Hierarchy of Needs
I don’t know how, but I’d never noticed the small doorway before. It was opposite the bathroom, and so you’d think I’d have seen it every time I exited the smallest room in the house, but I just…hadn’t.
At the time I was in a rush, so I just mentally noted it, thought “How strange,” and ran to meet my friends.
It was later that night—when I couldn’t sleep—that I decided to explore it.
My name’s Jacob. I live with my mother, my father, and my sister. Well, Mom and Dad aren’t around much, so it’s just me and Ashley most of the time. We’re sometimes referred to as the “Wonder Twins”. Not because we’re twins, but because we lucked out genetically. I’m tall, broad-shouldered, and I work out—and my sister?
To put it simply, my sister is the most attractive creature on the planet.
Long, blonde hair, a tiny waist, and tits that are perfectly proportioned to her frame. They say I’m a looker, but I honestly can’t compete with Ash…I know that it’s wrong, but many time I’ve lain awake at night thinking about my sister’s perfectly plump lips wrapping around my cock, wondering if her body is as perfect as it looks…
I’d feel guilty about it, but honestly…a lot of things keep me up at night. I’m an insomniac, and if I’m going to be staring at the ceiling, I figure I might as well be thinking about something pleasant. Sometimes I’ll make a game of it, and see how many times I can jerk off in a row. I don’t always think about my sister, but she’s started wearing less and less clothes around the house, so…yeah, it’s rare for any other females to enter my fantasies.
Unless they’re joining my sister and me, if you know what I mean.
On this night, however, I wasn’t jerking off. I was laying there, as usual, staring at the ceiling, when suddenly I remembered the little door. Now you might be thinking that the middle of the night isn’t the best time to be exploring strange rooms, but let me tell you: when you can’t sleep, the middle of the night is the best time for doing anything.
I got up, grabbed a flashlight, and decided to see what was in there.
I wasn’t expecting anything exciting. It was just a door in my house that I’ve never noticed before; it wasn’t like it was going to contain hidden pirate treasure, or a secret aunt that Mom and Dad never told us about. But one of my methods of dealing with the insomnia is to just follow my whims. An unanswered question can bounce around my head all night, but I knew that once I saw that nothing was in there, it would be one more thing that wasn’t be distracting me.
The door was stiff, like it hadn’t been opened in a long time. The doorknob turned fine, it was the door itself that seemed to be stuck. I gave it a good shove, but nothing happened.
A part of me considered just going back to bed, but I wanted to know what was in there. Even if it was just old Christmas decorations, I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I found out. So I put the flashlight down on the floor, put my shoulder to the door, and gave it a good shove.
I felt it shift, and decided to give it one more shot—with a proper run-up—and if that failed, give up, go to bed, and spend the rest of the night wondering why the sky was blue or something like that.
(Not really; I know exactly why the sky is blue. The question kept me up all night when I was nine, and so I’d found my parents’ old encyclopaedias, and read everything relating to ’atmosphere’ and ’light frequencies’ and yada yada yada. If I’d known the password to their computer, I probably would’ve been able to find out in less than two minutes).
In the end, I had to do a run-up while half bent over (if my parents or sister had come out at that point, they would have been met with a very strange sight).
Determined to find out what was inside the tiny door—perhaps Harry Potter, locked away so his letters couldn’t find him—I half-ran, half-scampered towards the door, and when my shoulder made contact, the small door flew open with a loud ’BANG’, and I went tumbling into the tiny room.
Not surprisingly, it was full of dust, and I spent a few minutes coughing and wheezing, hoping that I wasn’t filling my lungs with asbestos. When I felt like I could breathe again, I listened carefully to see if my door-opening skills had roused anyone from their sleep. Nope! It seemed that I was free to explore the room alone.
My flashlight illuminated the tiny room. It was no longer than an average bed, and about as wide as a king. A king bed, that is. Not, like, an actual king. It was so full of dust that I was practically choking with every breath; I put my sleeve over my mouth just to make sure that I didn’t start coughing again, and had a look at the room’s contents.
