1- A Whole Lot of Doors
My eyes blinked open. Hm, I was on by back. That was odd. Did I manage to fall without even knowing I had? It was winter so slipping on ice was the norm; however, it was usually with a lot of arm flailing and leg flying. I didn't feel any pain in my back nor was I in any awkward position that I would probably have been in if I'd fallen. Carefully moving my hands to the ground, I also realized that I was neither on ice nor snow; beneath me was what felt like cold floor tiles. Puzzled, I quickly pushed myself up to a sitting position, my eyes taking in the fact that I was not even outside. Looking around myself, I couldn't recognize where I was. The room I was sitting in was completely bare of anything except a florescent tube light on the ceiling, blaring down brightly on the white tiles covering the floor.
How the hell did I end up here? I could remember leaving my apartment and walking down the road. I had paused to watch the 'cute' sidewalk snow ploughs before thinking of taking a picture to send to my sis, and then… then... hm. I frowned as I tried to recall more than that, but try as I might, that was all I was coming up with. A sudden pain in my stomach, voiced by a rather loud rumble, made me realize I felt rather hungry. The frown on my forehead deepened. I had only just eaten breakfast like an hour ago! Right?
How long could I have been here if I felt so hungry right now?
I looked down at my wrist to check the time… my watch was not on my wrist. Did I forget to put it back on after taking my shower? Wait… I looked at my arm and realized I was no longer wearing my jacket. I stood up and looked around; my backpack was not in view either… so my cell phone was gone as well. Damn!
I tried to calm myself. This was not a train smash and there was a perfectly normal and sane reason I was here in this cold empty room. The most probable thing that happened was that I got sick and fainted, or something to that effect, though that kind of stuff never happened to me. Someone was kind enough to bring me to a shelter, and that person had my belongings with him. Once he found out I was awake, he'd return my things and I'd go home, call my classmate and apologize for never showing up at the library.
Deciding this was the correct sequence of events that had taken place and would take place in the future, I scoffed at myself for panicking and walked over to the door of the room I was in. I admit I was slightly pessimistic; I didn't expect the door to simply open and let me out. Thankfully, it did. There was no lock; it only had a simple, everyday boring handle like any other door. I sighed in relief and shook my head at my silliness, letting myself out of the door and into a hallway.
The hallway seemed to belong to some sort of building. It was long, narrow and tiled, as white as the room I had been. The ceiling out here had tube lights as well, making the whole narrow passage shine without a dark corner. There were quite a few doors on either side. At first I thought it might be some sort of apartment building, maybe a hotel, but with the white tiles and lights, it felt more like an office or industrial building of some sort, maybe even something more scientific, like a hospital or lab. It didn't have the warm feeling you'd get when you were near a home. At the both ends of the hallway were two doors, leading to who knew where.
"Hello?" I called. "I'm Sean... Sean Tucker! Anyone here?" There was no answer.
I decided I might as well check the doors to see if I might find someone on the other side, as there was obviously no one in the hall. I walked directly across from the room I was in, grabbed the doorknob, and turned it. The door opened and I peered inside. It was another room that looked exactly the same as the one I had found myself in. Since there wasn't much to see in there, I shut the door behind me and moved on to the next one. The same sight met me when I opened it.
I continued down the hallway, opening door after door, peering in to find the exact same replica of the room I had awoken in. Although I was sure there was an explanation as to why all the rooms looked exactly the same and were empty, I couldn't stop myself from becoming steadily creeped out. I guess it wasn't abnormal to have so many rooms looking the same… the owners of this place were probably waiting for the furniture to arrive. Yeah... that made sense. I guess all those horror and suspense stories were simply getting the better of me.
I reached the end of the hallways, all the way on the other side of where I had started my game of 'open the door'. I now felt stupid for not opening the door on the opposite side of the hall when I had the chance. I didn't sweat it though; it was just 30 seconds to reach anyways. Turning my back to the rest of the hall, I grabbed hold of the doorknob and turned it.
At last a surprise; it didn't open. Well, so much for that. I should have expected that I'd have to make my way back to the start of the hallway. It was just like when I'd play an adventure game where I had to search for a certain object; it'd always end up in the last place I searched, which always ended up being right next to where my search had started. I suppose I just had bad luck that way.
