Second Section: Abandoned
Chapter Five: Initiation Sector
The elevator’s long journey finally ended as it came to a surprisingly gentle stop. After a long descent, it had finally reached its destination: an unknown place that was about to be revealed to Cara and her friends.
Cara became tense as the elevator doors opened. They revealed a hallway very similar to that of the one far above and her tension disappeared a little. Just like the hallway above them, the colors were dull and the lighting was poor. It was so similar in fact that it didn’t seem like they had gone anywhere at all.
As she stepped out of the elevator, she was ambushed by a gust of frigid air. The temperature alone was enough to convince anyone that this was a different place. It was so frigid that she started to shiver and the others soon felt this as well.
“I think we’ll freeze to death if we stay down here…” Martha said. She had already wrapped her arms around her body, trying to stay warm.
Regret immediately swept through the group. Their first instinct was to turn around and return to the surface, but the elevator doors had already shut. Their only exit began to move upwards and out of sight.
“Where’s the button for the elevator?” John asked, ready to call it back.
“Please tell me we aren’t really trapped down here,” Martha said.
“You all heard the announcement in the elevator. Something was down here, so I imagine they didn’t want it to escape,” Cara replied.
“They?” John asked.
“Look at this place,” Cara said. “It definitely belongs to some secret or powerful organization. A large sum of money would be required to build something as strange as this without anyone finding out about it.”
“I’m a little terrified,” Adam said.
“Don’t say that. I’m seriously starting to worry,” Tracy said.
“We’ll be fine,” Cara said. She wasn’t sure about that, but it was best to try and convince everyone that she believed that. She also knew Tracy suffered from occasional panic attacks and she wanted to prevent one from happening here far away from the comfort of home. Everyone would need to be strong in order to figure out how to escape and return to Greyville.
“Think about safety regulations,” Cara said. “There’s no way a building could be constructed so that it only had a single elevator as an exit.”
“I hadn’t even thought of that,” Martha said. She was always impressed by Cara’s ability to think calmly.
John felt a little embarrassed that he hadn’t thought about other exits. But he wasn’t the type of person to show embarrassment so he instead focused on moving forward. “Well let’s start moving. If we don’t, we’ll freeze to death.”
Cara nodded and then turned around and led them forward. They all followed her forward through the door at the end of the hallway.
After opening the door, they were faced with a wall of darkness. The sounds of a generator rumbling to life were heard and surely enough the lights flickered on a few seconds later. The lighting was poor, but it was enough for them to see the horror contained within the room.
They all froze out of fear.
“What is this?” Adam yelled out.
The room was covered in bloodstains. There were bloodstains on the ceiling, on the floor, on the walls. On the reception desk, the chairs, the destroyed table. The paintings, the couches, the walls. Everywhere, everywhere.
“It looks like a massacre,” Martha whispered aloud, unable to control herself as she began to back away.
Cara’s first instinct was to tell everyone to stay calm, but that was impossible for her to do. She was just as frozen as everyone else. They were all frozen in place, forced to stare at this disturbing sight. What had she gotten everyone into? Why had she led them here? It’s not like they had a choice though. They were locked inside the library, so they had to come down here!
No, that’s not true. I could have looked for another way out. This room was ripped apart and blood was sprayed everywhere. How could I bring my friends to something as dangerous as this?
“Everyone get back into the hallway!” John commanded.
The shock of the situation was broken. They all ran back in and John slammed the door shut. He then ran around the small hallway looking for a way out.
Had the hallway been ravaged and messy like the bloodstained room, there might have been reason to look around. After all, the button to call the elevator might have been hidden behind something. That wasn’t the case for the hallway. The hallway was without clutter and anyone could tell that there was no way to summon the elevator to rescue them.
Even so, they couldn’t stop John from searching because deep in their hearts they were hoping that he would find that button. Otherwise, they’d be forced to walk through that bloody room and whatever might be beyond it.
“Where is it? Where is it?!” John kept yelling.
Tracy had sat down in the corner and was shaking, not from the temperature, but from fear. Adam knelt down beside Tracy and tried to comfort her. Martha and Cara stood back while John panicked and searched for a way to leave.
“I don’t want to go back in there,” Martha whispered to Cara. “But I think we’re going to have to.”
Cara hesitated before speaking. “…I know.”
It was the only way for them to move. They had to go forward because there was no going back. Just like how it was on the surface.
