The Hallucinator.

While on break at my job, I was browsing the app store for something interesting when I came across an app called the Hallucinator. I went to its page and found out that it induces brief but intense hallucinations using nothing but colors and sound. Interesting. Before I knew it I downloaded the app and had it ready to run. When I launched it I got this disclaimer screen:

WARNING! This app induces hallucinatory effects typically lasting 10 to 15 minutes, but in rare cases can last up to an hour. Do not drive, vote, operate heavy machinery or make important decisions when using this app. By proceeding you agree to hold the developer of this app harmless and not responsible for any damage or loss of life resulting from the hallucinatory effects you are about to experience.

Below the text was an onscreen button reading “Let’s Do This”. Chuckling, I pressed it and up came some more text:

Pick a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed for the next few minutes. A comfortable chair is preferred. For best and safe results, please remain seated throughout your hallucinatory phase.

When you press the GO button, you will have 10 seconds to place the screen a few inches away from your eyes, and then close your eyes. The hallucination induction process will only take a few seconds, after which you will hear a beep. Open your eyes and experience the warped, unusual and the terrifying, but keep in mind what you are about to see is coming entirely from you. Stay safe.

At the bottom of the screen was the GO button mentioned in the text. After I pressed it, I held the phone up to my eyes and could see the countdown timer as it inched towards zero. After closing my eyes I could sense the screen was flashing a bright red color in rapid sequence while the app produced some strange sounds. A few seconds later I heard the beep and slowly opened my eyes.

Whoah.

The floor of the break room was rising and falling in rapid succession, much like waves at the beach. I could also see the tables, chairs and coworkers rise and fall with the waves. A few minutes later the effect dissipated as my vision returned to normal.

I lifted my phone and pressed the red box labeled “Let’s Do It Again”. Then another message box appeared.

So soon? It is recommended that you wait an hour before starting another hallucinatory session to give your mind a chance to heal. The effect is still dissipating and starting a new session prematurely will disrupt the dissipation with possible brain damage and permanent mental impairment. Again, by proceeding you agree to release the author of this app from all liability from any medical issues caused by excessive use of this app. You have been warned.

I was too excited about starting the new session that I didn’t bother reading the entire screen. I pressed the red button on the screen to initiate another session and then another one on top of that. Heck, I decided to put in one more session on top of that to give my otherwise tedious day at work a much needed twist.

Then I got up to put my phone away in my locker and immediately realized I may have made a mistake. Instead of seeing the floor. I saw a dark, forbidding abyss spanned by the tightrope I was standing on. As I looked around the break room I could see my fellow employees plunging into the abyss, most of them still seated at their tables while eating.

After somehow managing to put my phone away, I walked back into the store and was greeted with a horrifying sight. All the colors were reversed as if I had walked into a film negative. Customers and fellow employees had blue skin and spoke in a strange language that sounded like their speech was reversed. Overhead flew empty shopping carts with giant wings flapping to keep them airborne. The main aisle resembled a highway with cars speeding directly at me but they went through my body as if they were ghost cars.

“Excuse me,” a nearby customer asked me, “do you know where the air conditioner filters are?”

“DAAAAAAAAAAH!” was my reply. As the lady spoke her head appeared to float above her shoulders, yet her expression was one of pure bewilderment.

I staggered onward past customers who resembled oversized cockroaches wearing baseball caps, all of them staring at me. I finally made it to the stockroom where I worked, dizzy and out of breath.

“Are you all right, Mike?” asked my boss.

“AIEEEEEEEEEEE!” I replied, shocked at his oversized head growing larger and larger before it exploded into tiny clones running in all directions across the floor.

“Mike,” my boss said firmly, “you’ve been using the Hallucinator again, haven’t you?”

I closed my eyes and nodded.

“Figures,” he retorted, “go over there and have a seat with the other guys until your hallucinations go away. And no more using the Hallucinator on company time, got it?”

And so I sat on a couch in the stockroom with two other guys trying to ride out the rest of our hallucinations. It would be a long time before I would ever try the Hallucinator again.

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