The elevator doors opened with a muted mechanical whirl. Expanding beyond the doors was a softly-lit hallway, stretching on for what appeared to be miles. Dozens of mahogany doors lined the hall, each assigned a random number listed on a small rectangular plate. There were no signs of life except for the girl that stood in the elevator.
The girl had no clue where she was. She didn’t recognize the hall, nor had any memory of stepping foot inside an elevator in the first place. In fact, she didn’t have any memories at all. The only thing she seemed to remember was her name, Melody.
She lifted her foot to take a step, but something held her back. She pondered whether she should try to get to the first floor of the building and try to leave, or simply stay where she was.
She turned towards the panel on the inside of the elevator. There were no buttons that led to other floors. There was only a single red button located directly in the center.
She extended a shaky hand towards the button, but quickly curled it into a fist. She couldn’t help but feel it was strange that all the typical buttons were absent. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she wondered if this button was some sort of trick. Something like an outlandish fire alarm.
Melody sighed. Seeing no other options, she stepped out of the elevator and into the mysterious hallway. With another ding, the doors automatically rolled shut behind her. Unsurprisingly, there was no panel of floor-level buttons on the outside, either. She was confined to this hall.
The girl cautiously tiptoed down the hall. Despite having no recollection of her situation, she felt strangely calm. She knew she wasn’t in immediate danger, like she could somehow sense it deep in the back of her mind.
She glanced at the tiny plate on the door to her left. It read “WHITE ROOM.” The door to her right read “BLACK ROOM.” Up ahead on the left read “RED ROOM.”
The labelling was entirely confusing for her, but she decided against thinking about it too hard. Seeing that no one else was around, clearly she wouldn’t get a satisfying answer from anyone but herself. With nowhere else to go except further down the hall of doors, she knew she had to pick a room to enter. She glanced at all the plates once more, taking in her options. Somehow, “BLACK ROOM” and “GRAY ROOM” seemed utterly unappealing to her. Something in the back of her mind told her not to enter.
She stared at the words “WHITE ROOM.” They seemed to call out to her, in a way, inviting her to go in. That, and it was the closest door. Melody reached for the handle.
“Are you sure about that?”
Ripping her hand from the door, she spun around, frantically searching for the source of the voice. “Who said that? Hello?”
There was no response.
The girl peered down the hallway, carefully studying the farthest point. She couldn’t see anyone. Not even a shadow. She turned towards the elevator, but still there was no one. She shook her head, trying to get her bearings.
She reached for the door again. Closing her fist around the knob, she began to turn it, slowly.
“Are you sure about that?”
She backed away from the door, her heart beating loudly in her chest. “Seriously, who was that? Where are you?”
“Very funny,” she sighed. “That’s fine. Don’t answer, but I’m just going to pretend I didn’t hear you.” She felt ridiculous speaking out loud. She was certain she was completely alone, despite hearing the voice.
Once more, she reached for the door handle. She closed her hand around the knob, and without a second thought, yanked it open.
Blinding phosphorescent light flooded into the hallway. The girl shielded her eyes with her hands, backing away into the hallway. Only she wasn’t in the hallway anymore. She was somewhere else entirely.
“Welcome,” she heard a familiar silvery voice say. It was the same one from before in the hallway.
“That was you just now?” asked Melody. She opened her eyes and found herself in the middle of what appeared to be a typical family room, complete with towering bookcases, a plush sofa, a tea table, and twin end tables. Despite being unable to recall her memories, it was a completely familiar setting to Melody, save for the fact that all of the furniture was snow-white in color.
She immediately understood why it was called the White Room.
The source of the voice, a middle-aged man, was seated on the sofa. He stood out fiercely from the rest of the room. He gave a pleasant smile. “Yes, I suppose you could say that,”
“And what does that mean?”
There was a pause. “Whatever you wish it to mean.”
“Cryptic,” said the girl. She took a few steps forward, taking in the pure whiteness of the room. Earlier, she was convinced she was in a hotel of sorts, but she was starting to change her mind. What business would a hotel have with such a place?
She allowed herself to quickly study the man. He matched the room in terms of physical appearance. His frosty hair was perfectly shaped, his face clean shaven, his eyes clear and welcoming. He was wearing an elegant white suit complete with an ivory top hat. He sat somewhat reclined on the sofa, casually sipping away at a teacup every now and then.
“You didn’t push the button,” he said. “In the elevator.”
“No. I didn’t,” replied the girl, eyeing the tea. Her eyes trailed towards the round tea table, which held an elaborate tray fit for an afternoon tea party. There was only one cup on the tray.
“Do you remember your name?” asked the man as he reached for the tray. He began pouring hot water from the kettle over the teabag in the cup.
“Melody. Do you have a name?”
“I do, but I won’t be giving it up so easily,”
She was stunned. “Well I--”
He winked, returning to the cup. He plopped three cubes of sugar into the tea. “Quite a few people fail to resist the temptation of what that button may entail,”
“Oh? What does it do?”
“You could say it...ends things. But I suppose you’ll never truly know.” He mixed the tea with an ornate spoon from the tray.
Melody sighed, feeling defeated. “I guess not. So, are you going to tell me where I am or what I’m doing here?”
“First, tell me why you chose the door you did,”
“Does it have to be a good reason?”
“There is no such thing as a good reason,”
“I chose this door because it was, well, the closest to me,” She studied her hands, feeling slightly embarrassed. “That, and it sort of just seemed...right.
“Interesting. Did you take all of the rooms in the hall into consideration? And I do mean all of them.”
“No. They’re all named after colors, right? So I didn’t really think there was any point in doing so.”
The man nodded. He lifted up the cup, gesturing towards it with his other hand. “Care for some tea?”
Up until that moment, Melody hadn’t realized how thirsty she was feeling. She slowly approached the man, then gratefully accepted the cup. She took a sip. It was made perfectly to her tastes.
She wasn’t sure if it would be welcomed, but she decided to sit down on the sofa. She sat perched forward, being extra careful to avoid spilling the contents of her cup. The man made no reaction whatsoever.
“How about we play a game?” he asked. He pulled a deck of cards from the inner pocket of his suit.
“Cards? I don't think I know any card games,” said Melody. She tapped her forehead. "Memories, remember?"
The man gave an amused sort of smile. "That's right. Let's see...how about a simple game, then?" He stared into her eyes for a moment. Melody felt sheepish, but didn't look away.
Seconds later, it was as if a switch flipped in her mind. Her eyes lit up. "Oh! How about Go Fish? I think I know how to play that,"
His smile was more radiant than ever. “Go Fish it is, then,” He began shuffling the deck, then made two piles of seven cards. He handed Melody one of the piles, then placed the remaining stack in the space between them on the sofa. “Why don’t we make a rule? Anytime you make a match, you may ask me a question. Any question. Anytime I make a match, vice versa. First to four matches wins.”
Excitement swelled within her with the possibility of finally getting some answers. “Sounds good to me. Though you already asked me some questions earlier,”
“I did, but let’s just say those don’t count.”
(TO BE CONTINUED: Let me know if the premise is strong enough to keep developing! Thank you!)