micah mckelvey, editor, 3rd year b.s. architecture

I was running and out of breath.

Looking behind me, I expected to see something. Nothing was there except for a city street; bland in its globalised urbanity, busily occupied with the outcomes of capitalism, but completely devoid of people. It was as if I had been deposited into an already unfolding event or even one that had just concluded, woken up from a coma that my body did not share. The how, the why, and the where, I did not know. Suddenly I felt the need to stop. I looked down at gum smashed on the pavement by a million hurried shoes, evidence of a city bustle that currently did not exist.

That's when I noticed it. Powerful, cold, and imposing; a presence of terrible subtlety, like the sting after a backhand slap to the face. I slowly raised my head to peer at the mass before me. There were no shadows, the sky was overcast, but had there been, its shadow would have cast me in a dark blanket long ago. The facade was unapologetically brutal in its windowless concrete surface, tiered upward like a Japanese pagoda that extended infinitely toward the horizon in both directions. It was clear it didn't belong, strong but concurrently vague. And while pondering who could have built this imposing complex I thought I saw the faintest flicker. Then the realization struck me. Was I running away from some unknown thing, or being drawn to this unusual interruption in the city fabric?

Noticing two strangely typical doors just to my left, I proceeded to enter this fortress not knowing what to expect inside but having an alien desire to find out what existed beyond. I approached without inhibitions. Passing through the exterior barrier revealed a vast room obstructed by a labyrinth of planes; surfaces that made up walls and floors as if here gravity wasn't a force worth acknowledging. It was dark, but a mysterious glow from an unseen source provided sufficient light for seeing. As I passed further into the structure's depths I could not help but think the walls were rearranging themselves based on my position, somehow guiding me through the labyrinth. Yet it couldn't have been so; there was nothing mechanical about it. Instead the space seemed much more organic, as if the planes were grown there; stretching out like ivy, adopting and adapting to their surroundings. Here I suddenly looked behind me without provocation and found a wall blocking where I had just come from, cutting me off from the city outside. What is this place? Someone, or something was watching my every move. I felt it. The eyes of unknown origin evaluating and picking apart my actions caused me to proceed slowly, cautiously.

I then found myself in what seemed as the heart of the building. It was darker still, but I found myself in a room whose ceiling was beyond sight, concrete walls straining upward until they vanished in a dark abyss. It seemed the building was alive and I was exploring its arteries, infiltrating it not like a virus, but like a medicinal treatment. Somehow it needed me. As I thought this I felt something in turn infiltrate me, overtaking me, putting visions and strange knowledge in my head. The building was coming alive and presenting itself as a being, a creature both living and breathing. I began to panic and attempted to fight it off. As I snapped around in a rage, in the distance I saw a silhouette in the likeness of a man. Too far to properly perceive, but too close for comfort.

I ran.

Any direction that I could to get out of this place. To be back in the city and away from this thing that was drawing me in. I was a lab rat in a large experiment and I needed to get out. Before the walls seemed in a perpetual state of flux, almost transparent. Now they were cold and fixed and as solid as the concrete facade outside. Dashing through the labyrinth, I noticed an increasing amount of light. The way out must be close. I felt the building coming off me, with each passing plane I gained more and more control and was closer and closer to freedom. Finally, beautiful daylight. I kept running across the empty street, on to the littered sidewalk beyond. Returned to the vacant city I took a deep breath and felt a sense of relief.

I turned around to look again at the terrifying fortress, but nothing was there except the city, as one would expect.

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