A constant faint beeping sound disturbed Jack’s peaceful sleep. Jack Hannagan opened his eyes, moving his arms about. The first thing Jack noticed was that he had been sleeping on the floor; even before his sight fully adjusted to the brightly lit room Jack managed to tell the distinct texture of stone beneath him. The second thing Jack came to notice was the fact that the beeping seemed to be coming from within him rather than an external source, pondering upon the possibility of being intoxicated, Jack groggily made his way to his feet as his sight fully adjusted to the lighting in the room.
The third thing Jack noticed was that he did not recognize the room he was in. Gradually coming to his sense, Jack looked around the room as the beeping sound slowly died out. It was a decent-sized square room with nothing unique about it; a simple concrete floor with walls painted in a dull yellow color. The room itself was largely devoid of furniture aside from a closet and a simple wooden chair in the corner. The only odd thing about it was a lack of windows.
Understandably, Jack immediately spotted the door and headed to open it, hoping the whole ordeal to be nothing but one odd drunken adventure. Making small steps, Jack eventually reached the door and grasped at the handle spinning it to the left, but it remained locked. He then spun it to the right, yet the lock wouldn’t give. Feeling somewhat distraught, Jack started twisting and turning the handle and hitting the door but it wouldn’t budge. Once discomfort turned to outright frustration, Jack was beating at the door and cursing aloud.
“Good evening, Mr. Hannagan, I’m glad to see you woke up!”, rang a woman’s voice, forcing Jack to freeze. There wasn’t anything inherently strange in the woman’s voice, aside perhaps from her unique accent. It sounded like a mixture of German and Russian but not quite either one. What frightened the man about the voice was its origin; it seemed to be coming straight out of his head.
“Jack… can I call you that? I know we haven’t really met in person, or ever, but trust me you are going to like what I’ve in store for you. Welcome to The Escape Hotel by the way!”, the voice rang once more through Jack’s earlobes. The man, clearly confused, grabbed at his ears attempting to block the voice and looked around for any sorts of a camera or microphone hanging somewhere in the room, but his inability to find any only drove him closer to the edge.
The voice continued, “Don’t look around, you won’t find it anywhere around you. You might find it hard to believe but I am speaking to you through a tiny device that I’ve installed under your skin. Now hear me out, Jack.”
The man interrupted the voice by shouting, “Shut the f**k up and let me out of here!” as he began pounding on the door once again.
“I guess I have no choice… shame to do this to you, Jack, I found you kind of handsome… Oh well…” the voice responded calmly, further infuriating the man who unleashed a barrage of insults into the air.
An electric shock surged through Jack’s body, sending him crashing down to the concrete floor beneath him. As Jack’s body crumpled on the floor, flooding him in agony, the voice spoke again, “I guess I’ll have to start over. This is The Escape Hotel, Jack, and around here you will have to figure your way out to freedom, that is, if you want freedom. I brought you here because you were an easy target to pick. You see, while I could do a lot of things, I’m just tired of simply unavailing people after doing for this long, I’ve decided to take a page out of a certain Herman Mudgett’s book on how to do this fun stuff. You could say I’m taking a more classic approach to things. Don’t take it too personally, but you are just my form of entertainment. If you want all of this to end, all you’ve to do is solve a few riddles and listen to my instructions. Simple as that! Come on, collaborate and everything will be fine! We’ll have fun together!”
Jack began overcoming the pain that had riddled his body as his tense muscles started loosening up the man called out weakly, “F**k you! If you don’t let me out right now, I’ll find you and I’ll put you in the ground, b***h!”
The voice began laughing as a result of Jack’s comment and responded by saying, “Alright then, you’re an amusing one! First of all, assisted suicide is my hobby by now but nobody seems to be able to get the job done. You know what, I’ll give you a hint. The chair, you’re going to need it to get out of here. By the way, I’m Elisa.”
“I am going to beat you to death with that chair, you skank if you don’t let me out of here!”, yelled out Jack as he made his way back to his feet. Elisa, however, did not respond and Jack decided to once again tried to pound his way out through the door.
