By Zahid Zaman

The hallway was light and artificial. The bright white lights shone down incessantly, unwavering in their glare. No wind moved through the corridor of the hotel, everything was deathly silent. The doors stood next to each other all in silent salute to the odd haunting stiffness of the environment. Each door looked like the other except in the set of metal numbers affixed across the doors surface.

The corridor stretched of into the distance as far as the eye could see, at some points the doors branched off but it was only possible to see this if you were standing at the intersection. The hotel had a geometric perfectness to it, everything seemed ordered and in its place. The barren white floor reflected the bright white lights from the white ceiling. The lights were circular and small and etched into the ceiling of the hotel as if placed there by a perfect hand.

Everything was so still and silent -but there was movement, along the corridors walked metallic humanoid forms, their feet seeming to make little or no sound on the barren white floor, just the dull thud of metal against something indefinable.

The metallic humanoids were a silvery white; they carried a gun shaped weapon in their hands. They walked mechanically up and down the corridors like wind up dolls. These sentinels; these guardians of the hotel –if that’s what they were -had guarded here for eons, no one knew how long, it was as if time was an alien entity here.


Jade Lia awoke, the room was covered in darkness. Her small fragile body seemed dwarfed in the duvet of the bed, yet it wasn’t an uncomfortable feeling. She felt cosy and fuzzy and warm all over, but there was something in the back of her head, which was nagging her. Where was he? Who? her mind answered back; she didn’t know. Someone was missing and she had to find them, she just had to, and she would even if it took an eternity –it was that important to her.

She sat up the short gold locks of her hair falling just below her neckline, there was a smell in the air, the faint distant smell of lavender.

Suddenly her blood ran cold as outside she heard a sound that sent shivers running down her spine. A dull thudding sound -metal against a surface she wasn’t sure about, then it was gone. Why would the sound instill so much fear in her? Had she heard the sound before, she might have but she couldn’t be sure. It seemed everything was so normal as if she had been here a thousand times before and at the same time so unique and new. What the hell was going on?

She slowly climbed out of the single bed, feeling slightly warm and fuzzy again now as the metallic thudding had gone.

She realized she had her thin skirt on which fell just below the knee line, her top – a thin pink jacket, worn open and over a plain white t-shirt hugged her chest and curves. The clothes moved in tandem with her body as she navigated herself by the light of the corridor, which shone from under the door. Now she moved over to where the light switch should be, found it and pressed.

Nothing. The room remained in almost complete darkness. There was no light in this room, just as there were no windows or even flowers on the table. Everything about this place spoke of mechanized artificiality and an odd strange surrealness. Where the hell was she? And where had she come from?

She stood by the door listening, fearing, her breath came in short gasps which she slowly with an effort of will controlled and got back to normal. She tightened her hand on the doorknob and slowly turned. White artificial light streamed into the room through the small gap. She squinted unable to see anything.

After several moments her eyesight adjusted and she saw the door on the opposite side of the hallway, it had the number 7397 in metal printed across its top. The air was artificial but not stale, she breathed deeply as she orientated herself. She looked in the distance and saw a small humanoid figure, its feet moving in a mechanized fashion.


The sound seemed to be coming from her right, she looked in that direction and knew instantly that it was him, the person she had been searching for. She shut the door behind her and headed down the corridor. The sound was in her mind, she knew that but yet it could still lead her to where she needed to go. How far was it, it seemed so faint.

As she neared an intersection she heard the dull metallic thudding on the ground of one of the humanoid robots, she quickly grabbed the doorknob of the nearest room and dived in.

She waited the sound came closer and closer. Her breath stopped, a bead of sweat dripped from her brow onto the carpet and from the light shining underneath the doorway she saw it glisten.

Suddenly the footsteps were outside her room, a long shadow covered the doorway. The hairs on her porcelain white neck stood on end. The robot waited for what seemed like an eternity and then fear ran through her as the doorknob slowly turned. The door opened inwards, a quarter – a half -and then stopped.

