‘Welcome to the…’ the double doors swish open before you can read the rest of the sign emblazoned across them and you stumble forward onto a deep coir doormat where a homely-looking nurse in a crisp white uniform stands waiting, clipboard in hand.
‘You must sign in,’ she says, taking you firmly by the elbow and propelling you towards a large wooden desk where an unsmiling administrator slides a sheet of paper across the polished surface towards you; the nurse thrusts a pen into your hand and for a moment you’re not sure what to do; you stare at the form but the words slide off the page and tumble into oblivion.
‘Just sign it, we have your details,’ instructs the unsmiling administrator; the homely-looking nurse stabs the form with a forefinger, so you submit a faint fragile scribble that seems to satisfy them.
The nurse whisks the pen from your fingers and indicates that you should follow her down a blank corridor lined with unlabelled doors, offering no clue as to what might lie behind them; you have no alternative than to comply, although you have no idea where you are or why you are here, so you shuffle along after her until finally she comes to a halt and opens a door.
She ushers you into a clean, compact dorm room: ‘Your new clothes are on the bed,’ she gives you a little shove then withdraws.
The key turns in the lock and her footsteps fade into silence.
Photo credit: Scott Webb on Unsplash
The Facility is a new short story series, written in response to two challenges: