I opened my eyes, only to find a white ceiling above me. I tried to move my body, but it was tough to do, since my joints felt stiff, as if I’d been sleeping for days. When I finally got up, I observed the room around me. It was completely white and had nothing in it, other than a gray, hooded jacket hanging on the wall, and the bed I just came out of. Looking back at it, I noticed it looked like a hospital bed. Then, something shocking occurred to me. I didn’t remember my name!
“I don’t know my name! How do I not know that,” I thought. I felt my throat close up as I became frustrated. Then I realized something else that made me feel worse. I didn’t remember anything about myself. Not my age, or my job, or my friends and family. I began to feel depressed. If I didn’t know anything about my life, how could I figure out where I was?
Suddenly, a solution came to me. The bed I woke up in was a hospital bed. If I was in a hospital, maybe there would be a nurse or doctor nearby who could help me figure out who I was. Looking around my room again, I saw a door. I walked toward it, and tried to open it, only to find it was stuck. I looked at the door closely, to see that it was held shut by a chain.
“Hello,” I called. “I need help getting out of here.” No answer. For some reason, that made me feel nervous. I then noted that the chain looked fragile. In order to test this observation, I pulled on it, which caused it to dent. I pulled on it harder, and it shattered. After breaking the chain, I opened the door, while noting that it seemed as though it had not been opened for a few months.
Peeking outside, any sense of security I had from being in a hospital faded away. There was a horrible odor that was coming from under a knocked-over shelf. Graffiti was all over the majority of the walls, and the room I was peeking into looked in a state of disrepair, with some of the doors to other rooms boarded. Oddly, I only felt a little crept out, as if I were used to seeing sites like this. I also became filled with determination to escape this place.
As I slowly got out and passed by the shelf, the odor from under it became stronger. Curious, I lifted up the shelf to take a look. I wished I hadn’t. Under the shelf was a dead body! I stood still for a second in shock, then ran away from the body and toward the nearest door that wasn’t boarded up. As soon as I reached it, I pulled it, ran inside, and slammed it. For the next few seconds, I breathed hard, trying to get that image out of my mind.
After I caught my breath, I scanned the world around me. I was in a city, but it was empty of people, and seemed to be in a state of neglect. I was a little relieved to be out of the place I woke up in, but not much. After I gathered up my courage, I walked on to explore this city. The silence around me in such a large place was a bit disquieting.
While exploring, I noticed that many of the buildings around me had broken windows, and like the building I woke up in, they all seemed to be in disrepair. I wondered, “What caused this to happen?” I searched my memory hard, trying to find out anything about what happened. I almost knew how, and while the memory of what happened was out of reach, trying to look for it filled me with dread.
After walking about a quarter of a mile, I decided to take a brief break. I twiddled my thumbs as I sat on a nearby bench. For the second time, I tried to think of anything that would tell me who I was before I lost my memory. This time, I found one memory. My name is Andy. I couldn’t remember anything else about myself, but I was relieved that I could remember something.
As I continued my journey, scary thoughts of that dead body came back to me. I tried to push them out of my mind, but the more I tried to, the more vivid they seemed. After giving up on that, I wondered something that I was surprised I didn’t wonder before. What happened in that hospital? It looked like a riot occurred inside it, except that the damage to the walls looked more from abandonment than a riot. As I pondered this, an image invaded my brain, the face of a woman, but I could not make out any specific details of it.
A few miles later, I noted it was starting to get dark, so I decided to start finding a place to sleep for the night. After walking for a few minutes, I found a building that said hotel at the top in bright blue text. Going inside the hotel, I noted that, like the hospital, the hotel seemed to be abandoned, not that it was surprising. However when I went to the upper floor to try and open the doors to the rooms, they were locked. In order to make-do, I went to the pool in the hotel, and found a basket full of towels. I used the towels to make a makeshift bed. Then I fell asleep.
While sleeping, I had a dream, or was it a memory? It was of images flashing in front of me. First, an image of a lab full of men wearing lab coats, along with a voice saying “It’s loose!” Then, a picture of a man screaming, with his jaw opened inhumanely wide. Finally, an image of a grey door, with another voice saying “Don’t worry, it will appear to be over soon.” That made me jump and woke me up. I was pleased to see, from looking out a window, that dawn couldn’t be too many hours away. But I was unnerved a bit, thinking about that voice, the one that told me to hide. What was I hiding from? And more importantly, was the man or woman who said that still alive? I wasn’t confident of it, but I still hoped he or she was.