The red eyes of the machine scanned the room, even in the pitch-blackness they saw perfectly, but they saw nothing. The door slowly closed and the robot moved on. Jade Lia heard the robots dull metallic footsteps echo into the distance and didn’t dare to breath or move until they were far far away.

Jade Lia had felt the buzz of the robots body from behind the door and had noticed the cut crisp movements of the machine as it had opened the door; fear had ran through her then but now she breathed deeply. She was safe again.


The words were in her mind again, urgent but somehow stronger. She was getting closer. She just knew she was.

After a short while she set of again, all the time listening out for the sound of the footsteps. She came to an intersection and heard the voice in her head. It was strange even though it was in her head the voice seemed to come from a certain direction. She made a few turns and the voice seemed to be getting stronger.

How long had she been running for? She didn’t know but she thought it was strange just like the robotic machines her body and mind never tired in this place. Where the hell was she and whom was she searching for? All she knew is her questions would be answered when she found him.

As Jade Lia ran, a door opened in front of her and a robot stepped out, gun in hand. Everything seemed to pause and move in slow motion, her feet scraped on the floor. She was caught like a deer in the headlights. A voice –harsh and computerized echoed down the corridor.

‘Die human!’

There was a flash of light and then nothing.


She found herself spinning and falling, there was no time here. She was in darkness, in the distance she could see a small tunnel of light and she was heading towards it. Her mind and body spun as she flew. Where had she come from? Where was she going?


Jade Lia awoke, the room was covered in darkness, her small fragile body seemed dwarved in the duvet of the bed yet it wasn’t an uncomfortable feeling, she felt cosy and fuzzy and warm all over, but there was something in the back of her head which was nagging her.

The carpet, had she laid that carpet yet; the bottom of her stairs were bare and the carpet needed laying. She knew it was a menial task but it had to be done. She would call someone to do it when she got back from work.

She entered her on suite bathroom and showered. She felt refreshed and revitalized after her shower. Half an hour later she was at the train station waiting to go to work.


A faint echo in her mind, something left over from her dream maybe. She ignored it but it sent a shiver down her spine.

The train arrived and she got on. She sat reading her paper that she had bought from the newsagents earlier. The lights went out as the train entered a tunnel.


Jade Lia awoke, the room was covered in darkness, her small fragile body seemed dwarfed in the duvet of the bed….


She sat up with a start, that voice she had heard it before but where. She got out of bed and made her way by the light coming from underneath the door to where the light switch should be and pressed but nothing happened. The voice came again urgent and desperate.


She opened the door and stepped out into the harsh brutal white light.

She looked at her clothes and realized she was wearing a black top with grey brown trousers. Her bra seductively peeped out of the top of her left shoulder. The black top left the small of her back visible and just peeping out were her satin knickers.

All of her 5’3 body was toned and smooth, a beautiful tanned dark brown in colour, the curves of her waist and hips stood out exquisitely. Her long thin arms -lithe and pliable lay by her sides

She was stunning she was absolutely gorgeous but there was no one to comment on this likeness.

She headed in the direction of the voice.


Wade awoke, he felt warm and fuzzy all over and his 5’3 body was dwarfed by the duvet of the single bed. He knew he was wearing a white t-shirt with red squares across its center and faded denim jeans. His hair was cropped short and black. He had wide generous lips in a tight circle of a mouth and a broad strong nose next to low cheek bones. His skin was dark -a light brown all over.

He tried to move but felt himself paralyzed –he couldn’t move. Fear gripped him as he struggled but it was no use his body wouldn’t respond. The duvet seemed tight and claustrophobic all of a sudden, he tried with all his effort to get it of him but couldn’t. He needed help but who would help him. Jade Lia, she could help him, but who was she? Where was she? It was as if he had known her in another life or even in a dream maybe. His mind screamed.


He wasn’t sure if his call would be heeded but he prayed it would.

