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I stared down the hall, looking for any sign of life. There was nothing; no light, no movement, nothing. I turned around so I was facing the entrance… Or where the entrance should have been. The darkness was now complete: no sources of light anywhere.
“Hello?” I called down the hall. “Is anyone there?”
No response. I began walking down the hallway, away from where I entered. I had walked no more than five feet when I heard a sound. At first, it started out as a quiet hissing sound, but as I continued down the hall it quickly grew into a harsh scream.
“Hello?” At this point I was frantic, searching all directions for a way out.
The scream grew louder. It felt almost as though it were an invitation rather than an alarm. Fueled by rage, as the sound was quite annoying, I walked toward where I thought it was coming from.
The scream grew so loud that I felt it directly attacking my mind. I tried to turn back, but I had lost control of my body. Against my will, I continued creeping closer to the sound. I was getting closer. The source of the sound was just a little farther ahead. I was almost upon it. I was ready for whatever lay ahead. I braced myself for impact with whatever it was and then…
It stopped. There was no fading or echoing into the distance, it was just silent. All of a sudden, a blinding white light erupted from the floor just in front of me. I shielded my eyes and looked away, but it wasn’t enough. As soon as I was able to see again, I saw that the hallway was lit.
I looked down the hallway. It was completely white as far as I could see. I didn’t see anything signaling the end. I glanced at both walls looking for anything breaking the pattern of white: a door, a window, even a mouse hole. There was nothing. Nothing but white.
“What is this place?” I wondered aloud. “Hello?” I called again. “If anyone’s there, please respond.” Nothing, just like before. However, there was something different this time, but I couldn’t put my finger on what.
I decided to continue walking down the hall and see if I couldn’t find an exit. I walked for a good five minutes before I saw anything that broke the pattern of white. Lying in the middle of the hall about 20 feet in front of me was a human skull. It was very difficult to spot because, instead of becoming dull and colorless, it had been bleached white.
“I wonder how many of those I’ve already passed,” I wondered aloud. Just then I realized what was different from before. In the darkness when I called out, my voice echoed down the hall before it faded away. Now, there was no echo. As soon as my lips stopped moving, the sound ceased.
“What is this place?” My fear had been replaced by confusion by now, and it was only a matter of time before that was replaced by anger. I decided that if I were to have any chance of making it out of here, I’d have to keep going. I had had enough of this hallway to last for a lifetime, but I wasn’t out yet.
I began walking walking down the hallway again, and that infuriating screaming began again. I sank to my knees in defeat.
“What do you want from me?” I cried. “What have I done to deserve this?”
Again, there was no response except for the scream to continue. I decided that, since this sound had stopped before, it’d stop again. I’d be sure of that. I began approaching the source of the sound, hoping, no, praying that I’d be able to put an end to it.
The scream continued.
It grew louder.
The scream stopped. Though I should’ve been happy that I had silenced that awful sound, I wasn’t. I was furious. More furious than I ever had been before. I started approaching what I thought to be the source of the scream. What had started as a walk quickly grew to a jog, then to a run, then to an all-out sprint. After I had been sprinting for about 10 seconds, I smashed into something. I felt a warm liquid begin streaming down my face. I wiped my nose and looked at my hand to find that my nose was bleeding. Badly.
When I hit the… Whatever it is that I hit, I had so much adrenaline pumping through my veins that I felt no pain. At least not at first. That lack of pain was soon replaced by the most excruciating pain I had ever felt. I attempted to stand, but quickly fell back down. My nose wasn’t the only thing I had messed up. I had thrown off my balance. I could barely sit up straight.
I glanced over at the thing that I had hit, and saw my blood slowly running down the air. I reached out my hand and knocked. I didn’t hit anything. As blood continued trickling down my face, I half crawled half slid over to one of the walls. I tried to stand while leaning up against the wall. It was difficult, but I finally managed to get on my feet. I took a few cautious steps to see if I was able to walk. I was, but barely. It almost felt as though I were drunk. I walked over to where I slammed my face. My blood was still streaming down what looked like an invisible wall, but when I reached out to touch it, I didn’t feel anything. I then reached up to where my face had hit and felt there. It felt like a wall of some sort. I crouched down and cautiously walked under it. After about three feet, I felt above me to see if the invisible ceiling was still above me. It wasn’t.
