Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Theme Story - He turned the key in the lock...

He turned the key in the lock and opened the door. To his horror, he saw yet another of the damn rooms. Same pulsing green light emitting from the same pillars in each corner, same four doors pointing in each of the cardinal directions, same metal chair at the same table with – once again – nothing on it. Yet. He knew that would change soon enough, just as he knew that once he stepped forward the door would shut and lock behind him. He considered going back and trying the other doors, but after nearly fifty rooms he knew what he would find when he did so. Besides, it had only been four rooms since he had just picked a direction and went. He didn't know if he was making progress – hell, the way this place defied logic he could very well be moving in a circle repeatedly – but with no other options he decided to keep pressing onward.

He pulled out the chair and sat at the table, the screen inset into the surface once again coming to life. The same grid with the same colored dots greeted his angry gaze. He had to struggle to stop himself from tearing his hair out in frustration. He'd solved 47 of these puzzles so far. He found himself irrationally hoping that this one would be the last, or at the very least 50 would mark some kind of change in the scenario. A different room, a different puzzle, even a different light color in the glowing pillars would be preferable! Some indication that his actions were producing some effect somewhere. Anywhere.

He swiped his finger along the grid, connecting the colored dots without overlapping. This one was fairly simple, as were the others – the entire process took fifteen seconds. Upon completion, another key rose from the table. He placed the original key into his pocket with the rest of the growing collection, and palmed the new key. He rose from his chair and moved towards the door directly opposite the table - he'd taken to referring to this direction as North, but he had no real way to tell where he was even headed. He put his hand on the door handle, inserted the key, took a breath, closed his eyes, and turned the handle.

He waited a second to open his eyes, hoping to see anything different, but once again he was met with the same room. The 49th room, with the 49th puzzle, and the 49th key. He sighed heavily, and moved to the chair. He plopped down with a despair as deep as his frustration had been in the last room. Fifty, he told himself. Just make it to fifty and something will change. He idly solved the puzzle on the table and grabbed the proffered key that resulted. Moving once again in the same direction, he approached the North door and inserted the key. With another steadying breath he turned the key in the lock and opened the door of the fiftieth room.

No change. Same green glow, same table, same chair, same four doors. He stepped through the door and sat in the chair, regarding the puzzle before him with a surly look. He swiped his finger around the grid, connecting the dots together, retrieving the key from the tiny slot in the table. He stood and approached the fiftieth door. He placed the key in the lock and, after a brief pause, turned it and opened the door...

and blinked in the sudden light. Not green this time, but bright white emanating from every corner of the room. The table was round this time, the chair wooden, but the room was still surrounded by four doors in each of the cardinal directions. He crossed the threshold and a siren blared, causing him to jump out of his skin. He had no idea what it signified, but was oddly comforted by the fact that someone felt the need to signify something. A siren like that is placed for other people to hear, not for the sole occupant trapped in a maze. He approached the table and pulled out the chair. The surface lit up revealing the same grid. No, it was different this time – there was one more square in each direction, and one additional color to connect. He had apparently reached the next level. He leaned back, but oddly felt no anger or frustration. He was making progress at last. He solved the puzzle quickly and grabbed the key that emerged from the table, making his way to the North door once again. He inserted the key in the lock and turned the knob. Telling himself that if there is progress there might be an end, he pulled the door open and moved into the next white room. 

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