“How can something like this be happening? We got locked in a library that sits on top of some… some… I don’t even know what to call this place!” John yelled.
“I’m sorry that I brought you down here.”
Martha turned to Cara. “What? Cara, you can’t possibly think-”
“It’s all her fault!” John yelled. He was pointing his finger at Cara. He had a look of anger in his eyes that none of his friends had ever seen before. It wasn’t true anger, more like desperation, but the fierce look in his eyes convinced them otherwise.
When he yelled, both Tracy and Adam looked up. They were stunned into silence just as Martha and Cara had been.
“Don’t say that!” Martha said as she rushed to defend Cara.
“What do you mean? We’re probably going to die down here and it’s because of her! We could have found a way out of the library but instead she led us down here!!”
Tracy, who was already freezing and scared, now lost the one thing holding her back from a panic attack: their friendship. Her friends weren’t her friends anymore. They were turning against one another. The anger, the accusations, the screaming… she couldn’t escape any of it. She was trapped.
“Tracy,” Adam said with care in his voice. “It’s okay.”
He knew what Tracy looked like when she was having a panic attack and so he went to help her. Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do as John continued to verbally assault Cara.
“I wanted to get out of there! I told you what that man said was completely ridiculous! You just wanted to be a hero and try to save everyone, but you’ve dragged us down here!”
“You all followed me! It was the only thing I could think of and you all looked to me to make a decision. What was I supposed to do? You’re the ones who forced that decision on me!”
“That’s because you usually make good decisions. But who in the world decides to go deeper into a building that they’re trapped in? You were already down here before I could climb down the ladder. I had to run after you and by then we were sealed in!”
“This is ridiculous!” Martha yelled.
“Stop fighting! Look at what you’re doing to Tracy!” Adam yelled. He was intimidated by John’s anger, but he couldn’t let Tracy suffer anymore.
The fighting stopped. It had only been for a second, but that was enough for them to see what had happened. In that second, that quick second, they saw her pain. Tracy was on the floor breathing heavily and crying. She looked completely devastated.
All of them felt immediate remorse for their actions.
“I want to leave. I want to leave,” she cried. Normally she wouldn’t speak her feelings so plainly, but she wasn’t in control of herself.
“We’ll get out, don’t worry,” Adam said.
His words couldn’t reach her. Her anxiety had created a barrier between her and the outside world. The anger and worry in the room had affected everyone of course, but a barrier of anxiety had trapped those emotions around Tracy. Although the outside had calmed down, those emotions were still just as intense in Tracy’s mind. Her anxiety prevented those feelings of hate and fear from leaving.
Adam grabbed her hand. “You have to remember that only you can stop this. Your body wants to worry, but you have to stop it. You have to fight back.”
“I can’t… I can’t fight.”
“You can! Just keep trying. If you keep fighting then it will go away quickly, but if you give up then nothing will get better. Don’t give up! Think about your past experiences, this is only temporary. It will pass.”
Tracy tried to remember and tried to fight back. Even though to her it seemed like it wasn’t working, the barrier around her was slowly dissipating. Every time she tried to give up, Adam was there to help her. The barrier was weakened slowly and surely. At the moment when she was ready to give up, it disappeared. The intense emotions attacking her began to dissipate. Her body was still shaking, but she was far better now.
“Thank you,” she said as she hugged Adam.
The others watched. They were amazed at Adam’s ability to help her.
Back on the surface, when they first met one another, they were all good friends. When Tracy had her first panic attack it had a serious effect on Adam. He researched and researched in an effort to help her. So those two had a very strong bond; a very impressive bond.
Tears welled up in Martha’s eyes. Tears for the pain Tracy had to experience. But she didn’t cry. They would all need to fight to get out of here so she needed to stay strong.
It had been so long since Tracy had last had a panic attack, that they knew of at least, and this put everyone’s minds back into perspective. They needed each other if they were going to get out of this.
No, they would get out of this. Not because they were all physically and mentally strong, but because they had one another. That is the sole key to survival.
“I’m sorry, John,” Cara said.
“I overreacted. I really don’t know why I did that,” he said weakly. He felt like a demon for what he had just done and was greatly embarrassed.
“It’s alright. Let’s just move forward from here. I promise all of you that we’ll get out of here. No matter what it takes, we’ll all get out of here alive.”
They were ready to join together and escape that place. They had overcome the freezing temperatures and feelings of hate. They were now ready to survive.