Samantha couldn’t believe her husband was gone. It was just yesterday that they were enjoying their romantic getaway together. Their first since their daughter left for college.
On their drive home, Paul had swerved to miss a deer, and had run off the road.
When she woke up, she was in the hospital. Once she was able to get up, she made her way to where her husband lay, still unconscious in his hospital bed.
After a while, she knew that she needed to make some calls, and wanted to make them before Paul awoke. She wanted to be there when he woke up.
She made her way down an empty hallway, and found a room that was unoccupied.
She pulled out her phone as she closed the door behind her. Her hand was shaking as she felt overwhelmed by all the people she needed to contact, beginning with her daughter.
Once she opened her contact list, she began to look for her daughter’s name. When she came across her husband’s name, she paused, unable to continue.
The thought of him laying unconscious on that hospital bed was more than she could bare. She wanted to send him a text so that he would know she had been thinking of him while he laid unconscious.
‘I love you, and I can’t wait for you to wake up,’ she texted.
Afterwards, she dialed her daughter’s number, but got a fast busy instead.
Must be the reception is bad, she thought.
She walked out of the room, and made her way down another hallway, trying to get a better signal.
The signal bars on her phone never increased, so she thought maybe if she went up a floor, she could get a better signal.
The next floor up seemed vacant, so she made her way into an empty room with a window.
She was about to try to call her daughter again, when she received a text notification.
She looked down and saw that it was coming from her husband’s number.
Seeing that he was awake, she quickly walked to the elevator and pressed the button.
The elevator’s bell dinged, and the door opened. She stepped inside, and pushed the floor number where her husband was one floor lower, and smiled a cautious smile as the door closed behind her.
‘Is this a sick joke? Who is this?’ her husband cryptically texted.
She worried that he may have suffered some brain damage, and wasn’t remembering everything. She didn’t want to say too much and upset him.
‘It’s me, dear. Your wife. I’ll be there in a minute,’ she texted back.
‘I don’t know who you are, but you need to stop right now!!!’ he replied.
“What is taking this stupid elevator so long?” she asked out loud.
As if on command, the elevator opened and she stepped out.
“Dammit,” she said, realizing she was still on the same floor. She clicked the correct floor number again, and exhaled her frustration as the elevator doors closed.
‘I’m stuck on the elevator one floor up,’ she texted. ‘I’m coming down as fast as I can.’
She didn’t want to come across frustrated to her husband, but she really wanted to get to him and just hold him.
‘I don’t know who you are, but you are not my wife,’ he texted back.
Now she was becoming frustrated at him, but she took a few deep breathes and double checked to make sure she was texting the right person.
The number was correct.
‘What are you talking about?’ she asked, becoming livid when the elevator doors opened again, only to reveal that it had brought her to the same floor again.
She quickly stepped out, deciding to take the stairs instead.
She made her way down the hallway towards the stair doors, when she suddenly stopped in her tracks.
A ping on her phone had alerted her of a new message, and when she read it, it sent chills down her back.
‘My wife just died,’ it read.
Samantha ran to the stair doors, shoved it open, and ran down the stairs. She went down one level, and practically exploded through the doors.
She dropped her phone as she realized that she was once again on the same floor she had just left.
What is going on? she asked herself, grabbing her hair in a mixture of horror and anger.
She ran down the hallway, turned around a corner, and found another set of stairs. She pushed through those doors, ran down, and pushed through the doors one level down.
She thought she was going crazy.
‘I must be on a different floor now,’ she thought, but all doubt left her when she nearly tripped on her phone that was laying on the floor.
Somehow, she had gone down the stairs on the other side of the floor, only to end up back where she started.
Panic started to set in, but another ping on her phone brought her back. She walked over to where her phone lay on the floor, and picked it up.
It was another message from her husband.
‘I don’t know how you got my wife’s phone, but I’d like it back please. We were just in an accident, and that phone has some memories on it I don’t want to lose,’ the text read.
Her eyes filled with tears.
“I’m not dead,” she whispered.
‘I’m not dead. I’m just one floor up. I’ve been trying to get back down to see you, but I can’t find the way,’ she texted back.
The silence seemed to go on forever as she waited for a reply from her husband.
‘Just tell me where the phone is, and I won’t get the police involved,’ the text read.
She was starting to get desperate.
What is going on? She asked herself.
She started to walk down the hallway, trying every door to see where they might lead.
