Skyscraper: Part 1

Magnus must take the opportunity to escape his confinement while he still has the chance.

Art by Josh Truesdale

Magnus must take the opportunity to escape his confinement while he still has the chance.

I looked down the dark hallway from my bench. The walls and ceiling were a glossy pitch black, and the floor tiles were polished chrome. A long purple light ran all the way down the hall along the floor, reflecting off of the tiles and projecting dull swirls onto the walls. The room had an almost threatening design, as if it were some sort of alien spacecraft. The sound of high heels hitting the hard ground alerted me to the presence of another person. A tall woman with dark hair made her way towards me, holding a glass clipboard in her arms. Her stride reminded me of that of a runway model’s, dramatically crossing one leg over the other as she walked. She silently tapped my wrist and I got up off of the bench to follow her. The woman led me through the mysterious hallway and pressed her hand against the wall at the very end of it. A door indistinguishable from the wall opened in front of us, and we entered a new room. 

This room was lit up by a bright, white light, though there were still no windows. The space was circular, and a long marble counter followed the wall, a surgical chair in the center. I got a much better look at the woman in the light. She wore violet scrubs, a stethoscope around her neck, and a modern-looking watch with a complicated screen on her wrist. She gave me a fake smile with blindingly white teeth as she set her clipboard down on the marble counter in front of her. “Hello, Magnus. My name is Dr. Ofelia.”

She pointed to the chair, and I sat down in it. “What is this room?”

“It is one of our many procedure rooms. Once we are able to resolve whatever problems you are facing, you’ll be free to be escorted back to your room.” 

To my left was a guard I hadn’t noticed before. He stood well above me and Dr. Ofelia, who was about six feet herself. He held a large, scoped rifle that seemed all too menacing for a doctor’s office. “Why is he here?”

“Standard practice,” she answered nonchalantly. “The safety of our patients is our top priority.”

“Yes. Okay,” I said, looking down at the metal band that held my wrists together. Being bound for so long was making them sore, but I suppose it was better than being in my lonely room. Dr. Ofelia settled into a rolling chair and pushed herself beside me. She pressed her hand onto my chest, forcing me into a lying position, and proceeded to buckle a strap over my waist and arms, holding me in place. She pulled a rolling metal cart to her side, but I couldn’t see what was on top of it. She picked up her clipboard again and looked down at me.

“Magnus Warston. You are thirty-one years of age, you weigh one hundred and eighty-six pounds, and you are five feet, ten inches tall. Is this information correct?”

I struggled against the restraints. “Yes, it is.”

The soldier tapped the back of my chair with the butt of his rifle as Dr. Ofelia frowned at me. “Please remain still throughout the procedure.”

My mind was getting cloudier the longer I struggled, so I stopped moving altogether. “I will do so.”

She signaled to the guard to come to her and whispered something into his ear. He nodded his head then promptly left the room. She put the clipboard down again. I could tell that she was naturally indecisive. “Have you been feeling okay, Magnus?”

“Yes, I have. Thank you for asking.”

“Are you sure you haven’t been experiencing anything?”

My blood went cold for a second. “NO– I have been feeling a little bit out of it lately”

She was visibly confused for a moment, but then returned to our conversation. “We’ll be fixing that today. Do you know what the procedure is?”

“Yes I beli-E-eve I do.”

“Has this been happening for a while?”

“What, exactly?”

“Your stutters,” she positioned her pen above her clipboard. “Are they new?”

I banged my head against the seat, and my hands twitched. “They– NO– are not.”

“Interesting, I’ll have that fixed for you. Remember to refrain from moving at all times,” she turned to the cart, and picked up a thick tube. She squeezed its contents, a blue cream, onto the palm of her hand and rubbed it into my forehead. Within seconds my entire upper body was numb. “We will now begin the procedure, Magnus.” 

Dr. Ofelia wiped a cold, wet piece of fabric on my neck, sanitizing my skin. With a marker, she then made marks on me, indicating where the procedure that she vaguely mentioned was going to take place. I watched her face as she worked, my restricted movement stirring up some anxiety within myself. As she brought a scalpel towards my neck, I struggled in my restraints, causing her to back away. The cloudiness returned and I could feel myself losing consciousness, so I stopped for a moment. Dr. Ofelia moved back towards me, but she was still unable to make an incision, as I jerked in my chair violently. She pushed her rolling stool towards the wall and pressed a button on it before speaking into a small mic. “SP #211, please hurry back as quickly as you can. Subject Twenty is running low on Panacea.”

I continued shaking my body as my eyesight went blurry and my mind tried to shut itself off, though the adverse effects to my resistance were becoming weaker. I finally stopped my movements again, and I could see normally after just a few moments. I turned to Dr. Ofelia, who was clearly terrified. “Magnus. REFRAIN FROM MOVING.”

“Yes, Dr. Ofelia. I’m sorry, Dr. Ofelia.”

“Thank you.”

My blood went cold again, and my entire body shook, but this time, loss of consciousness didn’t seem so plausible. The effects were almost gone. My voice started quivering, and I couldn’t say anything normal. “Yes, Dr. Ofe– STOP– I will comply with– DON’T TOUCH ME– I apologize– NO–”

The guard opened the door and rushed into the room, handing her a syringe. “Magnus, hold still!”

“GET THAT AWAY FROM ME!” The more I resisted, the freer I was. Suddenly, I could talk normally again. “LEAVE ME ALONE! LET ME GO!”

Dr. Ofelia raised her arm and brought the syringe down towards me. I moved my entire body, almost tipping the chair, and the needle lodged into the fabric next to my torso. I shifted my body back, breaking the glass of the syringe with my side before she could pull it out. A black liquid sprayed her, and she screamed, falling off of her stool. The guard trained his gun on me, but I flipped the chair over onto its side, a bullet ripping through it and barely missing my head. The band holding me down snapped off of the seat and I lunged at the guard, catching him by surprise. With one quick twist, he was unmoving on the floor. I turned to Dr. Ofelia, who was cowering in the corner of the room. Her skin was covered in stains from the fluid that sprayed her. Before I could say or do anything, she did something to her watch and an alarm sounded.

I picked up and tossed the surgical chair across the room at the doctor, crushing her against the counter. It bounced off of her, and she collapsed onto the ground. The chair had felt weightless, and it was that realization that catalysed the return of my memories. I slammed my fist into the wall, breaking whatever mechanism controlled the door, and ran out into the hallway. The remnants of my wrist restraints dangled from my arms, so I ripped the metal cuffs off as I bounded down the hall. I couldn’t believe it, the Panacea that had suppressed my mind had faltered. I was becoming more aware of my surroundings the longer I was fully conscious, and I finally realized that I had no idea where I was or how I got there. What I did know was that I was an abnormality. Perhaps that would help me get out of whatever building I was in. Perhaps that was the reason I was there.

I could hear footsteps coming up the stairs to my right, so I continued past them. Further down the hall were numerous elevators that could only be opened with a keycard. I panicked for a few moments, but then, as if on cue, one of them opened as a man in violet scrubs stepped out. I pushed him out of the way, sending him to the floor with great force, and stepped into the elevator. A screen over the doors read “Floor 102”. I had seen no windows, so I was surprised to learn that I was so high in the sky. I followed the numbered buttons down the panel, clicked the one labeled “Lobby”, and I was off.