I felt as if I’ve been here before. It seemed just like a recent memory, a fragment of the past. Even though I couldn’t see my surroundings, the sound reminded me of the numerous trips aboard New York subways. Was this a train? My eyes felt like an iron weight welded together to the back of these thin eyelids. No visible light could be seen through; only darkness. In all honesty, I was never afraid of the dark but it always made people uneasy. This is one of those times where I have to agree with that I was feeling uneasy. The fact there was no way to know where I was, how I got there, or what time it was felt extremely unsettling. Why did it feel like I should know? Could it be that this was just the doing of tiredness and a lapsing memory? I All I wanted to do was affirm that I was alive and kicking so an explanation would soon come to exist.
Finally the weights dropped down from the black sheets that had covered my eyes beforehand. The reply to this sudden awakening was less than relief. An overwhelming darkness viewed as much of no difference from when I had last closed my eyes. It would become hard to believe that the noise continuing wasn’t some sort of vehicle. No, it was definitely a train. There was no doubt in my mind that this was some sort of transport. I looked up to see a light flicker and notify the interior of this mobile contraption. My mouth wanted to open to say ‘As expected’ or ‘What am I saying, this is obviously a…’ like some cliché protagonist who knew things before they happened, but something was holding it shut. The area around the lips must have been stuck together with sweat and time while I slept along this merry ride. Most of my other body parts felt numb or refused to work like the previously mentioned.
Willing myself to try squinting at some objects past their shaded outline in the dark was a hopeless effort. I only managed to catch the line of green chairs and swaying ropes near windows where exits should be. After a minute or so of trying, the lights flickered on again. The inner space of the compartment I was in looked very maintained. For some reason, I had expected it to look worse. The shiny floors took me aback as much as my sudden forgetfulness. My eyes scanned to the left and right when trying to see out of the windows between the train compartments. It looked the same from where I was sitting. Though, something was still off...what was it? The extreme needing to sleep turned into a restless fit after just one blink.
Nothing was as it seemed; everything had gone to hell! The once beautiful place I had been trapped in looked like a garbage dump fell onto a homeless community. The real shithole everyday people are afraid to go in was now personified: tarnished floors that were past ‘dirty’, broken windows that ravaged with tough winds, seats that have lost their upholster, and parts of the room had been laced with some kind of funk I hoped was just garbage. What the hell happened to this place in a matter of a second?! Even the light had become dimmer and the air had become misty with the vague taste of chalk. The concentration of this air was very heavy but it seemed like it was thicker the higher-
-No, wait…this was gas!
I could feel my eyes scatter around rapidly while I try to rip myself from my seat. With this action I soon realized I couldn’t move or talk. There was a rope tying my hands to the back of my seat, or a pole near it, I could hardly tell. My mouth was covered with a dirty, juiced with sweat rag. The hallucinations my mind made up was a much more pleasant scenario of looking at things. The fact that this was a train was still apparent but now it seemed like I wasn’t the only passenger. In my sporadic, fearful attitude I looked to my left and right for a second time to see my mistake. The objects that resembled bodies were perched on a side of the train just like I was- sitting in a chair. I assumed the other compartments of the train held others too.
Why? What purpose was there to lock up people here? On a train, even. What purpose was there to put me here? I did nothing wrong! I was just a regular guy who had average grades, had a hobby for photography, and had done nothing that warranted this…this treatment! I’m not going to lie, I was scared. Scared! Using the upset, confusion, and fear I had gathered to try and will myself out of this failed again. I tried it for a third time only to fail the same way. It was too difficult for any average guy to do anything. If only someone came to save us, to save me…
But then I heard footsteps.
A person stepped into the room with loud stomps against the worn down floor. It sounded like a nice pair of boots if it could let out that great of a thud. Obviously they were courageous enough to cross over but the feeling of dread never chose to leave. It was like the executioner came. Maybe it had, or maybe it was the savior who managed to get free! I looked up with a half-hearted sign of glee.
All that stood in front of me was a uniformed body with the boots on and buttons neatly fixed down the center of the coat and it’s face was…a giant rabbit head. The head was hard to make out but it looked to be out of shape. Like the chair, it looked like upholster was coming out near its fake rabbit ear. Some lines were fixed down with stiches to keep more from showing. The large round eyes were of a red glow and could never match the emotion mine had at that moment. My eyes widened when it let out a voice-over cackle. It was then that I knew this wasn’t helping and that it wasn’t going to inform me of who it was. That would be just too easy especially when I look over this situation at a different angle.
“I was so sure the gas would put everyone asleep for the ride.” The uniformed person stated. The voice seemed abnormal for a human, so it must have been using something to tune its voice into a different sound. I could hardly care to examine what the voice change had exactly changed. I scowled in disgust at this idiot who thought he could get away with any of this. Answers were clearly right in front of me. The rabbit leaned down to give a good look at my face, I think, and nonchalantly continued what he planned to say. “You know it makes me happy someone gets to see it before everyone else! Really it does! It does!” The Rabbit laughed sadistically but I didn’t see the point of it. The next thing it did was lift its hands into the air and spun around three-hundred-sixty degrees in a dramatic fashion.
