Imagine waking up in a place you don’t recognise, amongst people you don’t know, and without any memory of who you are or how you came to be there. What would you do? What if you weren’t the only one? What if thousands of people were with you, no one knew anything and it looked like there was no way out?
Diary Extract: Sam Joshu (Level 12 West Side) – Unknown date. Presumed Day 1
Waking up was a panic heavy experience. In the space of a few short seconds, my mind raced away with itself wondering where the hell I was, how was I in what felt like a standing position, why couldn’t I move and what was going on. This panic sent signals from my mind to my brain and out to my eye’s, which were forced to open and gain focus on my predicament sooner than they would like.
As my eye’s finally decided to open and begin to focus, I heard some strange hissing sounds. Panic set in a little stronger now, especially as I heard a click and what sounded like an air pressure release very close to me. Able to finally see properly, the first thing I noticed was a door, directly in front of me begin to open. Trying to move, I figured I must be strapped or bound to a wall of some kind, albeit a comfortable wall. Outside, I could see red lights intermittently flashing and an alarm sounding. Drowning the alarm sound though was the voices of what seemed like hundreds of people moaning, screaming and shouting. This, of course, just added to my panic, especially as the only direction I could look was straight ahead but I stayed silent for now.
Ok, just when you think it couldn’t get any stranger, the wall I’m strapped to moves. I am now a passenger along for the rollercoaster ride as the wall I’m stuck to spins around while twisting and turning, eventually coming to rest horizontally. With all this happening so fast, my mind was exploding with possible scenarios and I was seriously wondering what’s next. Well, I was actually pleasantly surprised as every shackle holding me down clicked open and allowed me to move. I sat up and immediately lay back down. By Jupiter, that was some serious head spin.
After the world around me stopped spinning, I sat up a bit more slowly. That was better. I moved my legs around to sit on the wall/bed. I looked around and saw lots of people where I was all in a similar position to me. Still choosing not to say anything, I thought I’d try to stand. Nice and slow I thought. Shouldn’t be an issue I thought. For a brief moment I stood up and saw a lot more of my surroundings. That in itself was particularly interesting but not so fun was the next second where my legs gave way and I came down in a crumpled heap on the floor. My predicament wasn’t helped by the bed I was on, presumably noticing I was no longer on it, twisting itself back into the wall, catching my head on the way past and the door in front of it closing in a forceful manner.
On the floor with an aching head and feeling very weak, I decided to start checking my body to ensure everything was ok. No issues there. I could feel my legs and arms, just no real strength it seemed. I wasn’t alone either as those around me seemed to be facing the same issues.
I decided I needed to get up. When I was standing, I thought I saw a window and balcony in the room and I really needed to see where I was. I started by putting weight on my hands, then arms. I worked on my legs, getting on my knees first before straightening my legs, sticking my bum in the air. This seemed to work so I crouched down, straightened my back and rose slowly until I was standing. Great, I thought. Now comes the walking.
Putting one arm against the closed door, I used it to take my weight as I put one step forward. Phew, Ok, so that worked and I felt my balance returning. Feeling brave I let go of the door and attempted to walk forwards. Success! Slow and sure seems to be the way forward, literally. Others around me were starting to copy my actions, which was vaguely interesting to see. All seemed to want to head where I was heading too.
Ok, so now I was on my feet and heading somewhere (albeit slowly). I started to look around at my surroundings a bit more. I appeared to be in a large room in an even larger facility. The lighting was failing at best but what I could see suggested we were underground due to some of the walls looking rocky. It looked like there was, at minimum, a few hundred people around me. Every single one coming from ‘pods’ like the one I came from. You would think we’d all be in medical gowns of sorts but we weren’t. I had on T-Shirt, Jumper, jeans and trainers, fairly standard daily clothing for me. Many others had similar but a few had some interesting styles.
The pods covered three walls of the room with the fourth being a huge glass window with a barrier in place just in front of it. Between me and the window, apart from the few people ahead of me, there were a lot of long tables/chairs surrounding some sort of structure that looks like an over-sized kitchen.
Reaching the window, I was aghast and amazed at what I saw. To be brief, it was clear from looking that we weren’t the only people like this. I could see about 10-20 levels and that was just what was in the light. Each level must have about 40 rooms like ours, arranged in a square about 10 rows across, with a square shaft of sorts in the middle.
Everyone around me including the people I could see in the rooms near us had the same blank shock expression on their faces and it wasn’t just people. There were animals in some of the rooms. It looked like animals were arranged by species into each room. I could see one room chock full of Tigers and another Giraffes. I could also see Antelopes, Eagles, Crocodiles and Elephants amongst many others.
I was actually starting to wonder what kind of place this was when I started to properly listen to the people around me. Although most of the questions people were shouting were the same as in my head, there was one question that hadn’t crossed my mind. Who am I? Does anybody know who I am or who any of you are? I must admit, I had no idea who I was, let alone how I got here and it was a mystery as to who anyone else is either.