After a few minutes, he came to terms with the notion that he wouldn’t be able to open the door through sheer force. He started pacing around the room trying to figure a way out without complying with the sick b*****d that had trapped him. At first, Jack concluded that he was perhaps having a bad trip, after all, he did remember popping a few with his buddies the previous night, but that made no sense because Acid shouldn’t make you hallucinate like this. This was way too clear and solid to be an acid trip. Jack gave up on the idea that he’s having a trip and instead opted to think he might be dreaming. Almost managing to convince himself, he snapped out of the notion when he remembered how he was electrocuted earlier. Jack knew he should’ve woken up if he was electrocuted in a dream and besides it felt very real to him. He kept on coming up with ideas and excuses to avoid accepting what he came to realize was the most probable truth; that he was indeed locked up by some mad woman.
Pacing around the room in circles Jack eventually noticed something. Whenever he stepped on a certain spot on the floor it felt hollow as if there wasn’t actually concrete at that spot. He stopped pacing and made his way to the spot he heard produce an odd sound and stepped on it a few times. Lo-and-behold, he was right, there wasn’t concrete in that spot… it was a plaster type of surface. He tried stomping it through but his weight wasn’t enough to crack the surface. Remembering what Elisa said to him he went and got the chair. Jack picked it up and look all over the object for clues but couldn’t figure anything out. He set the chair on the floor and sat on it, trying to think about what she had told him. Nothing sprang to his mind. It seemed to him as if she was just playing with him all along.
Jack sat there, in the middle of that room in which he was trapped trying to conjure up ideas for his escape, but nothing just seemed to come to mind. Eventually, he fell asleep in a sitting position.
A few hours later, Jack woke up, hoping to be at home, or at least in some familiar territory. He instead found himself still sitting on the wooden chair inside that windowless room in which he had been imprisoned.
With anger building up once more inside of him, Jack shot up to his feet and threw the chair aside. Unexpectedly the chair broke apart; shattering into the individual pieces that together become a chair. Surprised by the results of his action, Jack inspected the fragments of the chair thoroughly hoping to find the key to his escape.
He didn’t find any key, however; he found that one of the legs had a distinct design. Whilst three of the legs were typical chair legs, the fourth had a blade on one of its ends, acting as a screw. A moment of Eureka occurred inside Jack’s mind, he knew what he had to do next. He opted to use the bladed chair leg on the section of the floor which wasn’t concrete.
Jack went up to the weak spot of the floor and started stabbing at it repeatedly with his makeshift short pike. At first, nothing came of it, but after repeated attempts and some added pressure from the man, the floor finally gave in and fell through exposing a secret compartment.
Jack looked inside to see if he could find anything useful. Inside, he found a glass bottle. Shoving his arm down the small space, to reach the bottle, he ground his arm against the jagged walls, causing himself a few incisions that made him wince when he was pulling the bottle outwards.
Inspecting the bottle, Jack became overjoyed when he noticed a small metal key inside. Falling on his back, clutching at the bottle, Jack ignored the searing pain shooting up his arm and laughed triumphantly assuming he had earned his way out of the room.
Jack got back up to his feet and threw bottle hard at the floor, shattering it. His joyous face quickly fell as he saw the small key roll its way towards the hole in the floor. Knowing it’s too small for him to reach Jack was about to break down. Fortunately for him, the key stopped rolling a few millimeters away from the hole.
Jack rushed to the key, picked it up from the floor and ran towards the door. He inserted the key into the keyhole and turned it left, but the door remained locked, he then tried the other way around but the key didn’t move.
Furious, Jack yanked out the key and tossed it aside after which he slid down to the floor and began sobbing in frustration.
The man ended up crying himself to sleep.
When he woke up, Jack felt the thirst burn in his throat, assuming he had spent a few days by that point in the room he decided it would be a good idea to try to force his way out of the room again. Banging his fists as hard as he could at the door while cursing away at anything that came to mind. This time, however, no response came, and Jack realized he was completely alone. His impromptu burst of anger was quickly replaced by the dread that someone was actually stalking him inside the room. He began looking around the room quickly, hoping to find the intruder and a way out of the room along with it.
What he found instead was a piece of paper between broken shards of glass. Jack went and picked up the piece of paper, it was crumpled and smelled a lot like urine. The man swallowed his saliva and unfolded the paper, it contained a message, “This key opens the closet door where the next step to a successful escape is located.”