I stood up and exited the hotel. I only got about a few feet from the hotel when my stomach began to growl. I went back inside to search for food. I searched the lower floor of the hotel, until I found a vending machine near the pool. Getting inside of it required breaking off a piece of wood dangling nearby and smashing the glass. Afterward, I reached inside and pulled out a bag of chips, and ate them.
Afterward, I walked out of the hotel and continued my journey to walk down the road. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but some instinct made me confident I should keep going. Maybe I was just hoping I would come across something that would trigger a memory. Anyway, I went for a mile or so before I noticed that the number of buildings around me seemed to be diminishing. Another quarter of a mile later, I was a sure I reached the end of the city, as nothing was around me other than grass and a few trees.
Sure that I reached the countryside, I continued, until I noticed something in the distance, an object that looked quite tall and shaped like a cylinder. Getting closer, I saw that it was several walls connecting to form some sort of makeshift fortress. I circled around it for a while, until I found a door leading inside. When entering, I found myself in front of what looked like a shanty town. There were rows of houses, all of which were run-down and mostly boarded up.
I continued exploring, I noted that most of the houses also had graffiti on them, mostly showing abstract art. Continuing down made me wonder, what happened here? Suddenly, a memory came to me that made me jump. This shanty town was used as some shelter to protect from whatever destroyed the city he escaped from. Then I wondered why the word “escaped” came to mind.
After a few more minutes of walking and seeing nothing but houses, I found a sign that said “This way to the graveyard.” I was going to turn back, when I thought, for some reason, that the graveyard could have something that could help me remember more about myself. Following the direction the sign pointed in, I reached a forked path. A nearby sign said that the left entrance was to the “Regular Graveyard” while the right was to the “Child’s Graveyard.” Looking at the right, I was relieved to see that the Child’s Graveyard was quite small, with very few grave stones.
I searched the Regular Graveyard carefully, looking closely at each stone, trying to find any connection to my memories. I noticed that a lot of the stones mentioned that the person died of something called the end. The mention of “the end” reminded me of some thought that was out of reach. But I almost knew what it was, and it filled me with disgust and shame.
I was about to leave and search other parts of the shanty town, when I noticed one grave that I haven’t checked out. It looked older than the others, and had so much dust that I had to scrub it off for a minute before could see it, and what it said shocked me. It said “Rachel Carson, sister of Andy Carson. Died from the end.” In a moment, another memory came back. Rachel Carson was my sister. I looked down at the grave, feeling sad, but here’s what was odd. My depression didn’t feel fresh, as though Rachel had been dead for months, years even.
I was about to walk away, when a feeling of fatigue crept over me. No, it felt like I was being drugged. I stopped walking, tried for a few seconds to keep my balance, before collapsing onto the floor. I struggled to remain awake, but I felt too tired to stand up, so I tried to crawl away from whatever was making me drowsy. I got close to the entrance to the graveyard, when I gave up, and fell asleep.
Waking up, the first thing I felt was a smooth, cold floor against my back. I opened my eyes, surprised to see I wasn’t in the graveyard, but in a room with nothing in it. Aside from being empty, it was a beautiful room, with a high, dark blue ceiling, soft blue walls, and a bright purple floor that illuminated the entire place. As I stood up, several memories popped into my brain, like who I am, where I live, and who my family is.
I was thrilled about gaining my memories back, but a little nervous about where I was. There wasn’t a door or window. I wondered, what was the purpose of the place I was in, and how did I get here? Before I could ponder over these questions, one of the walls became purple, like the floor was. Then that wall opened and a screen popped out.
The screen played nothing but static for a few seconds then it showed a video of a women. She was in her forties with blonde hair that was tied into a ponytail.
“Hello,” she said. “Are your memories back?”
“Uh, who are you, and where am I,” I responded.
“You were temporary brainwashed and placed in a computer simulation to test human psychology,” she responded. “You volunteered.”
“What was the test for,” I asked.
“That information is restricted,” she responded.
Before I could ask her another question, the screen turned back to static and went back into the wall. At the same time, another wall opened, leading to the outside world. Oddly, as I stepped outside, I knew exactly which way was home. I was calm and relived, until a few thoughts came to mind. First, why did I think that grave stone had my sister’s name on it? Right now, I could swear I didn’t have a sister. And more importantly, if I volunteered for the experiment, why am I not allowed to know what it was for, other than being a test for “human psychology?”
I currently live alone in a small town in Canada, but visit my mom on several occasions. However, when I ask about the experiment, she doesn’t know what I’m talking about. I tried to think about what experiment I was part of, but I currently don’t have any idea. I’m posting this not so I can become famous for it, but so you people can help me speculate. If you have an idea, thank you. Andy, out.