I wake up on a table. The kind you’d see in a surgery room. But, I’m not strapped down or have anything connected to me. I’m in white slacks and a black t-shirt. I have a long white coat on, pens in a breast pocket and some kind of remote in the left pocket. What happened last? I remember walking across the street, about to go home from my job as an advanced robotics programmer, and then nothing. I think I heard a loud noise. A horn maybe?
Was I hit?
Am I dead?
Where am I then? I pictured death being a bit different. I’m in a large room . White with dark red circuitry lining the walls. Brightly colored cords run all over the floor. There’s blue. And red. Yellow. They seem like normal colors, but what is this place? I look at another wall and this one has a monitor on it. What could it be for? Am I being watched? How though? I thought I was dead. Am I dead? Oh, wait. My family. My two daughters and wife. My brothers and sisters, mother and father. And my friends, co-workers, boss even. My mistress. If I’m dead, what are they doing?
Hang on a second. Why aren’t I sad? I have effectively lost my family, if I really am dead. Oh well I suppose, nothing I can do about that. I look at the monitor again and try pressing the on button. Nothing happens. I take out the remote and try to turn on the screen, but none of the buttons are labeled. I look around for a second to see if it’s unplugged. I don’t find any outlets or cords. Oh well I suppose, nothing I can do about that. I look at the opposite wall and see an arrow. Its not very large, kind of a beige color. I hadn’t noticed it before. I walk over to the wall and brush my hand against it, not sure of what I might find out. Nothing. It’s just a decal on the wall, painted maybe. So I follow it.
I walk into another room. This one is almost identical to the last, just without the circuitry and cords. Still a table, still a screen, still white. I walk over to the table and see a piece of paper. It has writing. I read it.
"If you are reading this, then you are, for all intensive purposes and for all you or your conscious mind know, dead. If everything went correctly, you were struck by a red sedan, driven by a father of three. The father was tending to the children in back and his wife, in the passenger seat did not notice you in time. You were thirty two years, five months, and six days old. Hours, minutes, and seconds are not relevant to the study. You had two daughters. Names: Adrian Marie Smith and Adelle Marney Smith. You had one wife. Name: Rebecca Narcissus Smith. Maiden name: Rebecca Narcissus Adilade. Your brothers, sisters, mother, father, co-workers, friends, bosses, acquaintances, and those you did not ever meet are not relevant to the study. You had one mistress. Name: Abigail Clarisse Elisium. Everyone in that world is now gone. That world was named Earth. You are thirty two years, five months, and seven days old. Hours, minutes, and seconds are the same as your previous self and are not relevant to the study. Your previous world was a simulation assembled by you, three days ago; and initiated one day ago. You are alone. You have forty seven years, six months, and twenty four days left. Your task is to find the correct world. When you do, you will unlock the next room. Perhaps that one will have a door out.
I place the letter down. Look at the wall, opposite of me. I begin to panic. I run, searching for a way out. After what feels like fifteen minutes I stop. All I have are the two rooms. I start to scream.
I scream for what feels like a few hours, but may be a few days. I can no longer hear my own voice. I close my jaw. I set my jaw. I think. I look at the remote, then press a button. It turns the screen in the second room on and a keyboard slides out of the wall. I get to the keyboard and start typing code in. When I am finished, I press enter and the screen in the first room turns on, and the table recedes into the floor. I press a button on the remote and a new table comes from the floor, this time it is green. I climb up, lay my head back and look at the screen one last time. Then I think to myself, maybe this planet will be the right one.