Snapping once again, Jack threw the piece of paper onto the floor and began looking around for the key, he looked hard all over the floor but couldn’t find the key. That’s when the dreadful thought of the key falling down the hole in the floor crept up into his mind. Slowing himself down, Jack slowly made his way to the hall and look at it, hoping to be wrong.
He wasn’t wrong; the small key glinted at him from the bottom of the hole.
Jack dropped to his knees and let out an anguished “F**k” as he shoved his already bruised and swollen arm down the hole hoping to get the key. He could definitely g***e at it, but only the edges of his fingers were able to reach the valuable object. Each movement of Jack’s arm caused him irritating pain. After a few further fruitless attempts, Jack gave up on the key and decided he should just break the glass doors of the closet.
He pulled his bloodied arm out of the hole and took off his shirt as he was making his way to the closet, across the room, wrapping the shirt around his bloodied arm. He clenched it into a fist and began punching the closet door, ignoring the pain emanating from his arm and the shards of glass that flew at him.
He punched once, twice, thrice.
He kept on punching until the whole door was nothing but a set of metallic hinges and sharp remains of what was once a whole glass door.
Peeking inside, Jack found another note laying on a set of boxes and the note contained the message, “The key to your freedom is found in the container that contains ‘7-0-3-9-0-9-4-3-6-0-6-4-5-0-4-7-9-4-0-9-3-2-6. 18-0-10-22-0-2-17-10-9-0-9-17-14-0-25-24-24-7-0-17-10-1-14. 4-0-22-8-0-18-10-13-14-1-0-15-3-22-9-0-25-1-22-15-3. 11-4-5-10-0-4-9-0-6-12-0-7-5-6-2?
(Figure out the coded phrase, answer it, and you’re out of here! XO Elisa Dietrichsditter)”
Jack looked at the note and he felt himself lose it again. He turned around and began screaming aimlessly, cursing at Elisa with a sailor’s mouth. Once the man’s outburst had caused his head to throb with pain, he calmed down and decided to sit down and try to figure out the riddle that he was presented with.
Jack tried figuring out what the numbers meant; whether they were representative of letters or were they just a combination to yet another note with the solution on it. Musing over the ideas he had come up with for a while, he concluded that the numbers were coded words and that he had to figure out the code.
Time was definitely not on his side as the thirst that had been burning through his throat for a while did not go away or make it easier for him to think about the coding. Jack was struggling to maintain his focus and his inability to write down the possibilities he came up with, all of that made it even harder to come up with a solution. Any time Jack came up with a logical solution for a few numbers, the code got even more confusing and he had to start from scratch. Jack’s ever-increasing paranoia also added to diminish his self-confidence causing him to doubt any solution he had tried to come up with.
After pondering and wondering for so long, Jack noticed something that lit a spark under him. He looked for a moment at the boxes in the closet and came to notice something on them. There were eight boxes stacked in the closet. The boxes had the letters; “H”, “N”, “T”, “G”, “O”, “I” inscribed on them. One letter per box. Jack stared at the boxes for a moment, and then he came up with an idea that in his own mind seemed crazy enough to work just perfectly.
“Could it actually be the answer to the riddle? It has to be! She’s been f*****g with my head the whole time I spent here. The solutions to the problems here aren’t what they seem. The complicated seems to be simple while the obvious is convoluted.”, He mused to himself as he picked himself up from the floor and towards the closet. “The answer is nothing!” he yelled out proudly.
Jack shuffled through the boxes, tossing them aside until only one was left; a box without any inscription on it. He opened the box eagerly to find a key inside the box. “Gotcha!” the man yelled out joyously as he ran towards the door and shoved the key into the keyhole.
Time froze as the doorknob clicked and clunked
Jack’s heart dropped to his feet. He couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. The doorknob fell from its place. The only thing that kept it from crashing down to the floor was the fact that Jack held the key atop of which the knob set firmly in his hand.
It wasn’t a key.
It was a screwdriver.
Flying into another frenzy, the tired and tormented man yelled at the top of his lungs that he will kill Elisa along with her whole family and every last friend. He demanded to be released and threw himself onto the floor flailing his limbs like a small child throwing a fit.
The man has finally lost it.
After long minutes of kicking and screaming, Jack finally calmed down. He decided that enough was enough and that it’s time for him to f**k with his captor by ruining their plans. Jack opted to end his own life and not endure another moment of psychological abuse. He grabbed a shard of glass and inspected it carefully, almost enjoying the moment.
