Liam was 3 or 4 years old, and we were on our way to check out a new daycare center that had just opened up in our town. On the outside, the building was massive, and shaped like a giant golf ball, similar to the Spaceship Earth at Epcot. We were greeted by a short, blonde woman, who invited us to spend the day at the center, so that we could see how Liam handled the building, other kids, staff, etc. She ushered us inside, and gestured to a large, open playroom to the left. She told me that Liam could play in there while she gave me a tour. I left Liam with the staff in the playroom, and followed the woman down the hall.
She turned to me and told me in a very calm voice that I would not be able to be reunited with my son until after the tour, in several hours. I stopped in my tracks and asked her why, but she simply said it was “procedure”. I told her that I was uncomfortable leaving my son alone for that long, and she ignored me, and kept walking down the hall. I followed.
We passed several other rooms, all filled with children of varying ages, and I started to notice that the interior of the building was strange. The walls were all metal, with pipes stretching from the floor to the ceiling. All of the doors looked like reinforced, bunker doors, with small windows. It reminded me of a submarine. We walked in silence, until we got to a room at the end of the long hallway. The woman told me that I had to wait with the other parents, and before I could question further, she shoved me into the room, and slammed the door behind me.
I screamed and banged on the door. There were a few other people in the room, most likely the other parents the woman spoke of, and they all looked as confused as I felt. There were two, armed men playing poker at a table in the back of the room. I continued to scream and pound on the metal door. Cheerful staff members passed by the door, not even stopping as they smiled and waved at me through the tiny window, either not realizing my distress, or not caring.
Suddenly, a loud alarm sounded throughout the facility, and the fluorescent lights in the room went out, replaced by red, emergency lights. In a panic, I turned to the room of people, demanding answers. The two, armed men just ignored me, but one of the other parents began to explain that this happens several times a day, and no one ever seems phased by it. Just then, the woman who had brought me to this room burst through the door, visibly upset, and demanded we all follow her. We did.
As we walked briskly down the hallway, two of the parents from the room began whispering something about making a run for it, and a moment later, they were gone. The woman said something about a breakout, and someone getting loose, and I asked her why someone was imprisoned in a daycare center. She just laughed at me.
We passed by a small classroom, and I saw my son sitting at a desk by the door. I pushed the blonde woman, opened the door, and grabbed my son. Holding onto his arm, I practically dragged him down the long hallway, until I started recognizing where we were. I could see other parents and kids running out the front doors, and we joined them, pushing our way through the crowd.
In front of the building, we noticed that it was now dark out, and that the large, round facility was completely engulfed in flames, even though there had been no fire or smoke on the inside. There was a man carrying a little girl a few feet from us, and he shouted and motioned for us to follow him.
I vaguely remember driving over a bridge, and seeing a town on fire in the background, and the man saying something about a virus, and test subjects.
And then I woke up.