Smashing through the door, Coat found herself staring down the sights of her gun once again. Quickly moving down the hallway into the next space, she swiveled her body both directions and nodded to Carter.
“Clear.” She holstered her gun and straightened her posture.
“So what do we have here?” Carter walked out from the florescent white corridor and into the large empty space. It was covered in dim yellow lighting and the place was just filled with rows upon rows of metal tables. “Talk about having too many tables huh?”
“It looks like a mess hall.” Coat spoke.
“You mean canteen?”
“Well, a mess hall is bigger.”
“Point taken.” Carter looked around, suddenly realizing he hadn’t had something in a while ever since lunch the previous day. And then something struck him as odd, a tingling question he had not asked yet.
“Hey Coat.” He said. Coat turned to him, mildly irritated by his constant chattering. “What day is today? You have any idea?”
“Day?” Coat asked. “It’s Friday you dimwit. Yesterday was Thursday.” She cocked her head violently to the front and raised both her eyebrows as if to reaffirm her point.
“Thursday?” Carter realized another huge problem they had not yet considered. “Yesterday was Monday for me when I got into that accident. I was assuming today was Tuesday.”
“What?” Coat’s eyes lit up in shock. “So, how long have we been here then?”
“Do you feel hungry?” Carter asked.
“Same here. But how’s that possible if we’re split days apart?”
“I’m not too sure.”
Another question struck Carter. “How long were we in the surveillance room?”
“About two hours I guess?”
“Hasn’t it just been an hour?” Carter was horrified at this revelation. While still carrying Carla, he checked his right wrist with his left hand. He felt nothing on the wrist underneath Carla’s bum. His generic black Casio watch was gone. He bit his bottom lip hard. They couldn’t even tell the time now.
“Just how long has it been since this stupid game started?” Coat hissed out the words. “God damn it.”
Carter lay Carla down gently on a table near them as he turned to Coat . “Let’s just calm down and see if we can find anything to munch on instead.” He paused and then added. “To calm our nerves down a bit.” Coat merely nodded at his suggestion.
The area overall was divided into two portions: a large mess hall full of tables and what seemed like a kitchen at the far end of it.
The mess hall as a whole looked pretty unsurprising. Large yellowish orange plain tiles were laid out neatly to form the floor of the hall. Its walls were covered in a similarly striking yellowish orange paint as well. The tables that spanned the hall on the other hand had shiny stainless steel surfaces but were fitted with salvaged old rusted metal legs. This combination of colors and furniture were hurtful to the eyes, almost as if bearing a strong resemblance to a hospital canteen. One slightly odd feature that stood out like a sore thumb within the room however were three metal doors that spanned across one end of the room, one of which they had emerged from. These doors were facing directly towards the kitchen from across the hall.
Carter volunteered to take a look at the kitchen while Coat checked for any clues that may be hiding around this new room. Moving into the kitchen, Carter found stoves, cupboards, pots, pans and a lot of other cooking tools and dining utensils. Nothing really seemed out of the ordinary other than a suspiciously colored fridge in the corner of the kitchen area. It was pure orange and seemed to stand out from the rest of the dull greyish furniture. Tucked away in the corner, it almost seemed as if it imbued a pinkish red hue around itself.
As Carter approached the fridge, he could smell an almost familiar scent of milk and cookies filling the air around him. His hands reached for the stainless steel handle and pushed it downwards until it clicked. Slowly, he opened the heavy fridge door, only to reveal a bounty within. On the top shelf sat two jugs of milk along with two packets of generic chocolate chip cookies. They were seated neatly next to each other while the rest of the fridge was completely empty.
“Well, there’s our supply of food I guess.” He spoke in monologue to himself as he wrapped his fingers onto one jug of milk to take it out of the fridge. Just as he was doing so, a high pitched scream of agony and horror came from the mess hall. It was Coat. Carter was on high alert. Placing one jug on the counter, he ran out into the hall area again where he found Coat going completely hysteric at something.