He looked at the shard in his hand for a moment before saying, “You are my only friend here, and I’m going to ask you for a favor, please don’t turn me down…” Once he was done speaking, something had caught his sight. A faint glint inside the closet, deep inside as if it was almost obscured by the boxes earlier. The small glint sparked his curiosity, and he decided to look at its source. Once at the closet again, Jack inspected the inner wall of the closet from up close to notice something, a handle.
He reached out and the static electricity shocked his hand, but he didn’t let go.
“Well, here goes nothing,” Jack cried.
He turned the handle and something creaked behind it prompting Jack to try to push the surface in front of him. The back wall of the closet opened ajar from the pressure applied by Jack’s arm and a blue light filled his eyes.
Jack made his way through the closet and found himself in a long and narrow hall. Just as he made his way into the hall, Jack noticed a tiny brown thing move across the floor about a foot away from him. The sight made him freeze and swallow his own saliva. The long antennae at the front of the tiny thing wiggled about in the air. That thing was a creature, a small vile, disgusting creature that had sent Jack spiraling down his awful childhood memory lane making the man shudder a bit. After what seemed like eons, the creature was finally out of Jack’s line of sight and the man was broken out of his trance.
“Oh, you’ve made it out of the closet!” that wretched voice in Jack’s mind rung again through his ears.
“Congratulations, Jack! Now, if you want to get out of here, you’ll have to follow my directions, okay?”
“Shut up!” Jack barked again, “I’m not taking any orders from you, you b***h!”
“Oh well then, starve to death, I’m not going to tell you about the dining room a few dozen feet away from here to your left,” the woman said feigning frustration at Jack.
The man thought to himself that she must think this is some stupid game, treating him like a child. Without saying a word, he walked towards the destination for which the voice in his mind directed him. During the long moments that required him to reach the dining room, Jack kept thinking about how the woman behind the voice could be lying to him or perhaps trying to trick him into eating poisoned foods. He reasons that she was sick enough to do something like that.
Turning to the left to face an opening to a dimly lit room, Jack’s nostrils were filled with pleasant smells of all kinds. He could smell the savory scent of various meats, freshly baked bread and the familiar scent of cold beer. The scents consumed his mind and in a matter of moments he had forgotten about his previous suspicions; running into the room without regard to anything else but his craving for food. Jack was like a man possessed, dropping himself onto the wooden chair next to the large table filled with various goods he began munching on whatever he could reach. Stuffing his mouth to a no end as if he had never eaten any food before. The savory flavors that filled his insides with a warm and fuzzy feeling even made him forget about the throbbing pain in his injured arm. Jack’s euphoria was broken when the voice inside his mind spoke again, “Enjoy your dinner, pal, just make sure to not disturb the residents in the room.”
He was cut off by the appearance of light in a previously dark part of the room. Jack’s jaw dropped when he saw a naked man standing in the newly lit part of the room, h*****g something. Soft whimpers filled Jacks ears before he could react further.
A child’s whimpers.
“Him”, the word echoed inside Jack’s mind, but he ignored it, focusing on the abomination in front of him. The sound of whimpering grew louder sending Jack deeper into shock and disgust. The naked man must’ve noticed Jack’s staring as its head turned three hundred sixty degrees, to face Jack producing a disgusting cracking sound from his twisting neck. The sight of one’s head turning all the way back combined with a pale white mask with a macabre monstrous smile and demonic eyes drawn on it made Jack almost throw up his food. He could feel every last bit of it making its way upwards towards his mouth.
“Ignore him, he’s taunting you.” The voice inside Jack’s implored.
The man would have none of it, mostly because once the monster turned its head back to its natural position the whimpering got stronger. This whole time, the monster wouldn’t stop h*****g whatever was in front of it.
The notion of this monster r****g a child sent Jack into a fury, he grabbed the thick beer mug he had drunk from and marched towards the monster who paid no mind to his obvious marching, preferring to keep on abusing its victim.
A step away from the monster, Jack lifted the mug above his head and swung it down towards the beast. Nailing it squarely at the top of the dome. “Son of a b***h!” he yelled out as he struck the creature.