He felt the oppressive heat of the duvet and the darkness of the room and heard the continuous sound of dull metallic footsteps walk past his room and echo into the distance. He knew the corridor outside his room was covered in white and the air was artificial but not stale. The hotel had everything it needed and only needed everything it had.


The train came out of the tunnel and the light returned. Jade liked the tunnels they gave her a slight thrill of danger but this time the tunnel was different, it had reminded her of something oppressive and claustrophobic. She involuntarily shivered as if to wipe of the uneasy feeling from her small and perfectly formed petite body.

The train arrived at her destination, and paper and briefcase in hand she got up and left. It was a ten-minute walk to her work place. She walked moving her head up and down and her feet falling softly on the ground in front of her –like a little girl.


The hallway was bright and white and totally barren except for the doors situated on either side. She ran at a trot; sweat dripping from her brow and on her back and yet all the time never tiring. She would find him! She would.

She came to a doorway, this was different there were no corridors which branched to the left or right, just one large door in front of her. She had never been here before and wasn’t sure what she would find beyond the doorway but she took a deep breath and entered.

The room was completely bare and white except for one thing, in the room was a silvery metallic female shape. At the other end of the room there were two doors. The robot stood in front of these doors.

‘Welcome Jade Lia,’ said the robotic woman in a metallic computerized voice.

‘Who are you?’

‘I am the hotels computer. I know what you have been searching for. The door on your left will take you to the person you have been searching for, for so long’ She said with a nod of her head in that direction ‘But the door on your right will take you to another world, some think the real world. However without you and Wade this hotel will have no purpose and therefore cease to exist,’ She paused hesitantly ‘I will cease to exist,’



‘I must free him,’ Jade Lia said without hesitation ‘I will take the door on the left,’

‘The choice is yours,’ Again the artificial metallic computerized voice, ‘But one question, do you think this is the real world or do you think this might be a dream and if so how would you know if you were dreaming or not,’

Jade Lia thought about it for a moment and then said

‘I don’t know,’

‘It’s very interesting,’ said the hotels computer as she stepped out of the way of the doors.

‘Please enter the doorway of your choice,’

Jade Lia stepped forward.

She opened the door and knew he was. She walked into the dark oppressive coolness of the room and pulled of the duvet. His eyes were closed but blinked minutely as he tried to wake himself. She knew he was trying to speak but couldn’t. She learnt over and placed her lips on his, the kiss was soft and gentle and sent a thrill of ecstasy through both of them. He opened his eyes. This is what it had all been about, this was why they were both here in this hellish nightmare. Love. True love would set them both free.

Everything suddenly went white and started to spin, their bodies joined together as one; pure ecstasy coursed through their minds. They were still in the hotel but in the single bed now, making love. Which went on and on for eternity.


Jade Lia arrived at work, she sat at her desk and took a deep breath. She felt good it was as if something had resolved itself in her mind but wasn’t sure what. She took her papers out of her briefcase and read them.

Suddenly everything started to spin and turn white.

Jade Lia awoke, the room was covered in darkness, her small fragile body seemed dwarved in the duvet… but there was something in the back of her head, which was nagging her.

The carpet had she laid that carpet yet…her stairs were bare…she knew it was a menial task but it had to be done.

She remembered her dream of sitting at her desk and laughed a small bubbly laugh, reality and dreams seemed so easy to mix up, and she wondered were her dreams the real world and this world a dream or was she having a dream within a dream.


Jade Lia awoke, the room was covered in darkness, her small fragile body seemed dwarfed in the duvet of the bed….

She had been here before and knew it. This was real this was the only reality she knew; she had made her choice, but sometimes as she ran on and ran she would have an odd daydream that she lived in another world. A world with lots of people and strange huge snake like vehicles which she could climb onto everyday to go somewhere, but where? Her daydreams were so strange, she laughed a small bubbly laugh and put the thought of her day dream to the back of her mind and ran.

The End

Copyright © 2004 by Zahid Zaman




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