There has to be a way out, she thought.
Every door was locked. Even the one to the room she had been in earlier.
She was about to give up, when she saw a new door at the end of the hallway. Whatever was on the other side of the door, it was bright. Light was escaping through the cracks of the doorframe.
She stood frozen from fear. She didn’t even want to go near that door, so she turned to walk a different direction, but when she did, the door once again stood before her, down the hallway in the other direction.
She had never felt as alone as she did now. She didn’t care if her husband believed it was her or not, she needed him.
‘I’m scared,’ she texted. ‘I’m trapped and I can’t get back to you!’
She leaned against the wall behind her, sliding down and sitting on the floor. She just sat there staring at the bright door down the hall.
Her phone pinged.
‘Where are you?’ he asked.
Her heart raced at the thought of her husband finding her and saving her.
‘I’m one floor up,” she texted, standing back up, hopeful.
She stared at the door she had come through, waiting for him.
Time ticked away as she waited for him to appear. Tired of waiting, she ran to the door to meet him.
Once she was there, she opened the door, hoping to see her husband running up the stairs.
She looked down, but didn’t see him. She was tempted to run down the stairs herself, but she didn’t want to accidently become more lost.
When she didn’t see him, she started to worry.
‘Where are you?’ she texted
A few moments passed and he replied, ‘I went up a floor, but I don’t see you anywhere.’
Just as she started to become optimistic that he was a least beginning to believe her, he texted again.
‘I don’t know who this is, or why you’re messing with me, but I’m done playing your game,’ it read.
“It’s not a game!” she screamed, and then she texted the same.
Her heart ached as time passed without a reply.
She didn’t know what to do next, so she sat back down and stared at the bright door ahead of her.
Maybe I am dead, she thought, considering to just walk through that door and see what happened.
Sitting there, staring at the door, she made up her mind. Anything was better than the loneliness she was feeling at that moment. At this point, she’d rather disappear to nothing, than spend an eternity on this hospital floor waiting for someone to show up.
Overcoming her fear, she stood up and walked towards the door.
This is it, she thought. This is the end.
She had always hoped that when the time came, she wouldn’t find herself alone when she passed to the other side.
Now, as she walked towards the door, she was sad that the end of her existence would be her walking alone down a dark hallway.
“Sam!” she heard as she reached to open the door with the bright light behind it.
She whirled around, seeing her husband standing at the other end of the hallway. She ran to him, and jumped into his arms.
Tears streamed down both their faces as they hugged each other.
“I didn’t think you’d be able to find me,” she whispered in his ear.
“I don’t know how I did,” he replied.
They broke their hug, and looked into each other’s eyes.
“I saw you lying there on the hospital bed….dead,” he started, tears welling up in his eyes.
“I was about to talk to the doctors to start making arraignments, when I got that first text from you. I almost threw my phone across the room, thinking someone had stolen your phone, and was messing with me.
“When I finally decided to confront whoever had your phone, I went to the elevator and went up a floor. I walked around, expecting to find who had taken your phone around every corner. When I decided it was some kind of sick joke, I tried to make my way back downstairs.
“The elevator kept bringing me back to the same floor, so I decided to take the stairs, but the same thing happened. I just kept ending up on the same floor.
“I was about to start freaking out when I heard you scream something about it not being a game around the corner.
“When I came around, there you were, about to walk through this door.”
Comprehension filled her, and while she was happy to have her husband, she was sad now that she knew the truth.
Afraid to tell him, but knowing she had to, she said, “Honey. I don’t think either of us survived that crash.”
He gently pulled away from her, not wanting to believe her, but knowing she was right.
“How do you know?” he asked.
She put it together for him.
“Since I came up to this floor, I haven’t seen anyone else. I can’t leave this floor. Now, all the doors are locked, but this one,” she told him.
She pointed to the door with the bright light coming through the cracks.
She took his hands in hers.
“At least we won’t have to pass alone,” she said smiling at him, with tears in her eyes.
Ready to face whatever awaited them, they turned towards the door.
“Wait,” she said.
She pulled out her phone and texted, “Daddy and I love you, sweetheart.”
She wanted to say so much more, but there was only so much you could put into a text.
They waited for a response, and as timed passed and none came, she laid the phone down on a chair in the hallway.
She grabbed her husband’s hand, and together they walked through the door.
Her phone, laying on the chair, pinged.
‘I love you too!’ the reply read.