I wake up from a nightmare that I can’t remember, gasping for breath.
I’m drenched in sweat and my heart is racing. It’s not very bright, but my eyes hurt like it does. What’s going on? Where am I? As my vision begins to clear from being asleep I look around me. I’m on a hospital bed or gurney, with a hospital gown on. Where am I? I don’t remember … I don’t remember anything. Panic starts to set in as I check myself for any signs of medical treatment. No needle marks, that’s good. Where am I?
Fragments of memory start to form in my head. I remember my mother’s face. I remember grass and trees and birds. I think my name, I think my name is Erin. Why am I not sure about my name? What’s going on? The room I’m in is clean and kept, so I’m probably not alone. There’s a door with a window into a hallway. There’s a counter with some medical supplies on it, and – and a folded pile of clothes. There’s a nametag on the top of it: “Erin”.
My feet hit the cold floor and I realize how sore I am. All my muscles feel sore and stiff, like I have a flu. The room is cold too. I struggle to stand at first, but shakily make it to the counter. There’s a sink and cups, but I’m too scared to drink whatever might come out of them. I check the clothes, and they seem familiar. Clearly worn, but not damaged, and they feel like they’re mine. I check the window on the door to see if I’m being watched. Wait, there’s a camera with a red light on it. The bedding pulls off with some difficulty, but I throw it and it catches over the camera. I put my clothes on and get rid of the hospital gown. They’re a perfect fit. They’re mine. I look at the nametag, and my jacket has a slot for it, so I put it in. I’m Erin.
I check my pockets, there’s some sort of keycard that has a long number and a “Station Four” logo on it. I recognize it, but from where? I don’t know what Station Four is. Suddenly my eyes feel fuzzy and I see the same room, but completely in disrepair. The camera is broken and on the floor, and I’m wearing tatters. The bed is rusted, and the door is open. I blink a few times and everything goes back to how it was. What the fuck was that?
The door. It was open, but it’s closed. I cautiously touch the door, which doesn’t give. There’s a keycard slot beside the handle. I give it a try, and the door makes a bipping noise and I hear the lock unlatch. The weight of the door opens it slightly into the room. I peek through the crack and look down the hallway and … it happens again. I see broken floor tiles, an IV stand rusted and bent on the ground. Lights hanging broken free from the ceiling, but it isn’t. Everything looks clean and tidy. No obstructions, the lights are on, and everything looks too clean. What’s going on?
The door opens without a sound. The hallway is well lit, I can see an intersection one way and what looks like an elevator door not too far from my door. Cameras are almost everywhere. What the hell is this place? Have I been abducted? I don’t remember how I got here. I don’t remember what I did before. My head starts to pound with sharp pains, and I realize I’ve had a headache since I woke up. The elevator door is open now, but looks wrong. The light inside is off, and one of the doors is at an angle. It looks like there are burns on it. But no, the door is closed and looks tidy. I glance back to the intersection, but no one’s there and I don’t suddenly see it in disrepair. I need to get out of here.
I step carefully into the hallway and check for a keycard slot on this side of the door. There isn’t one. I grab the hospital gown and stuff it into a ball to make sure the door can’t close and lock me out. I head to the elevator, about 12 meters away. I feel uneasy. There are two keycard slots on either side of the elevator doors. They’re different colors, so I check my card again. The Station Four logo is a matte gold, and there’s a matching card slot. I put my keycard into the slot, and hear the same bip that my door made, followed by a grating honk. A woman’s voice comes from the ceiling above the elevator.
“I’m sorry.” I jump back, startled by hearing a voice. “All four members of the Station must insert their keycards simultaneously to utilize this elevator.”
I snatch my keycard back. The voice was automated or recorded, but if I’m being watched, then they know I tried the door. I look at the other keycard slots. Red, Green, and Silver. Wait, four members of the station? I turn around and see a man in the intersection. His skin is paler than mine, but his clothing looks like they’re the same design as mine. The door of my room is between us, but I don’t know if I could make it there before he did. Who is he? Wait, where is his nametag.
I take a step back.