As if determined to break through this terrifying barrier and gain freedom, all three people who were trapped in their own space brushed aside their fear and dashed forward–with one not experiencing fear but knowing he was right from the beginning about being in a dream. They knew they wanted to get out, to escape from this unfamiliar place. They would not want to associate themselves with this strange space any longer. They did not want to make it into their new habitat.

And as if determination was the answer, they finally succeeded. All three gasped as they found themselves in a white room. All four walls were white, plastered walls. The ground was marbled white. It was like a living room, extending itself and overflowing into the remaining of the house with one path showing the stairs leading up to the second floor. Another side showed a kitchen. Everything was white. So white and bright. Even the chandelier hanging above was crystal white. So different, so foreign to their previous surroundings. And unlike the thick eerie, suffocating mood created in the other atmosphere, this one projected a placid yet heart-warming feeling.

When they were finally done with exploring the new surroundings, they turned to regard one another. Even though they had bumped into one another when the scenery changed, but they were so absorbed in their alertness to the scene itself that they had neglected the others who seemed to be suffering from the same obstacle as them.

“Who are you?” All three asked at the same time.

Another set of silent stares.

“I asked you first,” The three continued with their interrogation.

Their faces all show traces of fear and discomfort. Yet the guy with the confident air recovered first, showing traces of impatience more than fear.

“I’ll go first,” The confident guy said. “I’m Vic.”

“Janine,” The girl replied.

“Kai,” The fisherman said.

They stared at the new habitat with cautious eyes. It looked promising. But that did not mean it was.

“Where in the world are we anyway?” Kai asked when they were done with another round of inspecting the place.

“I don’t know,” Vic replied. “I thought I was dreaming. But I couldn’t wake up from it. And to think that walking through that door would mean waking up.”

“I thought my brother was playing a trick on me,” Janine said. “But this…” She gestured with her hand. “It’s just…weird.”

“This means whatever this is, we can’t get out?” Kai asked, his eyes darting to find a door, anything.

Vic could see the fear in Janine’s eyes. He wanted to comfort her and tell her that they would find a way out. Yet words had escaped him at the moment. It was not like he could do that. It was too much of a stretch and leaning toward lying. He had no idea how to escape. Then he wondered if it was really a dream. Because how could he control so much of his emotion if it was? But if it was not, then… That was when he remembered and turned to Kai.

“You were involved in the accident?”

“What?” Kai asked back, wrinkling his face. “What accident?”

“We were in an accident earlier.” Vic was responding to Kai but he was looking at Janine at the moment, wondering if he was the only one remembering about the accident.

“So we were in an accident!” Janine cried out happily–though an accident wasn’t supposed to cause such a reaction.

Vic nodded, feeling relief that she remembered.

“I remember glasses flying everywhere.”

“We were in an accident?” Kai mumbled to himself more than them.

“Yes,” Vic answered, his voice gaining even more confidence. He could remember their faces more accurately now. They had looked at each other before they passed out. So that meant they were unconscious right now? But how could they meet up then? This was ridiculous. No, it must be because he remembered their faces and had imprinted it into his mind so now he was imagining them. “You’re just my imagination, right?”

Both Kai and Janine gave him a weird look, like they had a mind of their own.

“It’s the only way that could explain why I’m the only one who could remember more than you two.”

“I remember too,” Janine defended herself.

“It’s because I want someone to remember so it proves that I’m not insane and there is really an accident.”

“Then tell us where you were headed before the accident happened,” Kai said, his voice both offended and authoritative.

“To meet up with some friends after an assignment,” Vic answered, smiling. He was actually conjuring up some answers for the other two as well, waiting for them to say those words. It would prove he was right about those two being a figment of his imagination.

“I was on the way home,” Janine responded first. “I was going to pack and head for the cabin for the weekend.”

Vic gasped silently, a response different from his expectation. Yet he reassured himself that it was a coincidence because it was indeed the weekends so if some ideas couldn’t be controlled, then it was a strange dream. Besides, he was still confident that Kai might be the one uttering out the answer he wanted to hear.

“Fishing trip,” Kai replied, his eyes on Vic.

Vic covered his face with one hand, not believing his ears. He closed his eyes again, wanting to think his way out of the place–like the last time. But he still saw Kai and Janine staring at him strangely as he opened his eyes again. He sighed out, feeling his luck draining. “This is not happening.”

“Wait…” Janine suddenly blurted out, her right hand up in the air, trying to stop them from whatever it was that they were doing–which was nothing at the moment.

“What?” Vic and Kai asked at the same time.

