Many people believe in Heaven and Hell. Some people believe in neither. A handful of people believe only in Heaven. Seven believe only in Hell. One man believes that the true afterlife exists in a remote village in Pennsylvania, aptly titled Throb. It would surprise the 592 inhabitants of Throb that this man is uncannily right. Well. Almost.
The doctors and the woman fell for a long time before thudding surprisingly gently on a disturbingly mattress-like floor. Everyone one groaned and slowly stood up, as people often do. I looked around. The room was brightly lit by quietly buzzing neon lights. The interior designer for the room had pulled off the remarkable achievement of making a room cheerful and optimistic with only bricks and neon lights. There was a large bean bag blob in the corner, most likely intended to be a comfortable chair. The word “squashy” vaguely popped into my head. “Anybody know where we are?” one of the doctors asked. A large cardboard box fell on him. The box, on account of its quivering, was widely avoided by the group. Another doctor cautiously attempted to touch it. The box jumped into the air and turned around to face the man as best as it could with no face or, for that matter, any distinction between its front and back. We got the distinct notion that it was baring its teeth. The doctor it had landed on grabbed it, shook it a few times for good protocol, and then opened it. There was a small slip of paper in it with neat handwriting. At the top, the paper was titled “Alert Box”. Underneath it, “It is of no concern to you where you are.” was printed. This was generally agreed to be a very good answer.
“I’m thirsty; is there anything to drink?” Another cardboard box fell on him. It was decided that asking questions was a bad idea at this point. We arrived at another distinct notion. The box was trying as hard as possible to be a telephone. Not that it resembled a telephone at all, but we felt that it was trying very hard to be one. All in all, it invoked a cocktail of pity and confusion within us. Upon closer inspection, there did happen to be some resemblance after all. A small square neatly divided into nine smaller squares was drawn. Each square was numbered left to right and top to bottom. The numbers 5, 6, and 4 on the middle row were constantly being shaded (and then unshaded), in that order. The thirsty man that the box had landed on got up, opened the box, and found another slip of paper. In the same neat handwriting, it was titled “Dialogue Box: Drink Choice”. Beneath it, the words “Lemon”, “Pulp”, and “Something Hard” were meticulously drawn in separate rounded rectangles, a most curious affair.