I was laying on a bed, in a room, not knowing where I was, or even who I was. The room was a bright lime color, just the kind that could burn your eyes out. Luckily my eyesight was not quite recovered from my unconsciousness yet, so my eyes did not burn out. The room was very tall, with a chandelier that had sharp, metal points on the end and crystal-like shapes made of glass hanging higher on the chandelier. The floor was cold stone, and it was polished and reflective. In the reflection, I could see that there were some strings on my head. Oh no! They were stitches.
I was sore, especially my head, and the soreness was radiating from my forehead, where the stitches were. On the wall, there were three doors. One said, Locks from the outside. Another said, Locks from the inside. The last one said, The key. There was one more thing I could see from my vantage point: some small, printed words. They were so easy to see because they were dark red in stark contrast to the lime ceiling. They said, Test Room: Prototype 1 for scientific use only!
I could not have dreamt up something as crazy as this. I was being tested, and I was the first recipient of this experiment. I was being tested, apparently, on my puzzling skills. Now I needed to solve the puzzle.
To look at the first two doors, I needed to confirm which side was outside, and which side was inside. I opened the outside door, and suddenly, crash! A metal sheet slid down and blocked me from exiting the door. The jarring sound terrified me, and I jumped a foot in the air. It made my stitches hurt. There were clear, black words on the white wall that said, You Failed. There was a vent on the right wall. There was also a machine on the floor. I picked it up. There was only one button on the machine. I pressed it.
First, I tried banging on the metal wall. It just made an interesting sound. That was no use. There was also a vent in the right wall. I guess I had no choice but to enter the vent and test my luck. I could hear voices coming through the vent, but I could not understand the words; they were too far away. I kicked apart the weak metal bars and crawled through. I was just small enough to fit. If I had not been put in that cell for about a week, I wouldn’t have fit…
Wow! How did I remember! My memory was accompanied with a jab of pain in my forehead. I think my memory may be returning. As I crawled further into the vent, I could make out the voices now.
The first one, a screechy, high-pitched intonation said, “The cameras have had a small malfunction. They should be up and running in moments.”
Another, a very deep rumble, said, “If we lose subject one, the experiment will be ruined! How would we explain that to the government!”
That meant that the voices, and the people attached to them, did not see me escape.
Suddenly, I was feeling tired. It must’ve been the aftereffect of some drug that they used to put me to sleep during the surgery. I decided to take a little nap.
The Second One
Somehow, the machine with the button had teleported me into the room where I woke up. It was all the same, except for the facts that:
1) The metal sheet had not slid down.
2) There was no bed.
3) There was an open door behind me.
I heard footsteps coming from the doorway that belonged to the open door. I saw a bed on wheels slowly rolling in, around the corner, and soon, the people pushing it followed. I needed to think faster and act quicker. I slipped down under the bed, which was still turning the corner, and grabbed onto a plank underneath the bed. I clung onto the board, and the bed slid into place with a creak that made me wince. The people rolling the bed finally left the room and closed the door.
After the door was closed, it looked exactly like the wall. I knew to wait patiently under the bed, because I did not know when my past self would wake up. Even I knew enough about the space-time continuum to know that it would not be a good idea to meet my past self, or change any of his actions, or else he might not press the button, and my future self, me, would exist, but not exist, and there would be a paradox. The kind that could end the world.
So, I waited patiently until I heard stirring from above. I watched with slight amusement as my past self realized how he had stitches. I waited for the metal to clang down, and then finally, with sore muscles, slipped out from underneath the bed.
When I woke up, I felt much less sore and better overall. I must have slept for a short time, because I could still hear the people talking about the camera malfunction. I could hear the voices switching to a different conversation.
The deep voice said, “Have you seen the time machine? How many times will you have to learn! Don’t lose the time machine!”
So that was a time machine! That time machine was not supposed to be there. It wasn’t part of the puzzle! I continued to crawl in the vents like the good old days, when I robbed banks all the time… robbing a bank! How could I ever do something like this!
Oh, I must have been a criminal before! That is why they were using me as a test subject, because I am an expendable human. Someone that anyone would be happy to get rid of. After I got out, I would need to convince the public that I was not a criminal anymore. If I ever got out of here.
I needed to go on, further through the vent. I could just hear the people from the room leaving, and one of them muttering, “Lunch break.”
I entered the room. Inside were two computers and two desks, each with three giant drawers underneath them, probably big enough to fit a person inside. I found a pair of scissors that could be used as a weapon and some rope inside one of the giant drawers. I also put on a lab coat I found on top of a chair. I waited, ready to ambush the lab workers, and get a clue of what exactly was happening.
The Second One
Now that I knew where the door was, I could exit. It took a long time to pry open the door because the crack was miniscule.
