This post was on the old Misintelligence Quotient blog on Quora. I'm posting it again here to unify the location of my short stories.
He briskly walked down a hallway. With places to go, James hustled to the exit. Each time he had tried to reach it before, he had passed out, each time farther than the last, awakening again in the room at the beginning of the hall. He had places to go, and no idea how long he'd been there or how long he'd stay, or even where “there” was.
James began to feel weak. He knew the next change that would happen, and his goal remained far. He passed by many empty rooms as he went. How long, asks he, will I be here? He kept running, his eyes focused on his goal. He felt weaker and weaker, until he stumbled, fell over, and fainted.
It took a while for James to recover, he felt; he looked around, discovering it was the same cursed room. “Here again,” he muttered, standing up. He threw open the door to the hallway, took a deep breath, and started running. He ran far and hard. Soon James realized he wasn't reaching his goal. Something was wrong. Focused on his goal, he could not find what was impeding it.
He continued running until he began feeling weak again. He decided he had enough, slowed to a stop, and turned around. To his surprise, the door from which he had started was right there. He feared the worst and looked down. It was a treadmill. He looked to his goal, slowly approached it, and reached out his hand. It was a solid door. He ran his hand on the door, found the doorknob, and left the building for the outside. But alas, it was the desert at night, and he was on the green grass, now looking for his way back home.