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The Center

By Mason Garcia All Rights Reserved ©


The Center

The young woman's voice was sweet and caring to an almost sickening degree as she ushered the crowd through the open passageway. “Welcome to The Center! Where safety is no longer your concern!”

The hallway they'd shoved the group into was long, dark, and narrow with a screen every few feet. Each screen showed only a single image; the image of an elderly man, with an almost genuine smile. The repetition of his phrase made sure it was branded into their minds.

Welcome to The Center, you are safe here.

Welcome to The Center, you are safe here.

Welcome to The Center, you are safe here.

Welcome to The Center, you are safe here.

After what felt like an endless dream of walking down the long corridor, they came to a four way branch in the path. In the middle, stood a man. Not the same old man as the screen, no, this man was young. The dim lights made his black uniform shine in the darkness, and the star shaped badge pinned to his chest stood out as the golden symbol of this man's ideals.

He pointed to a single member of the group, then to a corresponding path, and that's where they went. There was no questioning, no opposition, no resistance. After all, this was The Center. They were safe here.

When the man pointed to Joseph, he was hesitant. He wasn't sure what to do. He didn't know what to trust. He questioned. A blinding light flashed, and the hallway was empty, and bright. The screens went black, the man in the uniform was gone, and Joseph was alone. Upon looking down to inspect his body, he noticed the rags he once wore had been changed to fresh clothes, clothes he'd never worn in his life.

For a long time, he stood there, still wondering what to do. The branching paths had disappeared, leaving only the single hall. So he had to decide. Would he go back, or would he go forward? Before coming to a decision, he heard a loud noise come from further down the hall. It was the sound of a woman, crying. He jumped at the chance to find out what was going on, and quickly ran toward the source of the sound.

Further down the hall, he came upon another doorway, similar to the one he the others had been forced through earlier. At about eye level, there was a small viewing window, allowing Joseph to see inside. Sitting in the middle of the room, arms bound in chains, a woman loudly wept.

Joseph lightly tapped on the glass, “Are you okay?”

By the way she flinched, he figured he must have startled her. She spoke softly as she slowly raised her head, “I knew you'd come for me....”

When she fully faced him, he was horrified by the sight. Her face had been mangled and twisted into a gnarled, disgusting abomination. Her eyes, black as the darkest nightmare. She quickly stood, took in a deep breath, and screeched at the top of her lungs as she dashed toward the door. She didn't get far before the chains grew tight, stopping her charge. Still, she screamed and yelled as Joseph slowly backed away.

He turned around to see another door just across the hall. Hesitating momentarily before doing so, he carefully peered through the little window. This time, there was a man sitting against the far wall. He had no clothes on, and his body had been badly beaten. The man turned his head toward the door. Joseph quickly covered his mouth, stifling the gasp. Where his eyes should have been, there were only the two empty sockets. In a pain riddled voice, the man cried out, “You took them! You took them! Why? Why did you take them?”

Slowly, the man lowered his head again, and went back to cowering in fear. Joseph turned away, and continued down the hall. Finally, he came to the end, where there was one final door. This door had no window, rather, there was a word on it. Director.

Joseph raised his fist to knock, but was stopped by a voice from the other side. “Please come in Joseph.

The inside of this room was nothing like the others. The others had no furniture, no decorations, nothing at all. This room had many shelves, and a desk. And behind that desk, sat an old man. The very same old man that he saw on the screens. He motioned for Joseph to sit in the chair across the desk from him. “Please, sit.”

Joseph sat down.

The old man flipped through some paper work, “I'm surprised by your actions today Joseph. You were doing so well, too.”

Joseph leaned forward, “I'm sorry but, who are you? And where am I?”

The man smiled an eerie smile, “Why, you're at The Center of course. As for who I am, well, you can call me Lou. Yes, Dr. Lou.”

Joseph questioned again, “But what's going on? What happened to the others? And who were those people in the rooms back there?”

Dr. Lou sighed, “I wish you would stop doing that.”


“That. Asking questions. I hate when you people start asking questions. Those out there started asking questions just like you, and look what happened.”

The old man snapped his fingers, and Joseph found himself restrained to the chair. As he struggled to free himself, the doctor walked around his desk and stood at Joseph's side. He pulled a small syringe of red liquid from his pocket, and covered Joseph's mouth as he plunged it into his neck.

Dr. Lou smiled as he watched Joseph lose consciousness, “Don't fight it Joseph. After all, this is The Center. You are safe here.”

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Clarissa: Very atmospheric and descriptive language, with good character development. This is a complex and interesting story - definitely worth a read.

Tobi Doyle MacBrayne: I was so impressed with this piece. The slow degradation of the main character into a dark and crazy place is beautifully written. I liked that the characters physical descriptions were not described because it gave me a sense that it could be someone I know or love. The grief that breaks the m...

Kiz16: After a truly shocking start to the story, I found the style and content slowed down as the author introduced a varied group of characters who I thought were fleshed out very well. After a slow couple of chapters, I found this story difficult to leave with the tension growing within the house. Yo...

duggsy: This kept me intrigued, I only intended on reading 1 chapter but couldn't stop until I'd read the whole thing. The only let-down were a few spelling mistakes hence the 3 stars but otherwise a great read.

heich: Excellent story and excellent writing style. I hope in the future read your works.The story you present is innovative, fresh, different from everything else and let a feeling that you know you want to read more of it. I hope you continue moving in the same, because he's smart and only you know wh...

E_W_Hemmings: First of all, sorry this review took so long: I've had science mocks recently and then when I came to read this, I made notes to put in the review like I usually do... but then I deleted them. Well done me. As a result, this review is a bit more general than most reviews I write, but hey ho, let'...

Shannon Rohrer: This is probably one of the most imaginative stories I've come across in a long time. You have hooking down to a fine art; every chapter has been as engaging as the one before it, the story unfurling in a way that is easy to follow and paced perfectly for each round of events or backstory. Lookin...

elssxa: I love everything about this story. I want more...more...more. This author is superb. I am fascinated by his amazing work. I give him five stars.

Ben Gauger: Kudos to Bryan Laesch, author of Remnants of Chaos:Chaotic Omens for his use of the Gothic style of writing and in addition the footnotes and endnotes at the end of each chapter, a welcome accompaniment to be sure, though his use of grammar could use a little improving, but his use of punctuation...

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