“What’s going on!? You alright?”
“Shit!” She shouted. “Where the hell did Carla go!?”
“We left her on the table over there.” As Carter turned to look at the table across the room, he saw no sign of the sleeping little girl. He panicked.
“Carla!” She screamed at the top of her lungs. “Are you there!?”
“Carla!” Carter shouted along. “Carla!”
“Hey! Vostron! Can you hear me?” Coat quickly turned to the mic that still sat close to her mouth.
“Yes. Fortunately I seem to be still operational. Is there a problem?” There was a voice across the other end of the headphones.
“You can operate throughout the building with your cameras right?” She said. “Do you have a visual on Carla?”
“Let me check.” The computer went silent for only a few seconds. “Negative. I do not have a visual on the little girl. Let me run a check on the recent footage.” It paused then spoke again. “Positive. I have visual on her about seven minutes ago.”
“What happened?” Coat asked furiously.
“How odd.” The computer responded. “Between the 4th and 5th minute, there seems to have been a signal jammer present within the room. There is only static recorded within this window of time, but it seems her presence had been removed during this period.”
“My data tells me that some entity had removed her from the room during this time as ‘Door B’ was accessed roughly at the end of the 5th minute.”
“And we missed it!? Just like that!? What’s at the end of Door B and which one is it? Do you see Carla there?”
“The middle one amongst the three. Also, there are long hallways which eventually branch out into different rooms after Door B according to the building’s layout.” It paused for a moment or two before continuing. “I do not have a visual on anything right now in that hallway though. The lights are currently turned off in that corridor.”
“Well, turn them on!”
“I cannot, the electrical system within that section of the building uses an independent manual switching system, meaning it has to be manually controlled or switched on for the lights or machines to turn on.”
“So what can we do then!?”
“I’m afraid I can’t help you in that respect. Sorry. Is there anything else?”
Coat was extremely irritated by the inability to do anything in the situation at hand but managed to grunt out a short but quick “It’s fine.”
“Well, I don’t really want to be a party pooper or anything but I just want to make sure about something.” Carter said to Coat. “You didn’t kidnap her or anything did you?”
“Are you ridiculous?” She seemed oddly irritated by this. “Personally, I was thinking the exact same thing about you.”
“I’ll tell you this first in my defense.” Carter took a step back. He felt as if a tiger was growling at him ready to explode into a million pieces at the slightest poke. “There’s milk and cookies in the kitchen area. And there is an orange fridge. No way I’d known that if I didn’t check the kitchen so I was nowhere near Carla.”
“There is a huge blob of a mess on that corner of the room hidden behind that pillar. I suspect it’s our next clue. So it can’t be me, I wasn’t near her as well.” She stared dead into his eyes while pointing her finger towards the other end of the room.
“Well, we‘re stumped then.” Carter frowned.
There was a short silence before an ear piercing scream of metal screeching upon metal cried out into the mess hall. It came from one end of the room and it was clear what was making the foul noise. To the far right, a metal door swung open as a tall lady and a big brute walked in along with a mushroom headed Asian boy.
“Thank goodness!” Cane shouted as he saw both Carter and Coat. “I thought it was going to be another one of those stupid puzzles again.”
“Well, who’d have guess.” Mariah scoffed. “The various rooms paired up with each other in the end.”
“So that means that the rooms would eventually lead into this place huh?” Carter seemed genuinely relieved it wasn’t just Coat and him anymore.
“So how has it been for both of you?” Cane asked, genuinely interested.
Carter went on to share their experiences with the rest of the group, about the computer, the arguments they had and the overall outcome of their escape. Cane took the part of the representative as well to disclose what they had gone through. It was coincidence that the Asian boy had somehow managed to enter the same room as Cane and Mariah. The two hallways they took separately were coincidentally connected into one single place. Their room was a big man made puzzle where the walls could slide across each other. They had to be pushed in a particular sequence or order to reveal the exit that was behind 5 other walls. There were problems they encountered such as immobile walls or sometimes walls that clashed into each other because of the angle at which they slid. To put it into a better perspective, the entire room was like a three dimensional game of ‘Unblock me’ similar to the app found on smartphones.
