I remember the day I woke up. I was in an open plan office with desks organized into groups and people milling around. I was lying on the floor as if this were normal.
I started talking to my co-workers and noticed a pattern in everything. It was on the walls, on the carpet, in people’s hair. I asked about it, but no one knew what it was and they had seen it for so long they had become immune to the question. "Who was Maria?" Maria, Maria, Maria was written in everything… in the coffee foam in my cup.
I found a man, David, who was wondering the same thing and we left the office through the stairwell to escape the nightmare. This was not normal.
On the next floor, we opened the door to a narrow hall. There was one lady on this floor who said she was the secretary to The Maker. Her name was Nancy.
"Who is The Maker?" we asked and she pointed to his office. “No one goes in there,” she told us.
David talked Nancy into leaving with us as she had seen the pattern, but couldn't find a reason for it either. It scared her.
But I wasn’t convinced that we could escape without The Maker, so I went into his office where I found him asleep and woke him up. Nancy protested, but his eyes fluttered open before she could stop me.
“Would you like some coffee?” I asked him and he smiled and nodded, “yes.” He showed us around his office and patiently I waited for the right moment to ask. He drew out his plan and there it was… Maria. In everything he made, the name Marie was hidden, like one of those puzzles you would do as a kid.
“Who is Maria?” I asked.
His eyes narrowed and he began to scowl. Nancy backed away, but I wasn’t going anywhere.
He told us to leave, but I looked at him sternly and said, “I am Maria, Daddy, and I want you to come home.”
His face melted and a tear drained down his cheek. I heard a massive intake of air, like a man who had been underwater for a long time. It was dark and hints of light bled into the room from Venetian blinds. He gasped as I saw his silhouette sit up in a hospital bed pulling out the intubation tube.
He was alive.