Estimated reading time — 4 minutes
You’d finally done it.
After weeks of digging around and bugging the lady at the front desk, you’d found it: the elevator code for floor zero.
You make your way to the nearest elevator, trying your hardest to contain your excitement.
You’ve been told so many rumors about the place that you weren’t sure if they were even fiction. Some said it was a dark room full of spiderwebs, some said it was full of old mannequins, and some said it was just a storage floor with nothing interesting to see.
You enter the elevator, your mind flooded with expectations. You enter the code into the keypad, and the elevator begins to descend. The elevator continues its descent for nearly 20 seconds, which was strange, considering you started on the base floor.
As the elevator doors open, you’re immediately hit with the temperature. It’s hot. Not unbearably so, but noticeable. Once the doors are fully opened, you take a step out. There’s not much to see. The walls are a faded yellow color and have off-white wallpaper lining the bottom. The carpet is of the same sickening hue, and reeks of age.
The worst part, however, is the lights.
In terms of color, just like the rest of the room, but they’re flickering in an unusually rhythmic way. The humming drones on at a steady pace as if it will never stop. The sight is intriguing, though somewhat unnerving. You take a few more steps, and then realize that there is a hallway leading out of the room.
You begin to approach the hallway, but then hesitate. You feel a sense of unease, but your curiosity gets the better of you and you continue down the hallway.
The hallway ends at a room much like the one that you started in, but with small differences. The walls are laid out differently, and there’s an opening leading to another hallway on the right. You continue down the next hallway until you reach another room. This one is somewhat larger than the other two and has a higher ceiling. However, there’s also a couch with the same dreadful yellow tinge sitting to the side.
You examine the couch, not daring to touch it. It smells like it hasn’t been used in years, but seems to have no dust on it at all. Now that you think of it, there’s no dust anywhere. None at all. This realization unnerves you even more, but yet again, your curiosity trumps it and you walk further into the room.
As you reach the end of the room, you’re confronted with a choice. A fork in the path. Two different hallways leading different directions. You think for a moment, and choose the left path, but as you begin to enter the hallway, something makes you jump.
Throughout your trek through each part of the strange series of rooms, there’s been no sound. Nothing but the droning of the lights and your footsteps on the carpet. That is, up until this point.
You hear a slight sound of movement. Just the slightest bump, but it’s enough to make you jump and spin around rapidly.
As you analyze your surroundings, you feel as if something is off. You can’t say what, but this feeling is enough to get you to turn around. You make your way across the room, extremely anxious after the noise. As you reach the other side of the room, you realize two things. First, the droning noise has stopped. Secondly, the old couch has gone missing.
These two things are enough to make you afraid. You’re genuinely terrified of these rooms. As you quickly turn to the hallway that leads to the exit, you stop dead in your tracks.
The hallway is pitch black.
You can’t even see the room at the end of it; it’s in the dark as well. You’re left with only two options: Either you continue down the corridors leading toward the other side of the room and hope that you find a way back, or you risk traversing the pitch black hallway and feel your way back to the elevator.
As you ponder the decision, your time quickly becomes limited, as the light at the other end of the room goes out. You decide on option A and run blindly into the dark hallway. As you reach the room at the end, suddenly the lights come back on. As your eyes adjust to the light, you notice that the droning of the lights has returned as well. You’d almost feel better, if it weren’t for one thing: there are no exits to the room.
You look around again, making sure that you aren’t going crazy. But sure enough, they’re gone.
“But, how?” you think. You entered this room through one, right? Right? You rack your brain trying to think of how this may have happened, scanning the room over and over. You examine each wall, checking in case it’s an optical illusion caused by how similar the walls are, but alas, no luck.
Once you’ve checked them all, you turn to the hall you just entered through to find that it’s gone as well. As you see this, you’re brought to your knees. You nearly start crying. You’re trapped. There’s no escape. Tears fill your eyes as you cry out in anguish.
You sit in silence with your eyes shut for a good two minutes, only to find, once you open your eyes again, that the exits have returned.
You stand up slowly, not daring to take your eyes off of the way out this time. You slowly make your way down the hallway, into the room you started in. As you reach the elevator, you quickly press the button. It only took about 30 seconds for the elevator to reach you, but at the time, it seemed like hours.
As the doors open, you hastily get inside and press the button for your floor.
As you reach your destination, you breathe a sigh of relief.
Your face is streaked with tears, and you’re exhausted and still terrified over what you just went through, but you’re relieved.
You never did tell anyone about floor zero, maybe because you thought it was a dream, or maybe you were going insane…
Suddenly, you recall what you saw as the elevator doors closed.
As they shut behind you, you turned and saw… nothing. Nothing unusual, that is. Just a normal-looking storage floor, somewhat dimly-lit.
What was unusual was that everything else – the yellow lights, walls, and carpet – had all seemingly vanished in an instant.
The worst part, however, was when you noticed something that made your situation so much worse.
Through the crack of the elevator door just before it closed for the last time, you got one last look at what you could swear was the faint outline of something in the corner.
Something slowly moving in your direction.
Credit: Gabe Hulvey
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