The demon simply froze in his place, prompting Jack to smash the mug over and over again over its head until the mug broke into tiny pieces of glass. The beast contorted an arm backward, producing that same disturbing popping sound as before to grab Jack’s neck. The abomination started lifting Jack’s body off the floor before turning its torso toward him awkwardly without moving his legs from their position.
Jack struggled to remove the beast’s grip on his neck, but it was too powerful. The beast shrieked at a wiggling Jack before throwing him aside. The monster then turned the rest of its body towards Jack displaying a massive erection and started running towards the man.
“Run!” yelled out the voice in Jack’s head. He was too deprived of oxygen to react quickly even though his life depended on it.
The beast caught up to Jack as he was staggering to his feet and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt throwing him once more across the room. Jack landed hard on his back. “F**k.”, he let out in desperation. Turning onto his side he noticed something that drove him nuts, a childlike doll laid on the floor.
“Run! Run! Run! Run!” the voice in Jack’s head screamed at him. He got back to his feet and began running towards the exit of the room. The beast had caught up to him, however, grabbing him by the neck once more. This time, Jack managed to land a solid kick on the crown jewels of the beast sending it shrieking and stumbling backward while he made his escape from its clutches.
“You better keep on running, Jack, he won’t stop until he catches up to you”, the woman responsible for the voice inside Jack’s brain warned him
“What… what the f**k was that?”, he questioned between his breaths as he kept on running aimlessly forward.
“Incubus. Just keep going forward that’s how you’ll get out of here… maybe…”
“F**k… F**k you!”, Jack retorted before slowing down. “I’m done following your b******t, let me out of here now!” he yelled out.
A familiar shriek echoed not far from Jack prompting him to pick up his pace once again.
The voice inside Jack’s head chuckled as he made his way through the seemingly endless hall. Soon enough his leg muscles were filled with lactic acid sending burning electric shocks through his nervous system. His lungs and heart fared no better than his legs; he felt as if he was going to explode if he kept on running like this, but the endless shrieks that faded in and out of his field of hearing prompted him to keep on pushing forward.
After what seemed like hours, just as the man was about to collapse on the floor, a sharp metallic scent struck Jack’s nostrils. He decided to slow down just a little to steady his heart at least a little and after a few more moments he was bombarded by the scent of decay. The indiscernible scent nauseated the already physically beaten man, but that wasn’t even the worst part of what he was about to encounter. Just as the scent of decay became completely overwhelming Jack’s eyes were met with a sight the likes of which he had never seen before; a sea of corpses hanging from the ceiling by their intestines tied around their necks in nooses.
The scene forced the remainder of Jack’s visceral contents to climb up all their way to his pharynx. He was about to discharge the contents of his stomach but the painfully familiar shriek, sounding closer than ever before prompted him to hold his breath and proceed to walk through the ocean of mutilated corpses in front of him.
With each contact between his skin and one of the corpses, Jack winced and cried out in disgust. With each passing moment, the sights and smell drove the contents of his stomach higher up his throat causing him to drop to the floor a few times in attempts to empty his stomach. Nothing came of it though as each deathly touch of a disemboweled corpse of his head as he was trying to puke sent him reeling forward with tears in his eyes. Jack felt as if he was a small child abused by a torturous parent at that moment.
The shrieks seemed to have faded out by the time he was almost out of the forest of death. By the time he reached the end of corpse trail, Jack fell down to his knees, threw up all over himself and began crying. He begged to be released from the nightmare he was stuck in, but no response came. Jack just wanted to lay on the floor and die, then and there, but another diabolical shriek blasted at his eardrums forcing him to pick himself up and run once again. At that point, he had no idea why he even kept running. In his own mind, he was sure he was as good as dead, but his body just acted on its own. Jack began cursing angrily as he ran forward, not knowing where he should go or what should he do. The shrieks became more frequent and started sounding closer and closer with each time he heard them.
Jack stopped dead in his tracks before a darkened section of the hall. A cockroach crawled out of the darkness, sending shivers down the man’s body. He was mortified of the little creatures as he suffered from Katsaridaphobia; the fear of cockroaches. Nasty little things that make crunching sounds beneath Jack’s boots when he squashed them. He didn’t even know what made the little bastards so scary in his mind. Maybe it was their affinity for trash eating.
