Always the End

You awake on the floor of a nearly empty room, empty except for a cracked plastic box a dirty beige color, your mind fogged with the residue of last night. For an instant you stare up at the ceiling, waiting for memory to come trickling back, to tell you where you are, to make familiar the walls, the ceiling, the narrow and translucent windows. It doesn’t; you’ve never seen this room before, with its unpainted walls and flickering computer terminal.

If you want to go back to sleep, read below.

Passing out brought you here, maybe passing out will take you home again. It seems worthwhile, or at least you can’t think of anything better to do, so you roll over and plunge again into that sleep heavy and bruised with the last lingering taste of whiskey.

When you wake up again the light through the windows has changed. You aren’t certain, but you think before it was sunlight and now it’s coming from the streetlights. The room is darker, and the green light of the computer terminal plays over the gray and white of the drywall, making monsters and animals out of the seams.

Your head is clear now, but you still don’t have any idea where you are or what you’re doing.

If you want to investigate the computer terminal, read below.

The terminal is old, older than any you’ve ever seen before, the kind of terminal that you see sometimes in old movies; the kind of terminal that seizes control of the missiles and threatens world war, amber text on a black background. A single line of text flashes on the screen, with a prompt underneath it, like this:



You stare for a while at the cursor, waiting for an inspiration.