I came across a cafeteria stifling and heavy with the smell of old food. The eating area was very large, and all the chairs had been piled in a heap reaching up to the ceiling. The longest of the walls was decorated with a stylized mural of identical men standing in a line. Each had the same blond hair and strong jaw, and each was facing west, looking to a glowing horizon full of promise. The men were differentiated by the clothes they wore. One was a soldier, another a laborer, another a doctor, and the man in the foreground wore a padded white uniform and a stylized pilot's helmet over his head.
On the third floor I discovered a row of ten rooms, their doors close together, and each with PILOT stenciled on the door in gold lettering. Inside, the rooms were small and carpeted, and indentations in the carpeting suggested chairs and desks. Some walls bore the marks of framed photographs and holes from hanging nails, but the pictures were long gone. In the last room in the series I discovered a large wad of paper. I unraveled it and flattened it on the floor. CONGRATULATIONS, TOM! was spelled out in three-inch letters.
I was growing delirious from walking in the hot, unventilated building. I repeatedly passed several minutes shuffling from room to room without any idea of where I was going or what I was seeing. The stripped sameness of the halls and rooms was disorienting.
I came to heavy double doors of the sort used in hospitals to join wings or outbuildings. The doors were painted red, and there was a square of adhesive plastic, possibly a sign of some sort, that was defaced and illegible. There was no handle or bar to push open the doors, but I discovered a flat, metal button on the wall.
I pressed it. The doors swung open towards me, slowly and silently, sweeping all the way to the walls and revealing the large chamber beyond. It was much colder than the rest of the building, rising three stories and illuminated by light falling in dusty shafts through the yellow-tinted sunroof.
As he wanders its abandoned halls he begins to realize the scale and strangeness of the conspiracy, unaware that a darker truth waits within. Conelrad's track provides a suitable accompaniment for Casper's lonesome exploration. Please enjoy "Return String Determination."