So I made my way down the hallway, and lo and behold! I was right. The door mockingly swung open when I pulled at the handle. Looking out of the doorway, I saw it was actually an exit with staircases going both up and down. On the wall across from me was the number 17 with an arrow pointing to the staircase going up. So, that meant I was on the 16th floor. Duh.
Like an idiot, I stepped through the doorway and onto the stairwell, forgetting to keep the door from closing behind me. When I finally realized, the door had already shut with a decisive 'click'. I quickly grabbed the handle of the door and pushed, but it stayed shut. I hung my head low, berating myself for my stupidity. I did stop myself from punching the wall though, realizing that there really was no point in staying on this floor anyways; after all the rooms were all bare. Well, maybe… I still had no clue what was behind the door that was locked. Maybe that had the elevator in it.
Well, if this door was shut and there was no way to open it, I highly doubted there'd be a point in making my way up to the 17th floor; the door over there was probably locked as well. My best bet was to make my way down to the first floor. I let out a huff of air as I sat down on the top step of the staircase that would lead me downstairs.
So far, I reckoned I was taking things rather calmly. I mean, it's not exactly normal, is it, waking up in some unknown location, not knowing why you ended getting knocked out? And if I had somehow managed to lose my consciousness and was brought here by some kind soul, wouldn't it make sense that I'd wake up on a bed or at least someplace that wasn't cold tiles? And wouldn't there be someone nearby to see to me when I woke? The more I thought of it, the more I felt queasy.
If I just let my imagine run wild, I was only going to panic and end up making a fool of myself. First things first, I had to get downstairs. The ground floor had to have a way out. I didn't mind leaving my belongings behind if it meant I was out of this weird place. I'd just have to live without a cell phone for a while, and photocopy my classmates' textbooks. No biggie, I could deal with that.
Grasping onto the metal railing of the staircase, I cautiously made my way down. I hated these kinds of staircases, the metal ones that had empty spaces in between each step, where you could see all the way down. Ever since I was a kid they gave me nightmares. I was always scared that my foot would go too ahead and end up stepping on air, after which I would trip and fall. Or, I'd be scared that somehow I'd slip and actually fall through the empty space and eventually hit the ground in a 'splat'. Now that I was older, I knew those were just stupid thoughts, but they still caused me to hate the metal stairs.
Did they have to creak so ominously?!
I was tired by the time I reach the 10th floor. Walking extra carefully due to my unwarranted fears of metal stairs was putting unwanted stress on my legs. Once again I sat down in the stairwell, chin resting in my palm as I brooded away, wondering what I had done so wrong that I was stuck in a place like this. It wasn't that I was a particularly scary place… it was just so cold and empty of life. I felt like I was stuck in some video game, like Prince of Persia the Warrior Within. Although the puzzles and action sequences in that game were fun, there was always that sense of despair and loneliness you felt, especially knowing anyone you met was not going to be your friend.
I sighed as I stood up once more. Ignoring my rumbling stomach, I grabbed unto the railing and continued downwards. Feeling irritated, I decided to be reckless and dashed down the rest of the staircase to the 9th floor; when I paused at the landing and stared at the steps I had so precariously run down, I couldn't help but promise myself never to do that again. I mean, what if I really did trip and fall?
Just as I turned to walk over to the next staircase, my eyes fell on the door to the 9th floor. I blinked once or twice, thinking I had seen something. I stared at the door for a moment, squinting ferociously, trying to see what I thought I had seen. Hm, there was nothing. Shrugging, I began walking once more.
There!I stared at the door and I could see it. An image of chains and handcuffs were on the door! I straightened my head; the chains and handcuffs disappeared. I once again tilted my head, and there they were again. So, I realized, it was a trick of the angle I saw it from. I inched closer to the door and knelt as I peered at it, stroking the door where I could still see the image, wondering why someone would paint creepy things like chains and cuffs on it, and that too, in such a way that they could only be seen at certain angles.
Then, out of a whim, I stood up, grabbed the handle and pushed at the door. To my surprise, it swung open into a brightly lit room. In contrast with the rooms I had seen on the 16th floor, this actually seemed to have some furniture in it. Without further ado, I stepped into the room. Once again, I didn't think to stop the door from closing until it swung back, shutting with a clear 'click', just like the other door had.
I swore aloud as I grabbed the handle and pulled at the door, trying to force it open. It was no use; the door was not budging. Angrily, I punched the door and gasped as my hand began to throb in pain. In another anger fit I kicked at the door and continued kicking at it.
