The heavy wheelchair rolled down the carpeted hallway, silently pushed by a tall figure. An old man’s laborious breathing echoed against lacquered wooden walls like distant waves lapping against forgotten shores.
“It’s time .. it’s time,” he muttered, “Hurry…”
Reaching the end of the hallway, there was a faint whirring of metallic gears as the figure leaned forward and pulled a lever. A wooden panel slid open, and the old man was wheeled inside. With a clank the elevator began to descend.
The old man looked up at the smooth metal surface that was his nurse’s face.
“What number is this?” he gasped.
A series of clicks, a pause, and the figure responded with a voice like that of a scratchy record, “Eighty seven.”
“Eighty seven,” the man whispered. “What will my new name be?”
This time the reply was immediate, “You are not to know.”
“Of course. I’ve become forgetful. Is it always like this?”
The elevator came to a stop, and the door opened. There was an odor of damp rocks as he was wheeled past a series of clouded tubes, the final one standing open. The nurse lifted the old man from the wheelchair, and placed him inside.
“See you soon,” he whispered as the tube closed.
The nurse pulled a lever. The lights dimmed, followed by the scent of ozone. After a few moments, a young man, naked and confused, stumbled from the darkness.
The nurse grabbed his shoulder, saying “Hello. Your new name is Jacob.”