’t occur to me then that they couldn’t both be true.

After screwing my fists into my eyes to try to reassert reality, I noticed there was a note attached to the door:

Magic Room,
For You Alone.
Add More Than Three Items
And It Is Gone!

Somehow, the note was most intriguing of all.

A friend to the surreal, I stepped into the room. I first noticed that the room was white, from top to bottom – almost blindingly so. A white curtain billowed lightly by the breeze coming in from the tall windows. The ceiling had mirrored glass and the floor was just normal wood flooring. The room wasn’t very big but I already had plans in mind (it’s funny the ideas we’ll accept in the middle of the night), and it would do nicely!

First, I drag in the magical couch (I’ve always thought of futons as magical, the way they can be a chair, a bed, a couch, or a footstool). It’s red in color and fits wonderfully with the white walls. I turned it this way and that until I was satisfied with the position.

Next, I dragged my bookcase in. It’s my most prized possession, really heavy, old, and with four shelves filled with books, some of which I had yet to read. I placed it against the wall, adjacent to the door. Then I went back out and returned with a carton filled with books, none of which I’d read yet. Just before entering, a voice of caution got through to me. It was probably already a miracle the room didn’t disappear when I brought the bookcase in, since it had a few dozen “items” on it. While this carton might work just as well as a container, I’d probably be pushing it to assume it would still be counted with the bookcase, and I had yet another item I was hoping to bring in.

I sat the carton outside the door, drug the bookcase with all its books on it back out, and sat in the hallway deciding which books I’d most want in the magic room with me. A couple of favorites and everything I hadn’t read made the cut. I loaded it up! And then I pulled it back in and repositioned it.

Finally, I brought my backpack in and closed the door behind me. I put the backpack on the couch and sat beside it, pondering my good fortune. I opened it and began pulling out its many holdings: my laptop and its charger, my spiral notebook and pencil case, and from the little pocket on the side, my android phone. I plugged my laptop into the wall socket that magically appeared beside the bookcase and placed it on the foot of the futon. Then the notebook next to the laptop. I sat back on the couch and checked my phone for messages. Finding none, I place it at my side and leaned back and stared at the loaded bookcase with a smile. Then I jumped up, retrieved the book of my fancy, and stretched out on the couch with it.

I opened the book and began to read: “You’d think that anyone who’d been shot three times and almost became an organ donor would try to avoid dangerous situations in the future. …”

3 thoughts on “The Extra Room

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