"Open, dammit! Open you damn door!"
After a few moment of kicking at the door, I stopped, breathing heavily. Anger was causing me to become hot, and I could feel the heaviness in my head, as if a headache would soon be visiting me. "Dammit!" I cussed some more before turning away from the door and taking in the room I was in.
It actually seemed quite pleasant, to be honest. It looked like the waiting room at a doctor's. There were seats lined against three walls, and the wall across from me was behind a reception counter. On either side of the counter were two doors. They didn't really look special, though they caught my interest for one obvious reason; they were not completely closed. Cautiously, I made my way towards them, afraid I may startle them into closing. As I neared the door to the left, I saw that it was open because someone had let down the stopper that was attached to the door. I felt like kicking myself when I realized I should have done the same to all of the doors I had encountered so far.
Pushing the door completely open and making very sure that the stopper was holding it in place, I stepped through the doorway and saw that I was standing inside a washroom. A sink stood across from the door, a mirror on the wall above it, and a thankfully clean toilet was in the far right corner. Well… might as well…
After answering the call of nature, I washed my hands and face, trying to freshen up so that I could feel a little more at ease. As I turned the water off, I looked at my reflection in the mirror. Water droplets were trickling down my pale cheeks and dripping unto my black hoodie. My brown eyes had dark marks their usual dark circles underneath, as if I hadn't slept in a while. Huh. My dirty blond hair was in its usual messy mop state. I looked normal. There was no stubble on my chin, so I guessed I hadn't been away from home for more than a day.
My eyes moved away from my face to the reflected doorway.
I screamed like a girl.
There was someone grinning at me in the doorway.
I spun around, my heart pounding; it felt like my heart would leap out of my throat any second. With wide eyes I stared at the doorway.
There was no one there.
My breath hitched; I could feel beads of sweat forming under my arms and splashing against my waist. I knew I had just seen something in the mirror; it had been right behind me for God's sake! Not wanting to, I slowly turned back toward the mirror and cringed as I peeked. There was still nothing there.
"What the hell!" I yelled. I turned around once more and ran out of the washroom. "Whoever's there, come out here and show yourself! I want answers, and I want them now!"
I stopped in the middle of the room and turned in each direction, desperately searching for someone. I could still see that pale and gaunt face grinning at me with big yellow teeth like a skull. Shoot, I was shaking… Calm down… calm down…
I took a deep breath, held it for a few second, and then exhaled. My heart was still pounding, my hands still clenched in shaking fists. I wanted a wall behind my back, something solid so I knew that nothing would be able to sneak up on me. Looking over to the corner across from the bathroom, I saw a chair which faced the rest of the room. In three seconds flat I was there. I sat down and pulled my legs up. I was so freaked out I was scared someone might grab my legs from underneath.
Calm down… calm down…
I stayed in this uncomfortable curled up position for a few moments before allowing myself sit properly, feet solidly planted on the ground. Whoever what there, I couldn't show him I was scared; that would make him take advantage of me. I forced myself to take slow and even breaths as I scanned the room, searching for any sign of life. That's when I noticed something I found a little odd.
I had come in from the stairwell, which was usually used as an emergency exit of fire escape. These were usually located at the back of the building, not the front. So, rather than entering into a reception room or waiting room or whatever the hell this was, shouldn't I have entered into a hallway instead? This place was messed up.
My eyes shifted to the other open door, the one on the right. That was the only way forward now. I couldn't stay stuck on this chair forever, waiting for God knows what to show up and scare the life out of me. If I wanted to get out of here, I needed to move my butt and get in gear.
I took another deep breath and forced myself to stand up. I was nineteen; I'd been through tough times. I was not going to let some bizarre building get the better of me. Clenching my fists, I strode toward the door in mock confidence. I was almost there when I paused in my step. I looked over at the reception counter. Hm, maybe there was something there that might come in handy… not sure what, but better safe than sorry.
On the other side of the counter wasn't much, to my disappointment. There were some pens and paper, a scissor, paperclips and a stapler. I nabbed all of the objects and shoved them into my pockets. So it wasn't much… but this beggar could not and would not be a chooser. The next time I saw that grinning freak, he was going to get the pointy end of a scissor in one of his eyes.
And with these not so happy thoughts, I proceeded to leave this room.
Reposting my first FP story. Enjoy!