I eventually got the door open, and then I entered the hallway. There were three doors: one in front, one to the left, and one to the right. I opened the door on the right, because right is right, and peeked around the corner. I saw an empty hallway and a single door at the end of it. I quickly closed the door, so that no one would be suspicious, and I started towards the door at the end of the hallway. As I got closer, I could read the label above the door. It said, Invention Room, and below it, on a post-it, Ed, please do not lose any inventions again. I entered the room, and it was a sterile, clean, white color. Just like the color of the lobby of my old terrorist base… Ahhhh! I actually screamed with this one. I am a low-born, filthy rat! How could I have been so evil! I can never have a life again! I think even my family hates me, whoever they are. At least I liked the smell of it.
I was looking up at the chandeliers when I stepped on something round, and it pushed down when my foot went down. After I stepped on it, it slipped into a hole in the floor, from which I could just make out the words on the white wall, You Failed. I just created myself.
The Third One
I popped up right when I saw a person in a white coat leaving the room, and I saw a machine still whirring. It was labelled, Food Machine. I saw a white coat on a chair, and a thought occurred to me. I could dress up as a lab worker and get into the project’s deepest and darkest secrets. I could attack them and ask them to tell me what was happening.
I quickly got the lab coat on and followed the other worker, trying to look very inconspicuous and unintelligent.
I waited for about five minutes in my position, behind the door, before I heard two pairs of footsteps in the hallway. I waited until both of them had entered the door, and then I threatened them with my scissors, and I asked one of them, who did not look very intelligent, to get into the cabinet already; he would not have any useful information. I asked the other one what was happening and why was I here.
He said, “You were a terrorist, and you disguised yourself as a government agent, and you asked us to conduct this experiment to find people who were smart, and fit to be recruits to the army. That is what you told us. Our agents revealed that you were a terrorist trying to get recruits for your terrorist group, qwertyuiop, and then we conducted the experiment on you, as a punishment.”
This was all very heavy for me. I did not want to be a terrorist, I don’t even like to talk about those things. Note the use of the word “thing.” I tied him up and put him in the drawer, and I left the room.
The Second One
I saw another door at the end of the room. I did not want to go back because they might have seen the machine slip into the room, and they might come here to check it out. Since the hall I came out of looked like a main hallway, I thought I should exit through the other door, since the lab people might come through the door leading to the main hallway. I opened the door slightly, and there were lab workers everywhere. It was like a beehive but with giant, white bees. It was the dreaded, despised cafeteria. At the other end of the cafeteria, there was a door with blue peeking out from the edges. There was an exit sign above it, so it was definitely an exit!
I tried to hear some of the other conversations. I heard, “I’ve always wanted to fly to Zimbabwe.” “Me too!” and, “I wonder how Prototype 1 is faring in the testing. Hopefully not too well. I heard he failed in the first room,” and, “I wish that Ed hadn’t lost the Ice Cream Chip. The machine cannot make ice cream without that computer chip.”
I poked my head farther into the door and looked to the left, and there, peeking out of a locker door, was a computer chip, in a Ziploc™ bag, labeled Ice Cream Chip. An idea was starting to form in my head. I reached out a quick hand and snatched the chip from the locker. I went over to the food machine and put in the chip. First, I ordered a hamburger, a milkshake, and some ice cream. I don’t usually eat like that, but I needed carbs; I was starving and weak from hunger.
After about five minutes, about the time it took me to inhale my food, I called out to the cafeteria, “The ice cream machine is working!”
Then I hid behind the door, waiting for my intended effect. It definitely worked. A stampede of lab workers came flooding out of the cafeteria.
The Third One
The other lab worker in the closet had gotten a letter opener from the cabinet floor, and he was cutting apart the ropes on my arms. After he cut the ropes on my arm, I took off the duct tape on my mouth and cut the ropes around my legs. I put my arms on the back of the drawer, and my legs on the front, pushed, and the door was open.
Thankfully, the lab worker who had ambushed me was gone. I held the letter opener like a weapon and rounded the corner. I was tracking the attacker, and it looked like he had forgotten his way or something, because he was uncertainly turning corners and doubling back on himself. I was very happy that there were no lab workers in the hallways; I think they might have still been eating lunch. When he passed an exit sign, it caught his eye, and he suddenly started running towards the exit.
It just dawned on me that I wanted to get revenge on the person who had locked me in a closet. But how? If he reached the exit, I could not do anything because there would be witnesses. How would I do this?
The Second One
I exited and waited to hear the screaming from all the people gathered around the building, probably waiting for the result of my experiment. I did.
“Subject 1 has escaped!” and, “Help!”
“Wait! Wait! Just listen for one second!” The screaming stopped, and I started talking. I had planned a speech while I was eating my delicious food, and it was pretty good for having been written while I ate a whole three pounds of food.
I started, “I ate a hamburger five minutes ago, and — ”
I disappeared, and all I saw was blackness, and then the world was gone.
The Third One
I pursued the man, and I pushed him through a door. I did not pause to look at the label above the door. It said, Bottomless Pit, with a bottom.
I turned around to see who had pushed me, and to my surprise, it was me. I screamed and fell down, and after a few seconds, I hit the ground, and died in the darkness.
The Third One
My own scream was the last sound I heard until I disappeared into nothingness.