Digital Stories: Antichamber

I open my eyes to see pictures of keyboard commands and boxes with what looks to be video game settings in them. All of this is scribed upon a hologram-esque checker-boarded wall. I found that touching the boxes made my surroundings seem smaller or larger or completely changed the quality of my vision. Some boxes made everything look “low-res” while others increased the how sharp objects looked. I looked to the left and found a blank wall. Looking to the right, however, I found a mostly blank wall but with a white square that had a circle around it. It said “Choose Your Destination”. Before following these instructions I took a gander at the last wall in this square room. It was a pane of glass with a sterile white hallway on the other side. 3 large white doors lined the walls of the hallway, 2 were unmarked while the middle had a sign that read “EXIT”. I looked back at the wall with the square and touched it.


My surroundings immediately changed. No longer was I in that dark, emotionless box of a room. That same stark white of the hallway, the one that taunted me behind glass, appeared in front of me now. Strange colors paint the center of the ceiling though and somehow the word “Jump!!” hung in large blue letters over a gap. The fall looked pretty long, farther than I could see anyways. The walls down this hole changed color the deeper you looked. It starts white but changes to a deep crimson, back to white, and I thought I saw a hit of blue near the bottom. Still dumbfounded by the word hanging listlessly in the air I froze. Is this all a dream? My surroundings are completely surreal and I cannot remember how I ended up in a place like this. I also have absolutely no clue how I transitioned from that first room to this one. I could feel my brain pulsing in my head and the room began to swirl as I noticed my balance began to waver. My stomach turned, the acids sloshing around as my dizziness increased. For some reason I finally heard the silence that permeated through this nightmare. I tried my best to focus, to find something that wasn’t completely foreign to me. I stared past the hanging “Jump!!” and saw there was a hallway on the other end with a black square on the wall. I could make out nothing but white scribbles on it. My curiosity peaked and briefly overrode my anxiety. I decided I was going to take the jump. After all, I must be dreaming right? There is no way this is real. I took a few steps back from the edge. My heart began to pound and my palms pooled with sweat. As I readied myself for this I heard a low humming sound. Tuning it out for now I felt my right calf muscle compress and expand as I ran as fast as I could towards the gap. Reaching the end I used all of my might to propel myself across the chasm. I hit the ‘M’ in the word ‘jump’ and lost all of my momentum. Plummeting down the hole fear rose up within me, gripping tightly around my psyche. Words of prayer escaped my mouth where none had done so before. I saw the red wall come and go as I zoomed by it. I caught a glimpse of another hallway but I fell too fast to see any distinct details about it. I continued to fall for several seconds until I hit solid ground.


I landed upright, standing on my feet as if nothing had happened, as if I had never fallen down a long tunnel. A passageway was before me with a black box on the wall next to it. It was white outlines on a black background and depicted a sheep jumping off of a cliff. Pressing my hand to it, the image faded away as words appeared. “Failing to succeed does not mean failing to progress”. Wow, talk about some philosophical stuff there. I decided to continue on down the hallway. After all, I seemed invincible in this dreamworld.


The hallway curved around left, then right, then left again. It ended with a staircase leading down and a staircase leading up. The staircase going down was bathed in a red hue while the one going up was in blue. Another picture showed a person with only one way to go. Placing my hand on this revealed text. “Some paths are clearer than others”. I chose to go up. The blue hue looked more inviting so I proceeded up the flight of stairs, made another right, and another right and was presented with the same two staircases again. My mind melted as I tried to understand what was happening. There is no logic that can describe how this room can appear identical on two different floors. Something I noticed reassured me that it was just coincidence that the two rooms seemed identical. A different picture was on the wall this time. It showed two people going in opposite directions. The text that faded in said “A choice may be as simple as going left or right”. Thinking logically, I decided to go downstairs this time. I should end up at the other set of staircases and see the first picture. Heading down the stairs I entered a corridor that turned right twice. There in front of me was the two identical staircases and 2 black boxes now. The one of the left doesn’t have a picture, just text that says “A choice may be as simple as going left or right”. I immediately froze in place. I slowly lifted my hand up to the box, holding it in place right in front of it. Fear constricted me making me reluctant to see what the picture was. Closing my eyes I pressed my hand against the cold of the words. I peaked one eye open and saw two people going different directions. The nausea returned thrice as bad. My vision was going in and out. Quickly I looked at the other box, it was a picture of one person talking to another person. I pressed my hand to it, keeping my hand against the wall for balance. The text came up, “The choice doesn’t matter if the outcome is the same”. I panicked and began to run. I ran up and down those stairs dozens of times, always coming back to the same staircases with those same two black boxes. The adrenaline had finally wore off and fatigue had set in. My mind was racing, questions that could not be answered with logic. This all had to be a dream. Nothing in this world was possible…was reasonable…was normal. I blacked out after that.


When I awoke I was back in the initial black box room. The blank wall had been drawn on. The 3 or 4 pictures that I had seen on the walls were now scribbled there. Hastily looking around I also noticed the “Choose Your Destination” wall had been altered as well. It looked like a map. It looked like the route I had taken earlier. Maybe I wasn’t dreaming after all. If not, what was this place? A maze? A test? I looked towards the white hallway again and saw a black blob hovering from one door to the other and exiting the hallway. Although I was still uneasy and confused I walked to the map and decided I was going to try to escape instead of sit here and die. I had no idea what kind of creature, or alien, or thing I saw but I wasn’t going to let it win. Reaching my hand towards one of the rooms on the map, the black room I was in disappeared and my surrounds were a sterile white room with the word “WALK” hanging in the air.




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