Through the door and into Wonderland.
The door grated closed behind me as I stared in shock at the back wall of the next room. It was a ten feet tall and twenty foot wide holographic screen of a square-edged tunnel covered with zeroes and ones narrowing to an image of a beautiful woman.
I'd had all I could handle by that point.
On the run from the government, dropped in the middle of nowhere by a Kentucky survivalist, reduced to following a locating device blindly through a dark forest, then forced to witness a horrific battle between dark monstrosities ended by a UFO crash. The forest bursting into flames as the crash disintegrated. Running to stay ahead of the flames while following the electronic beacon to this cave while government helicopters circled overhead.
The sliding rock wall, stepping through the door with a flashing skull and crossbones into a room backstopped by a beautiful hologram. Too much. Too much for one night.
My mind slipped into cognitive dissonance.
"Welcome," said the image.
All I could do was stare.
Where the hell was I? What was this place?
"Come closer," she said.
No way. I was thinking it might be safer to go back and stand in the burning forest.
"Please come closer so that I may further identify you."
My legs were so tired they were shaking. I felt hot and wondered if my brain was overheating. That would explain a lot.
I took three steps forward and stopped. Maybe it was a stupid idea, but there's something about a beautiful woman- even a holographic one- asking you to step forward that can get a guy in motion.
Soft blue light moved over my body. My skin tingled. I was afraid to move.
Had I stumbled into a secret government facility? Had Mark's locating device sent me to the wrong place? Or was he working with the government?
None of it made sense.
"Come closer," said the image. "You are approved to enter."
"What am I entering?" I asked nervously.
"Walk through me and find out," said the image.
I closed my eyes as I walked through the electronic looking glass, terrified of what I would find on the other side.