“Mushroom Head here solved most of the problems for us.” Mariah called out to the Asian boy.
“I told you not to call me that.” The boy replied in an irritated tone.
“Just call him Mushroom. He said he was okay with that.” Cane whined to Mariah. “It’s rude to call people names.”
“Whatever.” Mariah wrote it off simply. “Thanks to him, we made it out a lot more quicker than we’d thought we would.”
“I did most of the moving though.” Cane said proudly. “Those were some heavy walls.”
Carter merely smiled at them as they were going about speaking to each other. They had built a somewhat rocky but functional relationship among themselves.
“So Mushroom huh?” Carter said to the Asian boy. “Well, looks like you’re not the only one with an objectified name.” He smiled as he turned to Coat. “This here is Coat. To simplify the name calling and all that.” Coat merely grunted at his statement.
“Where is that son of a bitch bald guy then?” Mariah asked.
“He didn’t come with us.” Carter said as he looked at Mariah. She was still obviously unhappy about the submission hold from earlier. “He went alone into another hallway.”
“And the little girl? Carla was it?” Cane asked.
“That’s the problem now.” Coat clicked her tongue as she paused for a moment. Everybody could tell that something was obviously wrong. “She’s missing.” She bit the bottom half of her lip.
“What!?” Cane almost burst out of shock. “What the hell do you mean she’s missing!?”
“She was here with us.” Carter tried to calm things down. “She was sleeping and so we decided to leave her on one of these tables here while we went around searching for some rations and clues.” His voice sounded dreadful as he spat out the words. “We shouldn’t have just left her all alone by herself. Coat eventually discovered she was missing first and then I came running next.”
“So where the hell is she?” Mariah scoffed at both of them almost as if to suggest their incompetence was incredibly unbecoming of them.
“Well, according to Vostron, the computer system we were talking to.” Coat started, trying to be as calm as possible. “Between the time she disappeared, that door opened. So we can only assume that somebody had taken her through there.” Her finger was pointed to the large metal door which sat in the middle of the two previous doors the two groups had emerged from.
“Then let’s go find her!” Cane shouted at them practically running for the door.
“Wait a second!” Carter shouted back as he ran hurriedly into the kitchen area and emerged with two large jugs of milk in between his armpits and two packet rolls of cookies in both hands. “I found these in the fridge in the kitchen area.” Opening the packets of cookies, he stuffed a few into his pocket and then passed it around to everyone else who did the same until the two packets were completely empty.
Mariah grabbed one of the huge plastic jugs and twisted the cap open as she poured some cold savory milk into her mouth and passed it to the rest of the group. In no time at all, one entire jug of milk disappeared into nothingness. Almost every one of them were savoring the cookies while the taste of milk still lingered in their mouths.
“Man! That hit the spot!” Cane felt somewhat uplifted at this.
“It’s a pretty well timed break.” Mariah agreed as she flung her hair from side to side, as if to further show her satisfaction. “Let’s get moving now.”
“Let’s not leave this behind shall we?” Cane picked up the other jug of milk and carried it in his left hand. “Could come in handy later on, when we’re hungry, you know?”
The group walked to the metal door in front of them as Cane lay his right hand down onto its rusted handle. As he pushed the handle down, he could feel a chilling sensation tickling his palms. The handle clicked and he pushed it open slowly.
From the darkness of the hallway, a cold and rather chilling breeze flowed into the mess hall. It was icy cold in the dark corridor. As the group looked at one another, they sighed. Where ever Carla was, this was clearly a bad place to be in.
“Let’s go.” Carter said as the group moved into the freezing hallway
Written By HoiHoiSoi
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