Adam was vaguely aware of a noise somewhere within his vicinity. He was aware that whatever it was, had been making this noise for a while now. Once he became aware of it however, that was it, his awareness of the noise just increased further and further, reaching to full consciousness. He grunted, refusing to open his eyes. There was a light behind them however and he knew that it was day time.
He opened his eyes to see the view from his New York apartment in front of him. It really was the most spectacular view he had ever seen, almost every famous landmark New York had to offer all in one place and he had the home that saw it. Right now, however, he was not in the mood to look at it. He was knackered and he wasn’t ready to get up. He searched for his remote to close his blinds. He found it on the bedside table. When he looked at it however, it looked different. Gone were his normal control buttons and in it’s place was a small plasma touchscreen with two options: Day or Night. He shrugged, the building must have been getting complaints about the system being too high tech so they had decided to dumb it down a bit. He hit the ‘night’ button, hoping that would close his blinds. The room was thrown into darkness, however no blinds had been drawn. No, it was the sky outside which had changed. It had turned from day to night in a split second; all the tell-tale lights of New York city shining bright.
Adam sat up straight at that and took a glance around his room. He immediately saw the difference in this place, he wasn’t in his flat; this room was completely new to him. It looked a lot similar to his home but it wasn’t the place. He looked back at his window and noticed that it wasn’t actually a window but a large plasma screen, giving off the image of New York City. Where the hell was he?
He found the remote control again and hit ‘day.’ The screen changed to the day image of New York once more. He looked at it closely, it was truly bizarre, that image looked exactly like the view from his flat. He shook his head, deciding not to dwell too much on it and looked around for any of his things. He went into the living area to find his coat folded on a sofa and another plasma screen with a welcome message on it:
Hello Mr Gammon.
Welcome to Utopia. We hope you enjoy your stay.
Utopia? Adam searched through his memories and remembered Duncan taking him to a restaurant called the same thing. It must be a hotel as well. He didn’t remember booking a room though. He checked his coat for his wallet. It was in there, credit cards and all.
“Damn it Duncan.” he said irritably, “Why the hell did I give you my pin?”
He searched the rest of his coat, looking for his phone. He had given over his official phone at the entrance to the building, but he always kept his personal phone on him. He dug deep into one of his inside pockets and pulled out his blackberry. He had 50 missed calls.
What the hell? He checked his watch and saw that it was 2pm. Suddenly, all sleep had left him. He was late. He was meant to have been on a plane at 10am this morning. He groaned and threw on his coat, finding his agent's number and dialling him straight away. All he heard was a bleeping noise, he checked and realised that he had no signal.
“Damn it Duncan!” Adam said loudly.
He started checking through his missed calls, he was right, 15 of them were from his agent. The rest though baffled him, 10 from his mum, 7 from his dad and various others from friends and family that he hadn’t spoken to in a while.
He went to his messages, he had 20 of those. The first few were from his agent:
“Where are you Adam?”
“Pick up the phone now!”
And so on and so forth. There were then two from his mother, he opened the first one:
“Adam, please let us know you are okay.”
That was weird. Why did she want to know that? Then he remembered he was meant to be on a plane, she worried too much. He opened the next one:
“I don’t know if you will get this but, I just wanted to say your father and I love you very much.”
Adam stared at the message suspiciously, it wasn’t like his mum to get all emotional with him over text like that. She was one of those people who always liked to see the expression of the people she was complimenting, it made her feel nicer about doing it. He put his phone back in his pocket and made his way to the suite’s phone, hoping to be able to dial out from that way. He tried dialling a number but once again received the same beeping tone.
“Stupid underground lair,” Adam mumbled to himself, “They can’t even gettheir own phones working.”
He dialled 0 for reception and finally got a ringing tone. He waited for an answer but didn’t receive any so after a few minutes hung up.
“This is just getting ridiculous.”
He looked at his watch again. It was now 2:10. He tutted loudly to himself, making a mental note to lay into Duncan badly the next time he was in the country. He searched for his room key, found it by the bed, made sure he had everything and headed for the door.
As he tried to find his way out of the maze of corridors, he almost fell onto a couple arguing in the corridor. The woman was crying uncontrollably and smacking her fists against the chest of the man.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” She cried, “Why?”
The man took hold of her and hugged her tight. Adam raised his eyebrows as he passed, it was a little too early for that kind of melodrama. He carried on his way until he finally came to a door that led out to a lobby area. Just as he reached the desk, several people ran past him screaming at each other. Adam watched them go, completely baffled. For a place called Utopia there seemed to be a lot of angry people.
He rang the bell at the desk and waited, fishing out his Blackberry to see if he could at least get any emails. He couldn’t get anything.
“Can I help you?” A small voice asked.
“Yeah,” Adam said, his concentration still on his phone. “Can you call me a taxi to take me to Heathrow airport please? I’m running late and the signal in this place is crap.”
There was silence for a moment. Adam assumed she had gone to make the call until he heard her small voice speak once again.
“Are you in shock or something, sir?”
He looked up quizzically and saw a woman in her early twenties with mousy brown hair, arranged in a mess around her shoulders, and bloodshot eyes.
“I’m fine,” Adam said, giving her a reassuring smile; it had obviously been a tough day. “Just running late. You look like you could use a drink though.”
The girl shook her head and stepped backwards, her lips pursed tight. “I’m not going to be the one to tell you.” She said, with that she turned on her heel and ran out through the door.
“Um, excuse me?” Adam called out after her. “I still need that taxi!”
He received no answer. He looked around, trying to find the exit and resigning himself to the fact that he was going to have to get his own taxi. He saw the entrance to the restaurant area. At least he knew he could get out that way. He got to the door and was knocked backwards as a crowd of people burst through, running away from the restaurant.
“What is up with people today?” Adam said loudly enough for them to hear. None of them noticed however and continued to run towards the hotel rooms. He growled loudly and pulled the door to the restaurant open, his gaze still on the retreating people.
He heard the noise before he saw anything. He heard the wails of people, the countless cries and despair. Turning to see what was going on, he saw a whole room full of people in huddles, holding each other and crying. Members of staff were moving from group to group, handing out tissues and bottles of water.
Adam moved slowly around them, looking for someone that he recognised. His stomach was twisting more and more into knots. People looked terrified. Something horrific had happened.
He heard Duncan’s voice behind him. He turned to see him running to him.
“I just came from your room! I didn’t know where you were.”
“I had to get going,” Adam said, his concentration still on the crying people sitting around him. “I missed my flight, Duncan what the hell is going on?”
“Ah,” Duncan said. “About that. I need to tell you something Ad, it’s not good.”