We are the truth. The only truth.
These words echoed in my head over and over again. At first it was my own voice but it seemed to echo over and over again. Then I heard the voices of Reiden and Mira begin to emerge. It was a cacophony of voices all speaking at once. Truth.
But what was the truth?
That’s what I was here to figure out right? Right? Yeah. The truth. The truth was behind the wooden door painted scarlet. That was the way out. That’s the way I was going to find out the truth. All I had to do was open the door and find out what was behind it. But I couldn’t do that here.
I felt myself get lost. But could I even get lost? I wasn’t moving. I was just thinking. Lost in thought. Lost in space. Distant from my own body and my own memories. So many moments were burned into my mind but they were all slightly different. It was like everyday I lived the same day but I had to find the one difference. The one thing that stood out. The needle in the haystack. The scarlet needle.
Oh, right. The door. The scarlet door. That’s what I was here for. That’s what Mira was here for. She wanted me to find it for her. Or was that Reiden. No, Reiden was the one holding me hostage trying to make me talk.
But I heard him screaming. Begging. He was being tortured. Mira was torturing him. No, that’s not right. Mira. Mira was in that chair. She was being tortured by….by Reiden. No, by me. No. No. That can’t be right. I can’t. I can’t put it together…I can’t..
I sat up suddenly as a jolt of pain shot through my body. I was tied to a metal chair with leather straps over my wrists and ankles. I let out a scream as I struggled against the restraints.
“Sera, sera. Calm down,” Reiden ran to me from the control panel. “It’s ok, Sera. It’s all in your head. Just calm down.”
He placed his hands on my arms and I stopped screaming. I looked into his eyes and I could tell he was worried. The pain that was so overwhelming seemed to diminish immediately and my other senses came back to me. I heard the sound of electrical equipment and I could feel the cold sweat that ran up and down my body. Warm blood was slowly dripping from my nose onto my shirt.
“Reiden….” I said barely able to catch my breath. “What happened.”
“I thought I lost you there for a second,” Reiden said as he stood in front of me. “Your vital signs were seriously scary.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Like we almost lost you there, Sera,” Reiden said. “Just stay put, ok. The medical team will be here shortly.”
“That killer headache is back,” I said as I began looking around the room.
Looking over to my right, I expected to see the red-haired woman that was hooked up to the brainwash.
“Reiden, where’s the woman?” I asked.
“The woman…the woman who was sitting in the other chair. The one with red hair,” I said.
“I have no idea who you are talking about,” Reiden said. “We were the only ones in here.”
“What? No. There was -” I began but I cut myself off. “Reiden. The water!”
Down near our feet I noticed water spilling into the room. I’m not sure where it was coming from but the water level was quickly rising.
Reiden looked down at his feet.
“What are you talking about, Sera? What water?” He asked.
“Reiden! Get me out of here!” I said as I struggled against my leather restraints. “We’re going to drown.”
“Sera, calm down. There’s no water. Just stay there a moment. The medical team -”
“No! No!” I screamed as the water rose faster and faster, now coming up over my knees and lap.
“Sera! Sera!” Reiden reached out to place a hand on my shoulder but the water seemed to yank him away and he dipped below the surface.
“Reiden!” I screamed out for him but the water quickly overcame me.
I was completely submerged in the pitch black water, still strapped down to the chair. I struggled against the straps but they held me tight. I pulled and pulled not knowing what else to do. The water was way over my head now and I couldn’t get away. Reiden was nowhere to be seen and I was panicking.
Eventually a burning started in my chest as my body pleaded for oxygen. I couldn’t hold my breath anymore and I opened my mouth unleashing a stream of bubbles. Water filled my mouth and went down my throat, filling my lungs. I tried to call out but only bubbles came out.
“Why do you fight?” I heard a female voice ask me. “Why do you keep resisting? Just tell me what is behind the Scarlet Door. Then this can all be over.”
This door. This blasted door. I don’t know what is so important about this door. Why is everyone asking about it?
“Don’t try to deny it,” The voice said, replying to my thoughts. “You do know what is behind the scarlet door. It’s in there. Just think. Just spill your secrets.”
The dark water suddenly became quite bright as I felt a hand grab the back of my shirt and yank. Again I found myself on a cold metal floor, drenched and spitting up water. My lungs burned and my entire chest was wracked with pain.
“You won’t survive many more trips under,” Mira said as she stood over me, her bright red hair coming into view first.
“Please…please don’t,” I begged her as I gasped for air. “If I knew, I’d tell you. I’d tell you…”
“Whatever this is, it will not work. You will give me the information I seek even if I have to drown you over and over to do it.”
“Wait…wait…” I said, breathing heavy. “We can just talk, ok. We can talk. We don’t have to do that anymore.”
“Do not play games with me,” Mira said as she knelt down next to me. “Tell me what is behind the door.”
“I really don’t know what is behind the door,” I said.
“Drown her again,” She said.
“No wait! I can tell you what I see though,” I said.
“What do you mean?” She asked.
“What I see when I’m under. I see things… realities that are different. Ones similar but different.”
Mira paused for a moment and then spoke.
“Go on,” She said.
“I’ve seen you there. But you aren’t like this. You are my friend. And we’re some sort of spies and we look through people’s memories. And there’s a man named Reiden who is in charge of it and he thinks we’re friends. And everything is mixed up,” I rambled.
Mira paused again.
