Grace looked around with a start. “Is it this late already? I hope I haven’t missed my appointment.” She pulled out her phone, while Adrian looked around confused. “It’s… still noon? That feels right but…”
The sitting room they were in was dark. Not like night, but not much light was entering the room. None of the lights had been turned on. Adrian shook his head. “It just… suddenly became like this.” He went to look out the window. Outside he saw the familiar grounds of the clinic… and then empty plains. There was no sign of the city that should have been visible below. He frowned. “Are we in a different room?” he muttered to himself.
Ken was in his room, reading a book. As usual, was sitting, leaning up against the wall. His legs were bent pulled in, so that his feet were still firmly facing the ground. Perhaps he would have stretched his legs out in the past, but his habits were firmly ingrained now, even in this small padded room.
There were of course no windows in the room, because that would have ruined the point of the padding in the first place, and also because Ken specifically didn’t want one. Windows just allowed him to see a very long way down. That reminded him that he could fall out, and though he knew he probably wouldn’t, that didn’t make the thought any more pleasant.
Ken looked up from his book. Something felt strange. He couldn’t say exactly what it was, but it wasn’t good. It felt like the world had been flipped over and he was now hanging off of the bottom, attached by magnetic shoes. That was a very uncomfortable feeling. However, it wasn’t particularly different from how he normally felt, just that he was a lot more aware of the feeling. Of course, that could have just been because the lights had flickered and made him feel something was strange.
Doctor Odran Crocetti called an emergency staff meeting. Of course, it couldn’t involve all of the staff, because many of them were needed to care for the patients… and keep them from panicking. Still, anything that didn’t need immediate attention was postponed for the meeting. “What have we learned so far?”
“Only that we’re not in Kansas anymore,” one of the other doctors, Sumit Anand said. “Not that we were in Kansas anyway, but I was hoping a bit of humor would help… Regardless, we’re not in Kansas, or the United States, or North America, or… pretty much anywhere.”
“How certain are we of that?”
“Well, as a starting point, there is no cell phone signal, and we have a variety of carriers.” Sumit Anand shook his head, “More importantly, not even my satellite phone has any connection, which is… concerning.”
“What about outside? The building?”
The head of security, John Fox, spoke up, “Outside of the grounds, nothing is familiar. The asphalt road continues for a few yards, then… ends. Utilities are cut off, presumably because they no longer have a connection to… anything. The generator is working, but it is only meant to cover during short emergencies. Outside… we patrolled nearby, but stayed in sight of the facility. We did find a stream, which means there is water, but we don’t know if it’s safe to drink yet. To the north and east there is a new forest. Well, the new north and east, based on the sun. This also appears to be a valley of some sort, as mountains are in every direction. Or, I dunno, a basin, or something.”
Doctor Crocetti sighed. “Alright, and how about the patients?”
One of the nurses shook his head, “Not all of them know something has happened yet, but nobody is taking it well.”
John Fox spoke up again as well, “We have someone watching the gate, so that no one goes out and gets hurt but…” He shook his head, “There were visitors around as well. We’re not exactly sure what to do with them, but for now we’re making sure they stay here where it should be safe.”
“Of course there were visitors,” Doctor Crocetti sighed again, “We don’t have any legal power to keep them, but this is an emergency situation. Until we at least have a better idea, it’s best to keep them here. It might be the only food and shelter anyway. How are our food supplies?”
One of the cooks from the kitchen answered, “We’d just stocked the fridges. That food will last for a couple weeks, but only if it stays cool. There’s also the emergency food- that won’t spoil, and it could stretch out for perhaps a month. With vegetables from the greenhouse, we might have enough for two months? That should last until help comes but…”
“But it’s only good if help is coming.” Doctor Crocetti shook his head, “What else might we have to worry about?”
“Ah…” the doctor in charge of the pharmacy spoke up, “Some of the patients who are on medication will run out within a week or two. The deliveries would have arrived soon but… we don’t keep all medications in stock. However, I still recommend they continue to use it, as this will be the most… unstable period. After that, we might have to do with weaker substitutes, except those who can go without.”
“Of course. Then, we must do our best to keep things functioning.”
The cook spoke up again, “If we have enough assistance, we might be able to start growing some food outside. It would take some time to get going, so we’d need to start right away, but… the water from the stream should be at least good enough for the plants.”
“Ah… why don’t you start on that tomorrow or the day after, once we have a better idea of the surroundings. Start with those who regularly help with the gardening, and we’ll see if we can get some more help as time goes on. Anything else?”
John Fox spoke again, “Security is planning to take my truck out to explore a bit further. The terrain isn’t smooth enough for most of the cars, but the truck should be able to handle a bit more. We’ll have to stay away from the forest though.”
“Understood.” Doctor Crocetti nodded, “I know this is hard on all of you as well, but if possible I would like everyone to continue with their routine as much as possible, to keep as much of a sense of normalcy as you can. That should help keep everyone- us, the patients, and the visitors- as calm and rational as possible.”