The Other 7th Floor

Author’s note: I stopped watching horror movies and movies with questionable content years ago. I decided that the furniture of my mind is pretty delicate and it can’t handle much of that stuff. Reality is scary enough. I choose to preserve my innocence and child like sense of wonder and beauty in tact. Now I rarely even watch PG 13s. I hate entertainment based on fear, violence and sex. This experience reminded me why.

Ming is bestest friend in whole wide world.

Went to visit Ming’s dad in the hospital. He was dying, and then he wasn’t, then he would never walk again, now he might. There’s a very expensive rehabilitation center he might be going to if only he can sit up and keep his breath for longer periods of time. It’s a whole long, drawn out, confusing thing. Ming loves her dad and she is important to me, so I wanted to make sure to meet him before he passed.

Decide to go there late at night after watching her kids. Her husband came and relieved me of babysitting duty and I drove down to the hospital. It was after 9 PM which meant the main entrance doors were closed and I had to find his room from the completely opposite side of the hospital. Tiny panic attack. Hospitals have a way of creeping up my spine as soon as I walk through the revolving doors.

I always thought the movie “Labyrinth” had to have been written by someone who was forced to spend a lot of time in a hospital. Every hallway looks the same. Everything white, sterile. Florescent lighting. Hallways unending. Same dismal tiles stepping on into eternity. Same paintings of people in the middle of a dessert or a field of wildflowers everywhere. Framed inspirational quotes and scriptures. Random silk plants.

From the emergency room entrance I get directions from a very kind Asian male nurse. He tells me to go all the way down to the giant glowing cross (Eeps!) and then take a left and then another long hallway and a right and take those elevators to the 7th floor. I tried. Went to the giant glowing cross, took a left, and there was immediately a set of elevators.

“Was that it? Why did his explanation sound so much longer? Pfft, that was easy.”

Take those elevators all the way to the 7th floor and get off. What I see and hear next is very unsettling. It’s the 7th floor, and there are rooms and beds and a desk where the staff is supposed to be… but NO PEOPLE. The lights are even on.

My mind starts folding in on itself. Immediately transported to that scene from the beginning of 28 Days Later when the guy wakes up from a coma to an empty hospital. Eerily silent. No signs of life.

I’m running around and trying to find people. Where AM I? What horrible thing has happened here? WHY ARE THERE NO OTHER PEOPLE?! It’s dead silent in the section of the hospital I’m in and insanely loud inside my mind.

What if I have stumbled into a quarantined area?! Great, I’m going to die of some horrible flesh eating bacteria! Maybe it’s night of the comet and I was shielded by the lead elevator casing! I and the other elevator people may be the only ones LEFT ALIVE. I must find the others. It will be up to us to repopulate the planet.

So I frantically try to get out of this place.

I try everything but the elevators I came up on because I quite wrongly think that if there is a more alive version of the 7th floor where my friend’s father is, I should be able to just walk in the opposite direction of the creepy wing of nonexistence until I get to him.

Only… not. All the doors are marked “Personnel Only” and locked. I zigged. I zagged. No use. There was a waiting room area with a bunch of empty cardboard boxes in it. There were signs here and there with menacing red letters and a light behind them.

This is how it starts. Where is the creepy child zombie? I have nothing to defend myself with.

I finally give up and take the elevator all the way back down to the 1st floor in utter defeat. I step out and stumble upon giant glowing cross again. Eeps of relief this time.

Assuming I am now in the place where I started, I turn left again and this time keep going until I find another set of elevators. Stare at elevators for a moment deciding on whether or not to risk exposure to 7th floor dead zone area again. Scaredens of this.

Up arrow. Ding. Step inside. Hit 7. Hold breath. Ding. Find people. Fears subsiding. Find Ming. Fears gone. Meet Ming dad. Tell Ming and Dad about hospital dead zone. Ming laughs. I laugh nervously still not entirely convinced there wasn’t flesh eating bacteria on that other version of the 7th floor. Waiting to see what happens.

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