“I read in a book once that there’s a state in which you go through if your body shuts down and your mind takes over, letting you travel into a different universe. Maybe that’s what’s happening to us. We did go through an accident, right?”

“So we’re on some alien planet?” Vic asked, his smile mocking.

“At least I’m thinking of something,” Janine retorted.

“Whatever it is,” Kai said, not caring if the other two were at odds at the moment. “We have to figure a way out of here.”

“What are we working toward then?” Vic asked, his mood suddenly serious.

“We could rule out several things.”

“No pain,” Kai said, as if reading Vic’s mind.

Vic nodded, though he had given up on Kai being part of his imagination.

“It’s too quiet here,” Janine contributed, abandoning the disagreement she had with Vic earlier.

“Except for the static I heard earlier,” Kai pointed out.

“We can’t feel anything.”

Vic’s eyes scanned the room once more–as if by doing so, something would show up.

“Not to point fingers, but how did we get into the accident in the first place?” Janine asked, looking from Kai to Vic.

“It was raining too heavily lately,” Vic answered. “It might be that.”

Janine turned to him. “So you don’t remember everything either.”

Vic shook his head, admitting defeat.

“How about we explore this place some more?” Kai asked, directing his thumb toward the stairs behind him.

“Better stick together,” Vic said, as if reading Kai’s mind that he wanted to split up.

So they began to ascend the place. But as Vic stepped onto the first step, the stairs shook and pushed him back. His sense of balance gone, he fell back. Kai and Janine caught him by the arms in time. They took it into their hands to take several more steps back.

“So we can’t go upstairs…” Vic noted, though he did not have to say it. The others had loosened their grip on him. “Maybe the kitchen?”

The other two nodded in unison as they made their way toward that direction. Once again, they were met with weird moving waves, pushing them back into the living room.

“This is ridiculous,” Vic mumbled as they stood around the coffee table again.

Kai and Janine settled down at the sofa as Vic paced the floor.

“If we’re really unconscious,” Kai began, his eyes on the wall opposite him but his mind was wandering at the moment, trying to figure things out.

“Then we need to wake up and fast, before they declare us dead.”

“What if we are dead?” Janine asked, feeling the chills crawling up her spine.

“I don’t believe it,” Vic said, stopping his pacing and sitting down at the sofa across from the other two. “They say that when you die, your life will appear in a filmstrip or something like that. I didn’t see it. I’m sure we’re just unconscious.”

“What sci-fi book is that from?” Janine asked, an obvious payback for his mockery earlier.

“There are accounts from people who had been through near-death experiences.”

“Does it say they experience things like us then?”

Vic shook his head.

“Maybe we’re hanging between dead and alive,” Kai suggested.

“This is just too frustrating,” Janine called out, stomping on the floor in the process.

It was then that they felt a change in the atmosphere. The room shifted, changing, spinning at a maddening speed. Vic watched it carefully as Kai reached for Janine’s arm. It was like instinct to Kai in wanting to protect the other person. It was not until the room stopped spinning that Vic turned to the other two. They were still there. Kai had let go of Janine’s arm and was standing up to inspect their new prison. It was dark and eerie like how they found it when they were alone to fend off the strange place. But for some reason, the sofas and coffee table were still with them.

“Nice going,” Vic commented, but not with sarcasm. “Now we know that you could stomp out of the situation. But how could we all wake up?”

“When you were closing your eyes earlier, what were you thinking?” Kai asked, turning to Vic.

“I wanted to wake up,” Vic answered, not caring if he was being silly.

“Maybe you weren’t thinking as hard as she was.”

Vic wrinkled his face. “That means each of us has some kind of ability to get us out of here?”

Kai nodded yet his face showed signs of uncertainty.

“What’s yours then?”

“I see things. If I try hard enough, I could conjure things into being.”

Vic still had on his doubtful look. It was not like he wanted to argue with Kai. But it was just that he was having a hard time believing in their newly acquired talents. “Say…if we combine all our powers, would we wake up faster? You think it’s worth a shot?” He had been rambling on and on, but he didn’t care at the moment. It was just too…weird.

Kai didn’t reply but turned to Janine.

“It might be worth a try,” Janine agreed, knowing it was just too silly. But she also knew they have to give it a go.

“How are we going to do this then?” Vic asked, settling down on the sofa again. “On the count of three think of waking up or something?”

Kai shrugged “Sure.”

They were now all settled down at their original spot before Janine caused the room to change earlier. Vic had volunteered to count as he was getting ready, closing his eyes.

“One…” Vic began when everyone was ready. “Two…and…three…”

© Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Posted: Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

PREVIOUS CHAPTER | CONTENTS | NEXT CHAPTER