[WP] In the year 2018, a mysterious, giant tower appears in the deep jungles of Latin America. Thousands have entered it, no one has ever been seen coming out. In the year 2021, you decide to enter the tower. As the doors close behind you, a huge sign lights up "Level 1".

James scratched his scraggily stubble.

"Enigmatic, if nothing else..." He whispered to himself. He stood in the shadow of "The Obelisk", as CNN had called it, his backpack by his side. James reached into his pocket and pulled out his tablet.

"Siri. Record Voice Memo." he said, clearing his throat. The tablet bleeped in response.

"August 21, 2024, 2:39. This is Dr. James Willenbring. I have arrived at the base of the tower. The last hour of travel was uneventful. I stand two-hundred meters from the biggest mystery of the twenty first century. I will enter the obelisk within the hour. This recording, along with all other data compiled during this journey, will remain outside the tower for my return. In the event that I do not return, Siri has been programmed to send coordinates and data to my colleague, Kevin Bowers. Signing out."

James pushed the tablet back into his pocket and let his fingers feel around. One last cigarette. James pulled it out and dug through his pack for his lighter. With a groan he slumped to the ground, using his pack as a pillow.

His mind flickered to life with his cigarette. His deep-set brown eyes gazed at the tower as he thought.

The tower was in the news for a good year. It outlasted coverage on the Denver Car Bombing, the cure for Alzheimer's, Bill Clinton's unexpected death. But nothing could outlast Putin's near suicidal choice to use nuclear weapons on the Crimean Peninsula. No one heard about the tower after that- a few articles here and there, but who cares about a mystery tower when World War III is in full swing.

James exhaled and closed his eyes. He'd heard a lot of horror stories. Apparently, no one who had entered The Obelisk has been seen again. Didn't matter who- scientists, religious fanatics, the military, the list went on. They may as well be dead.

Yet James felt a strange pull. Since he heard about the tower, his curiosity was overpowering. Over time, he slowly removed himself from his anthropological work in Paraguay. Brown wasn't too happy about that. They removed his funding, stopped sending graduate students... but James didn't care.

"Damn Brown." He scoffed, opening his eyes. His cigarette hissed as he pushed it into the moist sod beneath him.

For year it had been so close...but timing is everything. He remembered what Kevin had said over a video call: "James. Why are you running from reality?"

James didn't really know. But he knew where was now.

He stood up, unzipped his backpack, and took our the small, waterproof and shock resistant portable safe. In went his tablet, some scrawlings from the journey, his GPS, and Camera. He stuffed his pockets with granola bars and water tubes as he strolled towards the large, reflective door. he threw his nearly empty pack to the side and placed the safe on the ground next to a rock. The beads of sweat on his brow spoke for themselves.

As he approached, he tried to see through the door, but only saw his sweaty, dirty reflection. In a moment he was just a few meters form the door.

James let out a dramatic breath.

"Now or never."

He pushed through the door. Pitch Black ahead, light fading from the door silently closing behind him.

/r/WritingPrompts Thread