“Your one minute begins, now,” the robotic voice prompted Sarah. Frantically, the young woman began searching the barren, yet pristine room for the brass key to the chest in the room’s center.
“C’mon, c’mon!” Sarah muttered under her breathe as she rummaged through the draws of the desk. Though the room had only the chair she was previously tied to, an empty desk, and a stout bookshelf with three large volumes on its top shelf, one minute was not an adequate enough time to thoroughly search the room.
The empty desk drawers held nothing but false hope, leaving Sarah to abandon it in favor of rummaging through all three books before overturning the bookshelf itself.
“Thirty seconds remain.”
Sarah screamed in frustration. She had to find the key. She had to open the chest in order to gain both her memories and her freedom.
“Twenty seconds remain.”
Snapping herself out of her stupor, she raced back to the desk, peering underneath it, before reopening every drawer and feeling around in them, hoping the key was tied to the top or a fake compartment would-
“Ten seconds remain.”
The key wasn’t here.
Oh dear, God! Where was that f-
“Please, don’t do this!” Sarah cried, before her eyes fell on the chair-
Wait. Had she checked the-?
She raced over to the chair.
Frantically, she felt all over it.
She overturned the chair. Nothing.
Dismay took over her being, sending her crashing to the floor sobbing.
The lights in the room went dark. A feminine scream of pain resounded.
“What a shame,” Doctor Crowe remarked to a security guard in the dim surveillance room, “they never check under the chest.”
The security guard shuffled his feet, “You’re right, Boss. You know more than anybody that fear does crazy stuff to the mind,” he paused, “Isn’t that why you spent your entire life dedicated to it?”
“One of the reasons,” Doctor Crowe grinned, “Erik?”
“Um, yes, boss?” The security guard cautiously answered, debating between telling his boss that his name wasn’t Erik or keeping his job (and sanity).
“Please prepare the next subject. One of them is bound to figure out where the blasted key is.”
As the newly christened “Erik” left the room, Doctor Crowe turned back towards the monitor, where moments earlier he had witnessed the girl, he looked over to her file, Sarah, had tried to find the key. Of course, had she found the key and unlocked the chest, he had no intention of giving her her memories back. She would have only been kept around a little longer for a few more tests, before properly being disposed of. His phone went off, signalling that he had received a text. He opened the message:
Next subject is prepped. He’s unconscious and an amnesic. Should we tie him to the chair?
Doctor Crowe smiled and responded:
Of course. Then report to the observatory.
Shame his father wasn’t here to see this, though. All good experiments must start somewhere.