“Spies, huh?” She said, raising one eyebrow. “And what exactly are you doing, looking through memories?”
“There’s some sort of terrorist cell or something. You… well in another version you were a terrorist strapped to the chair and I looked through your memories. We were all looking for…for…”
“For?” Mira asked.
“For the door,” I said. “We’re all trying to find the scarlet door.”
“That is interesting,” Mira said. “Well the next time you see me, make sure you ask me what is behind the door.”
Mira stood up and turned to the other people in the room.
“Drown her again,” She demanded.
“No!” I yelled out but they quickly forced me underneath the water again.
“Sera, wake up. You’re having a nightmare,” I heard a voice call out to me. “Wake up.”
My eyes jolted open as I woke up, lying in a large, comfy bed. Lying next to me was Mira. Her bright red hair and beautiful eyes filled my vision.
“Mira,” I said with a grogginess in my voice.
“Of course. Who else would it be?” Mira smiled before planting a kiss on my forehead. “Feel better now?”
“Yeah,” I said with a chuckle.
“Good,” Mira said. “I hate seeing you toss and turn like that. I wish we could figure out what was causing it.”
“Yeah I don’t know,” I said as I sat up and rubbed my eyes.
“Was it the same one about the water?” Mira asked.
“Have I told you about that before?”
“Only a hundred times,” Mira said. “I couldn’t imagine the feeling of drowning. I’m just glad you are safe here with me.”
“Me too,” I said, giving her a small smile.
“I wish we could just lay in bed all day,” Mira said with a large sigh.
“Well, why can’t we?” I asked her.
Mira gave me a light slap on the arm.
“Don’t play dumb with me. I know that you haven’t forgotten about Reiden’s invitation to hang out,” Mira said. “We can’t keep blowing him off or he’s going to think we don’t like him or something.”
“Right, right,” I said.
Mira sat up and wrapped her arms around my waist, putting her forehead against my shoulder.
“Are you sure you are alright? If you aren’t feeling well, we can always reschedule,” Mira said.
“No. No. I’m fine, really. I just need a cup of coffee and I’ll feel better,” I said.
“Alright. Just don’t push yourself too hard,” Mira said as she gave me a small squeeze. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” I said as I let out a sigh of relief.
I felt so safe in her arms. She was always such a calming presence and I was so glad that I found her. My life had been such a mess but she helped ground me. We really cared for one another and loved one another. Mira was my soulmate.
“Can I ask you something?” I asked.
“Of course,” Mira replied.
“What is the scarlet door?” I asked her.
Mira pulled back a bit.
“What do you mean?”
“Scarlet door. Does that mean anything to you?” I asked.
“Not that I can think of. Kind of sounds like a club or maybe a pub or something,” Mira said.
“I feel like it should be important to me but I can’t place it. It’s like a distant memory or a dream.”
“Or a nightmare?” Mira asked.
“Yeah maybe,” I said. “I just thought it might mean something to you.”
“I don’t know,” Mira said. “Maybe it will come to you.”
“I hope so,” I said.
“Now come on. We need to get leave soon if we are going to make it to Reiden’s at a decent time. We wait too long and he’ll think we aren’t showing or something.”
“Right,” I said, trying to push the idea of the scarlet door out of my memory.
Both Mira and I got ready and then started driving over to Reiden’s house. Mira insisted that she drive because she knew that part of the city better than me. I didn’t really object. I didn’t really care for driving and I was bad with directions. I could also tell that Mira was worried about my bad migraine and how that might affect me if I was driving. Plus Mira driving meant I was tasked with being the car DJ. I had a knack for finding the perfect song.
We were bumping to this EDM song called Truth as we pulled up to a four way stop light.
“Shouldn’t be too much further,” She said as she checked her phone.
The light turned green as we started to pull out into the intersection. As we did I saw a blur of movement out of the corner of my eye.
“Mira, look out!” I cried out.
However there was nothing we could do. A red sports car ran the red light and slammed right into us, hitting my door with the front of their car. I heard a loud crash of metal on metal and glass shattering. Then my vision went dark.
For a moment I felt nothing. I was floating, weightlessness in darkness. But eventually the light came to me and a cold wind hit my face. Really cold. So cold that it sent a shiver down my spine.
I rubbed my eyes and I found myself standing in the middle of a heavy snowstorm. I was wearing several thick layers of clothing and heavy, snow boots. Large mittens covered my hands and I held on to two metal poles that kind of looked like ski poles.
The wind whipped past me throwing wet snow into my face.
“Hurry up! We’re almost there!” I heard a voice shout from in front of me.
I looked up ahead and there was someone waving at me, calling me forward. I couldn’t tell from this distance who they were. Their voice seemed to be ever changing.
“Where are we going?” I shouted out.
“Hurry!” They shouted again, this time sounding more masculine.
I ran forward trying to catch up with the individual, but the heavy boots and deep snow slowed me down. Up ahead the figure seemed to shift. Either that or my vision was blurring. First a man was up ahead of me and then a woman with bright red hair. Then the man returned.
“I can see it,” They shouted with two voices as they pointed up ahead.
I glanced over to see what they were pointing at. High up on this snowy mountain was some sort of metallic bunker. The outside shell of it was a dark grey color slightly covered in snow. However the doors immediately caught my attention. The large metal doors on the front of the bunker were a bright scarlet color.
Header Photo Credit to Pexels.com