I squeezed into my seat along with my friend into the auditorium. We were both out of breath because we came in running. This was a movie we had both been waiting for a long time, and didn’t want to miss even a single second. We leaned back into our chairs and took deep breaths. The movie hadn’t started yet.
“Thank god we made it on time”, I said.
“I know right! I would have been so disappointed otherwise..”
I nodded and looked ahead. Trailers were going on. The theatre lights were still on, I wondered why that was. They should have been off by now. I looked around. No one else seemed to notice. They were all busy munching on popcorn, which reminded me that needed to get popcorn too.
“Hey, I’ll go get some popcorn, okay?”, I told my friend. She simply nodded. I squeezed out of the row and walked out through the gate. The snacks area was huge. It was probably as big as the theatre itself. The snacks counter itself, however, was quite small in proportion. As I walked towards the counter, I thought about why someone would deliberately make such a mistake in internal design.
As I reached the counter, I realized that there was no one there. Popcorn was continually bursting out of the popcorn machine into the popcorn collecting space. Hot dogs were rolling in the warmer. The cold drink vending machine was on. That’s weird, I thought to myself. How could all this equipment be working with no one to look over?
“Hello? Is someone there?”, I called out. There was no response. After waiting for about 10 seconds, I called out again. No one answered. It truly seemed as though the place was deserted. After a while, I decided to go back into the theatre. I’ll come back later.
I opened the door and walked back in. I halted in my footsteps and gasped. The entire theatre was empty. The lights were on, but the movie was still going on. Panic started to rise up within my chest as I frantically looked around for my friend or anyone else. I strode forwards and called out her name. Something, however, told me that I would not get a reply. I combed through all the rows to find someone, but ultimately had to accept that I was alone.
Fear began to bubble in my stomach as I slowly inched towards the exit door. When I was very close to it, I broke into a sprint and dashed out. I immediately closed my eyes and held up my hand as I was engulfed by blinding light. When my eyes had adjusted themselves to the excessive light, I slowly opened them and looked around. I didn’t know where I was. This wasn’t the place I was in before I entered the theatre. I was standing in the middle of a two way road which was bustling with traffic. There were big 5 star hotels on either side of the road. My breath was now coming in gasps and sweat was trickling down my face.
What is happening here? Where am I? This is unreal. I could simply not process the turn of events. My senses could not let in the bizarre situation that I had landed myself in. For a long moment, I stood rooted to my spot in the middle of the road, not knowing what to do or where to go. But then, I saw a man standing at the entrance of one of the 5 star hotels beckoning me with two fingers. At first I looked behind me to check if he was signalling someone else, but then realized that it was indeed me that he was calling.
I started walking towards him without giving it much thought. I was in a complete mess anyway. When I reached, he silently took my hand and led me inside the hotel. At the reception, he simply signalled the receptionist to give me a pair of keys. He swiftly handed me over a pair of keys that had the label ‘667’ tagged to them.
“12th floor”, he said.
I looked at the receptionist and then at the man who had beckoned me. I had no idea what this was all about. So many questions swam in my head. Why had he called me? Why was I supposed to go into this room? How did they know me?
“Look, I don’t know what’s happening here..I was in a theatre with my friend and -”
I was cut off by the man who brought me in as he gave me a slight shove towards the lift, “Go”, he said.
Feeling totally lost, I started walking towards the lift. The doors slid open instantly. I walked in and looked around. The lift was circular in shape, with very little space to stand but very high in proportion. It seemed to have been made with the sole purpose of making someone feel claustrophobic. I pressed the button with ’12’ written on it, and the lift shot upwards with so much force that I fell down on the surface. As I got up, I started experiencing the same swooping sensation in my stomach that one usually does in a lift, only it was amplified by 10 times. It was moving at such speed that my surroundings had become a blur. My eyes could not take in anything and had started watering. I wanted to hold on to something for support but found nothing. After what seemed like an eternity, the lift finally came to abrupt halt, which literally lifted me off my feet.
The doors slid open. To my extreme shock, my room stood in front of me, looking the same as ever. My bed was as messy as ever, my study table was scattered with notes and biscuit wrappers, my laptop was still on and my windows were open. Feeling a mixture of relief, happiness and safety, I stepped inside.
The moment the lift doors shut, my eyes shot open and I sat up in my bed. Hastily looking around, I took in my surroundings and saw that my room looked exactly the same. I stared at the spot that I was supposedly standing a moment ago, and thought of my shadow slowly vanishing into thin air.
I wrote this story for a college project this year. Pun is intended in the title. Hope you like it. Feedback appreciated.