The man heard a violent stomping behind him. Looking back, he saw that dreaded monstrosity inching closer and closer toward him. Jack winced in utter disgust before running into the darkness. With each step he made, he could feel something crunch beneath his feet. After a few moments of running, he heard the dreading hiss of hissing cockroaches. A few further moments later, something flew into Jack’s face it had a very rough texture and it felt a little heavy. The feeling of having a cockroach touch his face sent him flying to the floor in a fit of panic. Jack ended up landing right on his injured arm.
As Jack rolled on the floor, more and more of the pesky insects crawled all over his body; their tiny rough legs ran across his body like tiny dull razors that left on a mark on him. The sensation of tiny hell-spawns mixed with a terribly sharp pain surging through his arm drove him crazier with each passing moment as he tried to crawl his way out of the roach nest. No matter how much he tried to crawl away, Jack could not get rid of the feeling of something crawling all over him, inside his clothes. He felt violated and started screaming in an attempt to scare off the insects but instead a few ran across his lips causing him to fling himself from side to side in utter hopelessness.
Suddenly Jack saw a light on one side. Trying to focus on the light and ignore the repulsing feeling of sharp insect legs running all over his body, he began crawling towards the light, breathing heavily with tears obscuring his already mostly useless eyes. Jack tried to not to wince each time he felt his hands land on a mass of bugs, but he simply couldn’t, and so he opted to bite his lower lip shut in order to cause himself pain as a distraction.
As he started clamping his upper jaw on his lower lip, he felt a hand grab at his head, “Oh no, f**k no, f**k…” he thought to himself as he tried to crawl away from the grip. A guttural sound erupted just above him as Jack was flailing his limbs about in order to escape. He felt like he was done for until some hot liquid landed on his head, sending him into a frenzy of kicking and screaming. Jack felt something heavy land on him, with a hard rod touching his back.
The beast roared in triumph as it set atop Jack who tried desperately to get out from underneath it. Just as the monster clamped its hands around Jack’s neck and began moving its hips back and forth a shadowing figure appeared at the center of the light.
It simply stood there for a moment and then extended what seemed like a hand to Jack.
Everything fell silent, and it seemed like the world had stopped in its tracks. The monster on Jack’s back suddenly started retreating into the darkness and the cockroaches seemed to disperse away from Jack’s body. He was finally alone. He finally felt as if he was at peace.
The figure just stood there, with its arm outstretched.
Almost overjoyed, Jack slowly stumbled back up to his feet and started walking towards the light groggily, with every ounce of his body aching and his mind exhausted beyond any exhaustion Jack has ever felt up to this point in his life. He did not know who this stranger was, but surely, anyone who could make the cockroaches and the Incubus run away must have been a friend.
Jack was too worn down to think properly about things, he even forgot about the woman’s voice inside his head as he made his way towards the light. Like a bumbling fool, he thanked the figure that stood in front of him.
By the time Jack made his way to the light he noticed that the figure was covered in clothing from head to toe, still unmoving from its fixed position, Jack’s savior stood there with its arm outstretched as if waiting for him to shake its hand.
“Thank you! Thank you so much!” Jack called out as he threw himself towards the mysterious figure who still did not move. Shaking its hand vigorously, Jack noticed something. The figures hand, it felt scaly. The weird sensation forced Jack to try to pull his arm away but the figure’s grip became stronger.
“What’s going on?”
“Let me go, hey! Hey!”
“Let me f*****g go!”
The figure did not budge, however, as Jack began trying to yank out his hand away from its grasp, screaming at it to let go. The figure had finally had enough. In a single moment, it pressed on Jack’s hand so hard that it broke, causing the bones to tear their way through the man’s skin.
As Jack fell to his knees in pain, screaming and moaning, the figure loomed over him, revealing its white irises and skull-like pattern on its face. Jack crying and begged to be released, but the figure would not let go of his arm. Instead, it roared at him, displaying a massive array of sharp fangs inside its reptile-like maw. The beast then grabbed the broken husk of a man by the collar and dragged him closer to its face.
“F… e… a… r…” the beast croaked at Jack’s ear in a very hoarse tone before widening its mouth to snake-like proportions and clamping it down onto Jack’s throat, biting a healthy chunk out of him.
As the man fell to the ground, with agonizing pain surging through his broken body he did not mind the fact that he was choking on his own blood. He did not mind the pain anymore. He was finally happy that he got out of his nightmare.