In each corner of the room was a filing cabinet…other than that, the room was completely bare. Weirdly, each filing cabinet had a name—‘Spencer Maslow’, ’Ruth Maslow’, ’Ashley Maslow’ and my name, ’Jacob Maslow’. Ruth and Spencer are my parents, and my first thought was that this was where they kept all of our paperwork. Birth certificates, SSNs, tax returns, all that kind of thing…but then I remembered that Mom had a drawer in her study upstairs for all that junk. And they’d needed to find Ashley’s birth certificate when she got her license last year.
This room looked like it hadn’t been opened in a long, long time.
I went straight for my own filing cabinet, of course—who wouldn’t? Inside there were a bunch of files, and I picked one at random from the middle.
‘Organization,’ it said, and here’s where things got really weird.
Inside the file was a diagram of my room, and then another, more detailed diagram of my desk. And it was completely up to date…like, it had the new monitor I’d just inherited from a friend (when he got a better one. He didn’t die or anything) earlier that week.
It was obvious that no one had been in this room for years, so how did it have such current information? The paper looked brand-new; it wasn’t even slightly yellowed.
I continued to flip through, and got more and more freaked out as I did. The ‘organization’ file included a complete hierarchy of my computers’ contents. Somehow, whoever had put these files together knew the system that I organized my porn system with.
Figuring I was sleep hallucinating or something like that, I returned the folder to the front of the drawer I’d pulled it from, and staggered out of there. I shut the door carefully, and went back into my bedroom, where I spent several more hours staring at my ceiling before eventually drifting off to sleep.
The next morning, when I woke up, I was easily able to convince myself that it had all been a dream. I’d had some insanely realistic dreams before, and they always felt like that. So plausible-seeming at the time, but looking back they just didn’t make sense. One time, I’d imagined that I was a horse, but with my exact life: same parents, hot sister, bed…but I had four legs instead of two, and no arms. I remember getting really frustrated when I couldn’t open the fridge with my mouth.
It was a Saturday, so my plans ranged from ’lounging around the living-room doing nothing’, and ‘hanging out in my bedroom, also doing nothing.’ A quick glance at the clock told me two things: firstly, that it was askew, something which I quickly corrected; and secondly, that I’d slept in well past twelve.
On the way to the kitchen, I was unable to resist checking out the door, seeing if I’d imagined that it existed, or just what it contained…
Sure enough, there it was: a door that you had to hunch over to use, right across the hall from the bathroom. I must have seen it, and incorporated it into my weird dreams. I turned the handle and it opened easily, but I restrained myself from going in. I wasn’t quite prepared to face whatever lay behind those doors, whether it was four inexplicably-labelled filing cabinets, or…I dunno, a haunted ventriloquists’s dummy, ready to fuck my shit up for the next few days (and several sequels).
I began to make myself a sandwich, but when I went to get the ingredients, got distracted by the disarray that met me in the fridge and pantry. I never ended up making the sandwich, deciding to reorganizing the kitchen instead. My sister was sitting on the couch when I emerged an hour or two later. When I saw her, I barely managed to refrain from cursing out loud.
Ashley plays tennis on Saturdays, and hadn’t changed after the game. She should have been sweaty and disgusting, but of course she just looked sexy-messy. Her tennis outfit didn’t cover her toned midriff, or her long legs, and she had this terrible habit of taking her bra off as soon as she got home.
I didn’t want to be attracted to my sister, I swear, but she left me no choice…
Declining her offer to check out the latest South Park with her, I made my way straight to my room to jerk it. I finished myself in record time, and immediately felt much more relaxed, especially after I threw out the tissues I used for clean-up, and emptied my bin. Maybe I’d be able to hang out with her like a normal brother now that I’d taken care of my damned hormones.
I’d just started to sort out my MTG cards (something I’d been meaning to do for literally months now when I heard a knock on the door. It was Ashley; she was clearly bored, and apparently I was better company than the TV. I know what you’re reading this for, but I didn’t throw her over my desk and take her or anything like that—it would have made a mess, for one, but more importantly…Ashley had no idea how I felt about her.