I stood up straight and looked ahead. What I saw ahead of me was the most welcome thing I’d ever seen in my life. About 300 feet ahead of me was a door. I began walking towards it. I was walking as quickly as I could without falling over, as my balance was still off.
Something’s not quite right here, I thought to myself. I was within 30 feet of the door when it vanished. Just as I was about to collapse and admit defeat, it reappeared about 300 feet in front of me. I began walking toward it again. Again, as soon as I got within 30 feet of it, it vanished and reappeared 300 feet away. It kept up this pattern 12 more times, and then after it vanished for the 13th time, it didn’t reappear.
“What did I do to deserve this?” I cried to no one in particular. “God, if you’re really there, please get me out of here!”
To my surprise, I heard a voice respond. “You think you’ve done nothing. Ha! You make me laugh!”
“God? Are you God?”
“I’m not the God of the universe, no. I am, however, YOUR God. I control everything around you.”
“What do you mean?”
“I can control anything and everything in this little experiment.”
“What did I do to deserve this then?”
The voice laughed. Though I was angry at whoever this was for putting me here in the first place, it was nice to have someone to talk to. Even if they were twisted.
“Hello?” I called out. Nothing. Whoever the source of that voice was was gone. I decided that the only hope I had of escaping was to keep pressing on. After about a quarter mile, I saw a ladder leading up.
“That’s gotta be how I get out,” I reassured myself. As I approached the ladder, a part of me was telling me to turn back. It’s only an illusion it told me. You’re never going to get out of here. You’re stuck here until the day you die.
I ignored it and kept walking. I was within 30 feet of it now. Twenty feet. Ten feet. Five feet. It still hadn’t vanished, but the little voice persisted. You’ll grab it, and it will vanish in your hands. You know it’s true.
“Shut up!” I shouted. “It’s not true! This is it! This is the exit! You don’t know anything!” With that, I reached for it. I closed my hand around one of the rungs and pulled, half expecting it to pull out of the wall. It held firm. I began climbing the ladder.
I looked up to see how high it went. It appeared to be about 500 feet. I climbed to the top and looked around. I was standing in what appeared to be a sewer. I looked around the room and saw another ladder leading up. I walked over to that one and began to climb that. At the top was a manhole cover.
“So it IS a sewer!” I exclaimed. I pushed up on the manhole cover, expecting a fair amount of resistance. It went up with relative ease. I climbed out into what I was expecting to be a bustling city street. I looked around.
It was definitely a city, but there were no people. I walked to the end of the street, and looked down the intersecting road. I could see all the way to the edge of the city, but I didn’t see a single person.
“What happened?” I cried. “How long was I down in that hall?”
I heard the same voice from before again. “How long did it feel like you were in there?”
“It only felt like an hour or so.”
“That’s about what it was.”
“Well what happened up here in the hour or so I was down there?”
The voice laughed again.
I stood there for about 30 seconds waiting for a response; then I screamed at it, “I’ve had enough of your games! I want answers! What happened? Where was I? Am I the only person left?”
“I’ll answer one of your questions. Choose wisely.”
I stood there for a minute or two then I decided. “What happened?”
“While you were in that hallway,” the voice began, “a virus, powerful enough to wipe out all life on this part of the planet, struck the earth.”
“Am I the only one left?”
“I already answered your question,” the voice replied. “The rest you’ll have to figure out for yourself.”
“Well how do I do that?”
“You seem smart to me. I think you’ll manage alright.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“You don’t plan on just giving up, do you?”
“What’s the point in living if there’s nobody else?”
“There are some things that cannot be told. You have to figure these things out for yourself.”
I sighed and looked at the sewer I came out of one last time. I then turned down the street that led out of the city and walked out into the wilderness beyond.