One way or another.
He was finally free.
A constant faint beeping sound disturbed Jack’s peaceful sleep. Jack Hannagan opened his eyes, moving his arms about. The first thing Jack noticed was that he had been in that room before, jumping back up to his feet and looking around he began screaming, “Oh no! No! No! No!”
Jack realized his nightmare had only just begun, he was stuck in the room where he first woke up once again with the chair and closet being in top shape while the floor was clean.
“F**k!”, Jack cried out as he dropped to his knees and banged his fists onto the floor, both of his hands now completely unscathed. The man began crying as a result of his mental agony after a few moments of crying a familiar feminine voice echoed through Jack’s ears. This time, it was near him, not inside his head. He turned around to see a young woman, in her mid-twenties with a waist-length light brown hair, aloof chestnut eyes and an almost unnatural smile on her face.
“Hiya Jack”, the woman waved at him as he stared in shock, tears dripping down his cheeks.
“How… how is this possible?”, he whispered, helplessly.
“Well Jack, to tell you the truth,” her voice deepened to a demonic low tone, “We are in your head.”
The sound of her voice hurt Jack’s ears causing him to grab at them in order to block out the sound. “No… can’t be… this is not real, this is not real… None of this is real, Jack… None of this…” Jack began shouting.
He was cut off, the woman loomed over Jack, her smile seemed more diabolical than Jack had ever seen. He stared at her helplessly as she spoke, without moving her mouth, “We are in your battered brain, Jack!”
Jack’s screams were gradually replaced by the sound of the man’s desperate sobbing. Jack fell on his back with his hands covering his face as he burst out into tears of a defeated man. He simply laid there and continued crying for a while until a soft voice whispered into his ears, “Do you feel that, Jack? Do you feel that feeling that slowly creeps up on you from the back of your mind?”
The man’s mind went blank, and he stopped crying. “Go away,” he hissed between his hands.
“You are alone,” the voice spoke, it wasn’t inside his mind. He knew it, the voice was coming from a source next to him. Jack separated his fingers just so he could peek through them and turned his head around to scan his surroundings.
Much to his shock, Jack could not find anything – he was completely alone in the room.
The whispers came back, sending waves of terror across Jack’s tormented being, “Yes, fear… Do you feel that fear?”
“Shut up! You are not real! None of this is…” Jack barked to no one in particular.
“Fear… that is all that remains within your fragmented psyche,” the whispering voice noted.
“No,” Jack uttered before proceeding to lash out, “None of this can be real!”
“Soon enough… Even fear will have gone… Soon enough… Nothing will remain…”
Jack became completely petrified once a static noise started drowning his eardrums, steadily replacing all sounds, all sensory information while the world around him slowly started falling apart like a fragmented puzzle and everything gradually faded to black.
After what seemed like hours of slowly agonizing disintegration of his world, everything had turned into sheer nothingness. And just as Jack was about to lose himself completely in void, after all of his being was engulfed by a perpetual and still darkness, he heard a familiar cheerful feminine voice call out to him gleefully, “Thank you for checking into The Escape Hotel!”
A middle-aged man sits in his hospital bed, calmly staring at the window. This middle-aged man has been staring at that same window for quite a while, never changing his position or doing anything else not even talking to anyone. The hospital staff has to adjust his body to feed and care for him as he himself seems to be unable to do so himself.
A doctor accompanied by a newly employed nurse walk into the middle-aged man’s room and once the nurse catches a glimpse of the man he asks, “What’s up with him, Doc?”
The young nurse points at the middle-aged man sitting in the hospital bed staring at the window. “Him.”
“Oh, that’s Jacob, he suffers from a very progressive dementia. He’s catatonic. He’s not expected to make it passed the next few weeks. He can’t even go to the bathroom on his own anymore. The scans show that he has a very reduced volume of healthy brain matter.”, answers the doctor.
Running his hand across his chin, Eyal looked at the patient with a glint of pity in his eyes and said, “It’s a real shame, he doesn’t look that old.”
“Yeah, well he was a pro boxer for a long time, son. That’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy for you.”
“I wonder what he is thinking right now…”, remarks the young nurse in response as they simply keep on making their way around the room as part of their routine check up on the patients.