Looking around me I see I am in a small room, painted off-white. There’s a bed, an empty desk, a chair and nothing else. The window is dark and has bars on the inside. Where am I? It feels unreal. Am I dreaming?
I get up and walk over to the door, looking through the small window at an empty, dimly lit corridor. I can see shadows moving to the left and right, but there’s no one there. The door handle wobbles, but is locked. I’m trapped in this room. I look around and see nothing, no identifying features. The light flickers and in the darkness the room doubles in size, only to return to normal when the light comes back a moment later.
I think I’m dreaming. It’s like the dreams I had when I was young, but this is different. There’s no smooth room, no ball bearing, just me, in this cell. I hear footsteps and turn fast, pressing my face against the window.
Outside a figure in a white lab coat walks down the hall, slowly, looking in at each window as they walk. As they pass my room I look and see they have no face, no features at all. The head looks directly into me and stops. For several seconds we both freeze, me with fear, staring at each other. I go to call out but my voice is silent. I shout, but there is no noise. The figure walks toward s the door and puts a key in the lock. Scrabbling backwards I trip on the chair and end up sitting on the floor, my back to the wall.
The door opens slowly and the figure walks in. Some muffled sound comes through, but I can’t make out any words. The figure walks towards me and reaches out an arm. In a panic I get up quickly and push past the figure, who falls onto the bed, flailing. I run out the door and into the corridor. Looking around there are many doors like mine, stretching dow the hall. At one end I see a desk with another figure sitting at it. I start to run the other way, heading down the hall. My legs feel tired and my head dizzy. I run in a zig zag, bumping into the wall several times.
At the end of the corridor there is a fire exit. I push the bar but the door is locked by a bolt. As soon as I undo the bolt screeching sirens blare all around me and red lights begin flashing all down the hallway. I push the bar and the door opens onto a patch of grass. In a moment I am through the door and running fast. It’s nighttime but there is a clear sky and I can see the stars.
I keep on running, over the grass, around the sparsely placed trees, avoiding a bench and running over a small path. I can’t see anything the distance ahead of me, but keep running, the light from the building behind me just about illuminating any obstacles. I keep running, even though I am out of breath. My whole body feels tired.
I step awkwardly and fall sideways, my ankle screaming with pain. I’ve fallen against a tree and I roll over, looking back from where I came out of the large, square, building.
In a second I am shrouded in light, and my eyes close against the powerful floodlights that have just come on. The garden I am is fully illuminated now and I see the long building, and the fences all around me. I watch the building and stare as a dozen figures in white come out, spreading out in different directions.
I push myself up and keep on hobbling towards the outer fence. The fence grows as I approach it, and I see that it is as least 8 feet high, too tall to climb, even if I didn’t have a sprained ankle. I turn to the right and walk along the fence, using it to keep me upright. My ankle is so painful. My head is light and I feel dizzy.
I hear some muffled sound from behind me and look around. Two figures are there, running toward me. The sounds they are making seem calm, but I can’t make out anything, they’re too muffled. The first figure reaches me and slows down, holding up both hands, palms up towards me. I stop and slump back against the fence as the other figure arrives.
The first figure walks towards me and looks down at my foot. I can’t move, all my energy is gone. The figure comes closer, and kneels by my leg. They take my lower leg in their hands and lift it, I yelp in pain, but no sound comes out.
The two figures come either side of me, and lift me by my shoulders, until they are carrying me. They carry me along with my feet clear of the ground all the way to the building, in through a different door. The lights and sirens fell dead just as we walked in. I can see activity all around, figures come around and put me on a gurney. I watch the lights go past as they wheel me down the corridor. Through a set of double doors we enter a large room with equipment and more figures. My chair is propped up. I look forward, my head lolling as I look. The figures who carried me leave the room, my hands are bound to the bed. A figure dressed in blue comes to the side of me. I feel a sharp pain in my lower arm, but suddenly feel alert and more awake.
The muffled sounds start to sharpen up and I can make out voices, and start to see faces on the figures around me. The double doors swing open and another white coat walks in. I look at the person, coming into focus. I gasp as I look at the person smiling back at me.