“Now it is time to welcome you, contestant…”
Welcome me to…what? The train made a slight turn out of whatever tunnel we must have went through and emerged beyond it. The blinding light inside the darkness startled me. Nothing phased the Rabbit though. My eyes had to adjust as to what was making such a light with how dark it was outside until I saw it full-view from afar. It was an amusement park. A very large rabbit head similar to the one that stood here was attached to the front sign, I saw. The lights were all on with a shield of purple masking over the white in this carnival light frame. I managed to catch more words from the Rabbit here despite my wild amazement.
“Welcome to Rabbit Doubt!! In just a few minutes, you will have the time of your life…and it might end here as well.”
Before I could say anything, as if I could, something must have been whipped at or across my face because the world started to fade. My left cheek was burning and numb, and my eyes were going back into darkness. No, it was without a doubt. I could barely keep one eye open any longer. The only thing I remember before losing consciousness was the crazy Rabbit looming over me…
“Argh!” I groaned, pained as if a bus hit me square in the chest and proceeded to run over and crush all of my bones. My voice seemed like a mouthful of sand when I tried to say something, anything. The sweat rag that was in my mouth had refused to do any good to my throat as it attracted an unneeded itch. The sound of a dry throat probably sounds worst to other people, if any were here that is. Wait, I told this to myself over and over to get my hopes up during which I looked to my sides. No one was there at all. No signs or traces of other people besides the one that brought me here. The one who brought me here must have been the Rabbit. Everyone else was unconscious in their seats…right?
Pushing away the question that couldn’t be answered, I started to look around for the first time. This was a room- a living quarter. That’s what they were called right? The amusement park shouldn’t even have these unless this was a trailer. Trailers don’t have the thinnest beds that could exist as well as uncomfortable metal plating under it to suspend the ‘cushion’ I would never dare to use. Other objects were a dresser with the finest looking wood, a very smooth surface that looked like the only appealing thing there. The floor was stable enough and cobwebs hung from the ceiling with receding wallpaper and a light bulb that wasn’t saving anyone on a large sum on the electric bill. Closer inspection on the walls also told they were losing themselves greatly for similar reasons the ceiling had. The room was near empty except a few pieces of cardboard in the corner, an older-model TV vertically across from the cardboard in the left corner of the ceiling, and a door besides the exit that looked barely able to be upright.
The first thing that happened as I finally got my bearings was that the television turned on. The ‘cannot receive channel’ and the white noise that followed had alarmed, but it couldn’t be helped. The television changed, stopping the noise without any of my doing, with another irregular noise that led to the following faded scene. It just started and this was already some bit annoying, perhaps because this was an older model that the reception was unclear. The screen showed a few words that seemed easy enough to understand: ‘Find the paper inside top drawer’.
Paper…? Initially it seemed like some crappy infomercial but I finally understood the basis of it saying that and dragged my sleeping feet over to the dresser. I should have moved around instead of standing in place. The knob on the dressers looked very well designed, in my opinion. A nice crescent and something else I couldn’t quite understand too well. I shed a small smirk as I looked at each drawer individually until I got to the top- and was answered with yet another surprise. The knob wasn’t there! It could have been a mistake, so I lowered myself to see if there was a knob rolling under the dresser itself or the bed. No such luck. The next thing that came to my mind was to check the other drawers because the television usually gives the wrong information; the news twists stories around and the weather is unpredictable.
The bottom-most drawer- of three, if it wasn’t clear- had nothing in it but a pin pushed into the bottom part of the drawer. It wasn’t anything special so I pulled the middle one next. There was a picture that was faced down and a reddish spot that was darker than anything else in there. It was probably nothing. The picture was taped down with much resistance when I tried to pull it up, so that wasn’t it either. It was indeed this top drawer. I braced myself to open it by a large inhale. Sticking my fingers into the hole where the knob should be and gently pulling- ouch! Why did it hurt so much? I expected it be to be tough to open for another reason and that was more of a mentality issue. This actually hurt me.
The tip of my index finger was letting a red droplet escape from the tiniest of injuries. What did this possibly mean…no, it couldn’t be. Was this a trap? Was there poison on it? No, I am thinking too much into this. Ignoring the sharp object, I checked the doors to see if they could be opened. The one that looked like an exit had a keyhole under the handle, which made sense. I just had to find the key. The other door which must have extended to another room was securely locked for some unknown reason. No keyhole or anything. The key had to be in the top drawer too but this wasn’t going to be an easy task. I looked around the room and understood this was some sort of test as the screen on the television changed with the same sounds as before, it read: ‘Solve the puzzle’.