My sister and I spent the rest of the day just shooting the shit like siblings do. She and I had always gotten along, and when I wasn’t letting my dick do the thinking, we had a perfectly normal brother-sister relationship. We talked about Game of Thrones, and then spent even longer talking about how everyone on Facebook was talking about the latest episode. She kept me company as I put my laundry away, and even complimented me on my mad folding skillz.
I considered telling her about the door, but something held me back. I guess a small part of me still believed that it could have been real, impossible though it seemed. After she left, I jerked off again (yeah, we have a normal relationship, but I had just sat in a room with a short-skirt-wearing goddess all day; I’m only human) and decided to go online.
I’d been on reddit for less than half an hour when I glanced down, and noticed something a little odd.
My desk was immaculate. I don’t just mean ’it didn’t have half-eaten bowls of pasta on it’, I mean it was…perfect. There wasn’t a single item out of place…even my pencils, somehow, were arranged from smallest to largest, exactly how you’d imagine pencils would be arranged in a perfect world.
This freaked me out, as it would anyone, and I quickly opened my computer’s desktop. It was covered in the normal mish-mash of icons that I store there, and without even thinking, I started making folders, subfolders…I ensured that there was a place for everything, and everything had its place. I didn’t even look at the clock, just started sorting, and was physically incapable of stopping until I was done.
As I put the last image I’d downloaded into its correct sub-subfolder (Porn > Pics > Solo topless > Redheads), I sat back, suddenly finding it hard to breathe. It…it was hard to describe. It wasn’t like I had no control over my body; I was completely in control. My body would do whatever I wanted. It was just that…well, spending my evening sorting out folders was what I wanted.
No, more than that…’want’ is such a weak word. I needed to. With every fibre of my body, I needed to turn that chaotic pile of pixels into a system that made sense. Until everything was just right, the rest of the world was a blur—it was the ultimate tunnel vision. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else, I couldn’t think of anything else. It was like one of those niggling questions that come to me at night—I couldn’t sleep until it was solved.
I just couldn’t.
It was like holding your breath; you can only do it for so long, before your need for oxygen takes over.
I wondered, briefly, if my insomnia had somehow triggered some kind of latent OCD tendencies, but a quick google search quickly dispelled that idea. My head spinning, I turned around and opened my drawer—all of my clothes were neatly folded and efficiently stacked next to each other, a stark contrast to my usual system of ‘throw them all in and root around when you want something.’
I closed the drawer—the idea of leaving it open almost made me physically ill—and tried to work out what was happening. Retracing my steps, I suddenly realized that everything I’d done since waking up that morning had been focused on neatness, on organization.
This wasn’t like me at all.
It was getting close to midnight, so I lay on my bed (which I’d made that morning, for the first time…ever), shut my eyes, and tried to sleep.
Unsuccessfully, of course. If trying to remember the name of the bad guy from the Smurfs (’Gargamel’, in case you’re wondering) had once kept me up for six hours, suddenly becoming an OCD neat freak ensured that there was no chance of slumber overtaking me.
It was a long time before my eyes snapped open in sudden realization:
In my dream, I’d opened a filing cabinet with my name on it, and found a file labelled ’Organization’. I’d moved that file. Had what I’d done in my dream somehow rewired my brain?
Had it even been a dream at all?
The rational side of me tried to dismiss the thought, but it was pointless. The thought had entered my head, and I knew that it was going to niggle away at me until I disproved it. With a sigh, I got up, found my flashlight (neatly hanging up behind my door) and went back down the hall.
Apparently there are tests you can do to see if you’re dreaming. Look at your watch, look away, and then look at it again, stuff like that. I wish I’d known them at the time, because I can tell you, it sure as hell felt like a dream.
The door silently opened inward. Hunched over, I stepped into the room and was again faced with four filing cabinets, each clearly labelled with the name of one of my family members. The footsteps in the dust confirmed that either I’d been here the previous night, or at least that this new dream could remember the earlier one.
I retraced my steps, stood in front of the drawer bearing my name, and opened it.