Author: Vruti Naik
I remember pressing the correct button to reach the fourth floor where my father was admitted. I always dreaded hospitals and moreover, these elevators. As the elevator ascended, something went wrong. It accelerated with an unnerving speed, triggering my childhood fear of closed spaces and elevators. Claustrophobia gripped me, I reminded myself to breathe, desperately trying to calm my rising anxiety.
Finally, the elevator jerked to a halt, its doors sliding open. It seemed like a glitch, and I hurriedly fled into the unfamiliar corridor. The floor appeared new, devoid of any signs of human presence. Thirsty and gasping for air, I drank the last drops of water from my bottle. As my nerves settled, I scanned the surroundings, searching for an escape route. The thought of entering the malfunctioning elevator again sent shivers down my spine. Then, a ray of hope emerged—an illuminated room with shadows seeping from beneath its closed door. Desperate for assistance, I barged inside.
Inside the room, I saw a group of people, but they were unlike any patients I had seen before. Instead of illness, they displayed an eerie devotion, sitting in a vast circle on the floor. Their unified chant filled the air, while a figure in the centre manipulated an enigmatic device resembling a tablet or a detachable screen from a laptop.
Curiosity mingled with unease as I observed the entranced individuals. Strangely, they didn’t acknowledge my presence, their focus unwaveringly fixed on the tablet. I stood there, captivated by their mystifying rituals until an abrupt clarity jolted me from my daze. I needed to find my way to the ward where my father awaited me. With trepidation, I interrupted their chanting, calling out for directions. The figure in the centre turned his gaze towards me, unveiling captivating, luminescent green eyes—an otherworldly sight that ignited a mixture of awe and dread.
“You don’t belong here!” his voice resonated, sending chills down my spine. Panic surged through me, intensifying my anxiety. “Get out!” he commanded, his eyes aflame with an unknown fury. I apologized hastily and fled from the room, seeking solace by the doorway. Through the narrow opening, I glimpsed the worshippers, their chant persisting until the tablet emitted a piercing beep, plunging the room into darkness. To my astonishment, a figure emerged from the device, materializing before my eyes. It stood tall, a fusion of human and machine, defying the bounds of reality. My mind reeled, grappling to comprehend this impossible phenomenon—had I stumbled into a futuristic dimension?
The amalgamation of flesh and metal addressed the congregated worshippers, uttering cryptic words. “It’s time,” it declared, shattering the trance that had held them captive. Transfixed, I sensed a primal urge to escape, survival instincts taking hold. I fled, propelled by an inexplicable force, the memory of that encounter etched deeply into my mind. I struggled to recount the events to the hospital authorities, only to be dismissed as a deluded hallucinator, a victim of medication-induced fantasies. The guards’ mocking laughter echoed in my ears, and my father was eventually sent home, fading memories of that bewildering day.
Yet, lingering questions persist. Who were those worshippers? What was the significance of the enigmatic figure emerging from the tablet? Did I witness the dawn of a technological revolution or an otherworldly visitation? Regrettably, answers elude me, forever trapped within the confines of uncertainty.