All I remember is working on the biggest project at CERN we had tested so far. It Reached speeds we had never achieved before. I recall the thrill we all went through as we saw the speed build up. The alarms rang, things shook, and the ceiling appeared to crack. We had to shut the project down and quickly. We needed to create a collision of the particles there and then. In that moment, intense pain took me over like fire had engulfed me and the sound of wind was roaring through my ears. There was a flash of a bare white room which didn’t contain any furniture. But the discomfort distracted me to take any notice. It felt as if I had immersed myself in molten magma. All I remember is pain, then… nothing.
I woke up screaming from the pain as my skin still burned. It was all like a terrible nightmare, a nightmare that seemed all too real. Thankfully, I laid in the most comfortable bed I have ever laid in; I opened my eyes and could see a beautifully carved desk lamp on what looked to be an oak bedside table. The sheets over me smelled so fresh it was as if I wandered through a meadow. It was a large, modern bedroom. I found it to be spotless, not the usual bedroom I am used to waking up in. Mine would at least have a little dust on one surface or fluff on the floor. To the right of me, this wonderfully large window that stretched from the floor to the ceiling. I approached the window and moved the blinds to the side to view the metropolis below me. What I saw was an awe-inspiring view of what appeared to be New York city with the sun rising in the distance.
I wasn’t thinking straight; how on Earth did I get to The States? I was back at CERN in Geneva trying to shut the project down. My hazy memory didn’t help. I recalled nothing that took place in the lab. It tormented me; I had travelled so far and didn’t even remember stepping onto a plane. At that point, I realised I needed to find out where I was and what was going on.
I opened the bedroom door that lead to a small internal balcony overlooking a lounge area. There stood an enormous window to the right of me which presented the view of New York perfectly. This place looked to be a penthouse suite in a giant skyscraper complex. I seemed to be remarkably high above the city; The height made me dizzy and I had to lean on the balcony rail.
While on the balcony, I could hear sizzling and a pan being shuffled around. While gripping the balcony rail, I began heading down the stairs to my left. They curved spirally and revealed a kitchenette which sat below the bedroom, and an elegant woman cooking food. “Come on sleepyhead, let’s get you some breakfast,” she said to me in a very clear English accent. I stood in amazement as she carried on cooking. Did I sleep through a huge chunk of my life? Am I suffering amnesia? What was going on? Continuing down, I sat at the breakfast bar at the bottom of the stairs and faced this woman on the opposite side of the kitchenette with her back turned towards me.
The sound of the food sizzling in the pan filled the silence in the room. “Hope you slept well?” the woman asks as she continued to cook, not turning around. “Yeah,” I reply as I look around at the polished marble surfaces of the countertops and the unique sink with what looked like a showerhead for a tap. I recall trying to guess the cost of buying a place like this and realised it wasn’t even worth considering. I tried to act like all this was all normal, sitting on the barstool and trying to figure out something normal to say. “That smells nice,” I announced, as the aroma of an English breakfast aroused my senses. The woman turned around with a big smile and it stunned me for a moment as I saw how pretty she was. I speculated on what my relationship was with this woman? Contemplating the most ridiculous things. Was she a maid, someone employed, had she kidnapped me, or was there something more? I’ve always assumed I would be the last person this type of woman would go for. She took a plate and started dishing out the breakfast for us both.
“Enjoy,” she said to me as she settled down to eat sitting on a stool opposite of me. I peered down at the food and stared at it. “Well, aren’t you going to eat?” I looked back up at her and attempted to shake off the confusion. I cut a sausage up and placed it into my mouth. Only then did I realise how hungry I had been. We continued to eat in silence as I focused intently on enjoying every morsel of the breakfast. “So what are you going to be doing today?” the woman asked me. What would I be doing? I did not understand where I was, never mind what I would do!.
“Perhaps… I should go see the doctor.” I responded.
“Are you ill?”
“I’m a little confused,” I said in a slow, unsettled kind of way
“What’s the matter?” she replied. I thought, What do I tell her? Do I tell her the truth; That I don’t remember how I got there or even the last few years of my life?
“I’m struggling to remember a few things.” The experience was alien to me. Nothing felt right. Panic started setting in.
“Don’t worry, I’m not surprised you can’t remember anything, there was a lot of stress on your body,” what was she talking about?
“What happened?” I asked.
She drew a deep breath, as if hesitant to say. “There was a disaster and you should be glad you’re alive!” she said in an accusing tone. “Anyway, since you are sick, you should rest.” I agreed and returned to eating my breakfast, still very confused.
