This morning I awoke from a restless sleep into chilling circumstances which I am still coming to understand. I had never been to this strange room in this barren apartment. When I first awoke, I thought that perhaps I had been brought to a friend’s place after a night of heavy drinking, but that hope was short-lived. I began to truly panic when I found a eerie sticky note pasted to the wall next to my bed. It was red and scribbled with yellow ink that read:
“They seem to have mind-controlling capabilities. You’ve been brought here by force. Only trust notes written with yellow on red like this one. Do not trust anyone or anything else.”
I am still not sure where that note came from. Was this notice meant for someone else? Who else would be expected in the apartment? Was I not meant to be there. I tried to calm myself into thinking it must be some sort of joke, but it turns out that theory is certainly incorrect.
In the room there was a dresser, a closet, and a desk covered in papers. The dresser contained two pairs of black pants, one pair of jeans, two white undershirts, eight pairs of multicolored briefs, and seven pairs of white socks. The closet contained one black suit, two brown jackets, and two long white lab coats. I dressed and quickly checked the apartment, as it turned out to be. I was being kept here alone, and the front door was only locked from inside. So I sat down to scour the papers.
Most of the papers were prints of academic research about clinical trials being conducted on some new “arthritis pharmaceutical treatments.” I have not uncovered the true purpose of these experiments yet. I have found that I have some implicit expertise in understanding the jargon, although I have no recollection other than vague memories of attending physiology classes in undergraduate, which couldn’t possible account entirely. I am something like 40-45 years old now.
One stapled bundle of hand-written pages stood out. It had a red sticky note attached to its top right corned, and a yellow message on it said “trust me.” The pages described a day in the life of someone who wrote both in a style and about a situation eerily similar to mine — someone who called themselves “Bruce.” Many parts of it are clearly manipulative, so either Bruce is one of ‘them,’ or he is really trying to help me but his writing was modified.
Bruce described how he awoke in an apartment very similar to this one, except that there were many more articles of clothing in the dresser and several pieces of furniture that I had not found in my apartment. He had found a note on the desk describing a strange memory loss, encounters with remnants of Neil (what the previous occupant of the apartment called themselves) a brief synopsis of Neil’s activities that day, and finally instructions for how Neil thought he should properly conduct himself at work from then on. Bruce found this note strange since it was written in a handwriting and phrasing similar to his, but certainly not written by him because Neil’s mindset and behaviors were so foreign. Bruce mused that he did not recognize the name “Neil,” but maybe these were notes from a coworker that he had accidentally taken home with him.
The next pages described how Bruce dressed in work attire, found a key in a backpack, and then drove a car from out front that the key fit to the workplace described in the notes in order to see if he could gather more information there. Most of the employees there recognized Bruce, but they all called him by a different name — Aaron — and couldn’t give any specific details about his personal life or recent past. Bruce presented this observation with high suspicion.
Eventually he found a group of scientists that claimed to be his coworkers, and from whom he learned where to find his apparent boss. His boss called him Jeremy, and explained that he had just been hired the previous week as an experienced pharmaceutical chemist mainly to oversee the production of some new drugs being tested in the arthritis treatment trials. Bruce reflected on how he played it cool but wasn’t sure if he had aroused significant suspicion. However, he further retrospected, that worry would be in vain.
The next few pages summarized how Bruce went to work, following his coworkers, doing what he deduced his duties were based on the records of what was said to be his previous duties. Everyone seemed happy his performance, but he caught some personel giving him weird looks while talking behind his back. Bruce noted their names and appearances but was unable to recall anything in particular they said. Later in the day, Bruce discovered that he had a desk in a shared office. The desk superficially had nothing of interest other than a few scattered academic prints, which he stashed in his backpack.
The last page was a description of an ominous item that Bruce had found in the desk drawer, way in the back behind an assortment innocent office supplies. It was an small, old lunchbox tin. Inside was a thick plastic bag with a label printed on the side that read in anonymous Helvetica
“Palnbuethesole. Trial only. Take one dose every 36 hours.”
The final paragraph detailed how inside the bag were exactly twenty-three small individually-sealed plastic pouches, each with a single small white tablet with no markings. And on the outer bag opposite the label was a green sticky-note with red ink which hastily spelled
“Do not take. Keep safe. Find source.”
Halfway through that last paragraph, the page had clearly been torn away. Several following pages appeared to be torn out as well, which I deduced from a few remnant corners left in the staple. I then put the notes