I’m still alive. Always good, and often a surprise.
I woke up and everything was freezing, like I gone to sleep in the room where they make the liquid nitrogen. That’s probably why I woke up, come to think of it. The fire had died down to dark coal, not even embers. I carefully poked at it, in the hope of getting it rekindled. While the coals were still a little warm, blowing on them did nothing to reignite them. Time to move on, then. I took a sheet and placed the coals in a sort of tied bag I made out of it, before hanging it around my neck so that the skin could get some of the leftover warmth. Then I extracted stolen clothes and blankets from the pile and tried to wear as much as humanly possible. I look absolutely ridiculous, and there’s no gloves, so my fingers and toes are blue and red and possibly in danger of frostbite, but on the other hand, I don’t think I’m at the ‘freezing to death’ stage so that’s good.
I think I’m getting the knack of navigating the place. The trick is not to have a specific location in mind, since the architecture will conspire to see you never get there. You just keep moving with no particular destination until you come to a place that happens to have the objects you want in it. It’s a tricky mental balancing act; putting something out of mind isn’t exactly easy, but do it too far and you’ll forget what you came for. It also looks like the Loop has to work with what’s in it; rooms can be distorted or duplicated or have their layout in relation to each other changed, but they all are recognizably from the hospital. I haven’t seen any palmy beaches in here yet, for example.
Using this technique, in fits and starts I managed to check all the exits. By this point the amount of items I had collected like a one woman katamari was getting beyond carrying capacity, so I tied it all in a bundle with one of the blankets and used a wheelchair as a pushcart. Each exit exhibited exactly the same behaviour as the lobby had. In the spirit of curiosity I threw something, I think it might have been a paperweight, through one of them. It bounced into the room beyond, and when I turned it was also lying innocently behind me as if it had always been there, despite the fact that I’d seen no movement on this side. I took a plaster from a first aid kit and stuck it on the side of the doorframe facing me. Then I stepped through and turned around. There was the plaster, and when I felt around on the other side of the doorway it was there as well.
Deciding that I liked this new glitch of reality and its possibility for duplicating objects, I dropped a chocolate bar just on the other side of the door and then turned around, before quickly looking back. Sure enough, there was a mirror image. I tried to pick both bars up.
I think I might have blacked out for a bit, since I woke up on the floor shivering with a massive headache. Still, I tried again. No luck. Now, whenever I placed and item on the other side, as soon as I observed the duplicate the original disappeared with no fanfare. Disappointed, I moved on again.
On Tilde’s advice, I smashed one of the windows. Nothing out of the unexpected happened, no alarms blaring, no sudden rush of vacuum. I cleared the rest of the glass from the frame and stuck my head out. I looked up, down and around at the endless blackness, dropped a shard of glass to watch it dwindle into nothing, and decided I wanted none of that.
There was a particularly disturbing incident that occurred during all this exploration. I opened a door to find, well, myself. It was definitely me, expect a little more hollow cheekboned, having messier hair and with trenches under her eyes. She was holding a bleeding upper arm as well as a bloodied fire axe, had several cuts and gashes, her ears were ragged and torn, and blood was running down her face, with one of her eyes screwed shut. The open one widened in surprise. We stood there just looking at each other for a second. She opened her mouth, closed it, shrugged, and then said “Risperidone. Five right, three down, start slow.”
I was framing the first syllable of “What?” when there was a yell and a thunk as something hit a wall I couldn’t see next to the other me.
“Shit!” She half turned a little, then paused. “Oh, so that’s what that was. Gotta go!” Then she unceremoniously slammed the door in my face. I just stared at it for quite a length of time. When I’d worked myself up enough to open it again, there was nothing but an ordinary room on the other side.
So that happened. I'm now holed up in a similar 'base', this time in a room without windows.