Since the woman seemed to understand that I had lost my memories, I was a little more honest and direct. “All I remember is being back at CERN shutting the project down,” I said to her. She looked back at me with intrigue, as if she wanted to know more. I struggled to think of what to say next. When the project was being shut down, the boss wasn’t telling us why we had to do it, just that we had to. I recall his face when he spoke on the phone at that moment, so panicked, so white. We heard explosions on the surface as the tunnels cracked. I didn’t want to tell this woman something that scared me. I wouldn’t know how she would react. But I needed to say something, anything. “I can’t remember anything else. Just shutting the project down!” I recited after thinking the sentence through in my mind. She looked back with a sympathetic expression and patted me on the knee.
“You’re lucky to be alive… it was such a mess.” She explained whilst shaking her head slightly, like she disagreed with what happened.
We kept eating for a while longer. I remember wondering about what had taken place and what was happening at that moment. I wish I could say that I felt something during that period where I was eating breakfast. All I can say is that I felt numb, puzzled and did not know how to continue with the day. The prospect of trying to figure all of this out made me feel jittery.
The doorbell rang, and I stared at the front door for a moment. Nothing was on my mind, but I hoped to see someone I recognised. This mysterious women placed a hand on my shoulder and told me she will get it with quite a gentle but stern tone. I waited as she opened the door and heard what sounded like a discussion between her and another male, but I couldn’t make out what they said. It seemed like they were so distant, yet the door must have been only six metres away.
She came from the door with a package and set it on the table, and we continued to eat. “Looks like your laptop has arrived. Please make sure you don’t lose it.”
“Ok,” I answered, trying to keep the confusion and the small amount of insult I felt to myself.
I speculated that the gap in my memory may have been long. The best way to find out what had been happening in the world was by switching on the television, or so I thought. After we finished breakfast, and she was putting the two plates and pan in the dishwasher I asked: “Have you seen anything good on television?”
“I haven’t. Why not turn it on and have a look?” I nodded, got up and sat on this glorious leather sofa in front of an enormous television with the large window behind it. Then turned it on only to find reruns of old television shows; Every channel full of them, and I could not find a news channel.
“Where’s the news channel?” I asked in my desperation to find out what’s going on. “We don’t get that channel,” the woman explained whilst she came over to sit next to me. I asked her about it, and her response was that we never thought it was necessary to have a news channel. She looked at me with a confused look. I remember finding this odd; She suggested it was a mutual decision made by her and someone else. But then why would someone choose not to have it when most are free? I left it at that, hoping I will find out later what she meant by ‘we’.
I went over to the table to take the box back to the sofa and was determined to find out what’s going on. Wanting to understand my situation better, to find out anything. We sat down and opened the package, then took out the laptop. When I started opening the laptop, the woman looked at me with a distracting smile, “I hope you like it”. I looked down at the laptop and noticed it was a top of the range. As soon as I opened it, it booted up without pressing the power button. My stomach clenched at the strangeness of it all. Everything was a little off. Questions circled my mind regarding the bizarreness of some things that happened. This laptop looked so thin, seemed so light and looked almost better than brand new. When I looked at the screen, I also noticed there was no date or time displayed on the laptop. My head span at that point as my stomach acid began rising into my throat. I opened the internet browser and searched for anything regarding CERN.
There weren’t many recent hits, most dated a few days before the incident and none that spoke of the incident. I searched for more information and tried to find any recent news. All I gathered was that Europe and perhaps the world had declared war, which everyone had been expecting. There was a small report about an asteroid heading for Earth, however, no one was taking it seriously. Many astrologers talked about a doomsday scenario. But they filled most of the news outlets with reports of war.
I spent several hours in the company of this mysterious woman, searching the internet and trying to make sense of everything. It was all so obscure, with little detail, and there appeared to be nothing past the date I left CERN. She also seemed vague about the answers she gave me to all my questions. There was never anything concrete. At one point I thought about her plans for the day, how come she didn’t seem to need to go anywhere. She got the day off to spend with me, but I didn’t quite understand why? I was so bewildered and frustrated. My irritation grew and grew.
“Why can’t you give me today’s date?” I snapped.
“Well, I’m uncertain myself,”
“How can you not be sure? You must have a way of knowing the date! Every piece of electronic equipment should tell me the date, but in this flat apparently not!” The heated discussion turned into an argument. There was a strange moment where I felt dizzy, stumbling across the room into the breakfast bar before everything turned black.
Ohh I do love my feedback, how can I improve?
Tell me what I can do better!
Where do my challenges lie? Please, tell me.