No hints either…huh. I looked back to the drawer and steadily kneeled before it. Taking another breath, I safely felt all around the hole to see for an opening space. No such luck, all were ready to incapacitate my finger. I put my thumb to my lower lip and tried to think about this. I couldn’t open it with my hands in any way but it wouldn’t come out if I didn’t do it that way either. That didn’t make any sense. Saliva accidently slipped onto my thumb but I sucked it back in as I noticed something besides the first moist liquid in an hour. A dry stain was in the drawer. Maybe…
I quickly licked my thumb and pressed it against the odd blot. My thumb moved up and back down once, slowly. I repeated this again, and once more with more force! Somehow, it was working. Some words were starting to show up with the next few strokes, so I did it until it was legible. Something scratched in with a knife or something sharp. It said: CARDBOARD + PIN. Another hidden message it seemed- or not. The idea started to roll in. I looked over to the corner of cardboard and back to the hole as if my idea could work but it couldn’t. Or rather, it shouldn’t be able to work. Needless to say, I went and grabbed a piece of cardboard without much of a second thought.
Putting this new item on the dresser, I tried to pull off a little of the tape that held the picture down. Thinking again, I was pretty sure it was a picture. The tape ripped is jagged shape, but it was long enough. Scotch tape could work with this plan. I grabbed the cardboard with both hands and ripped it into a smaller piece. From that rip, I took the smaller piece and wrapped it around my index and middle finger. The tape was needed to conjoin the piece that had been bended around these two fingers in order to perform this little experiment. Hopefully it worked.
I steadied myself again as I stepped close to the objective, my fingers slowly making way into the drawer. The cardboard pressed down gently on the sharp object until it was safe enough to press harder. The nub could be felt through the protection now. This wasn’t going to work, but I was going to continue it! I pulled harder and managed to get it a crack open. This sight fueled me! Pumped me up that this was correct! The answer! Just a little more…and…viola! It moved up smoothly so I could finally get my hand inside and get the key and paper. I tore off the finger protection and threw it against the wall in realizing this accomplishment.
What was in there wasn’t a key, though, just a paper. The only other objects were pins fit into the side near the beginning hole where the knob was supposed to be. “Who the hell..” I said to myself with extreme exasperation. As little sense as this made, it was still REAL. Someone real must have placed the pins there on purpose to try and keep me from opening it. Someone real must have also put the paper in there. Right, the paper was still there. I quickly grabbed it thinking it was going to disappear. The paper held weird information, weirder than I expected to see:
“Codename for Game: Degree
How to leave room: Complete Pin Circle”
My codename was, ‘Degree’. How odd that it was ‘that’ since I had no degree in anything. Well…I had a temperature, but that was it. Is it my longitude or something? I really didn’t get it. The next part was not much better at being a descriptive riddle. The only pin circle I knew of was the one near the hole which gave me trouble in the first place. I took the sides of the drawer and pulled it out farther until it stopped. Shouldn’t it have come out? I didn’t feel like jolting it around to take it out right now.
The pins were all in an organized form. It was a circle but the circle was incomplete just like the note said. An impression where one would go was staring me right in the face. It didn’t take an idiot to guess that a pin was needed to go there and an idiot didn’t need to think of where to find one. Out of the many objects in this room, there was something that stood out. This dresser and what was inside of it. What was in the utmost bottom drawer of the dresser? A pin was the only thing in there. My hand moved automatically to reach for it and easily got it without a problem. The puzzle was now finished and I could finally leave as soon as I fit the pin into the wholeness of the hole. Right in…
I looked over to the door without a keyhole after I fit the part of the pin you held into the impression. The inside must have been a pressure pad of some sort. The sound the door made after putting the pin in confirmed this theory. I still had to be cautious even if I was glad. So I tip-toed closer to the door with the paper in hand. My right hand slipped the paper right into my pocket while my left hand turned the rusty knob this antique of a door had. I gulped a stream of saliva down my throat, coughed, and swung it open like a breeze. And like a breeze…it only made a small noise. The inside of this room was extremely dark, much like the trip over to this place. IF this was the same place I saw before.
The light from the room behind me shed some light on the front pathway where a Key hung down from. This is where I could get the ability to leave…I continued to walk inside. The air felt damp, and filled with a thick gross odor. The smell was near unbearable. I continued to step forward until I was below the key and I grabbed hold firmly. I took a breath to hold in…and pulled! The key was tied to the light switch…which didn’t seem like a good thing at all, or I’m psyching myself out. Either way the key was mine, now, shaped like a king’s crown in my hand. I felt the power rush into me with it and I couldn’t believe the feeling I had. The other thing in the room was something else I couldn’t believe.
I turned my head without thinking. What awaited me was the most disgusting thing a human could see- a maimed body. The walls were plastered with red wallpaper and words were drawn with impure wine. The body was contorted in such a way, maimed in such a way, and even looked more so in such a way that it made my stomach flip upside down.
I had already guessed that this wasn’t going to be a normal amusement park. What I didn’t know was how I underestimated the ‘Game’ this Rabbit talked about. I was going to play in it, and there was nothing to stop that.